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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 5, 2003 - Issue 84


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Sidelight to the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe

From the Ashland Daily Press - Aug. 31, 1935
credits: submitted by Timm Severud (Ondamitag)

Drawing of LaPointeThe important Treaty of September 20, 1854, at La Pointe, Indian Agent Henry C. Gilbert of La Pointe and David S. Harriman representing the United States, and Chief Buffalo of La Pointe and other chiefs from many places representing the Chippewas, the reservations of Bad River, Grand Portage, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Lac du Flambeau were set off pretty much as they are today.

An agreement in the month of February 1854, unofficially, between and Indian and a white man, saved the south shore of Chequamegon Bay, from becoming a part of the Bad River Reservation. The story is told in full in my "Lake Superior in History and in Story." There in it is told how the Chippewa Indian, Little Current, and the missionary Leonard Wheeler, met by agreement, and after following the shoreline from the head of the bay to almost the Kakagon Sloughs, agreed to the setting apart of the bay front for white men; five months later Whittlesay who undoubtedly knew of the fact, founded Ashland of July 5, 1854 as told in the marker on West Front Street.

This important item of local history doesn't appear to be known, as it should be.

LaPointe ca. 1840

The Annuity Payment of 1855 was the largest gathering ever held on Madeline Island for such a purpose. It lasted an entire month during August and September 1855. There were present 2,000 Indians, and there was paid to them $90,000, plus an annual payment of $19,000. These items, provided for by treaty the year before, not only brought to Madeline Island, Indians from both shores of Lake Superior, and far inland, but a mob of traders and other claimants, who were after the $90,000 and the $19,000 also, were at the payment.

Mission Residence - LaPointeThere were present at the Annuity Payment of 1855:
Colonel Manypenny, Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington DC), Indian Agent Henry C. Gilbert of La Pointe, and his secretary Smith; John Johnson, the mixed blood son of the historic John Johnson of Sault Ste. Marie; Benjamin Armstrong, famous interpreter of Oak Island, later of Ashland; Richard Morse of Detroit a newspaper man; Chief Buffalo, who died during the month and was accorded a big funeral; General H.L. Stevens; and many white men, claimants, saloon keeps, visitors, and ordinary spectators. Some of the more prominent Indians were Blackbird of Odanah, Wawabeshashe and his daughter The Princess from the Mississippi River; Niggig, The Otter, of Lac Courte Oreilles; Bagonub of the Fond du Lac of Superior; Shingoop from the Head of the Lakes, Megezhe, The Eagle, Little Caribou and Atte Kons of the Grand Portage, Loons Foot of Flambeau, and many others.

Again the missionaries did not appear in the proceedings; Baraga having become a Bishop and now living at Sault Ste. Marie and Leonard Wheeler now beginning to appear as the leader of the opponents of the government in its attempt to remove the Chippewas to the source of the Mississippi.

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