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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 19, 2003 - Issue 85


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Fair Treatment Denied Indians

From: The Superior Telegram - February 12, 1916
credits: submitted by Timm Severud (Ondamitag)

Chief Pitawash, Head of the Chippewas, Complains of Rights Withheld
Here for Data on Wisconsin Point Land Dispute to take to Capital

'Although Presidents Pierce and Grant both promised my father the Indians would always be taken care of they have not been treated as they should have been,' said Chief Pitawash of the Chippewa Tribe his morning. The chief is visiting Superior for a few days before leaving as the head of Indian delegation to Washington to look after Indian rights. One of the matters they are interested in is the ownership of land on Wisconsin Point, which has been used for years as an Indian Cemetery. Pitawash is the chief of all the Chippewas of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, having inherited the leadership of the tribe from his father, Naganub, who died at Fond du Lac a number of years ago. Although 72 years old he is as active as a man of 40 and spends his time traveling from town to town and visiting his people. He has no fixed home at the present time. He was born a few miles from Superior on the north shore and at that time there were no buildings in Superior. A few Indian wigwams on Wisconsin Point composed the only settlement and the Indians at that time owned all the land in the city, which later became valuable. It is in regards to this land that the chief objects to the treatment of his race.

Medals for Friendliness
Pitawash exhibits two large silver medals that had been given to his father for friendliness to the white people during the many Indian uprisings. One of them was given to him by President Pierce in 1854 and the other by President Grant in 1871.

'Both of these great men declared that the white people had plenty of money and that the Indians had plenty of land and for this reason they should work together,' he said. 'The Indians was to give his land for cultivation under the plow and the white people were to take care of the Indian as long as one of them remained.'

'We gave up all our land but we have now have not been cared for in return. They now even want to take the ground where our fathers and grandfathers are buried that they may build more docks and mills.'

Although Pitawash was never in school a day he speaks three languages fluently. Both English and French he has picked up while working with these people.

He expects to leave today for Cloquet, Minnesota where he will meet the other delegates to Washington. He stated that he did not know much about the resolution that had been drawn up but that he would answer all the question that the Indian authorities might ask him after they had read the written resolution.

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