DAVID BRAINARD and John Eliot labored among the Algonquins. Eliot used the English vowels in translating his Bible, instead of the French vowels which are used in spelling Ojibway words. The names of the tribes signify certain characteristics belonging to them. I am indebted to Archdeacon Gilfillan for the following:--
"The Ojibways," corrupted into Chippewa, means "To-roast-till-puckered-up,"--probably from an incident in their history (see Warren's History). Their original home was about Lake Superior and Sault Ste. Marie, whence the Sioux name for them is "Those-who-dwell-at-the-falls." They now occupy the northern part of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and of North Dakota, and are found on the prairies as far west as the Saskatchewan River, and as far north as Hudson Bay. Bishop Horden had many Ojibways in his diocese.
"The Ottaways--Ottawas" means "The traders or the trading people." They were probably called so because situated midway between the French, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, and the Ojibways. They passed on the goods of the French to interior tribes, or resold them. Their original home was on the Ottawa River, Canada, but they are now found in Michigan, and both north and south of the Great Lakes.
"Po-da-wa-dum-ig "(Pottawotamies), meaning "Those-who-help-the-fire." Their original home seems to have been the northern part of Illinois, about Chicago, and the eastern part of Wisconsin. About five hundred were removed to the Indian Territory, and some are still found in Wisconsin and Michigan.
"Wa-ban-a-kig," "Eastern-earth-dwellers." (The modern Abanakis, of the New England states, and, also, the Dela-wares.) "Waban "means the east, "aki" means earth, and the "g "represents "those." The name means "Those-who-dwell-in-the-Eastern-lands," or, more literally, "Eastern-earth-people."
"O-sag-ig," the Saukies or Sauks (Sacs). The word means "Those-who-live-at-the-entry." They were found by the French near Green Bay, Wisconsin.
"Sha-wun-og," called by us Shawnees. "Sha-wun-og" means Southerner. Their home, I believe, was in Ohio.
"Od-ish-qua-gum-ig" means "Last-water-people." They are the Mic-Macs, who inhabited Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward's Island, and Newfoundland. They were called "Last-water-people" from living at the end of all waters, the ocean.
"O-man-o-min-ig," "Wild-rice-people," from Man-o-min, wild rice. The Minominies lived, and still live, in Wisconsin.
"Odo-gam-ig," "Those-who-live-on-the-opposite-side," the Foxes, who were originally found in Wisconsin. They are, and were, closely allied with the Sauks or Sacs; hence the two are usually coupled together and called "The Sacs and Foxes."
"O-maum-ig," "People-who-live-on-the-peninsula." The Miamis or Maumees. Ohio and Indiana were their home.
"Ki-mis-ti-nog," or Crees. Their home is in the British possessions, north of Minnesota.
"O-mush-ki-gog," or "Swamp-people," from "Mush-kig," a swamp. Their home, also, is in the British possessions.
All the above speak substantially the same language, can easily understand each other, and are the same people. The Indians who met the Pilgrim Fathers in New England were a portion of this people, as witness their language, which is largely made up of Ojibway words.
The Algonquins, then, extended along the Atlantic, from the mouth of the St. Lawrence, as far south as the mouth of the St. James River, in Virginia, and, probably, into North Carolina; thence west, to the Mississippi, and, also, throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and New England; and, as before stated, as far north as Hudson Bay, and as far west as North Dakota, the Saskatchewan River, and the Rocky Mountains.
In this territory were found the six nations of New York, the Winnebagoes, of Wisconsin, and the Wyandots, all of whom were radically different from the real Ojibway family. "Pow-hatt-an," the chief, father of Pocahontas, was of the Algonquin nation. His name, "Pow-a-dan," signifies, in Ojibway, a dream.
THE STORY OF ENMEGAHBOWH'S LIFE
I will not say anything of my heathenism and the Grand Medicine Lodge. It takes too much time. The custom of my father was to start out in the autumn of each year, with his family--and perhaps four or five families together--roaming from place to place. At this season, otters, fishers, martins, and beavers were plentiful, and the furs most valuable. At the time of which I now speak, our fourth encampment brought us near the village of Peterborough, and many men and women came to see us. We had often camped near this village, and my parents knew Mr. Armour, an Episcopal clergyman. Mr. Armour and his wife came to see us. They looked at me very much and talked together while doing so. I said to my mother, "The black coat and his wife look at me all the time." She said: "Well, my son, what of that? Perhaps they pity you because you are ugly."
On the third day both came again to our wigwam and brought us bread and ko-kosh, and an interpreter. Mr. Armour said to my father, "Can you not leave your son with me during the hunting? "My father said: "He is too small to leave with strangers. He would be lonely, take sick, and die." Mr. Armour said: "I have two boys of the same age. They would play and go to school together." My father was half willing, but my mother had no idea of leaving me in a stranger's hands, although she knew Mr. Armour was a good man.
After they had gone away, my father asked me what I thought of staying with Mr. Armour. I said I should like it.
On the fourth day Mr. Armour came again with his two boys, and again asked my parents to leave me with him that I could go to school with his boys. They then consented. I took my bow and arrows to begin life anew. My clothing was changed, and I was dressed like Mr. Armour's boys.
The first two days I felt homesick. I was punctual and always ready for my school hours. I soon learned letters and figures and began to understand a little English. Mr. Armour taught me the Lord's Prayer, Creed, and ten Commandments. At a certain hour of the night, a homesick fever tempted me to run away. I could not control the idea; go I must. The break of day was the appointed hour to depart. The hour came, and with my book in my bosom, and bow and arrows in hand, I travelled two days and reached the wigwam of my father. They were surprised to see me. I had been with Mr. Armour three months, had learned considerable English, and was a tolerably good reader. My foolish act even now gives me sorrow. I might have been a greatly educated man, and would have been a greater help to my people.
I now tell you what brought me to this country, far from my native land. (Emnegahbowh was an Ottawa, born in Canada.)
Mr. Evans received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Clark, the superintendent of the Methodist missions in the United States, asking for a good young man to interpret for the missionary of Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. Evans came to my father and asked him to let me go. My father said, "No, this is our only son, you must not ask for him." Mr. Evans continued to ask, saying: "He may himself become a missionary among his heathen race. You know that the heathen of your own race, far away toward the setting sun, are dying out without God. You should pity your people and send your son to them."
This talk turned my father and mother. They asked me what I thought of going to heathen cannibals. They added, "cannibals," to frighten me.
I said, "Mother, I love you and would be sorry to leave you, but I abide by your decision. If you say, go, I go; if you say, stay, I go not."
My mother said, "Dear son, go for three weeks, and while you are away Mr. Evans may find some other young man to go." I went to Mud Lake reservation, and at the end of three weeks returned home. Mr. Evans had found no one and again, asked my parents to let me go. My mother spoke out and said, "Mr. Evans, will you promise in writing that my son comes again to me in one year? "He promised. On the second day I said farewell to my dear parents for the last time. I never saw them again. My mother's weeping almost turned me back. Tears blinded my eyes as I went forth to an unknown heathen country.
The following day I arrived at Toronto; on the third day arrived at Pententuguishing on the shore of Lake Erie. Here, for the first time, I saw many heathen receiving presents from the British Government. Many of them came from the head waters of Lake Superior. They had large canoes, and soon I formed friendships, and they offered to take me to Sault Ste. Marie. Prom the fort at Pententuguishing there are two routes to Sault Ste. Marie; one, by the shore of the Lakes, took seven or eight days at least, but was safer. The other was to cross Lake Huron and reach the channel of the river Sault Ste. Marie, in four days, but was a dangerous route. To reach the first of a chain of islands there is a vast space twenty miles wide which is most dreaded. The man I accompanied had a splendid canoe. When we left the main shores, it was a dead calm and took all our strength to reach the vast open space of the lake. The wind began to blow at a furious rate, and wave after wave came over our canoe. When the women and children cried in terror, the man took a scarlet cloth and some tobacco and put them into the water, and sang in a loud voice one of his religious songs, in this wise: "The gods that dwell in the deep, be merciful to us and save us to reach the land." I began to think of my parents. I said: "I am here, not of my own accord. I am here through advice of those with more understanding. Lord, pity me that I may again tread the earth."
We barely reached the first island,--thankful, yes, very thankful.
On reaching Sault Ste. Marie, I was sent the first year to La Ance, a large settlement of Canadians, where I taught school two years. I was kindly treated by the Indians and found there were no cannibals. From here I was sent on to a still larger settlement of still wilder Indians. At the end of the year the superintendent urged me to give up school-teaching and take up regular missionary work. I said that I could not stay longer, that four years had passed since I had seen my home. I said: "I am not prepared for missionary work, my education is so limited that I cannot meet heathen arguments. I know that some of them are strong, and make strong proof in favor of heathen religion, and of Grand Medicine Lodge; in the Grand Medicine Lodge are some things very perplexing and not easily understood by those who know not its teachings. For instance, when one is ready to enter the Grand Medicine Lodge, he goes to the Grand Medicine-men and tells them that he wants to be initiated. He is accepted, and a certain month a year hence is named for the event. The time of the year arrives; six days before admittance to the Lodge, the beating of drums is carried on by the head Grand Medicine-men, while the applicant is undergoing instructions. What is the meaning of the drum-beating during the six days? This is a puzzle for one who knows nothing of the Grand Medicine religion. I can answer all questions about this religion because I have been in it, and it has been a help during my missionary work when my heathen people have confronted me with questions as to why the Christian religion is better."
Mr. John Clark asked me, when I hesitated to take up missionary work because of my limited knowledge, if I would go East to school. I said, Most willingly; and in the month of June I started down to go among the pale faces to learn books. I remained East four years. Dear "Bishop, if you ask me how much I learned, I answer, Heap, heap books. I completed the branches taught in the school. I was considered one of the best grammarians, and was ready to be sent to college to study dead languages. I said to Mr. Trotter, who was head master of the academy, "Dear Mr. Trotter, you would send me to college to study dead languages. You have prepared me for missionary work among the living heathen--not the dead ones. I hope you are not going to send me to the dead ones to learn their language. No, I have not much appetite to study dead languages."
I must omit many incidents which took place after I left school, before I reached the seat of heathenism. At the first Indian settlement I came to Hole-in-the-Day's big wigwam. He was most anxious that I should stay in his village, and said he would not allow me to go farther. I remained one year and taught a school with a few children.
Before coming here, to go back in my story, when I reached Fort Snelling I left my books with Mr. Reese, sutler in the fort. From Fort Snelling to the head waters of the Father of Rivers, there was no sign of white man except some French-Canadian traders married to squaws. During ten years in the heathen land I never met a man who could speak English with me, and my grammar and English at last took flight. Here was old Tanner who was taken prisoner when a young man and had married an Indian. When his friends got him home he could not speak a word of English. Another man, James McCue, went away to school among the pale faces, and in seven years could not understand his native tongue.
At the end of the year in Hole-in-the-Day's village I was very lonely.
During the year Hole-in-the-Day had been out three times to the Sioux country, and each time had brought home scalps. I did not like this proceeding, and when he took the war-path the fourth time, I left for the next settlement. I was tired of living with heathen, and I had the notion to make my escape.
About this time the Rev. Mr. Kavanagh, with his party, came to see if I were living or dead. He found me at Crossing Sky's reservation in a very sour condition. I declared that nothing should keep me longer from my people. A deep insubordination was imprinted on my heart. Dr. Kavanagh had asked me to accompany him as far as Sandy Lake, and then return. His route was across the country from Sandy Lake to Fond du Lac, the head waters of Lake Superior. It was exactly my route, and while I said nothing of my intention to leave the country, my joy was full.
Dr. Kavanagh had a large canoe, and said that I must take the command. Before reaching the noted Pine River, we made two encampments, reaching the mouth at noon of the third day. Here was a large settlement of Indians, and the noted Grand Medicine-man, Strong Ground.
Dr. Kavanagh said, "Let us camp with these people." I said, "No, it is too early to camp. We have four or five hours yet to travel before the camping hour."
We waited, however, for Dr. Kavanagh to preach to the people, and afterward he said to me, "Did you see that beautiful maiden who set next to the old blind woman covered with silver brooches?" Mr. Fostrum, the pilot, said: "I know the family well. She belongs to the family of Hole-in-the-Day and Strong Ground; they are her uncles."
Dr. Kavanagh advised me to ask her hand. He said, "I am sure she would be a good companion." Mr. Fostrum spoke out and said: "She would make a good companion, but it is doubtful if she consents. I have known many young chiefs and warriors who have tried to make the match, but it is always, no! no!"
Dr. Kavanagh said: "You are from a far country and may succeed. Try, for I am sure she will make a good companion." At first I said I could not ask her so suddenly. It would not do. It would be better for Mr. Fostrum to speak first. Dr. Kavanagh advised me to be present at the conversation. Hence we entered the wigwam, and Mr. Fostrum said to the maiden, "I come with my young friend, Enmegahbowh, to ask if you will take his hand and live as man and wife? "A bold question, indeed! The maiden looked at me and smiled--a very good indication--but said to ask her parents. The father said: "Your friend is a stranger. We do not know him. If we should give our consent, he may stay with us awhile and then take her away to his country. It would kill us. You know this is our only child. She has never been away from us." The mother asked what I would do if they consented. I said I should remain in their country as long as both should live. With this promise, both parents finally consented. I then had a hard question to ask them, whether they would allow their child Christian baptism before the marriage took place. The father said: "We have given you our only child to protect and to make happy. If your Christian baptism would make her happy, do what would be for her good." Dr. Kava-nagh said he would baptize her the next morning. I was much afraid that some of the old Grand Medicine-men would object. She belonged to the Grand Medicine Lodge. When the hour arrived, chiefs, and the Grand Medicine-men had already come to see this wonderful baptism and were seated in a circle. During the night she had been instructed as to baptism. Dr. Kavanagh, with cup in hand, asked her to come forward. Her name Charlotte was given her by the daughter of Allen Morrison, one of the best Indian traders on the frontier. Before all the Grand Medicine-men, she knelt, and answered all the questions of this holy rite. Then came the marriage, and so all the Christian religious ceremonies came to an end, to the astonishment of her people, and she was equipped to go forth to battle with her poor husband. Here the party left me, after a blessing and many kind words. After breakfast I started to cross Sandy Lake. I saw on the snow which covered the ice big tracks of an animal. I examined the tracks and found them to be those of a moose. Looking up the river, I saw the animal feeding on the bank. I started with care, under cover of the steep bank, and when near, aimed my gun and fired. The huge animal fell to the ground. An hour after my companion arrived with her mother, and when I saw their satisfaction I was overjoyed, for I knew that my mother-in-law would feel that I was fully qualified to be her son-in-law. We spent several hours in dressing the moose, and when we arrived at Sandy Lake, I hired a pony to take the animal to my new home. The word had spread that the new son-in-law had killed a moose. I then for the first time heard that there were some white missionaries scattered through the Indian country, and I was cheered to know that I was not the only praying man in the great heathen land. I built in the third year of my marriage a comfortable house. I heard that the white missionaries were discouraged and were about to leave the country. Sure enough, the beginning of my fourth year of service, I saw them passing down the Mississippi River.
It made my heart sorrowful, and made me think very seriously. I said: "If these men of learning have failed to teach these heathen, who can succeed? And what am I that I should attempt to train my people. If I remain in this country, my days and years will become a failure and a sorrow. But I promised my dear companion in the presence of noted heathen men that I would never desert her country nor make her sad so long as we both should live." But the example of the white missionaries had left a deep impression on my wicked heart. I watched and waited for the right moment to ask my companion what she would think of leaving the country to go with me to Canada. I knew, before asking her the question, that it would make her sorrowful. At last I asked her. She said nothing, but with a sad face gave me a half smile. A few days passed, and again I renewed my question. She said: "To say yes, and leave my dear parents, would kill them. I am their only child. But I made a solemn promise at our marriage to be with you as long as we both should live. I will go with you whenever you shall go."
I did not push the matter, and a few weeks later she herself introduced the subject, and asked me if I were in earnest in my question to her. I said: "Consider our position among this great heathen nation. What are we? We are poor and without resources. If the white missionaries failed, how can we expect to do anything? It is a waste of time. My little stipend from the government does not cover our needs."
After a pause she said, "Enmegahbowh, I gave you a promise at our marriage. I am ready to go with you and die with you. Go, yes, go, and I will follow you." This settled my great desire, but my wicked heart was much troubled. I could almost hear its beating. I tried to drown my conscience. I could not rest, thinking of my heathen people.
But we decided to go, and the day was appointed. I purchased a canoe. As we said farewell, tears blinded my dear companion's eyes, and my heart was like lead.
The first day we made a portage of six miles, and at last reached a large settlement of our people at the head waters of Lake Superior. They received us kindly, and gave us fish and whatever they had. We again started for La Pointe, the headquarters of the Great American Fur Company, and here, as we expected, we found a vessel anchored in the harbor to waft us onward to our destination. There was a great gathering of Indians from all parts, waiting to receive their annual payment. Beaulieu, Oaks, and Dr. Borup tried their best to discourage me from leaving their country. But my heart was not moved. Go, I must! I found the Captain, and asked him at what hour he expected to start. "The first hour that the wind is favorable," he said. "If you want to take passage, get in and bring your goods with you at once."
The Captain came to the vessel late, and, before retiring, gave orders to watch for a favorable wind. I told the Captain that I would do that, that I was too anxious to get off to sleep.
About three o'clock the wind began to blow in our favor. I waited another hour for more wind, and then called at the Captain's door in a loud voice, "Wind! wind! "The sailors came to their posts, and I shall never forget their song as they pulled up the great anchor, with regular beating time and exact precision in every movement. In less than an hour the huge vessel began to swing around to its direct course, and in two hours we had passed all the islands, and just before sunrise we were on the open sea. 0, how beautiful it seemed! The Captain said, "At this rate we should land at Sault Ste. Marie on the third day." With joy I said to myself, "In a few days I shall land on the beautiful shores of Tarshish, the land of my choice." The fast sailing filled my coward soul with courage. I looked toward the south and saw only a small speck of land and to the north, no land.
Soon after this the wind began to fall, and the speed of the vessel to slacken. A few hours more and a dead calm was upon us. The great vessel moved about here and there. At about five o'clock in the afternoon the sail began to move. The Captain said: "The wind is coming from the wrong direction--a bad wind, and always furious." At six o'clock the storm broke. The lake was white with the lashing waves, the wind increasing in ferocity. The huge vessel was tossed like a small boat and could hardly make headway. The waves had mastered the sea and threatened destruction in their tremendous movement.
The Captain came to our cabin, drenched, and said: "We are in danger. The wind is maddening and determined to send us to the bottom of the sea. I have sailed this great lake from head to foot for twenty-one years, but no storm has ever impeded my sailing. I have never seen anything like it. My friend, I am afraid that something is wrong with us." He went out. His last words struck my stony heart. My dear companion saw the emotion of my face, but said nothing. In an hour the Captain came in again and told us of our increasing danger, and that it was impossible to move ahead, and that our only safety was in trying to go back to our starting-place.
Nothing could be heard on deck above the rattling and roar of sails and waves, but at last the vessel swung round to go back. With difficulty we finally reached the harbor. Before leaving the vessel, my companion talked with me thus: "I must say a few words, Enmegahbowh. I believe, as I believe in God, that we are the cause of almost perishing in the deep waters. I believe that although poor, God wanted you to do something for our dying heathen people. What you have said is true, that this is a great heathen country full of darkness and idolatry."
I said, "I fully agree with your words that I am the cause of our disaster." I had thought of this myself, but to tame down my conscience I said: "To be recognized by my Heavenly Father and impeded on my journey to the rising sun! I am too small! too poor! it is impossible! "But to her I again repeated my argument that the white missionaries with means, education, experience, had found it useless, and had deserted, and what were we that should set ourselves to do this work. My companion asked quietly, "Do you still mean to go? "I said, "Yes." "I shall follow you," was her answer.
The Captain said that he would start again by the first good wind. The next night at two o'clock we were again sailing at a fast rate, and again our heavy hearts were cheered. When we reached the place where we were before becalmed, the wind fell, the sails stilled, and the vessel stopped moving. A deadly calm was again upon us. There was not a cloud to be seen in the heavens. My companion and I were sitting on the deck. An hour later as we were looking toward the setting sun, to our astonishment and fear, we saw a small, dark speck of a cloud rising. My heart beat quicker. The cloud was growing and spreading. The Captain cried that the wind was coining and that it would be worse than the other. Two hours later the sails began to move, and then came the wind and the waves with all their threatening force. The Captain gave an order to throw overboard barrels of fish to lighten the vessel. I was no longer the same man. The heavens were of ink blackness; there was a great roaring and booming, and the lightning seemed to rend the heavens. The wind increased, and the vessel could not make headway. The Captain ran here and there, talking to his sailors. I thought that he was asking them to cast lots. He again said that he had never seen such a storm, and that something must be wrong on the ship, and that the storms had been sent by the Master of life, to show His power over the great world. The words sank deep into my wicked heart; I was sure that he would summon his mariners and say to them, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us." If they had cast lots, it would have fallen upon guilty Enmegahbowh. If the Captain had asked his mariners to cast lots, he would have asked me also. They would have asked me who had caused the storm, aud would have discovered who I was, my occupation and my country. Would I have been bold enough to tell all this? If my faith in God was real, certainly I would have said: "My friends, I have been a missionary, I believe that there is a God in Heaven. That I am the sole cause of this great wind, for I have sinned against God. I have taken the inclination of my heart and have run away from my work. The rage of these destructive elements is against me. God be merciful to me a sinner. I repent of my sins; save my dear companion and the vessel. My friends, take me up and cast me into the sea, so shall the great wind be calm unto you."
Again the Captain cried, "Surely, something is wrong about this vessel, and we must perish."
Here Mr. Jonah came before me and said, "Ah, my friend Enmegahbowh, I know you. You are a fugitive. You have sinned and disobeyed God. Instead of going to the city of Nineveh, where God sent you to preach His word to the people, you started to go, and then turned aside. You are now on your way to the City of Tarshish, congenial to your coward spirits. The consequences of your sin and disobedience are upon you. God is great. He knows of your every step. He governs the elements of the world, and He has sent this wind to tell you that you cannot escape without His notice. Enmegahbowh, I pity you. The only way you can find mercy is in deep repentance of your sin. Let me tell you an incident of my life which took place many thousand years ago. God spake to me and said, ' Jonah, arise, go to Nineveh that great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness is come up before me.' I arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. I started to go down to Joppa, and I found a ship going to Tarshish. I went on to the ship, and as she was going on her way, the Lord sent a great wind, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea so that the ship was like to be broken. My friend, it was precisely your present predicament. Your vessel shall be broken if the Lord does not interfere to save you. Your Captain is afraid. So was my Captain. Your sailors are afraid. So were my sailors. Both my Captain and sailors began crying unto their God, and cast away of their wares into the sea. And your Captain and sailors did the same. My Captain found me fast asleep and cried with a loud voice: ' What are you doing here, O thou sleeper? Arise and call upon thy God, and if so we perish not.' And when the sailors were summoned, and lots were cast to see for whose cause the evil was upon us, the lot fell upon me. And they said: ' Is it true that you are the cause of this evil? What is thy occupation, and from whence came ye? ' I said: ' I am a Hebrew. I "fear God who made heaven, the sea, and the dry land.' They asked,' Why did you run away from the presence of the Lord, and from your work?'
"The Captain said unto me,' What shall we do unto thee? ' I said,' Take me up and cast me into the sea, so shall the sea be calm. It is for my sake that the wind is upon us.'
"They were afraid to cast me into the sea, for they knew that I was a praying man, and they feared God's displeasure. But they all prayed God not to punish them for my sake, and then they cast me into the sea. And the sea ceased her raging. The Lord had prepared a great fish to come near to the ship and swallow me; and I was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
"My friend Enmegahbowh, your position is precisely like mine. You have run away from your work to a country congenial to your cowardly spirit. The Lord has dealt with you as he dealt with me. Have you faith to say as I did, Take me up and throw me into the sea? If so, where is the big fish to swallow you? There is no whale in this lake, no fish big enough for your huge body. Hence, if they cast you in, it is the end of you. Your dear companion is watching your movements. She was persuaded that you were the cause of the evil, and warned you after the first disaster."
Again Jonah spake and said: "Just one or two words more, Enmegahbowh, you must go to the Lord and tell Him of your repentance! Only a heap contrition of heart will save you. Farewell! Farewell! May the Great Spirit pardon you and bring you to dry land." So saying, he departed out of my sight.
Dear Bishop, I know you will not understand me to say that I saw Jonah with my natural eyesight. Oh, no, I saw him with my imagination. What is your great Milton's fiery lake, what the exquisite scenes of his paradise save the products of imagination?
I am persuaded that the pale faces would say that the Indian races have no imagination. If there were time, I would give you instances of the power of imagination among the most noted chiefs, warriors, and Grand Medicine-men, personifying trees, mountains, or great rivers, of the touching farewell speech of the chief and noted warrior Tuttle as he took his last step from his native country.
But having exhausted my wicked efforts to leave my heathen people, I returned to live and die with them. I landed at Sandy Lake. It was the place of the first and oldest chief living. He was a peaceful man. When we returned the people received us kindly, giving us food and such as they had. Rabbit Lake, seventy miles below, was the home of my companion. When the head chief of Rabbit Lake heard of our arrival, he came with three other chiefs to see me, and asked me to make our permanent home with them. The Sandy Lake chief, getting wind of it, poor fellow, came to tell me that I must not desert them. I was sorry and did not know what course to pursue. My companion said nothing, one way or the other, for she was resigned not to influence me. It was my preference to make my home with Crossing Sky and his people. I had known them many months, and they were favorably inclined to give heed to the strange story of the love of the Great Spirit. In a few days, however, I was on my way to Rabbit Lake reservation.
The next morning, the heathen women built us a nice wigwam, and we were comfortably housed. Thus, dear Bishop, I returned to my heathen people like unto the city of Nineveh. The more I thought of Jonah's advice, the more I thought of God's willingness to save these people from destruction, and that I might help in the work, although, like Moses of old, I asked myself, Who am I that I should go unto the great heathen nation? I am not eloquent, neither heretofore nor since Thou hast shown me of Thy love.
J. J. ENMEGAHBOWH.
PAPERS UPON THE INDIAN QUESTION
IT will be seen by the following papers, that I was compelled to appear before the public continually in behalf of the Indians; and while the wrongs remained unrighted, it was necessary to repeat facts and arguments, for when the wall seems impenetrable it requires a great many blows to break it down. My correspondence in this cause with the Presidents of the United States, public men, and the press of the country would fill volumes.
March 6, 1862. To THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
The sad condition of the Indians of this State, who are my heathen wards, compels me to address you on their behalf. I ask only justice for a wronged and neglected race. I write the more cheerfully because I believe that the intentions of the Government have always been kind; but they have been thwarted by dishonest servants, ill-conceived plans, and defective instructions.
Before their treaty with the United States, the Indians of Minnesota were as favorably situated as an uncivilized race could well be. Their lakes, forests, and prairies furnished abundant game, and their hunts supplied them with valuable furs for the purchase of all articles of traffic. The great argument to secure the sale of their lands is the promise of their civilization. . . . The sale is made, and after the dishonesty which accompanies it there is usually enough money left, if honestly expended, to foster the Indians' desires for civilization. Remember, the parties to this contract are a great Christian Nation and a poor heathen people.
From the day of the treaty a rapid deterioration takes place. The Indian has sold the hunting-grounds necessary for his comfort as a wild man; his tribal relations are weakened; his chief's power and influence circumscribed; and he will soon be left a helpless man without a government, a protector, or a friend, unless the solemn treaty is observed.
The Indian agents who are placed in trust of the honor and faith of the Government are generally selected without any reference to their fitness for the place. The Congressional delegation desires to award John Doe for party work, and John Doe desires the place because there is a tradition on the border that an Indian Agent with fifteen hundred dollars a year can retire upon an ample fortune in four years.
The Indian agent appoints his subordinates from the same motive, either to reward his friends' service, or to fulfil the bidding of his Congressional patron. They are often men without any fitness, sometimes a disgrace to a Christian nation; whiskey-sellers, bar-room loungers, debauchers, selected to guide an heathen people. Then follow all the evils of bad example, of inefficiency, and of dishonesty,--the school a sham, the supplies wasted, the improvement fund squandered by negligence or curtailed by fraudulent contracts. The Indian, bewildered, conscious of wrong, but helpless, has no refuge but to sink into a depth of brutishness. There have been noble instances of men who have tried to do their duty; but they have generally been powerless for lack of hearty cooperation of others, or because no man could withstand the corruption which has pervaded every department of Indian affairs.
The United States has virtually left the Indian without protection. ... I can count up more than a dozen murders which have taken place in the Chippewa County within two years. . . . There is no law to protect the innocent or punish the guilty. The sale of whiskey, the open licentiousness, the neglect and want are fast dooming this people to death, and as sure as there is a God much of the guilt lies at the Nation's door.
The first question is, can these red men become civilized? I say, unhesitatingly, yes. The Indian is almost the only heathen man on earth who is not an idolater. In his wild state he is braver, more honest, and virtuous than most heathen races. He has warm home affections and strong love of kindred and country. The Government of England has, among Indians speaking the same language with our own, some marked instances of their capability of civilization. In Canada you will find there are hundreds of civilized and Christian Indians, while on this side of the line there is only degradation.
The first thing needed is honesty. There has been a marked deterioration in Indian affairs since the office has become one of mere political favoritism. Instructions are not worth the price of the ink with which they are written if they are to be carried out by corrupt agents. Every employee ought to be a man of purity, temperance, industry, and unquestioned integrity. Those selected to teach in any department must be men of peculiar fitness,--patient, with quick perceptions, enlarged ideas, and men who love their work. They must be something better than so many drudges fed at the public crib.
The second step is to frame instructions so that the Indian shall be the ward of the Government. They cannot live without law. We have broken up, in part, their tribal relations, and they must have something in their place.
Whenever the Indian desires to abandon his wild life, the Government ought to aid him in building a house, in opening his farm, in providing utensils and implements of labor. His home should be conveyed to him by a patent, and be inalienable. It is a bitter cause of complaint that the Government has not fulfilled its pledges in this respect. It robs the Indian of manhood and leaves him subject to the tyranny of wild Indians, who destroy his crops, burn his fences, and appropriate the rewards of his labor.
The schools should be ample to receive all children who desire to attend. As it is, with six thousand dollars appropriated for the Lower Sioux for some seven years past, I doubt whether there is a child at the lower agency who can read who has not been taught by our missionary. Our Mission School has fifty children, and the entire cost of the mission, with three faithful teachers, every dollar of which passes through my own hands, is less than seven hundred dollars a year.
In all future treaties it ought to be the object of the Government to pay the Indians in kind, supplying their wants at such times as they may require help. This valuable reform would only be a curse in the hands of a dishonest agent. If wisely and justly expended, the Indian would not be as he now is,--often on the verge of starvation.
There ought to be a concentration of the scattered bands of Chippewas upon one reservation, thus securing a more careful oversight, and also preventing the sale of fire-water and the corrupt influence of bad men. The Indian agent ought to be authorized to act as a United States Commissioner, to try all violations of Indian laws. It may be beyond my province to offer these suggestions; I have made them because my heart aches for this poor wronged people. The heads of the Department are too busy to visit the Indian country, and even if they did it would be to find the house swept and garnished for an official visitor. It seems to me that the surest plan to remedy these wrongs and to prevent them for the future, would be to ap-poiut a commission of some three persons to examine the whole subject and to report to the Department a plan which should remedy the evils which have so long been a reproach to our nation. If such were appointed, it ought to be composed of men of inflexible integrity, of large heart, of clear head, of strong will, who fear God and love man. I should like to see it composed of men so high in character that they are above the reach of the political demagogues.
I have written to you freely with all the frankness with which a Christian bishop has the right to write to the Chief Kuler of a great Christian Nation. My design has not been to complain of individuals, nor to make accusations. Bad as I believe some of the appointments to be, they are the fault of a political system. When I came to Minnesota I was startled at the degradation at my door. I gave these men missions; God has blessed me, and I would count every trial I have had as a way of roses if I could save this people.
May God guide you and give you grace to order all things, so that the Government shall deal righteously with the Indian nations in its charge.
Your servant for Christ's sake,
H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota.
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE INDIANS?
WRITTEN FOR THE PUBLIC PRESS--1862
In a former article I called attention to some of the glaring defects in our Indian system. I expressed the conviction that it had proved pernicious and destructive to both the Indians and ourselves, and that it was a reproach to a civilized and a Christian Nation. It provided no government for people unable to govern themselves. It encouraged fraud and iniquity. It placed no seal of condemnation on savage life; and by its defects and errors constantly irritated savage passions which, whenever favorable opportunity offered, would break out in violence and blood. These views I have fully expressed in public and private. Not desiring to become a public agitator or alarmist, I have earnestly plead for reform in the only quarters where it could be secured; for I feared that we were yet to reap in anguish the harvest which we had sowed. I have been charged with indiscretion and sympathy with savage crimes, because I have taken this time to repeat these views. Had not many unexpected duties devolved upon me, I should not so long have delayed this appeal. Conscious of the rectitude of my intentions, and believing that those who know me best will never doubt my deep sympathy for our sufferers, or my condemnation of the guilty, I can wait until time shall vindicate my course.
Experience has taught us that in a republic the only time to secure a needed reform is when the people feel its necessity. If the lesson written in so much sorrow has failed to teach us this necessity, no voice can reach. The question which we have to decide is, what shall be done with these Indians? It cannot be settled by passion, but by calm thought, as becomes men who meet duties in the fear of God. History will strip off every flimsy pretext and lay bare the folly of every shallow expedient. It is due to ourselves and our children, that we who are laying the foundations of a great state shall decide this question so as to bear the approval of the whole civilized world, and bring down upon us the blessing of God.
There can be no doubt that the unanimous voice of our citizens is in favor of the removal of these Indians. It is no question of sympathy or favor. A necessity is upon us. It is well-nigh impossible that they should remain in their old homes. The hatreds already kindled on both sides would be a constant source of irritation and would lead to retaliation, revenge, and murder. There are too many embittered memories to make it safe for either party. The border settlers would for a long time live in constant fear and peril. The Indians would have nothing to gain by a longer continuance with us. The influence of bad example has taught them that blasphemy, adultery, drunkenness, and theft are no sins.
While the decision is thus unanimous for their removal, it is our bounden duty to see that such men as Other Day, Taopi, Wabasha, and Good Thunder, who have manifested their fidelity at the risk of life, shall be given homes at some point where they shall be free from the persecutions of wild Indians. At their door will be laid the death of every man who, through their influence, surrendered himself as a prisoner. They have forfeited their tribal relations by their friendship to us, and we must see that their friendship is not unprotected. If it should be their choice, or be deemed better on account of example, that they remove with other Indians, they must be made especial wards of the Government.
The future home of the Indians should be carefully selected, on account of its adaptation to their wants and its fitness to foster efforts of civilization. The plan which now seems to meet with much public favor--of concentrating all the Indian tribes in one territory--is against our whole policy and ex- , perience. It would offer facilities for extensive combinations for insurrection. It would place the peaceable where they must be overawed by the violent. It would prove under any ordinary system a greater magazine ready for the torch of some crafty and ambitious leader. The point of such location demands careful thought. I have not been able to satisfy my own mind that any plan already submitted is free from grave objections.
This removal must not be made without a radical reform of the system. It would be the meanest cowardice for us to secure our safety by sending the same elements of sorrow and death to other portions of our common country. It is not possible for us to escape the responsibility. God has knit men together by inextricable laws. The wise must care for the ignorant, and the rich for the poor. We may try to avoid it, but we cannot. If Christian men will not educate the boy in the alley, they will some day pay for his crimes. The Providence of God has placed us face to face with heathen and savage races, and we have already paid in Indian wars ten times over all that the wisest system would have cost. There was a body of Indians in Florida who never had an effort made to lead them out of heathen darkness; not a school; not an implement of husbandry; not even the name of God had they heard save in blasphemy. It cost us forty millions of dollars to drive them out of their country.
Every motive which can influence us, demands an entire reform, and it must not be entrusted to politicians who have friends to reward or enemies to punish. It demands the best men of the nation.
The first step of reform is to secure a strong government. Any race of men would become Ishmaelites without government and law. The government must come from us and be forced upon the Indian. The laws must be plain, simple, yet stringent; such as afford ample protection to life and property. This would soon be approved by Indians on account of a sense of security, and would give them that manliness which can only belong to a man who feels that he has something which he can call his owii.
The executive officer or agent must always have at his disposal an ample force to maintain the administration of law. Heretofore the separation of the Indian and War Departments have left the agents without adequate force to keep the law. The present agent was on this account powerless to put down this outbreak when threatened. It has been one great source of past insubordination among the Indians which no watchfulness could prevent.
The next step is to place the weight of Government influence on the side of labor. History enforces the lesson which is written with the finger of God on the pages of Holy Writ. The Indian must have a home; his wandering tribal relations must be broken up; he must be furnished with seed, implements of husbandry, and taught to live by the sweat of his brow. The Government now gives him beads, paint, blankets, and scalping-knives, teaching him to idle away his time, waiting for an annuity of money which he does not know how to spend. This very autumn the Indian Bureau advertises for hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of goods, and the only implements of labor are one hundred dozen weeding hoes and fifty dozen spades.
The present vicious system of trade must be abandoned. It is a nursery of fraud. It robs a whole people of their patrimony to pay the debts of the shiftless and dishonest. I believe if men knew the secret history of the clause in every treaty which sets apart so much to pay Indian debts, it would fill them with astonishment. For a time it would be best to provide that all debts contracted by Indians should be null and void and some provision made, as in the case of post sutlers, that goods should be sold at a fair price. The Indian trader was the Indian's friend when he roamed over these vast prairies as a wild man, for their relations were founded in mutual confidence and good will. When the Indian sold his hunting-grounds, and the trader became connected with schemes of plunder, and the Indian trader was placed in competition with every petty schemer who could secure a license, or trade on the license of another, it became a vicious system, alike mischievous to the trader and the Indian. It has been ruinous to both. Its evils can all be traced to a system which failed to afford protection to either white or red man. The schools must be under the system. The teachers must be fitted to teach. . . .
The agents and employees should be men of the highest moral worth. . . .
There can be a Council of appointment made up of men who shall hold their office ex offlcio, who receive no compensation, and who would deem it a high privilege to work in the elevation of an heathen race. The agents, farmers, teachers, and craftsmen should be guided by a wise system and by the oversight of the best of counsellors. They should be selected for their rare qualities of head and heart, and hold their office during the faithful administration of their trust. As it has been, there has been no freedom of choice. The necessity of political rewards has overruled the best judgment of the appointing power.
I have never felt that the men entrusted with this responsibility were to be wholly condemned for bad appointments or for frauds, for they have freely confessed that they were robbed of all independent action by the system itself. I have only glanced at the reforms which are needed, made a thousand times harder by the load of difficulties our present system has placed in our way. They can be secured whenever the people demand them; but it will only be done by referring this whole subject to a commission of the best men in the Nation. Such men are ready to act--judges, statesmen, generals, merchants of the highest character have avowed their willingness to spend time and money in the work of reform. There is a great manly heart in the people of America, which is ready to redress wrongs, and do its duty whenever that duty is made plain.
The path of duty is one of difficulty. It is encompassed by obstacles on every side, but is the only one which offers us peace and safety. I ask, then, earnestly, the cooperation of my fellow-citizens in seeking this reform. I might have remained silent, and thus have avoided all possible misconception or blame. Three years of personal acquaintance have so indelibly stamped upon my consciousness the necessity of remodelling this system that I cannot conscientiously remain silent. I have no war with individuals, but I do ask a change in the system which has brought so much sorrow to our doors.
This letter was to the Indian Commission, composed of many of our most prominent military officers, including Generals Sherman, Terry, and Harney.
TREMONT HOUSE, BOSTON, Oct. 7th.
Gentlemen: I write to you freely as to a commission appointed by the Nation to examine and redress the wrongs which have been inflicted upon the Indians, who are the wards of the Government. Your Commission was appointed at the earnest request of Christian men who have vainly attempted to secure justice to the Indians. To you we all look, and of you the nation will require a strict account. I feel the more keenly this history of shame, because it casts a foul blot on the Nation's honor. The sad experience of the century ought to teach us that where robbery and wrong are the seed, blood will be the harvest. . . . We are writing history, and as true as God's words are true, if we continue the course we have followed, this curse will fall upon us and upon our children.
There is no question that our Indian system is a blunder more than a crime, because its glaring evils would have been redressed if it had ever been calmly considered. We recognize the Indians as nations, we pledge them our faith, we enter on solemn treaties, and these treaties are ratified, as with all foreign powers, by the highest authority in the Nation. You know, every man who has ever looked into our Indian affairs knows, it is a shameful lie. The treaties are often conceived in fraud, and made solely to put money into some white man's pocket. We then send them agents, knowing at the time we send them that they must steal--that they cannot and will not live on the pittance of salary. The agent and employees are appointed as a political reward for party service. Then follow fraud in contracts, pilfery in annuities, violation of solemn pledges, frequent removals; the savage is left without law to protect, with no incentive to labor, with harpies to plunder, vice and crime holding a carnival of death, until, maddened with frenzy, he wreaks his vengeance on the innocent people of the border. Then follow our vain attempts at redress. Instead of calmly looking at the causes of war and redressing the wrong, we Christian men wage a blind war, often destroying our own friends, and it has happened that we have wantonly murdered helpless women and children. We spend millions of dollars; we kill ten of our people to one Indian, and finally, settle down on the devil's own idea that our only hope is in extermination. There is one being who can exterminate, and a nation with half a million of graves over which the grass has hardly grown ought to have learned this truth.
I admit all that you can say of difficulty, but the Army can and must protect its people. It is a false protection if they repeat scenes which have taken place, and which only served to arouse into tenfold more of hate all the passions of a savage race. In many instances, if time were given, or if friendly Indians were employed, the murderers would be given up by the Indians themselves; and if not, we should only war on the guilty. The people know that it is cheaper to feed than to fight the Indians. There is a great heart in the Saxon race which, although slow to act, will redress wrongs. The Indians can be taught to labor; they can receive the Gospel. I know of no examples among our own race of fidelity greater than those of some of these Indians during the war.
I will not detain you longer. If you will allow me, I will forward to you in writing the details of the history of the Sioux war, and the operations of the Indian system in Minnesota,--which I have made verbally to date.
Permit me to assure you of the sympathy, the aid, and the prayers of many who pity the helpless, and who believe their cry ascends to God.
H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota.
ON THE MORAL AND TEMPORAL CONDITION OF THE INDIAN TRIBES ON OUR WESTERN BORDER. 1868. TO THE BOARD OF MISSIONS.
The Chairman of your Committee to whom was referred the condition of the Indian tribes of the United States, respectfully reports that he has examined the question as carefully as other duties would permit, and grieves to say that the history of our relations to the Indians is one to make every American blush for shame. It may be doubted whether a sadder history of blunders, frauds, and crimes can be found in any civilized country. A Christian nation has taken possession of the homes of heathen tribes without giving to them one single blessing of Christian civilization. For almost three centuries our nation has pursued the policy of extermination, carried on at the cost of untold millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives; and yet the stern lessons of experience have not taught us the simple lesson that God is just, and that a nation that sows the seed of robbery will surely reap its harvest of blood. To-day forty millions of people, forgetful of the histories of the past, are clamoring for the extermination of a few thousand heathen, and are engaged in the work of blood at a cost which would purchase one of our most beautiful American homes for every man, woman, and child in the Indian country. The poor savage, deprived of every influence which could mollify and subdue savage passions, smarting under accumulated wrongs, and seeing only a choice of deaths, scores his blind vengeance on the innocent people of the border. We have reached a point where the question must be met. The two waves of civilization between the Atlantic and Pacific will soon meet. The Indian question must now be settled on principles of justice which will bear the scrutiny of Almighty God. Since the Sioux war of 1862 every Indian slain has cost us over a half million of dollars. We have sacrificed ten lives of our own people for one red man, and have already expended in this harvest of our own iniquity more money than all the Christian bodies in America have expended for missions to the heathen since America was discovered. We have reached a point when every American citizen ought to demand, for the sake of his own fair name, that this history of iniquity shall end. The people who hear the awful tales of savage violence, which almost curdle one's blood with horror, know nothing of the cause and take no steps for its cure. There is a vague idea that the Indian system is one of iniquity; that the poor Indian is the victim of robbery and violence; but who is directly responsible, few know and few care. With our usual indifference, we permit the wrongs to go on unchecked; we forget that God's eternal justice will always require that "whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." And, what is most strange, all the while that we have been reaping this harvest of death, our own race, with the same traditions, customs, and laws, in a neighboring province, have solved this problem with the same heathen people, and the result has been peace, tranquillity, loyalty, and lifelong friendship. On our own side of the line, we have not passed twenty years without a bloody Indian war; we have not one hundred miles between the Atlantic and the Pacific which have not been drenched with the blood shed by Indian massacres. We have expended more than five hundred millions of dollars in Indian wars; we have not one civilized Indian tribe; we have not one Indian tribe converted to Christianity; and to-day the press, the army, the rulers, and the people, forgetful that God is not blind, are clamoring for extermination. In our blindness, we forget that there is only One Being who can exterminate. A nation which has within its borders half a million of graves over which the grass has not grown, ought to have learned at least the lesson that God is just, and that the cry of the helpless does reach His ear. If we go on, we shall fail as we have failed, and shall surely light the fires of a savage war, of which our children's children will not see the end. If we look to Canada, we see the Indians and whites living in friendship--we find prosperous missions, schools, and churches built and supported by Christian Indians,--and a century passed without one drop of blood shed in Indian war. In Rupert's Land the English government has not one soldier. The white man may travel from Hudson's Bay to Vancouver in peace, and with as ample protection as on any portion of English soil. The Church of England has one thousand communicants in one Diocese, and among them are some as touching evidences of the power of the Gospel as are to be found in the annals of the Church.
At first sight it would seem that so wide a difference must be caused by a wise and beneficent system or by a difference of race. The English came of the same dominant, greedy, avaricious Saxon race as ourselves. They have the same love of gold, the same lust for power, the same desire for territorial possessions. The Indians are the same heathen, savage people. The difference is this: whenever their civilization comes in contact with an Indian tribe they localize them, guarantee them rights, place them under law, and give them individual rights of property. They plant among them schools and missions. They send them agents who believe there is a God, and are afraid and ashamed to steal. They appoint those agents for life and for other ends than as a reward for political service. They make their own civilization the pioneer, instead of gathering a mass of discontented savage humanity on their border.
Our system is based on a falsehood; we recognize the wandering Indian tribe as an independent nation, and make and ratify treaties as with all foreign civilized powers. We do this with the full knowledge that they are to send no representatives to us, and we none to them; that they have no power to compel us to observe a treaty, and when every possible relation which can exist makes them simply our wards. The Indian who sells us his land must become civilized or perish. If we take away the means of savage subsistence by the chase, and give him nothing in its place, the end is death. Our own sense of justice, our pity for the helpless, and our fear of God, demand that the men who go to make this treaty shall be Godfearing men. It makes one ashamed and sick at heart to think of the history of Indian treaties. The parties are a Christian nation and a heathen people. The treaty is made ostensibly to extend civilization. It is often made in order to pay certain claims of traders and others against the Indians, to secure land for speculation, and to provide a new opportunity to fill some political plunderer's pocket. Every provision of the treaty is gauged as to the amount which can be stolen, and, if possible, some loop-hole left which will make way for a new treaty, when the Indian can be used again as a key to unlock the nation's treasury. The Indian is credulous. The sad fate of other tribes has cast a gloom over the whole race. Old men talk of it in the council and wigwam, and any plan which offers a door of hope is gladly accepted by the Indian. The Indian is told that he has no houses, no oxen, no ploughs, no fire-horses, no fire-canoes, no schools, no churches. He does not know the way of the Great Spirit. These white men come as brothers, and their ruler is to be his Great Father. If he sells his land, he will live and not die. He cannot read. He believes that every word and promise is iu the treaty. Often the real parties to the treaty are ignorant of each other's views, for both of their heads are on the interpreter's shoulders, and he is the bribed agent of some cunning scoundrel who has pecuniary interests to subserve. The treaty is made-- then come deferred hopes. The robbery begins in the contract for removal. Even men of fair names and high honor are parties in the iniquitous ring to rob the savage of bread for himself and children. So profitable are these harvests of iniquity, that in a recent removal of Indians over twenty thousand dollars were paid to secure the contract to provide rations for them. The agent is selected as a reward for political work done for a Congressional patron. The Government sends him, knowing he will and must steal. His salary, to support a family far away in the Indian country, where all supplies cost fourfold, is fifteen hundred dollars. The other employees are selected from the same motives of reward for political service, and at half the salary good men could receive in a civilized country. What could follow but fraud in the contracts, pilfering of the annuity goods, dishonesty in every form and shape? Such a system cannot gather around an agency good men. The agency, or some settlement near it, becomes the scene of whiskey traffic; profanity, gambling, adultery, and drunkenness hold a carnival of death; strange diseases, which mark the victim as accursed of God and shunned by men, reap a terrible harvest; at last the poor savage, writhing under a sense of wrong, on the first severe provocation, will enter on a career of war, and the cry of murdered women and children is heard everywhere on the border. To these evils, which uproot all confidence, we add another not less perilous,--we leave the Indian without any protection to property, person, or life,--we made the treaty on the hypothesis that we were dealing with an independent nation, and we carry it out by leaving them without law. The popular idea is that the Indians have a patriarchal government of which the chief is the ruler and head. The chief is simply the leader of a savage tribe. He has no power to make or execute law. His influence is simply that of advice and counsel. The influence he had with his tribe is often weakened or destroyed by the treaty; for unless he becomes the pliant tool of agents and traders, he will most likely be deposed, and a more pliant tool pat in his place. The civilized and Christian Indian is pitiably helpless. His crops may be destroyed, his oxen killed, his wife and children treated with violence; and his only remedy is murder. The only law we administer is to pay a premium for crime. If an individual Indian steals from a white man, we deduct the value of the theft from the annuities of the tribe, and the thief always makes a profit of his theft. We redress no wrongs that Indians suffer from each other, and never punish white men for crimes committed against them.
In sight of a mission house an Indian woman was violated by brutal white men, and then such demon-like cruelty committed on her person that she died under their hands. It was in sight of a village of white men; it was known to the agent. No one was punished and no investigation made. The Indian may be a savage, but such scenes of brutal violence cannot give him exalted ideas of the superior justice of Christian civilization. So far from wondering that so few Indians receive the Gospel, I sometimes wonder that they listen to the Gospel from the lips of a white man. I have had an Indian ask me if the Jesus I told him about was the same Jesus my white brothers talked to at the agency when they were drunk. An old chief once answered my plea against drunkenness and adultery by saying, "My father, it is your people, who you say have the Great Spirit's book, who bring us the fire-water. It is your white men who corrupt our daughters. Go teach them to do right, and then come to us and I will believe you."
In his wild state, before he has lost the virtues of his heathen life and learned the vices of civilization, the Indian is superior to any savage race on earth. He is not an idolater. He believes in a Great Spirit. He has home affections. He loves his people and will die for his tribe. In all the features of his character he is like our own Saxon race before the Cross had changed the heathen Saxon to a manly Christian. In the first intercourse with the whites the Indian has always been the white man's friend. General Sibley, of Minnesota, Senator Eice, and many others, bear testimony to the Indian's fidelity. There are not on earth more beautiful evidences of friendship than between the early traders and the Indians, and I do not know of an instance where that confidence was misplaced until our own wrong-doing had destroyed it. There are Indian names like Wabasha, Taopi, Good Thunder, Enme-gahbowh, Black Kettle, which will live forever as instances of the rarest fidelity,--even while their people were suffering from untold wrongs.
In every instance the original cause which led to our recent wars was conduct which would have been regarded as ample grounds for war by any civilized country on the earth. The first outbreak was in Minnesota in 1862. These Indians had sold us a country as large as the state of New York, as beautiful as the eye ever rested upon; it had everything which the bounty of God could give for the use of wild men. Fish and wild game made it an Indian's paradise. Of the first sale I know nothing; the Indians say that after the bargain was made, their chiefs were bribed to sign a provision, which gave the larger part of the first payment to certain white men. They say they were then kept for months in a starving condition, until many of their people died; and it was this which, made red men say to the Governor, "I will leave these bones of my people on the prairie, and some day the Great Spirit will look the white man in the face and ask him what has become of his red brother." For some time they were left without a reservation, and then denied the one which had been promised to them. In 1858 these Indians sold the Government eight hundred thousand acres of their reservation. The plea was they needed money for civilization. The treaty provided that no debts should be paid except such as the Indians should acknowledge in open council. No such open council was ever held. There was a provision inserted in the treaty,--of which the Indians say they were ignorant,--which provided that the Secretary of the Interior might use any of their money as he thought best for them. After four years they had received nothing except a lot of useless goods sent to the Upper Sioux. Of the entire amount going to the Lower Sioux for this immense tract of land, all was taken for claims except about eight hundred and sixty-eight dollars. They waited four years; the story of our broken faith was often the subject of angry discussion. Old Wabasha said to me: "My father, four years ago I went to Washington. Our Great Father said to us, 'If you live as white men I will help you more than I have ever done.' Four winters have passed and the fifth is nigh. It is so long a way to Washington the agents forget their Father's words, for they never do as he told us. You said you were sorry my young men had these foolish dances. I am sorry. The reason their wild life clings to them like a blanket is that their hearts are sick. The Indian's face is turned to the setting sun, and he thinks these are long journeys for himself and children. If your great Council at Washington would do as they promised, our people would believe them. The good Indian would become like his brother, and the bad Indian go away. I have heard of your words for my poor people. You have none of my blood in your veins, and I have none of yours; but you have spoken as a father speaks for his child whom he loves well. Often, when I sit alone in my tipi, your words will come back to me, and be like music to my heart."
It was not enough to take the price of their lands; a considerable part of their annuities was taken. The Indians came together for payment in June, at the time the treaty provided. They waited two months; they were starving. Maddened by hunger and the sense of wrong, and vainly dreaming that on account of the rebellion they could repossess the country, they began a massacre which desolated our border for three hundred miles,--eight hundred of our citizens lost their lives. Many a friend whose hospitality I had received, is to-day sleeping in a nameless grave. A nation which is too cowardly or too corrupt to redress such wrongs, will be too blind to punish the guilty or to protect the innocent. All Christian Indians were as true as martyrs. There are no more touching instances of fidelity in the history of the Church of Christ. Their deeds of bravery ought to live forever. Those who surrendered and the few who were captured were tried. Forty men had separate trials and were condemned to die in six hours. Three hundred were condemned to be hanged. Only thirty-eight suffered death, but of those some were innocent. The marshal of the prison told me that he went the next day after the execution to release a man who had been acquitted on the ground that he had saved a white woman's life. The Indians said, "He is not here; you hung him yesterday." The friendly Indians and the Winnebagoes, who were innocent, were taken to the Upper Missouri. Over one thousand died of disease and starvation. Soldiers tell the sad tale of women picking over the dung of their horses to find half-digested kernels of grain to save their children from death. An officer of the army told me he met a woman, whom he had known for years as a virtuous woman, who told him, with tears, that she had gone one hundred miles to degrade herself, to save her children from death. During this horrible winter a party of Indian women crossed to Faribault, several hundred miles, in the dead of winter, without a human habitation on the route, and living on roots, to tell me of their sorrows.
Who that reads this history will not tremble as he thinks of a day when the Son of God shall say, "Inasmuch as ye did it to the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me." It was in these dark days, when my heart sank within me at this tale of sorrow, that the Society of Friends in Philadelphia raised two thousand dollars to save this poor people from death. Taopi, who, with Wabasha and Wakinyanwas'te, planned the rescue, and saved two hundred white women and children, has a certificate which reads, "The bearer, Taopi, a wounded man, is entitled to the lasting gratitude of the American people for having been mainly instrumental in rescuing white women and children during the Indian war." He was a civilized, Christian Indian. He had a home with every comfort, and a well-stocked farm. He lost all. At the greatest cost he saved our people. Last year I parted with about sixty of his people, whom I had cared for since the massacre. Our farewell was by the Lord's Table. One by one they came to say good-by. They kissed my wife, and, with eyes blinded with tears, said, "Mahpeya ekta wancheyaka wachin." (In Heaven we meet you, I hope.) After service Taopi came and took my hand, and said: "My father, I have no blood on my hands, and the Great Spirit knows there is none on my heart. I saved your people. I loved your Saviour. I had a home. I have no home. Taopi cannot go to his people. You hung men at Mankato whose friends will require their blood at my hands. If I go, I shall die. I never shall have a home until my grave." The Chippewa history is no whit brighter. They have been from the earliest settlement of the country our friends. They had borne outrage and wrong with unparalleled patience. In 1862 their head chief organized his band to commence a war upon the whites. Had it not been for Enmegahbowh, Bad Boy, Shaboshkung, and Buffalo, we should have had another desolated border. Enmegahbowh travelled all night in the storm, with his wife and children, to warn the garrison at Fort Ripley. Two of his children died in consequence of that night's journey. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Secretary of the Interior, and a Committee of the legislature of Minnesota, pledged these friendly chiefs that for this act of fidelity they should never be removed. This pledge was incorporated in two separate treaties, and ratified by the United States Senate, and signed by the President. In violation of this solemn pledge of the nation, these men have been forced into a treaty, and will be compelled to remove.
A chief of the Red Lake Chippewas once said to me: "My father, they tell me you are a servant of the Great Spirit and never tell lies; I have heard that when Indians sell their land to their Great Father they always perish. Do you believe my people will die if I sell my country? "The same chief came to me one hundred miles in the winter. He marked out a map of his country in the ashes of a wigwam, and said: "There is my country; I am a wild man, and live by the chase; I kill the elk, the moose, and the deer, and my wife builds my lodge, and gathers the wild rice and catches fish. When your white brothers come here there will be no elk, no deer, no moose. I shall have a little reservation to die upon. I hear we are to be removed. Go tell your people I have so many warriors whose shadows rest on their graves."
After the Sioux outbreak I visited Washington and plead for a commission to go and make peace with the hostile Indians. I knew that unless it was done, the hostile Indians would go among other tribes on the plains and stir up a general Indian war. I said then the war would cost thirty millions of dollars and hundreds of lives. It has cost one hundred millions and thousands of lives. The Peace Commission, composed of General Sherman, General Harney, General Terry, General Augur, General Sanborn, Colonel Taylor, Colonel Tappan, and Senator Henderson, give the following truthful history of the Cheyenne war,--all of which is verified by sworn testimony of unimpeachable witnesses. I have preferred that men who have the confidence of the nation should tell the story of the original causes of the Cheyenne war.
"The story of the Cheyennes dates far back, and contains many points of deep and thrilling interest. We will barely allude to some of them, and then pass on.
"In 1851, a short time after the discovery of gold in California, when a vast stream of emigration was flowing over the Western plains, which, up to that period, had been admitted by treaty and by law to be Indian territory, it was thought expedient to call together all the tribes east of the Rocky Mountains for the purpose of securing the right of peaceful transit over their lands, and, also, fixing the boundaries between the different tribes themselves. A council was convened at Fort Laramie on the 17th day of September of that year, at which the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Crows, Assiniboines, Gros-Ventres, Mandans, and Arickarees were represented. To each of these tribes boundaries were assigned. To the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were given a district of country, 'commencing at the Red Butte, or the place where the road leaves the north fork of the Platte River, thence up the north fork of the Platte River to its source, thence along the main range of the Rocky Mountains to the head-waters of the Arkansas River, thence down the Arkansas River to the crossing of the Santa Fe road, thence in a northwesterly direction to the forks of the Platte River, thence up the Platte River to the place of beginning.' It was further provided in this treaty that the rights or claims of any one of the nations should not be prejudiced by this recognition of title in the others; and 'further, that they do not surrender the privilege of hunting, fishing, or passing over any of the tracts of country hereinbefore described.' The Indians granted us the right to establish roads and military and other posts within their respective territories, in consideration of which we agreed to pay the Indians fifty thousand dollars per annum for fifty years, to be distributed to them in proportion to the population of the respective tribes. When this treaty reached the Senate, 'fifty years' was stricken out and ' ten years' substituted, with the authority of the President to continue the annuities for a period of five years longer if he saw fit.
"It will be observed that the boundaries of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe land, as fixed by this treaty, included the larger portion of the territory of Colorado and most of the western part of Kansas.
"Some years after this, gold and silver were discovered in the mountains of Colorado, and thousands of fortune-seekers who possessed nothing more than the right of transit over these lands, took possession of them for the purpose of mining, and, against the protests of the Indians, founded cities, established farms, and opened roads. Before 1861 the Cheyennes and Arapahoes had been driven from the mountain region down upon the waters of the Arkansas, and were becoming sullen and discontented because of this violation of their rights. The third article of the treaty of 1851 contained the following language, ' The United States bind themselves to protect the aforesaid Indian nations against the commission of all depredations by the people of the United States after the ratification of this treaty.' The Indians, however ignorant, did not believe that the obligations of this treaty had been complied with.
"If the lands of the white man are taken, civilization justifies him in resisting the invader. Civilization does more than this: it brands him as a coward and a slave if he submits to the wrong. Here civilization made its contract and guaranteed the rights of the weaker party. It did not stand by the guarantee. The treaty was broken, but not by the savage. If the savage resists, civilization, with the Ten Commandments in one hand and the sword in the other, demands his immediate extermination.
"We do not contest the ever ready argument that civilization must not be arrested in its progress by a handful of savages. We earnestly desire the speedy settlement of all our territories. None are more anxious than we to see their agricultural and mineral wealth developed by an industrious, thrifty, and enlightened population. And we fully recognize the fact that the Indian must not stand in the way of this result. We would only be understood as doubting the purity and genuineness of that civilization which reaches its ends by falsehood and violence, and dispenses blessings that spring from violated rights.
"These Indians saw their former homes and hunting-grounds overrun by a greedy population thirsting for gold. They saw their game driven east to the plains, and soon found themselves the objects of jealousy and hatred. They too must go. The presence of the injured is too often painful to the wrongdoer, and innocence offensive to the eyes of guilt. It now became apparent that what had been taken by force must be retained by the ravisher, and nothing was left for the Indian but to ratify a treaty consecrating the act.
"On the 18th day of February, 1861, this was done at Fort Wise, in Kansas. These tribes ceded their magnificent possessions, enough to constitute two great states of the Union, retaining only a small district for themselves, ' beginning at the mouth of the Sandy Fork of the Arkansas River, and extending westwardly along said river to the mouth of the Purgatory River; thence along up the west bank of the Purgatory River to the northern boundary of the territory of New Mexico; thence west along said boundary to a point where a line drawn due south from a point on the Arkansas River five miles east of the mouth of the Huerfano River would intersect said northern boundary of New Mexico; thence due north from that point on said boundary to the Sandy Fork, to the place of beginning.' By examining the map, it will be seen that this reservation lies on both sides of the Arkansas River, and includes the country around Fort Lyon. In consideration of this concession, the United States entered into new obligations. Not being able to protect them in the larger reservation, the nation resolved that it would protect them 'in the quiet and peaceful possession ' of the smaller tract. Second, 'to pay each tribe thirty thousand dollars per annum for fifteen years; and, third, that houses should be built, lands broken up and fenced, and stock, animals, and agricultural implements furnished. In addition to this, mills were to be built, and engineers, farmers, and mechanics sent among them. These obligations, like the obligations of 1851, furnished glittering evidences of humanity to the reader of the treaty. Unfortunately, the evidence stops at that point.
"In considering this treaty, it will occur to the reader that the eleventh article demonstrates the amicable relations between the Indians and their white friends up to that time. It provides as follows: 'In consideration of the kind treatment of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes by the citizens of Denver City and the adjacent towns, they respectfully request that the proprietors of said city and adjacent towns be admitted by the United States Government to enter a sufficient quantity of land to include said city and towns at the minimum price of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre.'
"Large and flourishing cities had been built on the Indian lands, and in open violation of our treaty. Town lots were being sold, not by the acre, but by the front foot. Rich mines had been opened in the mountains, and through the streets of these young cities poured the streams of golden wealth. This had once been Indian property. If the white man in taking it was 'kind' to the savage, this at least carried with it some honor and deserves to be remembered. By some it may be thought that a more substantial return might well have been made. By others it may be imagined that the property of the Indians and the amicable courtesies of the whites were just equivalents. But 'kind treatment' here was estimated at more than the Indians could give. It was thought to deserve something additional at the hands of the Government, and the sites of cities at one dollar and a quarter per acre was perhaps as reasonable as could be expected. If the absolute donation of cities already built would secure justice, much less kindness, to the red man, the Government could make the gift and save its millions of treasure.
"When the treaty came to the Senate the eleventh article was stricken out; but it would be unjust to suppose that this action was permitted to influence in the least future treatment by the whites. From this time until the 12th of April, 1864, these Indians were confessedly at peace. On that day a man by the name of Kipley, a ranchman, came into Camp Sanborn, on the South Platte, and stated that the Indians had taken his stock; he did not know what tribe. He asked and obtained of Captain Sanborn, the commander of the post, troops for the purpose of pursuit. Lieutenant Dunn, with forty men, was put under the guide of this man, Eipley, with instructions to disarm the Indians found in possession of Eipley's stock. Who or what Eipley was, we know not. That he owned stock, we have his own word,--the word of no one else. During the day Indians were found. Eipley claimed some of the horses. Lieutenant Dunn ordered the soldiers to stop the herd, and ordered the Indians to come forward and talk with him. Several of them rode forward, and when within six or eight feet, Dunn ordered his men to dismount and disarm the Indians. The Indians of course resisted, and a fight ensued. What Indians they were, he knew not; from bows and arrows found, he judged them to be Cheyennes. Dunn, getting the worst of the fight, returned to camp, obtained a guide and a remount, and, next morning, started again. In May following, Major Downing, of the First Colorado cavalry, went to Denver and asked Colonel Chivington to give him a force to move against the Indians, for what purpose we do not know. Chivington gave Mm the men, and the following are Downing's words: 'I captured an Indian and required him to go to the village, or I would kill him. This was about the middle of May. We started about eleven o'clock in the day, travelled all day and all that night; about daylight I succeeded in surprising the Cheyenne village of Cedar Bluffs, in a small canon about sixty miles north of the South Platte River. We commenced shooting. I ordered the men to commence killing them. They lost, as I am informed, some twenty-six killed and thirty wounded. My loss was one killed and one wounded. I burnt up their lodges and everything I could get hold of. I took no prisoners. We got out of ammunition and could not pursue them.'
THE CHIVINGTON MASSACRE
"In this camp the Indians had their women and children. He captured a hundred ponies which, the officer says, 'were distributed among the boys, for the reason that they had been marching almost constantly day and night for nearly three weeks.' This was done because such conduct 'was usual/ he said, 'in New Mexico.' About the same time Lieutenant Ayres, of the Colorado troops, had a difficulty in which an Indian chief, under a flag of truce, was murdered. During the summer and fall occurrences of this character were frequent. Some time during the fall, Black Kettle and other prominent chiefs of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe nations sent word to the commander at Fort Lyon that the war had been forced upon them, and they desired peace. They were then upon their own reservation. The officer in command, Major E. W. Wynkoop, First Colorado cavalry, did not feel authorized to conclude a treaty with them, but gave them a pledge of military protection until an interview could be procured with the Governor of Colorado, who was superintendent of Indian affairs. He then proceeded to Denver with seven of the leading chiefs to see the Governor. Colonel Chivington was present at that interview. Major Wynkoop, in his sworn testimony before a previous commission, thus relates the action of the Governor, when he communicated the presence of the chiefs seeking peace: ' He (the Governor) intimated that he was sorry I had brought them; that he considered he had nothing to do with them; that they had declared war against the United States, and he considered them in the hands of the military authorities; that he did not think it was policy anyhow to make peace with them until they were properly punished, for the reason that the United States would be acknowledging themselves whipped.' Wynkoop further states that the Governor said the third regiment of Colorado troops had been raised on his representations at Washington, to kill Indians,--and Indians they must kill. Wynkoop then ordered the Indians to move their villages nearer to the fort, and bring their women and children,--which was done. In November this officer was removed and Major Anthony, of the First Colorado cavalry, ordered to take command of the fort. He, too, assured the Indians of safety. They numbered about five hundred,--men, women, and children. It was here, under the pledge of protection, that they were slaughtered, by the Third Colorado and a battalion of the First Colorado cavalry, under command of Colonel Chivington. He marched from Denver to Fort Lyon, and, about daylight in the morning of the 29th of November, surrounded the Indian camp and commenced an indiscriminate slaughter. The particulars of this massacre are too well known to be repeated here, with all its heart-rending scenes. It is enough to say, that it scarcely has its parallel in the records of Indian barbarity. Fleeing women holding up their hands and praying for mercy were brutally shot down; infants were killed and scalped in derision; men were tortured and mutilated in a manner that would put to shame the savage ingenuity of interior Africa.
"No one will be astonished that a war ensued which cost the Government thirty million dollars and carried conflagration and death to the border settlements. During the spring and summer of 1865 no less than eight thousand troops were withdrawn from the effective force engaged in suppressing the rebellion to meet this Indian war. The result of the year's campaign satisfied all reasonable men that war with Indians was useless and expensive. Fifteen or twenty Indians had been killed at an expense of more than a million dollars apiece, while hundreds of our soldiers had lost their lives, many of our border settlers been butchered, and much property destroyed. To those who reflected on the subject, knowing the facts, the war was something more than useless and expensive: it was dishonorable to the nation, and disgraceful to those who had originated it.
"When the utter futility of conquering a peace was made manifest to every one, and the true cause of the war began to be developed, the country demanded that peaceful agencies should be resorted to. Generals Harney, Sanborn, and others were selected as commissioners to procure a council of the hostile tribes, and in October, 1865, they succeeded in doing so at the mouth of the Little Arkansas. At this council the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were induced to relinquish their reservation on the upper Arkansas, and accept a reservation partly in southern Kansas and partly in the Indian Territory, lying immediately south of Forts Larned and Zarah. The object was to remove them from the vicinity of Colorado."
It will be noticed that the Commission do not particularize as to specific acts of wrong done to these Indians before the war. Before the Cheyennes were aware of the commencement of hostilities, a village of squaws and old men on Cedar Canon was attacked by a large party of soldiers, and many of the people killed. After this, the troops going from Smoky Hill to Arkansas reached the village of Lean Bear, the second chief of the Cheyennes. Lean Bear, unconscious of any cause of hostility, approached them alone, leaving his warriors behind, and was shot down in cold blood. Soon after this, Left Hand, another chief, warned the officer of Fort Larned that the Indians would attempt to steal his stock. The warning was unheeded, and the stock was stolen. The following day Left Hand came again on a friendly errand, and was shot. The details of the Sand Creek massacre by our soldiery are more brutal than any record of savage barbarity. The conduct of Black Kettle and his brothers, as related to me by a member of the Peace Commission, is one of the manliest incidents of honor in the annals of history. Three white men were his guests at the time the troops approached his village. He was unconscious of danger. The day before he had sent Indian runners one hundred and fifty miles to warn the mail-coach of danger. His brother, White Antelope, had been on a like friendly errand. Unconscious of danger, and with the courage of perfect innocence, as the troops approached he took the United States flag, and his brothers each carried a white flag. Both of his brothers were shot down in cold blood. Black Kettle went back to his tipi, and said to his white guests, "I think you are spies, but I do not know it; it never shall be said Black Kettle did harm to a man who had eaten his bread; go to your people." These men are living to-day as witnesses to the honor of a heathen. Black Kettle gathered his little band of forty warriors, and fought with such bravery that he saved three hundred of his women and children from massacre. The testimony of officers who were present reveals the details of a massacre which is without a parallel. "Women and children were scalped by white men, and unborn children taken from their mother's wombs and their brains dashed out." The scalps of infants were stretched over the pommels of their saddles, and bodies mutilated with such indecent barbarity as would disgrace devils.
Contrast the generosity of Black Kettle to his white guests with the massacre of men who were encamped under one of our own forts, with the pledge of our protection. Had our white race suffered such wrongs, the tale of horror would be told our children's children, that they might requite vengeance on the guilty.
The history of the Kiowa war is thus told by the Peace Commission:--
"On the 16th of February Captain Smith, of the nineteenth infantry, in command of Fort Arbuckle, reports to General Ord at Little Rock, which is at once forwarded to the department of the Missouri, that a negro child and some stock had been taken off by the Indians before he took command. His informant was one Jones, an interpreter. In this letter he uses the following significant language: 'I have the honor to state further, that several other tribes than the Camanches have lately been noticed on the war-path, having been seen in their progress in unusual numbers and without their squaws and children,--a fact to which much significance is attached by those conversant with Indian usages. It is thought by many white residents of the territory that some of these tribes may be acting in concert, and that plundering incursions are at least in contemplation.'
After enumerating other reports of wrongs (coming perhaps from Jones), and drawing inferences therefrom, he closes by saying that he has deferred to the views of white persons, who, from long residence among the Indians, 'are competent to advise him,' and that his communication 'is more particularly the embodiment of their views.' As it embodied the views of others, it may not be surprising that a reinforcement of ten additional companies was asked for his post.
"Captain Asbury, at Fort Lamed, also reported that a small party of Cheyennes had compelled a ranchman named Parker, near that post, to cook supper for them, and then threatened to kill him because he had no sugar. He escaped, however, to tell the tale. Finally, on the 9th of February, one F. Jones, a Kiowa interpreter, files, with Major Douglas at Fort Dodge, an affidavit that he had recently visited the Kiowa camp in company with Major Page and John E. Tappan on a trading expedition. That the Indians took from them flour, sugar, rice, and apples. That they threatened to shoot Major Page because he was a soldier, and tried to kill Tappan. That they shot at him (Jones) and missed him (which in the sequel may be regarded as a great misfortune). He stated that the Indians took their mules, and that Satanta requested him to say to Major Douglas that he demanded the troops and military posts should at once be removed from the country, and also that the railroads and mail-stages must be immediately stopped. Satanta requested him to tell Douglas that his own stock was getting poor, and hoped the government stock at the post would be well fed, as he would be over in a few days to get it. But the most startling of all the statements communicated by Jones on this occasion was, that a war party came in while he was at the camp, bringing with them two hundred horses and the scalps of seventeen negro soldiers and one white man. This important information was promptly despatched to General Hancock, at Fort Leavenworth, and a short time thereafter he commenced to organize the expedition which subsequently marched to Pawnee Fork, and burned the Cheyenne village.
"On the 11th of March following, General Hancock addressed a letter to Wynkoop, the agent of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, that 'he had about completed arrangements for moving a force to the plains.' He stated that his object was to show to the Indians that he was 'able to chastise any tribes who may molest people travelling across the plains.' Against the Cheyennes he complained, first, that they had not delivered the Indian who killed a New Mexican at Tort Zarah; and, second, he believed he had 'evidence sufficient to fix upon the different bands of that tribe, whose chiefs are known, several of the outrages committed on the Smoky Hill last summer.' He requested the agent to tell them he came 'prepared for peace or war,' and that hereafter he would 'insist upon their keeping off the main lines of travel, where their presence is calculated to bring about collisions with the whites.' This, it will be remembered, was their hunting-ground, secured by treaty. On the same day he forwarded a similar communication to J. H. Leaven worth, agent for the Kiowas and Caman-ches. The complaints he alleges against them are precisely the same contained in the affidavit and statement of Jones, and the letter of Captain Asbury.
"The expedition left Fort Larned on the 13th of April, and proceeded up the Pawnee For'k of the Arkansas, in the direction of a village of a thousand or fifteen hundred Cheyennes and Sioux. When he came near their camp the chiefs visited him, as they had already done at Larned, and requested him not to approach the camp with his troops, for the women and children, having the remembrance of Sand Creek, would certainly abandon the village. On the 14th he resumed his march with cavalry, infantry, and artillery, and, when about ten miles from the village he was again met by the head men, who stated that they would treat with him there or elsewhere; but they could not, as requested by him, keep their women and children in camp if he approached with soldiers. He informed them that he would march up to within a mile of the village, and treat with them that evening. As he proceeded the women fled, leaving the village with all their property. The chiefs and a part of the young men remained. To some of these, visiting the camp of General Hancock, horses were furnished to bring back the women. The horses were returned with word that the women and children could not be collected. It was then night. Orders were then given to surround the village and capture the Indians remaining. The order was obeyed, but the chiefs and warriors had departed. The only persons found were an old Sioux and an idiotic girl of eight or nine years of age. It afterwards appeared that the person of this girl had been violated, and that she soon died. The Indians were gone, and the report spread that she had been a captive among them, and they had committed the outrage before leaving. The Indians say that she was an idiotic Cheyenne girl, forgotten in the confusion of flight, and if violated it was not by them.
"The next morning General Ouster, under orders, started in pursuit of the Indians with his cavalry, and performed a campaign of great labor and suffering, passing over a vast extent of country, but seeing no hostile Indians. When the fleeing Indians reached the Smoky Hill they destroyed a station and killed several men. A courier having brought this intelligence to General Hancock, he at once ordered the Indian village, of about three hundred lodges, together with the entire property of the tribes, to be burned.
"The Indian now became an outlaw,--not only the Cheyennes and Sioux, but all the tribes on the plains. The superintendent of an express company, Cottrell, issued a circular order to the agents and employees of the company in the following language: 'You will hold no communications with Indians whatever. If Indians come within shooting distance, shoot them. Show them no mercy, for they will show you none.' This was in the Indian country. He closes by saying, 'General Hancock will protect you and our property.'
"Whether war existed previous to that time seems to have been a matter of doubt, even with General Hancock himself. From that day forward no doubt on the subject was entertained by anybody. The Indians were then fully aroused, and no more determined war has ever been waged by them. The evidence taken tends to show that we have lost many soldiers, besides a large number of settlers on the frontier. The most valuable trains belonging to individuals, as well as to Government, among which was a government train of ammunition, were captured by these wild horsemen. Stations were destroyed; hundreds of horses and mules were taken, and found in their possession when we met them in council; while we are forced to believe that their entire loss since the burning of their village consists of six men killed.
"The Kiowas and Camanches, it will be seen, deny the statement of Jones in every particular. They say that no war party came in at the time stated, or at any other time, after the treaty of 1865. They deny that they killed any negro soldiers, and positively assert that no Indian was ever known to scalp a negro. In the latter statement they are corroborated by all the tribes and by persons who know their habits; and the records of the Adjutant-General's office fail to show the loss of the seventeen negro soldiers or any soldiers at all. They deny having robbed Jones, or insulted Page or Tappan. Tappan's testimony was taken, in which he brands the whole statement of Jones as false, and declares that both he and Page so informed Major Douglas within a few days after Jones made his affidavit. We took the testimony of Major Douglas, in which he admits the correctness of Tappan's statement, but, for some reason unexplained, he failed to communicate the correction to General Hancock. The threats to take the horses and attack the posts on the Arkansas were made in a vein of jocular bravado, and not understood by any one present at the time to possess the least importance. The case of the Box family has already been explained; and this completes the case against the Kiowas and Camanches, who are exculpated by the united testimony of all the tribes from any share in the late troubles.
"The Cheyennes admit that one of their young men in a private quarrel, both parties being drunk, killed a New Mexican at Fort Zarah. Such occurrences are so frequent among the whites on the plains that ignorant Indians might be pardoned for participating, if it be done merely to evidence their advance in civilization. The Indians claim that the Spaniard was in fault, and further protest that no demand was ever made for the delivery of the Indian.
"The Arapahoes admit that a party of their young men, with three young warriors of the Cheyennes, returning from an excursion against the Utes, attacked the train of Mr. Wendell, of New Mexico, during the month of March, and they were gathering up the stock when the war commenced.
"Though this recital should prove tedious, it was thought necessary to guard the future against the errors of the past. We would not blunt the vigilance of military men in the Indian country, but we would warn them against the acts of the selfish and unprincipled, who need to be watched as well as the Indian. The origin and progress of this war are repeated in nearly all Indian wars. The history of one will suffice for many.
"Nor would we be understood as conveying a censure of General Hancock for organizing this expedition. He had just come to the department, and circumstances were ingeniously woven to deceive him. His distinguished services in another field of patriotic duty had left but little time to become acquainted with the remote or immediate causes producing these troubles. If he erred, he can very well roll a part of the responsibility on others; not alone on subordinate commanders, who were themselves deceived by others, but on those who were able to guard against the error, and yet failed to do it. We have hundreds of treaties with the Indians, and military posts are situated everywhere on their reservations. Since 1837 these treaties have not been complied with, and no provision is made, when a treaty is proclaimed, to furnish it to the commanders of posts, departments, or divisions. This is the fault of Congress."
The Navajoes have been at war with the New Mexicans for a century. From time immemorial their women and children have been stolen and sold as slaves. The Navajoes were the more civilized of the two. Kit Carson testified that during the war it took three hundred of his men an entire day to destroy one cornfield, that he took twelve hundred sheep from one flock, and that he found one orchard of two thousand peach trees. After a war which cost us fifteen millions, these Navajoes were captured and placed on a reservation, where they could not live. When General Sherman told the head chief, Bsebanciti, he could go back to his country, the chief ran and threw his arms around his neck, and said, "I have called you my brother, but we shall think that a man who does such kindness to any people is like a God."
Time would fail me to write this sad history. To do it we must begin with the Puritan fathers, who delighted to speak of the Indians as the Hivites and Jebusites, who were to be driven out by the saints of the Lord,--the days when Christian men marched a whole day with the head of King Philip on a pole, and when grave divines decided that the sins of the father should be visited on his children, and therefore the son of Philip should be sold as a slave to Bermuda,--and trace the history to the sad story of ministers of Christ imprisoned in the prisons of Georgia for telling the heathen of Jesus Christ; so on, down to the sickening record of the starvation of Christian Indians on the Missouri. There is no portion of our land which sheds light on this history. Senator Nesmith, speaking of the treatment of the Indians on the Pacific coast, says: "I have examined invoices of goods purchased by the department in eastern cities when the prices were fifty to one hundred per cent, above their value. Upon examination the goods were worthless in value and deficient in quantity. Among them were steel spades made of sheet iron; steel chopping knives made of cast iron; best brogans with paper soles; blankets made of shoddy and glue, which fell to pieces when wet; many goods not of the slightest value; forty dozen elastics were sent to Indians, when there was not a stocking in the tribe." Senator Hubbard reports testimony to prove that the Christian Sioux and the Winnebagoes were fed on soup made of the entrails of cattle and meat which was tainted. Kit Carson and Colonel Bent, who have lived thirty years on the border, say that as a rule every difficulty is begun by the injustice of the whites.
The question is, What is to be done? We cannot longer conceal this iniquity. Every American who has the slightest sense of honor ought to demand that this foul blot on the country shall be done away. It will be hard to undo the past and regain the confidence of the Indians; but if we enter on the work in the fear of God and give Him the will, He will find us the way. The evils of our present system are a lack of virtue in its servants, and entire absence of all proper oversight. The present Secretary of the Interior, with the best intentions, and who has always manifested the most earnest desire to redress wrongs, cannot effect a cure. He has five important Bureaus under his care: the Land Department, Pension Bureau, the Patent Office, the Department of Agriculture, and the Indian Bureau. The loss of confidence by the Indians and our own people in the present administration, imperatively demands some decisive change. If the Indian Bureau were removed to the War Department, unless guarded most carefully, it would become, as it has been, a matter of secondary concern. Very grave evils might follow such removal unless the Bureau itself were reformed. To place the Indian Agency at our military posts would expose the Indians to untold demoralization; and the danger would be that, on any provocation, a rash or inexperienced officer might precipitate us into war. If officers of the highest character have been betrayed into acts of cruelty to the women and children of the families of hostile Indians, what may not be expected from officers of less judgment? The inexperience of officers of the army in all agricultural and mechanical pursuits renders them unfit to direct and guide the Indians to civilization. If there should be any wrong-doing or frauds committed on the Indian, the wrong-doer would feel an immunity from danger if he had the control of a body of troops. The vast interests at stake which concern the nation's honor, demand that all these dangers should be carefully guarded against. My own conviction is that the one in charge of this poor race should be a cabinet officer. Christian men must demand that he should be selected for his Christian character, his philanthropy, his wisdom, and knowledge of the intricate interests to be cared for. The agents must be men of character, appointed for life, subject to as severe discipline as court-martial, and with ample salaries. All employees must be married men, of good moral character. There must be local boards of commissioners, as provided in the bill of Senator Doolittle, in the different departments into which the Indian country may be divided, to examine into all the details of every agency, arrange plans for civilization, government, schools, and mechanical pursuits. For the present, it is the wisest course to enlarge the present Peace Commission by adding to it some of the best men in the country, and place in their hands sufficient funds to feed and clothe every Indian on the plains. This Commission is made up of soldiers and citizens of the highest character. They deserve our gratitude for what has been done; and the reason they have done so little is, that they have been hampered at every step for lack of means. If an appropriation sufficient for these purposes were made, they could require all Indians to remain on their reservation, and they might treat all as hostile who refused to come. It will cost, perhaps, five millions a year. We are now spending thirty millions in the war. When once peace is restored we can hope to give to this poor people the blessings of the Gospel and a Christian civilization. What we need is, not so much war as justice,--justice to the red man and the white man. The present immunity of Minnesota from Indian wars is due to the wise counsels of General H. H. Sibley, who refused to allow any acts of violence to be inflicted on the women and children of the hostile Indians; and also, with wise forethought, he organized a body of friendly Indians as scouts to protect the border. They not only protected us, but in every instance punished the hostile Indians who made attacks on our citizens. Had any other course been pursued, our war would not have ceased to this day.
THE MISSIONARY'S WORK
Our own Church ought to give to them a Bishop, a man of large heart, of clear head, of inflexible will; a man who dare withstand the people, and who cares less for their anger than the judgment of God. With all our halting and short-coming, our work done for His people has not been without its reward. Under trials and difficulties which would destroy any parish in the land, the Oneidas have maintained their Christian character, and number among their people many who were once heathen; but all are now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in their right mind. The missions to the Sioux, both of our own Church and that of the Presbyterians, have been greatly blessed. The Missionary in the darkest days of the outbreak came to me, and said, "I will go with my poor people, if I go to the Kocky Mountains." Among a people where the Government spent forty-eight thousand dollars and did not teach a child to read, this Mission has taught over three hundred to read and write as well as the average of our agriculturists. Where once was only to be heard the wild cry of the scalp dance and the sound of the medicine dance, now may be heard sweet songs of praise to Jesus and the daily incense of prayer going heavenward. Many a heathen tipi has been changed to a Christian home, and to-day over three hundred of that people, whom I met as pagans, are communicants at the Lord's Table. So great a door has been opened that we can carry the Gospel to thousands beyond. If the result among the Chippewas is less hopeful, it is due to the fact that, owing to persecution and danger, the mission was abandoned by its founder. Our poor Indian clergyman has had to deal with a people too scattered for any systematic work, and where wrongs suffered at our hands have kept the Indians inflamed with anger. Yet even here are many whom I hope to meet as redeemed in the paradise of God. Oar duty as a Church is plain. These heathen are at our door. Christ died for them. In their sorrow and need they look to us. We must weigh our duty as under the eye of God. We must measure it by the Cross. Once settled, let neither man nor devil hinder us. God will work with and bless iis, and many who are perishing will be owned as Christ's in the day of His appearing.
I should have preferred that other and abler hands had plead for this poor race. For myself it is a grief even to be placed in antagonism to others. I love peace--not strife. But what could I do? In God's Providence He led me to these poor wounded, wretched, outcast souls. I heard their piteous plea for help. I saw the dark record of crime which we were heaping up before God. I dared not be silent. I have spoken as I believe a man who believes in God ought to speak for God's suffering creatures; and conscious of the truth of every plea that I have made, I can bide my time and wait for God to vindicate my course. It may not come in my day, but the day will come when our children's children will tell, with hushed whispers, the story of our shame, and marvel that their fathers dared so trifle with truth and righteousness, and, with such foolhardiness, trifle with God.
H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota.
A TRUE POLICY TOWARD THE INDIAN TRIBES
A PAPER BEAD AT THE CHURCH CONGRESS--1877
In 1841 President John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary:--
"The policy, from Washington to myself, of all the presidents of the "United States, had been justice and kindaess to the Indian tribes, to civilize and preserve them. With the Creeks and Cherokees it had been successful. Its success was their misfortune. The States within whose borders their settlements were, took the alarm and broke down all the treaties which had pledged the good faith of the nation. Georgia extended its jurisdiction over them, took possession of their lands, houses, cattle, furniture, and negroes, and drove them from their dwellings. Andrew Jackson, by the simultaneous operation of fraudulent treaties and brutal force, consummated the work. The Florida war is one pf the fruits of this policy, the conduct of which exhibits an uninterrupted scene of the most profligate corruption. All resistance to the abomination is vain. It is one of the most heinous sins of the nation, for which God will surely bring them into judgment. I turn my eyes away from the sickening mass of putrefaction, and ask to be excused from serving upon the committee."
This was the outcry of a noble heart which, in utter helplessness, turned away from God's suffering children whom he could not relieve. Since then the prairies of Minnesota, the plains of Colorado, the dales of New Mexico and Arizona, the lands of Dakota and the Pacific Slope, have all been desolated by wars,--the fruit of our broken faith. Our last Indian war with the Nez Percys is the crowning act of our injustice. The Nez Perces have been the friends of the white man for three-quarters of a century, and have an untarnished record of fidelity and friendship.
Lewis and Clark, who visited them in 1804, say that they are the most friendly and the noblest of red men. Governor Stevens, who made the first reeonnoissance of the Northern Pacific Railway, paid them a like tribute of praise. They served as scouts during our Oregon wars. They furnished our cavalry with five thousand dollars' worth of ponies, for which they were not paid. During the war with the Snake and Shoshone Indians our troops, under Colonel Steptoe, were without ammunition and hard pressed by their savage foes. The army was saved from destruction by the Nez Perces, who came voluntarily to their relief. For a quarter of a century the reports of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs describe them as a long-suffering people. Seven thousand white men flocked to their country to dig for gold. Villages and cities were built on their unceded lands. White men located scrip upon their reservation. The Indian superintendent claimed a large tract of their country by purchase from a solitary Indian. Their people were murdered in cold blood; their women suffered brutal violence. Neither violated treaties nor trespass, not even violence, robbery, and murder could lead these people to revenge.
In 1863 a treaty was made with a portion of the Nez Perces. This treaty was not recognized by one-half of the tribe. The non-treaty Indians had their home in the beautiful Wallowa Valley. They said they had not sold it; they refused to leave the graves of their fathers. The Government recognized their claim, and so late as 1871 set apart the Wallowa Valley as a reservation for these Indians. Last autumn we sent a commission to notify these Indians that the treaty of 1863 would be enforced, and that they must leave their home. The Indians refused. Chief Joseph said to the Commissioners:--
"I have suffered wrong rather than to do wrong. One of my people was murdered this last summer; I did not avenge his death, but my brother's blood sanctifies the ground, and if it is necessary to protect us, it will call the dead out of their graves to protest against the wrong."
We say that the Nez Perces were sullen and defiant. History will say that they were brave souls who counted it sweet to die for their country. For a time the press teemed with denunciations of our Indian foes; but we are beginning to learn that the Nez Perces waged no war upon women and children. They did not mutilate the dead.
In this last battle Chief Joseph saw upon the field a young soldier who was mortally wounded. He went to him and, kneeling down, said, "Poor boy! It is too bad for you to die in such a war." He then went to his tipi and brought his own blanket to cover the dying soldier.
There are no words of righteous indignation that are strong enough to denounce the folly and the wickedness of such a war.
I need not repeat the story of other wars. . . .
The Navajoes, who had flocks and herds, orchards and well-tilled fields, fought with us to avenge the theft of their daughters, who were doomed to a fate worse than death. The Modocs, whose name is a synonym for cruelty and treachery, had bitter memories of their own fathers murdered under the white man's flag. No chief could tell a darker story of violated faith than the fierce Cochisi of the Apaches. The records of savage cruelty do not show any story blacker than the Sand Hill massacre of Mo-ka-ta-va's band. Our late Sioux war was the direct result of the violation of a treaty made by the highest officers of the Army. . . .
The Bishop of Rupert's Land said:--
"I fear that your people have not learned that it is not the amount which they give to the Indians, so much as that they strictly fulfil the pledges which they make to the Indians."
Lord Dufferin told the whole story when he called the Indians "our fellow-subjects."
Our Government has recently sent a commission to induce Sitting Bull to return to our paternal care. He may have heard the story of two Minnesota chiefs, Shak-o-pee and Medicine Bottle, who also went to Canada after the Minnesota massacre. A party of whites visited them; they were made drunk, seized, brought across the line, tried by court-martial, and hanged.
There is no page of our dealing with the Indians upon which we can look with pleasure. You may begin far back . . . when King Philip's son was sold as a slave to Bermuda, and follow on to the martyrdom of the Delawares, who were burned to death on the Lord's Day in the Moravian church, and on to the time when the brave Wooster was convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary for preaching Jesus Christ to the Cherokees. . . .
We dare not interpret God's providences, but we may be sure that when a people copy the oppressions of Egypt they will suffer from the locusts of Egypt. . . .
The fatal defect in our Indian policy is that it recognizes the heathen tribes within our territory as independent nations who owe us no allegiance, who are not subject to, or protected by our laws, and who have no personal title in the soil. This strange anomaly grew out of the position of the first settlers in America. The Pilgrim Fathers of Massachusetts and the cavaliers of Virginia could not treat as wards people who outnumbered them a thousand to one.
The only possible plea against the Indians' claim of title is to the robber's plea that "might makes right."
In 1871 the heart of the people was touched; they demanded a wiser Indian policy. Congress then made a solemn declaration that hereafter no Indian tribe or nation within the territory of the United States should be acknowledged as an independent tribe or power, with whom the United States may contract a treaty. This was valueless, for Congress itself violated its own resolution.
Much has been said of the "Peace Policy." It has been unduly praised by its friends and unjustly condemned by its enemies. We have no Peace Policy. In every essential feature our Indian system has been unchanged for fifty years; it is based upon the intercourse law of 1832. President Grant--all honor to him for it--declared that "the office of an Indian agent shall no longer be a reward for party services." He gave the nomination of Indian agents to the different religious bodies who are willing to engage in Indian missionary work. Wherever churches entered heartily into this work, it was a success. Where they used their position to provide places for friends, it was a pitiable failure. Congress appointed a board of commissioners to examine the goods and supplies for the Indians, and inspectors to visit the Indian agencies. Despite all the evils and conflicts of an unreformed Indian policy, more has been done for the civilization of the red man than in any period of our history. The Board of Indian Commissioners in their last report say that within the last ten years 47,241 houses have been built for the Indians, and 233 schools have been opened. In 1876 there were 437 teachers and 11,328 Indian scholars. There are to-day 171 Indian churches and 27,215 church members.
The first requisite in reform is to keep our faith, to believe that lying is lying whether with white or red man. They who have the Indians in charge must be men who believe in God and who are afraid and ashamed to steal. The Indian Bureau must be placed in an independent position. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs can do little more than hear complaints without the possibility of redressing wrongs. It will not secure reform to transfer the Indian Bureau to the War Department; it changes nothing, but simply puts a bad system into other hands.
The War Department had the sole charge of the Indians for more than fifty years. The Hon. James Barbour, the Secretary of War under John Quincy Adams, deplored the management of Indian affairs as unworthy of the nation. A committee of Congress reported that "our Indian administration under the War Department exhibited a total want of method and punctuality; that accounts of millions of expenditure have been so loosely kept as scarcely to furnish a trace or explanation of large sums; and that no entries have been made for a period of years, and that, where entries have been made, even the very clerks who kept the books could not state an account from them." We pay all honor to men who have grown gray in the service of the country, but we are not prepared to admit that our only hope of civil service reform lies in the Army.
Officers of high rank will not become Indian agents; and we fear the removal of the Indian Bureau to the War Department will be made the pretext to force a large number of political appointments upon the Army, and so degrade a service which has always been honorable.
The testimony of Generals Sherman, Augur, and Terry is conclusive. After spending months in the examination of the causes of Indian wars they say,--
"If we intend to have war with the Indians, the Bureau should go to the Secretary of War. If we intend to have peace, it should go to the Civil Department. In our opinion, such wars are wholly unnecessary. Hoping the country and the Government will agree with us, we cannot advise the change."
I can only outline a few needed reforms,--
First, the Indian Department must be in an independent position with a responsible head.
Second, the Indians must be located in a country where civilization is possible. Hitherto neither our sense of justice nor our fear of God has preserved for the Indians any country which white men covet. The Indian Territory was solemnly set apart to atone for one of the darkest crimes in our history. Its possession is guaranteed by everything which is sacred in a nation's honor. We fear that plans are already made to repeat in darker shades the story of Ahab and Naboth's vineyard.
Third, the individual Indian must have a title to his land, and that title be made inalienable. The certificates of occupancy which are now given are not worth, as titles, the paper upon which they are printed. The best incentive to labor is the guarantee of the rewards of labor.
Fourth, the influence of the Government must be on the side of civilization. A Christian nation must cease to send paint and scalping-knives and implements of death to Indians. All government bounty should be a premium for industry. No rations should be issued--those for the sick and aged excepted--unless in payment for work.
Fifth, there must be government to protect persons, property, and life. The laws must be few and simple. The agent must be a man fitted for his trust. Such a man may be made United States Commissioner, with authority to try civil cases and petty crimes. Felony and murder may be tried by the nearest United States judge.
Sixth, all traders, employees, and agents must be lawfully married, and the law must provide that an Indian woman living with a white man as his wife is legally married, and that the children of such marriage are legitimate.
The means to be used to advance civilization are government, personal rights of property, and education; these and the Gospel of Christ will give homes and freedom to these heathen people. . . .
Fifteen years have passed away,--years marked by the murders of the wives and babes of white and red men, by the desolation of hundreds of American and Indian homes, by the death of brave Mokatava and his band, by the massacre of the gallant Ouster and his heroic soldiers. Is it not time to say with the aged Sioux chief: "The land is dark with blood. The Great Spirit is angry with his children. There will be no peace until we rub out these lies."
We are not dealing simply with a perishing race; we are dealing with Almighty God. We cannot afford to trifle with justice. . . . Unless we solve the Indian problem with a wise and beneficent policy it will soon be to the Indian a choice of deaths, and we shall hear such a wail of agony as has never been heard in the land. We have it in our power to atone for the past by kindness and justice to the scattered remnant of the Indian nations in our charge. If we will not heed the voice of humanity, of conscience, and of God, we shall reap a harvest of sorrow. . . .
At about the time of this address, September, 1877, I published an article containing the following official facts concerning the Montana war,--...
The present Indian war in Montana furnishes another proof of the way in which long-continued wrongs can change our loyal, faithful friends to the most relentless foes.
Governor Stevens of Oregon says, in his report of 1856, during Indian hostilities,--
"The Nez Percys are, as they were last year, satisfied and determined to maintain their friendship for the whites."
In 1858 Superintendent Nesmith says,--
"In relation to the Indians located on these reservations, the Government must speedily choose between feeding and fighting them. If it is determined to abandon the reservation system, and thereby force the Indians to war by withholding their promised supplies of food, it is better that it should be done at once."
The same year Captain John Mullan writes,--
"I point you, commencing with Lewis and Clark, in 1804, to the present day, to the accounts of all travellers across the continent; and with one accord they point to the Nez Perces and Flathead Indians as two bright and shining points in a long weary pilgrimage."
In 1859 their agent recounts their services, under Colonel Wright, against hostile Indians, and speaks of their saving the lives of Governor Stevens and party in 1855. He speaks of them as a most powerful tribe on the Pacific coast, and calls attention to the importance of good faith with them.
In 1861 Superintendent Miller speaks of the invasion of from five to seven thousand whites into their country to search for gold; but, nevertheless, thinks that with just treatment peace can be preserved.
In 1863 the treaty spoken of in my preceding address was made. In 1865 their agent, J. O'Neil, gave these causes of complaint,--
"First, no annuities had been paid since 1862-63.
"Second, the failure to pay them $4655 in gold, as provided by treaty of 1863, for horses which they had furnished United States volunteers during the Oregon war.
"Third, failure to pay individual Indians who had served as scouts and soldiers.
"Fourth, failure to pay for work done for them on a church built by the order of Superintendent Caleb Lyon, $ 1185.50.
"Fifth, failure to pay employees, chiefs, and Indians when due, and requiring them to sacrifice from twenty-five to fifty per cent, of their pay."
In 1866 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs says: "The Nez Perces may be called a long-suffering people. Their reservation has been crowded upon by miners."
During all these years officials and citizens speak of the high character of these Indians, of their friendship, and of the shameless violation of the stipulations of our treaties. In 1867 Senator Nesmith pays the Nez Perces a high meed of praise, and recounts the provisions of the treaty with them. He says,--
"None of these excellent provisions have been performed. . . . They are brave, warlike, and of good habits. ... I am surprised that they have exercised so much forbearance under the wrongs and injustice which they have suffered."
He devotes page after page to the sickening details of our dishonesty. Among these acts is the negotiation of the superintendent with one Indian for the purchase of a part of the reserve.
In the report of Agent O'Neil for 1867 he expresses fears lest the friendly Indians of this tribe shall be forced into hostilities. He recapitulates promises and treaty stipulations, and says, "These Indians will not be put off with promises any longer."
In 1869 the superintendent says,--
"I regard this tribe as one of the very best in the country for demonstrating that the Indians can be made self-supporting by cultivating the soil."
The agent complains of the sale of whiskey to the Indians, and also that the reservation has not been surveyed so as to show exactly were the whites are trespassers.
In 1870 the reports speak of dissatisfaction among the non-treaty Indians. They pay a high tribute to the progress of those on the reservations in civilization. In 1871 the same complaints are made of the sale of whiskey, and the agent says,--
"There are many white people living along the line of the reservation who are continually annoying the Indians and making trouble, . . . still there are no serious outbreaks."
In 1872 we have the same story repeated of the irritation growing out of the delay in settling the rights of the non-treaty Indians. In 1873 the same story is repeated of the importance of requiring the non-treaty Indians to come on to the reservation. In 1874 the same story is again repeated, with an earnest plea that the Indians who do not come on to the reservation shall be protected by law.
It appears that this year a very considerable annoyance was caused by a citizen claiming the title to the agency buildings, the mill, etc., under a grant of land made to the missionaries.
The report of 1875 marks a continued progress among the treaty Indians, notwithstanding some irritation growing out of the above claim, and fresh trouble among the non-treaty Indians by the opening of the Wallowa Valley to white settlers. There is the same urgent plea to have the non-treaty Indians placed on the reserve, and the fears lest the long-continued irritation shall lead to an outbreak.
In 1876 the treaty Indians were reported to be unusually quiet and making progress. The non-treaty Indians make fresh claims to the Wallowa Valley.
An Indian was killed by a white man in July last in this valley. After long years of delay, and of hatreds which grew out of such delay, the Government sent out a Commission, composed of D. H. Jerome, Major C. H. Wood, William Stickney, A. C. Barstow, and General Howard, to examine the claims of the non-treaty Indians, and to provide for their removal to the reservation. Like most of our efforts it came too late. The non-treaty Indians, who had so long brooded over their wrongs, had come wholly under the influence of their medicine-men, sometimes called dreamers, or prophets. They believed that they could resist and conquer. The usual results have followed,--the massacre of helpless men, women, and children, the death of some of the bravest of our soldiers, and the expenditure of, it may be, millions of dollars in war; while our own laboring population vainly seek for bread.
It is easy to denounce the Peace Policy, to hurl anathemas at officials at Washington who are powerless unless Congress gives to them the means to do justice. Is it not nearly time for a whole people to demand for the Indian tribes government and law, and for the pioneers protection? One wearies of the sickening story of the Minnesota massacre, the Modoc, the Sioux, the Chippewa, the Apache, the Idaho wars,--and all in less than fifteen years.
May God incline the whole nation to deal righteously. We have tried wrong-doing and have reaped the harvest of sorrow.
H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota.
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
You are aware of my deep interest in the welfare of the Indians, and I am sure you will pardon this letter.
We have entered upon another Indian war, which I fear will be one of the most memorable in our history.
I will yield to no man in my sympathy for the brave men of the border who are always the first victims of savage hate. Every generous feeling of my heart goes out for the brave soldiers who, without one thought of self, go to die; and yet I can but feel that, for every life lost in such a war the nation is guilty, which for one hundred years has persisted in a policy which always ends in massacre and war.
Every friend of the Indian owes you a deep debt of gratitude for honestly trying to give us a better policy. The so-called Peace Policy was commenced when we were at war. The Indian tribes were either hostile or sullen and turbulent. The new policy was a marvellous success. I honestly believe that it has done more for the civilization of the Indian than all which the Government has done, before. Its only weakness was that the system was not reformed; the new work was fettered by all the faults and traditions of the old policy. The nation left three hundred thousand men living within our borders without a vestige of government, without personal rights of property, without the slightest protection of person, property, or life. We persisted in telling these heathen tribes that they were independent nations. We sent out the bravest and best of our officers, some who had grown gray in the service of the country,--men whose slightest word was as good as their bond. We sent them because the Indians would not doubt a Soldier's Honor.
They made a treaty and they pledged the nation's faith that no white man should enter that territory. I do not discuss its wisdom. The Executive and the Senate ratified it. By the Constitution of the United States these treaties are the supreme law of the land, and are binding upon the individuals and states who compose the nation. The Constitution vests the power of making treaties in the Senate and the Executive. This treaty was so made, and it was, in all of its provisions, the supreme law of the land.
It was a question for the Senate and the Executive to decide whether they should or should not make such a treaty; but once made it was a solemn compact, to the fulfilment of which the nation, by its own organic law, was pledged.
A violation of its plain provisions was an act of deliberate perjury. In the words of General Sherman (see report) "civilization made its own compact with the weaker party; it was violated, but not by the savage." It was done by a civilized nation. The treaty was approved by the whole nation; the people and the press approved it because it ended a shameful Indian war, which had cost us three million dollars and the lives of ten white men for every Indian slain. The whole world knew that we violated that treaty; and the reason of the failure of the negotiations last year was that our own commissioners did not have authority from Congress to offer the Indians more than one-third of the sum they were already receiving under the old treaty.
The Peace Policy has never been understood by the people. They suppose it was some vague plan to give immunity to savages who commit crimes; when the first thing which the friends of the Indians ask is law to punish crime. You did all that you had the power to do, and that was to provide for honest men to fill the agencies. You said to all the religious bodies of the country who had executive committees to manage their missionary and charitable works, "If you will nominate to me a man for this agency, and your church will be responsible for his fidelity, I will appoint him." You provided for the honest purchase of Indian supplies. There have been mistakes. In a few instances dishonest and incapable men have been appointed; but not one where there was a score under the old system.
You look in vain for the shameless robberies which were common when an Indian agent was appointed as a reward for political service.
I have feared to have the Indian Bureau changed to the War Department because it would be a condemnation of the peace policy. It was a makeshift; nothing was reformed. It was the old system in another office.
My own conviction is that the Indian Bureau ought to be an independent department of civilization with one of the best men in the nation at its head. If this were done and we then gave to the Indians the protection of the law, personal rights of property, a place where they can live by the cultivation of the soil if required to labor; if provided with necessary aid in the work of civilization; if Christian schools and missions were protected, and plighted faith kept sacred, we should solve the Indian problem. . . .
Will you pardon me if I suggest a plan which may obviate some of the evils until Congress provides a remedy? I doubt whether Congress will adopt any new system or appoint a commission to devise one. The end may be reached by a simple method.
First, concentrate the Indian tribes, viz.: place all the Indians in Minnesota on the White Earth Reservation; the Indians of New Mexico, Colorado, and the Sioux in the Indian Territory; the Indians of the Pacific Coast upon two reserves. The Sioux cannot be removed at once, but probably twenty bands would consent to go; and their prosperity in their new homes would draw others. If the Government adopts the plan, the end can be reached.
Second, whenever an Indian in good faith gives up his wild life and begins to live by labor, give him an honest title by patent of one hundred and sixty acres of land and make it inalienable. So long as the reserve is held by a tribe, it offers a premium to the greed of white men. . . .
Third, provide government for every Indian tribe placed on a reservation. Congress might authorize the President to appoint any Indian agent ex officio a United States commissioner with full powers to administer law on the reservation.
The United States Marshal in whose district this reservation is, might be authorized to appoint the requisite number of civilized Indians or men of mixed blood to act as a constabulary force. The United States Judge might be required to hold one session of his court on the reserve each year. It requires no new machinery, no great expense. There are forty reservations where the plan could be inaugurated at once. . . . Pardon this long letter. You have often aided us in this work, and if yon can help us in this simple remedy I shall be deeply grateful. I do believe that a just and humane policy worthy of a great Christian nation will save our poor Indian wards and will bring upon us the blessing of God. Assuring you of my kind regard, I am,
Your obedient servant,
H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota.
FARIBAULT, MINNESOTA, Dec. 4, 1882.
Honorable and dear Sir: May I respectfully call your attention to the sad condition of the Turtle Mountain Indians. Their country has been taken from them without treaty or purchase; they have been left a homeless people. I ask your attention to these facts:--
First, the treaty with the Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux only includes territory up to Goose River.
Second, the treaty with the Red Lake Chippewas only includes territory west to Salt Creek.
Third, the map of the Indian office describes this country as unceded Indian territory.
Fourth, they have occupied the country as long as I have lived in Minnesota, twenty-three years.
Fifth, Norman W. Kittson, Esq., and Clement H. Beaulieu, Esq., old Indian traders and men of high character who have known the country over forty years, say it belongs to the Turtle Mountain Indians. General H. H. Sibley concurs in this.
Sixth, in Tanner's thirty years narrative of captivity among the Indians at the beginning of this century, he describes this Turtle Mountain country as the place of rendezvous for the Chippewas when going to war with the Sioux.
I do not raise the question as to the nature of the Indian title recognized by all Christian governments, nor do I claim that a handful of Indians can withstand the progress of civilization. I do not ask for them any approximate value of their land; I do respectfully urge that these friendly Indians have a just claim and that Congress shall apply and liberally provide for them homes and means to become a civilized people. It is a small price for a country worth millions of dollars. A nation which has been so wonderfully blessed of Almighty God cannot afford to be unjust to the poorest of His children in their care.
I am with high respect,
H. B. WHIPPLE.
HONORABLE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
A powerful factor in the protection of the rights of the Indians, is the Indian Conference which meets annually at Lake Mohonk, when its members, numbering several hundred, are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Albert K. Smiley, whose hospitality knows no limit.
The Board of Commissioners who serve without remuneration, have been of the greatest value, both to the Government and to the Indians, in securing the faithful expenditure in the purchase of Indian supplies and the fulfilment of treaty obligations.
The Board is indebted to its faithful Secretary, General E. Whittlesey for his long and helpful service.