Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On to Minnesota?

New York Indian Removal, Part XVI
On to Minnesota?

Before we can wrap up the New York Indian Removal Series, treaties made between the United States and the Stockbridge Mohicans in 1848 and 1856 should be addressed. I would be the first to tell you that you aren't going to fully appreciate those treaties unless you understand the Indian party vs. Citizen party controversy. But at the same time, I don't feel obligated to flesh out that controversy here because James Oberly handled it very well in A Nation of Statesmen (see pages 71-78).

Nevertheless, I'll give you the basics. Members of the Chicks family and their political allies petitioned the government to be made citizens and the request was granted in an act of Congress in 1843, not only to those who wanted it, but to all the Stockbridge Mohicans. The reservation was allotted and Indians began selling land to whites. But lobbying by John W. Quinney and his allies resulted in an 1846 act of Congress, which reversed the act of 1843. Now the Stockbridges were recognized as Indians once again by the federal government. Then in 1848, the government recognized only the members of the Indian party in making a treaty that was to send them on to Minnesota.

<---Edward Thomas's painting of Fort Snelling, near today's "Twin Cities" of Minnesota.

In 1849 Jeremiah Slingerland, Austin E. Quinney, Elisha and Joel Konkapot, Moses Charles, and Thomas Snake visited the area around Fort Snelling (Jones, page 114). Electa Jones asserted this would be the location of the tribe's "Last Removal" in her 1854 book.... But here's what really happened: The Federal government and the Indian Party never came to an agreement as to where specifically the new reservation would be located (see Oberly, 79-82).

The Signing of the Treaty of Traverse de Sioux. This painting by Francis Millet was done in 1905, based on sketches made by an artist present at the signing of the treaty in 1851.

In 1851 the United States acquired land from the Dakota Sioux. They expected the Stockbridge Mohican signers of the treaty of 1848 to make their new reservation on that land. But the Indian Party refused to move. According to an "Indian Party Brief" that was later printed in the Concordia Historical Quarterly (page 121, volume unknown), the Indian party claimed that the treaty of 1848 required that their new land should have been made available to them sooner.

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