Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fallout From of the Act of 1871

The act of 1871 was complex, much more complex than I let on in the last post. Under the act of 1871 the Citizen party, aka the Chicks party, became known as the "Old Citizen party," or the "Chicks party of 1843," and a "New Citizen party" emerged. This new Citizen party consisted of 142 members who took payments for their land and gave up their right to live on the Shawano County reservation. So when the reservation decreased by 75% it doesn't mean that the wealth of the tribe decreased by nearly that much (but I still think the act of 1871 was a raw deal). After the act of 1871 was passed, the Indian party was down to 112 members - this was now the entire Stockbridge nation.

When members of the Old Citizen party learned of the act of 1871 they were understandably upset. However, their efforts to nullify the legislation were of no use: the bill had already passed. They appear to have known, however that Jeremiah Slingerland and Chief Sachem Darius Charles had made a trip to Washington D.C.. One fall day Slingerland returned home to find his barns were burned down. In a letter to his Aunt Electa, he blamed it on members of the Citizen party:

The barns were evidently set fire by the Gardners, as they have been threatening all along to do something by way of revenge.

Jeremiah Slingerland's barns in 1871 might have looked something like this barn that was owned by a white family from Shawano County in 1911.

On more than one occasion, letters were written by the tribal (that is, Indian party) government requesting the removal of members of the "Old Citizen" party from the reservation. One letter described the Citizen party members as "intruders" whose "pernicious ways and evil example" had a "demoralizing influence upon the peace and prosperity" of the tribe. An 1873 letter accused Old Citizen party members of being a "Sabbath-breaking band." The authors of that letter further alleged that members of the Old Citizen party were trespassing upon the Indian party's timber and cutting it down. Finally, another important reason was given for the removal of members of the Old Citizen Party:

If these were of real Indian Blood, we might bear with them a little longer, but when we see they are of African and White extraction and those forced upon us by the treaty of 1856...we feel more and more that they ought to be ordered away at once by our agent.

*A letter from Jeremiah Slingerland to Electa [Quinney] Candy of October 7, 1871, and
*A letter from Darius Charles, Ziba T. Peters, Aaron Konkapot, Jeremiah Slingerland, Albert Miller, and Samuel A. Miller to a Mr. T.S. Chase, Indian Agent, of September 11, 1873.
Both letters are part of the John C. Adams Papers.

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