Unwarranted Expulsion The Removal of the Winnebago Indians Colin Mustful
Contents Abstract In February of 1863 the Winnebago Indians of southern Minnesota were exiled from beyond the state of Minnesota forever. This act of law came in the aftermath of the U.S. – Dakota Conflict of 1862. Prior to the conflict, the Winnebago Indians had been promised a permanent home. They lived peaceably and had made marked improvements upon the land as documented by Indian Agents. Despite clear evidence that the Winnebago Indians took no part in the Conflict of 1862, public sentiment exceedingly favored removal. Ultimately, the U.S. – Dakota Conflict of 1862 acted as the necessary catalyst for the people of southern Minnesota to influence legislation and provoke the unwarranted expulsion of the Winnebago Indians. Essay – 2 Appendix – 30 Treaty with the Winnebago, 27 February 1855 – 30 Winnebago Removal Act, 21 February 1863 – 30 Bibliography - 35
On December 26, 1862, thirty-eight Sioux Indians were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, as a result of their involvement in U.S. – Dakota Conflict of 1862. Shortly following the hangings, in May, 1863, the entire tribe of Sioux Indians had been permanently expelled from the state of Minnesota.1 The Sioux, however, were not the only tribe of Indians expelled from Minnesota at that time. Additionally, the Winnebago tribe of Indians was permanently forced beyond the borders of the state of Minnesota.2 In the same way as the Sioux, 1,945 Winnebago were cramped onto steamboats, sent south
“On May 4 and 5, 1863, more than 1,300 Sioux Indians” were transferred from beyond the boundaries of Minnesota to Crow Creek, South Dakota. Edmund Danziger, Jr., The Crow Creek Experiment: An Aftermath of the Sioux War of 1862, North Dakota History, Vol. 37, No. 2, (Spring 1970), 105-123. 1
On February 21, 1863, Congress enacted a statute for the peaceful exodus of the Winnebago Indians from the state of Minnesota. Danziger, Crow Creek Experiment, 116. 2
down the Mississippi, and then north on the Missouri to their final destination at Crow Creek, South Dakota.3 To the dismay of the Winnebago, their new reservation was a deplorable and nearly uninhabitable plot of land. Crow Creek “was a dry, dirty country” with virtually no arable soil.4 The Winnebago loathed their new location and refused to accept it as their new home.5 In just four months after the arrival of the Sioux and Winnebago
Although the Crow Creek reservation was west of Minnesota, the Indians were transported by water southwest and then northwest to arrive at Crow Creek. The reverend and missionary John P. Williamson stated that, “the government is taking these Indians almost as roundabout a way from one wilderness to another around by the way of civilization, steamboats, and railroads – in order I suppose that the Indians may think that they can never find the way back.” John P. Williamson to Stephen R. Riggs, May 14, 1863, Stephen R. Riggs Papers, Minnesota Historical Society. 3
Danziger, Crow Creek Experiment, 108.
“Because of their complete dissatisfaction with Crow Creek, they refused to farm, to hunt, or to accept it as their own new home.” Ibid., 119. 5
one hundred thirty seven Indians perished.6 Conditions became so poor that by March, 1865, less than two years after their transfer, the Winnebago Indians were removed from Crow Creek to be placed at their new home along the northern third of the Omaha land.7 By the end of their stint at Crow Creek, the Winnebago population fell to just 1,043.8 Whether by compulsion, necessity, or choice, in 1862 the Sioux Indians incited war with the white populations of southern Minnesota. The Sioux killed settlers and soldiers, destroyed towns, and stole property. From this, it was frankly determined that the Sioux Indians and white settlers of southern Minnesota could not live
â€œOn September 26, 1863, [John P.] Williamson estimated that one hundred thirty seven Indians had died since June 1, and noted further that there were only a few babies and small children left.â€? Ibid., 113 6
along side each other. The 1863 removal of the Sioux Indians acted as a severe and permanent punishment for the violent events of the Sioux Uprising. The desired effect of removal was to avert any future conflict. Though expulsion of the Sioux Indians became necessary, the expulsion of the Winnebago Indians is much less clear. The Winnebago lived in close proximity to the violent incidents of the Sioux Uprising, however, they did not engage in any wrong doing. Furthermore, the Winnebago offered no support to the Sioux Indians during the conflict. Throughout the uprising and before, the Winnebago Indians lived peaceably alongside the white settlers. Despite this, the Winnebago were determined unfit to remain in the state of Minnesota and were subject to the same consequence as the Sioux. The punishment, however, was unjust. The Winnebago Indians posed no threat and abided by every public appeal. Government assessorâ€™s favored the Winnebago for their good behavior and productive living. 5
Public opinion, however, was strongly opposed to the Winnebago’s presence in southern Minnesota. Consequently, the Winnebago Indians were unjustly removed from the state of Minnesota due to the strength and multitude of negative public opinion held against the tribe. Prior to 1855 the Winnebago Indians lived in the Long Prairie Reservation along the upper Mississippi. On February 27, 1855, the Winnebago ceded this territory and were moved to a new plot of land located in Blue Earth and Waseca counties in southern Minnesota. Their new land was considered lush and arable and had been called “the very garden spot of Minnesota.”9 The move inspired immediate protest from the white settlers of southern Minnesota who were angered by the notion of giving their
Joseph Theodore Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 1634-1863 Master’s Thesis, University of Minnesota, April, 1936, 148. 9
“once magnificent fine country” to an Indian reservation.10 Regardless of public concern, the treaty of 1855 was intended to create a permanent home for the Winnebago Indians.11 Also, despite vigorous protest, Indian agent J.E. Fletcher reported in 1855 that while on their new reservation the Winnebago “conducted themselves well” and had “lived quietly.”12 The Winnebago Indians resided in their Blue Earth reservation from 1855 to 1863. Throughout this time the tribe made a marked improvement on the territory while
Thomas Hughes, History of Blue Earth County and Biographies of its leading Citizens (Chicago: Middle West Publishing Company, 1901), 59. 10
Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 148.
In his Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, J.E. Fletcher noted that “since their removal to this reservation, these Indians have conducted themselves well; they have been temperate, and consequently have lived quietly among themselves and peaceably with their neighbors.” United States. Office of Indian Affairs: Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1855), 58. 12
they adopted Western methods of living and advanced their education. Although in 1856 the Winnebago were reported as indolent and unable to work hard, this quickly changed.13 By 1860, Indian agent Charles Mix reported an “increased love of labor” from the Winnebago and further stated that “they have every inducement to labor and to adopt a settled mode of life.”14 Mix was so impressed by the Winnebago, he claimed their ability to work equaled that of white men.15 As a result of their willingness to
In his official report the federal government, Indian Agent J.E. Fletcher wrote that the Winnebago “are indolent from inclination and habit, and will not work so long as they have any other dependence for a living.” United States. Office of Indian Affairs: Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1856), 52. 13
Here Charles Mix wrote, “but what I have said is substantiated by an increased love of labor on the part of the Indians; and as far as the reserve and its products are concerned, they have every inducement to labor and to adopt a settled mode of life.” Charles Mix, Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, No. 25, Sept. 26, 1860, 73. 14
work, the Winnebago made many improvements on the land through farming and building. For instance, in 1859 the Winnebago constructed one hundred nineteen houses of various kinds.16 In farming Mix reported” a continued acceleration of agricultural progress” and stated that the Winnebago “took their hoes in hand and dug up the sod as well as possible.”17 In the same manner of construction and agriculture, the education of the Winnebago also made rapid progress. Although attendance varied, the Winnebago showed a desire and ability to learn. For the
In his Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs Mix stated, “I have had, during the past spring, assurance enough that the Indians can and will labor, as well as white men, if compelled to depend more upon their own resources.” Ibid., 74. 15
Historian Joseph Estabrook recorded that among the Winnebago in 1859 “eleven frame houses, twenty-two houses with frame finish, and eighty-six houses of ruder construction were erected.” Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 158. 16
Ibid., 156-157. 9
duration of their presence in southern Minnesota, the Winnebago school system was reported to flourish.18 Altogether, while the Winnebago remained on their Blue Earth County reservation, they lived in a pleasing manner and in such a way to avoid conflict or concern. In their own defense, the Winnebago claimed that during the years 1855 to 1863 they “made rapid progress” and were “diligent in the adoption of the mode and manner of living of white citizens.”19 In support of their claim, Indian Agent Charles Mix twice noted that the Winnebago had a credible and hopeful future.20 Therefore, Mix affirmed that the
In 1860 Indian Agent Charles Mix wrote that “I am happy to be able to say that the school is at present in as flourishing a condition as at any time since its foundation, and seems to be daily growing in popularity with the tribe.” Mix, Report of the Commissioner, 78. 18
Winnebago Indians, Winnebago Tribe of Indians, plaintiffs, vs. the United States of America, defendants no. M-421: petition of the Winnebago Tribe of Indians (filed 3rd day of December, 1931), Washington D.C., 18. 19
Winnebago, through various efforts, showed themselves capable of a prosperous and productive lifestyle. Furthermore, the Winnebago were not guilty of violent or unfavorable action toward white populations. In 1859, for instance, the Winnebago were not culpable for a single depredation.21 Prior to 1859, they were described as “uniformly peaceable and inoffensive in their manners.”22
On one occasion Mix wrote that “a new spirit seems to have been awakened within them, which gives promise of a better and more hopeful future.” On another occasion Mix stated that, “the Indians, during the present spring and summer, have entered upon farming with a zeal and energy which gives promise of a prosperous and creditable future.” Mix, Report of the Commissioner, 1860, 75; Mix’s report in 36 Congress, 1 session, Senate Executive Documents no. 2, 478. 20
In a report to Congress Charles Mix stated, “it is a source of pleasure to me that I can say, in justice to the Indians, that they have not committed a single depredation, and have displayed a marked disposition to adopt commendable habits.” Mix’s report in 35 Congress, 2 session, Senate Executive Documents, no. 1 serial 974, 476. 21
Mix’s report in 35 Congress, 2 session, Senate Executive Documents, no. 1 serial 974, 414. 22
In this way the Winnebago demonstrated the ability to live along side and cooperate with the white settlers. Despite their best efforts, the Winnebago encountered adversity on the reservation. To begin, they had a considerable whiskey problem. Each year, whiskey was reported as an extensive detriment to the Winnebago people.23 Also, the Winnebago met vast opposition from white populations. Many white settlers felt indignant and sought to make life difficult for the Winnebago in order to cause removal of the Indians from Minnesota.24 Circumstances became difficult enough that in 1859 the Indian Agent A.D. Balcombe wrote in 1861 that “the greatest difficulty I have experienced connected with the management and protection of this people has been connected with their use of whiskey.” United States, Office of Indian Affairs: Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington: Office of Indian Affairs, 1861), 96. 23
In 1861 A.D. Balcombe observed that the white populations felt “indignant because the Indians are located in their midst, and are disposed to make it as uncomfortable for them to remain here as they can, hoping that at some future time they may be able to cause their removal.” Ibid., 96-97. 24
Winnebago agreed to sell a portion of their reservation. In return for annuity payments, the Winnebago ceded six out of nine of their Blue Earth County townships to the government.25 However, the treaty results were unfavorable to the Winnebago. First, it was unacceptable to the settlers who sought total Indian removal.26 Second, annuity payments were not forthcoming. The Winnebago pleaded with the government to ratify and uphold the 1859 treaty, but received no compensation.27 Indian agent A.D. Balcome urged the “immediate fulfillment of each and
St. Peter Free Press, May 4, 1859.
Shortly after the treaty, the St. Peter Free Press stated, “this will not be satisfactory to the people of that portion of our State, who very properly will be content with nothing less than an entire removal of these red vagabonds from their midst.” Ibid. 26
The Winnebago held a council in August, 1859, in which they appealed for their annuity payments and stated that “we want good farms and good homes. Many have already put on white men’s clothes, and more of us will, when our treaty is ratified.” Mix’s Report in 36 Congress, 1 session, Senate Executive Documents, no. 2, 479. 27
every stipulation of the treaty of 1859.” 28 However, the Indians never received annuity payments. In addition to their just behavior during peacetime, the Winnebago Indians continued to be complacent and nonviolent during the U.S. – Dakota Conflict of 1862. However, it is argued that the Winnebago took part in the conflict and thereby warranted punishment. For instance, the Mankato Record contended that it was “beyond a question” that the Winnebago were involved in the Sioux Uprising.29 Similarly, Daniel Buck, an historian and witness of the Sioux Uprising, argued that the Winnebago aided the Sioux on several instances during the outbreaks.30
A.D. Balcombe argued, “I would most respectfully and urgently urge again the immediate fulfillment of each and every stipulation of the treaty of 1859.” United States, Office of Indian Affairs: Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington: William A. Harris, 1862), 92. 28
Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 167. 14
Another accusation against the Winnebago came directly from the front line of battle. In his official report of the Battle of Redwood, Lieutenant John F. Bishop specified that among the about three hundred fifty Indian warriors, twenty to twenty five were Winnebago.31 Though a small portion of the Winnebago may have been included in the Battle of Redwood, evidence suggests that the vast majority of the tribe took no part in the uprising.32 To begin, on August 25, 1862, Captain A.J. Edgerton with the tenth Minnesota Infantry was stationed at the Winnebago Agency in order to assure peace.33 Had the
Daniel Buck, Indian Outbreaks (Mankato: The Pioneer Press, 1904), 23. 30
Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, 1861 – 1865, 2nd ed. Vol. 2 (St. Paul: The Pioneer Press, 1899), 170. 31
Historian Joseph Estabrook determined that “it is an incontrovertible fact . . . that practically the entire tribe took no part in the massacre.” Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 170. 33 Buck, Indian Outbreaks, 26. 32
Winnebago sought to join the Sioux, it would have been nearly impossible. Also, it was for the Winnebago’s own benefit that they remain on their reservation during the uprising. Indian Agent A.D. Balcombe observed that the intense hostility of the white populations necessitated the use of “extra efforts to keep the Indians upon their own lands” and to protect them from the whites.34 Regardless of the army’s presence, the Winnebago displayed no desire to join the uprising or aid the Sioux Indians. Stephen Riggs, a missionary who lived among the Sioux, recognized that although some of the Winnebago were with the Sioux just prior to the uprising, “they do not appear to have been there for the purpose of the
While writing to Congress, Balcombe noted, “the hostile feelings of the white people are so intense that I am necessitated to use extra efforts to keep the Indians upon their own lands, for the reason that I have been notified by the whites that the Indians will be massacred if they go out of their own country.” United States, Report of the Commissioner 1862, 92. 34
outbreak.”35 Rather than aid the Sioux, the Winnebago claimed to be wholly on the side of the United States.36 This was proven on several occasions by the loyalty of the Winnebago toward the government. During the conflict Indian Agent Balcombe stated that there existed no tribe of Indian more loyal than the Winnebago. He further
Riggs wrote that on August 17, 1862, one day before the uprising began, “some negotiations were probably going on with the Winnebago’s and Ojibwas, but they were not perfected. Several Winnebago’s were at this time at the Lower Agency, but they do not appear to have been there for the purpose of the outbreak.” Stephen R. Riggs, Mary and I: Forty Years with the Sioux (Chicago: W.G. Holmes, 1880), 153. 35
While defending themselves in court, the Winnebago argued that they “did not, at any time, have any part, or take any part in said armed conflict, but . . . gave their aid and assistance to the United States of America, and on its side and behalf.” Winnebago Indians, Winnebago Tribe of Indians, plaintiffs, vs. the United States of America, defendants no. M-421: petition of the Winnebago Tribe of Indians (filed 3rd day of December, 1931), Washington D.C., 19. 36
remarked, “I am confident that my Indians will remain to the last loyal.”37 Following the Sioux Uprising, three hundred Sioux Indians were sentenced to death by hanging. However, two hundred sixty of these Sioux were reprieved of their sentence by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon this reprieve, the President showed no disposition in regards to the repercussive action taken toward the two hundred sixty reprieved Sioux or toward the Sioux tribe in general.38 The federal government as a whole was indifferent toward the fate of the Winnebago. The government recognized the steadfast loyalty shown by the Winnebago and therefore Balcombe, Report, 93.
The St. Paul Press reported that “the President does not make any suggestion in regard to the disposition of the two hundred sixty out of the three hundred condemned Indians whom he may be said to have reprieved, nor in regard to the remaining parts of the Sioux tribe who have incurred the everlasting hatred of the settlers of Minnesota, and who will almost certainly be sacrificed if permitted to remain in the State.” St. Paul Press, Oct. 10, 1862. 38
did not strongly consider their entire removal necessary following the Sioux Uprising. Indian Agents Charles Mix and A.D. Balcombe suggested severalty for the Winnebago as opposed to removal. They proposed that the Winnebago be allotted small tracts of land and allowed to farm individually.39 This way, the Winnebago would continue to progress while still remaining in the state of Minnesota. The general public of Minnesota, however, had an entirely different opinion. From the outset of the Winnebago’s existence in southern Minnesota, the public ardently spoke against the Winnebago’s presence. For
In 1859 Charles Mix stated, “it is my opinion . . . that the only wise and just course to pursue towards them, is that of giving them small tracts of land in severalty.” Also, in 1861, A.D. Balcombe wrote, “the only hope I have that the condition of these Indians will ever be improved is in the application of allotting these lands severally, and locating them upon them, and thereby abolish the tenure in common, and their tribal ways, and direct their attention specifically to agriculture.” Mix’s report in 36 Congress, 1 session, Senate Executive Documents no. 2, 477.; United States, Report of the Commissioner 1861, 97. 39
instance, the St. Paul Press reported in October, 1862, that “the sentiment of the people will make itself heard, and that there will be no cessation” until every Indian was removed from the state of Minnesota.40 It is evident that although the government’s evaluation of the Winnebago was estimable, the behavior of the Winnebago made little difference to the public of southern Minnesota who made no distinction between peaceful and hostile Indians.41 Furthermore, their progress was virtually ignored and deemed insignificant by the public.42 One man who particularly encouraged Indian removal was James W. Taylor. Mister Taylor wrote a 40
St. Paul Press, October 10, 1862.
In May, 1859, the St. Peter Free Press wrote that “nothing less than an entire removal of these red vagabonds from their midst would satisfy the people of the region.” Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 160. 41
Historian Edmund Danziger commented that “the whites of Minnesota made no distinction between peaceful and hostile Indians.” Danziger, The Crow Creek Experiment, 115. 42
series of columns in the St Paul Press in October of 1862 in which he stringently expressed the opinion that the Winnebago must be expelled from the state of Minnesota. Mister Taylor held that no punishment was too harsh and reasoned that, because of the uprising the government had been relieved of all treaty obligations.43 He believed that the Winnebago shared guilt with the Sioux and therefore deserved “punishment and expulsion!”44 In his firm belief, Taylor expressed not only his opinion, but that of the people of Minnesota. There existed a unity of opinion, as expressed by Mister Taylor, that, for the Sioux and
In one of his many columns James W. Taylor suggested, “the Sioux war has relieved the Government from all treaty obligations.” James W. Taylor, The Sioux War: What shall we do with it? The Sioux Indians: What shall we do with them? (St. Paul: Office of the Press Printing Company, 1862), 7. 43
Taylor argued that “the Winnebagoes, as is now ascertained, are parties to crimes which work a similar forfeiture . . . Thus is presented a clean sheet – tabula raza – on which the Government can write two words – Punishment and Expulsion!” Taylor, The Sioux War, 7. 44
Winnebago, “the doom of exile must neither be suspended or revoked,” and “if other agencies fail, the people of Minnesota will execute it.”45 In January, 1863, James W. Taylor gave a lecture to the people of Mankato. The people of Mankato received Taylor with favor and showed frequent approval throughout his lecture.46 The meeting resolved that the people of Minnesota would unite to remove the Indians. It further resolved with emphasis and determination for the speedy removal of the Winnebago “sincerely made as an act of justice warranted by the higher law of selfpreservation.”47 In an example of self-preservation, Minnesotan’s formed a group called “Knights of the Forest” whose sole purpose was to rid the state of all
Taylor, The Sioux War, 8.
The Mankato Weekly Record, January 10, 1863.
Indians.48 These measures made it obvious that by 1863 Minnesotan’s would not be satisfied until every Indian was expelled from the state.49 Though sentiment among the Minnesota public favored removal, some sought a more severe punishment and wanted to extinguish the Winnebago altogether. Those who argued to extinguish the Winnebago perceived no harm in destroying the whole tribe.50 The St. Paul Press reflected this attitude in October, 1862, when it stated that for the Indians, “the wilderness and starvation should be
Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians. 172.
In October, 1862, the St. Paul Press reported that “the people of this State will never rest satisfied until the Indians are removed beyond our borders.” St. Paul Press, October 10, 1862. 49
Author and feminist Jane Grey Swisshelm stated, “nobody could have blamed the people of Minnesota under such provocation for killing the whole tribe.” Crusader and Feminist: Letters of Jane Grey Swisshelm, 1858 – 1865, ed. Arthur J. Larson (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1934), 192. 50
their doom.â€?51 The notion to have the Indians killed became so strong that to argue against it, as one author mentioned, â€œis like beating the wind.â€?52 Furthermore, Indian Agent Balcombe observed upon the murder of a Winnebago in 1862, that the crime went unpunished because of the state of public opinion.53 The majority of white population was therefore determined to have the Winnebago expelled. Some whites even sought to provoke hostility in order to influence negative reaction from the Winnebago. Whites accomplished this through dishonesty, the sale of whiskey to the Indians, and the misappropriation of government annuities.54 Martha Riggs, who lived among the Sioux,
William Watts Folwell, A History of Minnesota vol. 2, (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1924), 256. 51
Swisshelm, Crusader and Feminist, 192.
United States, Report of the Commissioner 1862,
observed the violent and negative behavior of the whites toward the Indians and asked, “what more would be necessary to cause one nation to rise against another?”55 The events of the Sioux Uprising were assured to initiate suspicion on the part of the settlers.56 Minnesotans learned out of fear not to trust Indians whether they were peaceful or hostile. However, natural suspicion did not justify the punishment presented to the Winnebago. It was instead a “direct and open violation” of the tribe’s
Historian Thomas Hughes wrote that “the dishonesty of the whites, both in the distribution of government annuities and in sale of goods by traders, had much to do with fostering this ugly feeling among the Indians.” Hughes, History of Blue Earth County, 139. 54
Riggs, Mary and I, 178.
Historian William Folwell commented that “it was natural that the white people of Minnesota should suspect that the infection would spread to the other Indian nations residing within the borders of the state.” Folwell, A History of Minnesota, 145. 56
constitutional rights.57 By their removal, the Winnebago were unfairly stripped of their land for which they were never properly reimbursed. From 1855 to 1863, while residing on their Blue Earth reservation, the Winnebago Indians proved themselves to be peaceful, productive, loyal, and undeserving of their punishment. The Winnebago did not, as evidence provides, include themselves in the events of the Sioux Uprising of 1862. Furthermore, on nearly every occasion, Indian agents spoke well of the Winnebago. They were praised for their ability to work, learn, and adopt a civilized manner of living. At no point did the Indian agents promote removal of the
In a court case in which the Winnebago sought to recover monies lost from their removal, they stated that the statute of February 21, 1863, â€œwas in violation of their personal and property rights . . . and that said Statute was a direct and open violation of the constitutional rights of plaintiffs.â€? Winnebago Indians, Winnebago Tribe of Indians, plaintiffs, vs. the United States of America, defendants no. M-421: petition of the Winnebago Tribe of Indians (filed 3rd day of December, 1931), Washington D.C., 23-24. 57
Winnebago nor did they advocate their harm. Rather, they sought that the Winnebago remain in Minnesota and boasted of a credible future for the tribe. However, on February 21, 1863, the necessary act was passed to effectively remove the Winnebago from the state of Minnesota58 Upon their removal there was much rejoicing in Mankato with cannons fired and flags raised.â€?59 The Winnebago lands were sold and on April 22, 1863, and the Winnebago were put aboard the Steamboat Davenport and transported from Mankato.60 Whether deserved or not, in 1863 the Winnebago Indians were permanently expelled from the state of Minnesota. The Sioux Uprising of 1862 gave reason to
Estabrook, The Winnebago Indians, 174.
Hughes, History of Blue Earth County, 139-140.
William E. Lass, The Removal from Minnesota of the Sioux and Winnebago Indians Minnesota History, vol. 38, no. 8, (December, 1963), 356. 60
suspect the Winnebago of violent behavior; however, the Winnebago remained peaceful and productive while living in Minnesota.61 Though the Winnebago were eventually expelled by a government act, ultimately, the government was not responsible for the displacement of the Winnebago. Rather, it was the public of Minnesota who continually fought and eventually won the expulsion of the Winnebago Indians. Had it not been for the constant pleas of exile, the Winnebago might have remained in Minnesota.62 But, the public envisioned no other option. They decided that they could not be “good neighbors” to the Winnebago and therefore pleaded with Congress to be in earnest for Indian Indian Agent Charles Mix reported in 1858 that “during the short time I have been with them, I have found them uniformly peaceable and inoffensive in their manners and conduct.” Mix’s report in 35 Congress, 2 session, Senate Executive Documents, no. 1, serial 974, p. 414. 61
James W. Taylor wrote, “henceforth, for generations, the stealthy figure of an Indian will be an embodiment of horror in Minnesota. Exile – Exile – EXILE, can be our only compromise in this matter.” Taylor, The Sioux War, 13. 62
removal.63 Ultimately, public convenience allowed for and persuaded the expulsion of the Winnebago Indians. The Sioux Uprising of 1862 merely acted as an excuse for the public to pressure the government to expel the Winnebago and then take their land.64 In no way did the Winnebago Indians provoke their expulsion. Instead, negative public sentiment eventually conquered the Winnebago and forced them beyond the borders of Minnesota forever.
At a meeting in Mankato the public resolved, â€œwe reaffirm with greater emphasis than ever before, our firm determination to secure the speedy removal of the Winnebagoes from the State . . . sincerely made as an act of justice warranted by the higher law of self-preservation.â€? The Mankato Weekly Record, January 10, 1863. 63
Danziger, The Crow Creek Experiment, 115. 29
Appendix Treaty with the Winnebago, 27 February 1855 Article 2 In consideration of the cessions aforesaid, and in full compensation therefor, the United States agree to pay to the said Indians, the sum of seventy thousand dollars ($70,000) and to grant them as a permanent home, a tract of land equal to eighteen miles square, on the Blue Earth River, in the Territory of Minnesota, which shall be selected and located by the agent of the Government and a delegation of the Winnebagoes, immediately after the ratification of this instrument, and after the such selection and location, shall be make in writing, to the superintendent of Indian affairs for the Territory of Minnesota, who shall attach his official signature to the selected shall be the permanent home of the said Indians; Provided, Said tract shall not approach nearer the Minnesota River than the mouth of the La Serrer fork of the Blue Earth River. Kappler, Charles J. Ed. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Vol. 2. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904. http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol2/treatie s/win0690.htm#mn4.
Winnebago Removal Act, 21 February 1863 CHAP. LIII â€“ An Act for the Removal of the Winnebago Indians, and for the Sale of their Reservation in Minnesota for their Benefit.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States is authorized to assign to and set apart for the Winnebago Indians a tract of unoccupied land beyond the limits of any State, in extent at least equal to their diminished reservation, the same to be well adapted for agricultural purposes. And it shall be lawful for the President to take such steps as he may deem proper to effect the peaceful and quiet removal of the said Indians from the State of Minnesota, and to settle them upon the lands which may be assigned to them under the provisions of this act. Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That upon the removal of the said Indians from the reservation where they now reside, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to cause each legal subdivision of the said lands to be appraised by discreet persons to be appointed by him for that purpose. And in each instance where there are improvements shall be separately appraised. But no portion of the said lands shall be subject to preemption, settlement, entry, or location under any act of Congress, unless the party preempting, settling upon, or locating any portion of said lands shall pay therefor the full appraised value thereof including the value of the said improvements, under such regulations as hereinafter provided. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That after the appraisal of the said reservation the same shall be opened to preemption, entry, and settlement in the same manner as other public lands: Provided, That before any person shall be entitled to enter any portion of the said lands, by preemption or otherwise, previous to their exposure to sale to the highest bidder, at public outcry, he shall become an actual bona fide settler thereon, and shall conform to all the 31
regulations now provided by law in cases of preemption, and shall pay, within the term of one year from the date of this settlement, the full appraised value of the laud, and the improvements thereon, to the land officers of the district where the said lands are situated. And the portion of the said reservation which may not be settled upon, as aforesaid, may be sold at public auction, as other public lands are sold, after which they shall be subject to sale at private entry, as other public lands of the United States, but no portion thereof shall be sold for a sum less than their appraised value before the first of January, Anno Domini eighteen hundred and sixty-five, nor for a less price than one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, unless otherwise provided by law: Provided, That where improvements have been made upon said lands by persons authorized by law to trade with said Indians, the value of such improvements, or the price for which the same may be sold, shall be paid to the parties making the same; and in case the land upon which such improvements shall have been made shall be purchased by the parties making the same, at the appraised value as aforesaid, the value of the improvements so made by him shall form no part of the purchase price to be paid for said land. Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the lands of said Indians which have been set apart for the payment of the debts of the said Indians, shall be sold on sealed bids for the best price the same will bring; but no bids shall be received for said lands until the first day of January, Anno Domini eighteen hundred and sixty-five, for less than two dollars and fifty cents per acre. Bids shall be received for tracts of quarter sections; and for such tracts conforming to the Government surveys less than one hundred and sixty acres as will secure the largest price for said lands, the Secretary is authorized to receive, in payment of said lands, 32
certificates of indebtedness of said Indians, issued by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the debts of said Indians, secured to be paid out of the sale of said lands by the third article of the treaty of the said Indians with the United States, concluded at Washington on the fifteenth day of April, eighteen hundred and fifty-nine. The money arising from the sale of their said lands, after paying the indebtedness required by said treaty to be paid, shall be paid into the treasury of the United States, and shall be expended as the same is received, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in necessary improvements upon their new reservation; and it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to allot to said Indians in severalty lands which they may respectively cultivate said improve, not exceeding eighty acres to each head of a family other than to the chiefs, to whom larger allotments may be made, which when so allotted, shall be vested in said Indian and his heirs, without the right of alienation, and shall be evidenced by patent. Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the money to be annually appropriated for the benefit of the said Indians shall be expended in such manner as will, in the judgment of the President, best advance the said Indians in agricultural and mechanical pursuits, and enable them to sustain themselves without the aid of the Government. And in such expenditure reasonable discrimination may be made in favor of the chiefs who shall be found faithful to the Government of the United States, and efficient in maintaining its authority and the peace of the Indians. Said Indians shall be subject to the laws of the United States, and to the criminal laws of the State or Territory in which they may happen to reside. They shall also be subject to such rules and regulations for their government as the secretary of the Interior may prescribe; but they shall be 33
deemed incapable of making any valid civil contract with any person other than a native member of their tribe without the consent of the President of the United States, The Secretary of the Interior shall also make reasonable provision for the education of said Indians, according to their capacity and the means at his command. APPROVED, February 21, 1863 The Minnesota Legal History Project. “The Winnebago and Sioux – Dakota Removal Acts (1863)” Accessed September 4, 2012. http://www.minnesotalegalhistoryproject.org/assets/ 1863%20Indian%20Removal%20Acts.pdf
Bibliography Unpublished Papers Stephen R. Riggs Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. St. Paul, Minnesota. Unpublished Federal Documents Winnebago Indians. “Winnebago Tribe of Indians, plaintiffs, vs. the United States of America, defendants.” No. M-421: petition of the Winnebago Tribe of Indians. 3 December 1931. Washington D.C. Senate Executive Documents. Report of Charles Mix in 36 Congress, 1 Session. No. 2. Senate Executive Documents. Report of Charles Mix in 35 Congress, 2 Session. No. 1, serial 974. Unpublished Works Estabrook, Joseph Theodore. “The Winnebago Indians, 1634 – 1863.” Master’s Thesis. April 1936. University of Minnesota. Published Federal Documents United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: Accompanying the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, for the year 1855. United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: Accompanying the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, for the year 1856. 35
United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: Accompanying the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, for the year 1860. United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: Accompanying the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, for the year 1861. United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: Accompanying the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, for the year 1862. Newspapers The Mankato Weekly Record St. Paul Free Press St. Paul Press Journals Danzinger, Edmund, Jr. “The Crow Creek Experiment: An Aftermath of the Sioux War of 1862.” North Dakota History. Vol. 37, No. 2, (Spring 1970). 105-123. Lass, William E. “The Removal from Minnesota of the Sioux and Winnebago Indians.” Minnesota History. Vol. 38, No. 8. (December 1963). Online Materials Kappler, Charles J. Ed. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Vol. 2. Washington: Government Printing Office, 36
1904. http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol2/treatie s/win0690.htm#mn4. The Minnesota Legal History Project. “The Winnebago and Sioux – Dakota Removal Acts (1863)” Accessed September 4, 2012. http://www.minnesotalegalhistoryproject.org/assets/ 1863%20Indian%20Removal%20Acts.pdf Books Buck, Daniel. Indian Outbreaks. Mankato: The Pioneer Press, 1904. Folwell, William Watts. A History of Minnesota. Vol. 2. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1924. Hughes, Thomas. History of Blue Earth County and Biographies of its Leading Citizens. Chicago: Middle West Publishing Company, 1901. Larson, Arthur J. ed. Crusader and Feminist: Letters of Jane Grey Swisshelm, 1858 – 1865. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1934. Minnesota in the Civil and Indians Wars, 1861 – 1865. 2nd edition. Vol. 2. St. Paul: The Pioneer Press, 1899. Riggs, Stephen R. Mary and I: Forty Years with the Sioux. Chicago: W.G. Holmes, 1880. Taylor, James W. The Sioux War: What Shall We do with it? The Sioux Indians: What Shall We do with Them? St. Paul: Office of the Press Printing Company, 1862. 37