TRIBAL COUNCIL MINUTES ON FLOWAGE PROPOSAL 1916 December, 9
Tribal Council Lac Courte Oreilles Indians
held at Reserve, Wisconsin December 9, 1916
This meeting was called to order by Superintendent McQuigg, who stated as there was no Agency Interpreter and he had no choice in the matter he would leave it to the Council to select their own interpreter. A motion was made by Mr. Mike Wolfe that Mr. Louis Dennis act as interpreter, which was seconded by Mr. Ira O. Isham and carried unanimously.
Superintendent McQuigg gave a talk, showing the ill effects from the use of liquor, especially to the women. He also spoke of the error and wastefulness of getting in debt and living beyond what they earned and explained the situation also that made it difficult to keep older Indians at the school.
Superintendent McQuigg: The next thing to speak of and the most important is the proposed dam and flowage project. This is something that needs your careful thought and consideration. The representative of this Development Company was into see me yesterday morning and I told him we were to have a meeting this evening but that I preferred that he not come as I would like the Indians to talk to me directly so that I could get true thoughts. I see he is here however. He will tell you himself about the plan which he has set down in writing.
Mr. McPherson: When I was here on Election Day, some men asked me if I would put what I said in writing for the right to use the tribal land. We will deed to the United States the Huss Townsite except that part now owned by the Presbyterian Church and some lots owned by white men. There are approximately 100 acres but about 10 acres we have not been able to get title too. (Mr. McPherson then explained paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the agreement executed at Grand Rapids, Michigan on December the 5th.
Superintendent McQuigg: I would like all the Indians to ask Mr. McPherson any questions that they wish to now, and after he has answered them I will request him to leave us for a few minutes so that we can talk this matter over ourselves.
Mr. Mike Buffalo: We do not think it is right to make Mr. McPherson go out side now as the Indians here will say anything to his face that we want to say. We are not afraid to tell him anything we want to.
Mr. Charles Sogay: You say that the dam is going to be built, but now you say we Indians have the right to stop it if we so desire.
Mr. McPherson: Do the Indians want me to go and leave the paper here.
Mr. Ira O. Isham: Why are not the people from Post here? None of the people from Post have come to this council. They were told but I do not know the reason. Several of these men have come quite a long ways so I think we had better go on and continue with the business. If you have anything to say I would speak out now as we have an interpreter.
Mr. Steve Grover: My friends, what I want to talk about is Indian business. One old man living, Alex Corbin, said he was with the surveyor and this reservation contains 6 townships and that he also said he had a book that said that and that he does not see why the ex-chiefs did not see to it and that now the way the reservation now is contains 3 townships and the white men got the rest of it. When he came to this reservation Smith, Risk and Company were logging here. It is up to Indians now. You full bloods, the land Mr. McPherson is after at the Post does not do us any good at all. That is the way I look into the matter. The Post people might have already disposed of their 80. Take this fall, no game can be killed any more. This is the way I look at it. If you want to do anything I am with you. We can not all go up there and farm so why could we not lease the tribal land and receive payment each year. No Indian could sell his allotment without the consent of the Council. Mike Wolfe told me it had been appealed. That is all I have to say.
Mike Wolfe: That law has been repealed some eight or nine years ago, so that the Indian may sell the allotment if he wants.
Mr. John Quarderers: About a week ago I was in Hayward and met old Anaquet and we had a long talk. He said several of the young Indians had let their 80 acres go and that I was now going to let mine go, but they would be sorry of it. That most all of us had had the benefit of our pine, and that tribal land ought to belong to our grandchildren. Lots of old men and women and children and they should have the biggest part of it. I do not approve of Mr. Groverís plan and that they should have the benefit that have no allotments. This is all I have to say, that I expect no benefit, as I have an allotment and believe in naming a figure and talk face to face with the representative.
Mr. Steve Grover: Do you believe what Mr. Quarderers has to say, donít we get more by leasing than by selling it outright.
Mr. John Henion: Mr. McPherson, Mr. Wolfe is one of our chiefs as well. You were right about it being 13 years ago. When you spoke about this matter 13 years ago why did you not speak about it to them. As when this flowage right passed Congress, says it is up to the head chiefs as to what will be done. Now all these Indians, we do not know about these people, the Post people, but these people assembled here. We say we do not want the dam built, as the white people have done as they pleased on this reservation.
Mr. McPherson: This act was not passed purposefully for this reservation, but for all reservations.
Mr. Peter Wolfe: I havenít much to say, as I will not say one way or the other. I leave it to the voice of the council.
Mr. Mike Wolfe: Since the North American Indian was discovered by explorers he has been pushed, little by little from his holdings. The white man asks first for lodging, he is given it. He asks for a little farm: he is given it also. He has been pushed further back and further back and finally placed on the reservation. He has signed papers and made promises only to have the white man break them. They have held councils before and the white men have not done what they said. That is the reason today you can not get these men to act. They are afraid this will be broken also. A few years ago the men sent here by the government to look after the Indians on this reservation were regular devils. They stole from the Indians every chance they got. They degraded our women, lied to the Indians and hurt them instead of helping them. The older generation was brought up different than I was. They lived in teepees and in the forest. I was born and raised in a little log cabin and have gone to school and have been employed by the government. My children will be brought up different from me, and their children will be brought different than them. When they are grown no reservation will exist but if we let these tribal lands go now, we will have more lands somewhere else.
Mr. Prosper Guibord: We can not farm on water. A person can see by looking at the map that about one fifth of our reservation is covered with water and that if this dam is to be put in nearly half of it will be covered with water. The Government tells us Indians that we all have to be farmers soon in order to make a living and how can we farm on water? If the people do not want this dam they have nothing to fear as we have the entire Indian Office of six thousand employees behind us and lots of friends.
Kekek: For my part I am not in favor of it. From Chief Lake to Post we got a good many mouthfuls of food and I think that we should not be quiet and talk now.
Mr. John King: I have been listening to your talks. The way I look at it you are going to lose your lands he offers you more land and the Company is making a good offer as they will buy more land and build more houses. Do not follow my advise but do as you like. As for my part I think it would be all right.
Superintendent McQuigg: I want to tell you a story. We will say here is a nice white pine log with a limb sticking up out of it. An Indian man is sitting on the near end of it and a white man comes and sits down by him. He moves closer to the Indian and the Indian moves further off. They do this until the Indian is up against the limb. The white man asks him to move further but the Indian cannot. This is what I want to illustrate. The place where the Indians was sitting first was Reserve and the white man came over this and cut off all the good timber on it. The limb is the tribal land at Post. If this limb is cut off it will give this Company the right to put in the dam and move the Indians around Reserve or some other place. This may be a good thing because the land around Reserve offers more farm land than that of the Post. I want all you Indians to know all the facts in this matter which would influence your decision and I want you to know that if you cut off the limb and remove the restrictions on the 99 acres of tribal land at the Post the Company can put in the dam. The Company can also condemn the allotted lands of each Indian who has land that will be covered by water. This land will probably be appraised by three persons as Mr. McPherson has suggested or by some other way and the Indian will have to take what is adjudged by these appraisers as a fair price, no matter whether each allottee wants to sell or not. What do you think this Company has come here for to put in this dam? They have come here and want tribal lands to make money. When they have the dam they can do with it as they please, but they are putting it in to make profits for themselves. This tribal property is necessary for them to put in this dam and I believe the Indians should be made partners in some manner so they will get their share of the profits of this natural resource. If they cannot get profits from year to year, the Company should give you enough to cover your lands and houses, rice fields, cranberry marshes, blueberry grounds and part of the profits which they will make. These tribal lands were given to these Indians and the Indian Office is now your friend and they will help you get everything it is worth as much as possible for you Ė if you decide to let the dam be put in
Mr. Billie Boy: We Indians know we have moved from Chetek on account of them, which spoiled our rice. We then moved to Red Cedar. Another dam was built and spoiled our rice. We then moved to Little Chetac, about ten miles from here. Another dam was build and spoiled our rice. I think we had better wait until the Post Indians are here to see what they have to say.
Mr. F.C. Setter: I do not see what damage this dam is going to do a majority of the Indians. White people are coming in and they are improving the country and I do not believe we need to fear but what we will get justice now. In the old days Farmers and Employees here were put here by politicians and they tried to make as much as they could. The Indians Service is not like that now and they canít be dishonest if they want to be now.
Superintendent McQuigg: I will not allow a vote to be taken on this proposition now as there are no Post Indians here. The Post Indians are the Indians most affected by this dam and they will have to be taken care of first. They are the ones most concerned in it, but we will have another council.
Mr. Mike Wolfe: Where do you stand, Mr. McQuigg, in regard to putting in this dam? It seems like some of the Indians think there may be some underhand work in this matter and we want to know that you mean to stand by the Indians.
Superintendent McQuigg: Certainly, I intend to do all I can for them and if the Indians decide not to put it in I will fight against it as much as I can, or as long as I hold my position here.
Mr. Mike Wolfe: Mr. McPherson what would you be willing to give in cold cash for the 99 acres without any of the other things you have mentioned?
Mr. McPherson: I am willing to give $25,000 if I do not need to do any of the other things of which I spoke. The Huss township will cost us $6,000 and we will have to build many homes for the Indians as well as moving all their graves.
It was decided to hold the next council at Reserve at 10 oíclock A.M. on December 30th. The meeting was then adjourned.