Chippewa Flowage Lake Association

History Documentation:

REPORT ON PUBLIC HEARING ON THE  FLOWAGE RIGHTS 1921 May, 17

  REPORT OF THE PUBIC HEARING HELD AT THE LAC COURTE OREILLES INDIAN RESERVATION, RESERVE, WISCONSIN, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 1921; BEFORE MAJOR E.H. MARK, CORP OF ENGINEERS, TO CONSIDER THE MATTERS EFFECTING INDIAN TRIBAL LANDS IN CONNECTION WITH THE APPLICATION OF WISCONSIN-MINNESOTA LIGHT & POWER COMPANY TO THE FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION FOR A LICENSE TO CONSTRUCT A RESERVOIR ON THE CHIPPEWA RIVER…

  Mr. E. W. Winton, attorney for the Indians: “I wish to state as one of the attorneys for the Indians that the Indians themselves have headmen and speakers who wish to speak for themselves and make objection to this dam project, and that therefore we will allow these headmen and speakers to make their own talks.”

Witnesses called and examined by E.W. Winton:
 

1. OPPOSITION TO FLOODING TRIBAL OWNED LANDS:

William Wolf:
  Q. What do members of the Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation emphasis regarding the dam project which is at present in the Company’s mind?

  A. “The sentiment of the Band is against the extending of flowage rights on our reservation. Why do we need to put underwater the sacred bones of our honorable forefathers? Is it right? The prayer and desire of this Band is to be in the same bosom that shields the remains of their fathers, when the time comes. This has been the home of the Chippewa from time immemorial and at present there are many Indians in this village. Those that are absent are not visiting, but lie beneath the sod, which we claim is our home. We have in this village one of the beautiful spots in the reservation and the land is covered by large tracts of pines, which someday the children of the present generation will enjoy…”

(Chief Peter Wolf and Charles Oshogay testified they did not want the dam.)

John King #1:
  A. “I was here when they returned from Washington, the chiefs, George Warren, the interpreter, and one chief named Beg-wah-ish, who’s English name was the ‘Old Man.’ When they returned from Washington at the time the reservation was laid out from this Band, I heard what all the chiefs had to say of their trip to Washington, and the setting off of this Reservation at that time… The interpreter, George Warren, instructed the chiefs, telling them, ‘Now understand the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation has been set aside for the sole use of the full-blood Indians.’ He further told the chiefs, ‘You have a number of mixed-bloods married to your daughters and of course we can not very well deny to them the privileges of living with you, but you have the authority and the right, if you choose to exercise it, to have any white man or mixed-blood ordered away from your reservation.’ Some of the Indians being curious to understand why or how it is that the timber was being cut asked George Warren. It was then that George Warren told me how it was that the timber was being cut. All the loggers on the Chippewa River had united and worked together in getting one certain Senator. They spent a lot of money buying votes to elect this certain Senator. The finally got him elected and it was after he got elected that he then proceeded to the City of Washington. He went down to Washington City and told the Commissioner and other that the Indians had too much land, when you take the number of Indians in this Band. Now, after taking into consideration what the white man has already done to me and my people… he comes here and wants to place a dam upon our reservation and flood us out. This is the reason I do not want a dam.”

Peter Cloud:
  A. “Please take notice of the number of the Indians here, men, women and children. I, for one, speaking for myself, I would say that I do not want to do anything to interfere with what my forefathers have done – for instance – selling any part of this reservation. I would choose to save it and keep it intact for the future, for the future generations, my children and my grandchildren. We get a great deal from these waters and lands that is about to be flooded. It is there that we do considerable hunting, which is a big part of our living. For the sake of the coming generations and for their use I wish to repeat once more that I don’t want a dam to be built and our lands flooded. That is all.”
 

2. INDIAN GRAVES

John Frog:
A. “Understanding the white man as I do, I understand him to business strictly along the lines of the law, He has protected and protects himself with law in every step he takes, I am not going to attempt to tell the things that took place many years ago – something that I do not know anything about, as I understand it such testimony is not required at this court. I am fifty years of age. I can remember back 35 years and know all that took place during that 35 years in Pa-kwa-wang and in that immediate vicinity. There are a number of Indians buried at the village, near the river, on the lands that will be flooded by the dam; all the Indians living at Pa-kwa-wang and in that vicinity have relatives buried there. I have relatives buried there and many other Indians on this Reservation have relatives buried here.”

(Major Marks): “Does the witness refer to any particular graveyard tract?”
A. “I am speaking of the graveyard on tribal lands, and there are also graves outside the tribal lands, that will be in the flooded area, and that is why I object to this dam.”

(Major Marks): “How many grave tracks are located on tribal lands?”
A. “Two tracts, or cemeteries, that I know of on tribal lands in question.”

(Major Marks): “Where are they located?”
A. “One is right near the river, or on the river banks, in the village of Pa-kwa-wang, and there is another cemetery also located on the river bank, near the river, on the banks of said land.”

(Major Marks): “Can you locate distinctly, with reference to any other well known point, such as a bend in the river, lake, church or anything?”
A. “About 40 rods south of the Methodist Church, that has been moved from the village by Mr. McPherson, is one of the tracts that you refer to. I can take you down there and point them out to your.”

(Superintendent Craige): “Do you know of any other cemeteries out there on tribal lands in the village of The Post?”
A. “Lot 2, right on the river.”

(Superintendent Craige): “At the Post?”
A. “Yes there is one there, a Catholic Cemetery. About one or two miles up the river from the village of Pa-kwa-wang, where the tribal land is located, is one of the old settlements of our forefathers; and there is one more of the Indian cemeteries at the mouth of the Chief River, where it empties into the Chippewa River.”

(Mr. Winton): “The witness pointing at the map, indicates that one of the tribal graveyards lies on the south side of the Chief River in the SE¼ of Lot 2, Section 20, Township 40 North, Range 6 West. He also indicates a tribal graveyard laying north of the Chippewa River Upon Lot 3, Section 20, Township 40 North, Range 6 West.”

Mr. R.C. Craig, Indian Superintendent: (Testifying as to the location of the graveyards.)
(Mr. Winton): “Mr. Craige, What do you know of the graveyards laying on this map? Where are they?”
A. “The graveyard is located at Lot 2, Section 32, Township 40 North, Range 6 West, and as nearly as I can determine from the map. It lies about 100 yards north of the section line.”

(Major Marks): “Does the map indicate that this graveyard will be overflowed?”
A. “It does.”

(Mr. Winton): “From your knowledge of what are tribal lands and what are not, does that lie within the tribal lands at The Post?”
A. “It does.”

John King #2
A. “Ladies and Gentlemen, and you Mr. Chairman, and all the people present, including the whites. I wish to state that I am about to tell you what I think of this dam proposition. You are all speaking of Mr. McPherson, having come here so many times asking the consent of you Indians for to build a dam on your reservation. I have lived upon this reservation a number of years, in fact I have grown old living here all my life, I am with these people that are opposed to having a dam upon this reservation. I object for the very same reason they object. We are using the land and receive benefits from it in different ways. On different occasions I am called upon by the Band to do their speaking for them. I do not want a dam on this reservation. My reason for the opposing of the building of the dam are this: first, the anguish it will cause the people by the flooding of the graves of their dead; second, for the rice that will be destroyed in the river bed wherein we make rice. Once a year, as is customary with our tribe, I go and visit the graves of my dead and there I place eatables and other things, and I strongly object to anything being done to disturb these bodies of my dead relatives. The graves are scattered along the river banks, on both sides of the river: a great many of those that are buried along the river bottoms are relatives of mine. That is why I object to the dam. A great many of the graves that I refer to have no visible signs of a grave, or the signs of having been destroyed and there is nothing to show just where these grave are along the river. Over the graves of some of our dead have grown large trees. I do not want the graves of our dead flooded.”

Mr. Winton: “I wish now, for the purpose of this record, to call upon people now living who have relatives buried in different tribal graveyards. These graveyards which are located on tribal lands.”

Anne De Nashe:
(Mr. Winton): Q. “Mrs. De Nashe, tell us what relatives you have that are buried on tribal lands in tribal graveyards?”

A. “My mother and father, three uncles, my grandfather, one aunt, my grandmother, a niece, two cousins, and my brother. I have told you all I can think of.”

(Joe Martel, Dick Potack, Indian Jim James, Michael Nikentz, Onequit Bluesky, Mrs. Alec Slater, Alec Slater, Jim Bennet, Mrs. Julia Whitefeather Ford, Mrs. John DeNashe, John Moustache, Mrs. Anne Whitefeather Thomas, Mrs. Sam Coon, and Mrs. Thomas Bracklin all testified that they have relatives, buried in the different tribal graveyards.)

3. WILD RICE

(Mr. Winton): “We intend next to take up the rice proposition. I will call on Mr. Jim Crow to speak on the value of the rice privileges.”

Jim Crow: (Speaking on the value of rice privileges)
(Mr. Winton): Q: “I want a general talk on the value of the rice to the Indians.”

A. “I have made rice from one year to another. With an ordinary crop I harvest as many as 24 sacks. The sack I refer to are the 49 pound flour sacks, commonly known as quarter-sacks. The rice is sufficient to keep my family from one rice season to another.”

(Mr. Winton): Q: “How many are in your family?”

A. “Five in my family.”

(Major Marks): Q: “How many ricing seasons in a year?”

A. “Once in the month of August.”

(Mr. McPherson): Q: “Where do they gather rice?”

A. “I generally go to the place known as the rice fields.”

(Mr. McPherson): Q: “Where at?”

A. “Rice Lake”

(Mr. McPherson): Q: “Which Rice Lake? This country is full of Rice Lakes.”

A. “Little Rice Lake, near Shell Lake. I go to different places making rice.”

(Mr. Winton): “Give us a general talk on the value of the rice to the Indians, how they use it to live all year. Then we will ask particular questions after awhile.”

A. “I know quite a number of Indians, particularly those at Pa-kwa-wang and those at Round Lake and other Indians that make rice each year. The Indians use the rice as a food. They all use it for food for their own use. We had some rice here today for dinner, that is what they use it for; and that is one reason, that the Indians of object to having a dam placed where they propose to place it, because the flowage of the river with damage the rice.”

(Major Marks): “Does the rice gathered in August usually last until the next year?”

A. “Yes, sir as a rule it lasts until the following season.”

(Major Marks): “Do you use it every day?”

A. “If my wife cooks it up for me, I eat it every time she cooks it, most every day, As people eat bread and use it for food, we use rice.”

(Major Marks): “Do you have any meals consisting solely of rice?”

A. “Looking back to my early childhood days, I well remember at that time, that most of the time we had nothing else to live on but rice and salt.”

(Major Marks): “At the present day, what part of your food is made up of rice?”

A. “Now, I could not say that is rice alone because I eat bread with my rice.”

(Mr. Traylor): “Can he portion it? One-half? One-quarter?”

A. “Our eatables at home consist of bread, pork, pork grease, and rice. That is, ever since I have been able to work out and earn money to purchase these articles.”

(Mr. Winton): “Do you sometimes have deer, Jim?”

A. “I often trade rice for pork, and I have venison now and again, I trade rice for venison, and kill a deer on occasion.”

(Major Marks): “Do you have fish?”

A. “Yes, sir, when I can catch any.”

(Mr. Winton): “Do you trade rice for other things, besides those you have named?”

A. “I some times sell rice, I have been getting 50 cents a pound for the rice I have sold lately.”

(Major Mark): “In what depth of water does rice grow?”

A. “The rice grows best in about four feet of water.”

Indian Jim James:
A. “In speaking of rice, I am going to confine myself to the rice I make at my home on the Chippewa River. I am not going to speak of rice I made outside. I usually make my rice there. My allotment runs across a little lake, in that lake are two or three feet of water and it is there that I gather my rice. When I have good crop of rice there I have as much as 10 small sacks, 49-pound flour sack. Some years there is a failure in the rice crop and then I gather very little rice. I find that the rice is a very good nourishing food. It seems to be very agreeable to my children and grandchildren – my wife likes it. I would like to see my children and grandchildren, and other people, neighbors, enjoy the privileges that I had in gathering the rice, in the future. From the very place I get rice from my allotment, I get fish there. If this man puts in the dam he speaks of and raises a big head as he claims he is going to raise, he is going to flood out my rice beds and my fishing pond, and my children and grandchildren are going to go hungry. I have probably told you all that you want me to tell, but I do want to go on record as opposing the flooding of my property.”

(Mr. Winton): “Do you gather rice along the Chippewa River?”

A. “Yes, sir. Quite often, all the time.”

(Mr. Winton): “Is that inside of the Reservation?”

A. “Yes, sir.”

Cross Examination of Indian Jim James by Mr. McPherson

(Mr. McPherson): “Where abouts is it?”

A. “Beginning at the point of the creek that empties out of Pokegama Lake and going down the stream of the Chippewa River and up the stream of the Chippewa River. I made rice from both points. The Pokegama lake is quite long and the shore of that lake is covered with rice and on my allotment that runs across one end of Pokegama Lake, I have gathered as many as 80 bushels of cranberries.”

(Mr. McPherson): “In one season?”

A. “Just in one fall. I took at one time, nearly 100 bushels of cranberries, to Winter, and sold them.”

(Mr. McPherson): “At what other places within the reservation do they gather rice?”

A. “The Indians gather along the whole length and breadth of the Chippewa River, up its very tributary waters.”

(Mr. McPherson): “Do some of the Indians gather rice in the Pokegama Lake?”

A. “Yes there are quite a number of people making rice in that lake. The shores of that lake are well lined with rice.”
 

(Mr. McPherson): “And that lake lies within the reservation?”

A. “Yes, sir.”

(Mr. Winton): “In gathering rice every season have you been in the habit of weighing it?”

A. “Yes, sir. I do.”

(Mr. Winton): “Now will you kindly describe the various kinds of rice made by the Indians and the different weights of the rice?”

A. “There are three kinds of rice, or grades. The Indian first ties the rice in the straw. After it has been tied for about 10 days, then he unties it and knocks the rice off and then he smokes it in the straw. That is the heaviest of all rices made in that way. Another rice made very much the same way, only in the finish, which instead of smoking, is kind of burnt out, scorched out. That came next in weight. The lightest rice made by the Indians is that which is knocked off with poles, right off the straw into the boat, from off the stems. We take and scorch that and then a man gets in there with a clean pair of moccasins and a wooden paddle and jumps on it until he gets the shucks all worked off the rice. Threshing.”

(Mr. Winton): “Now, how much does one of those flour sacks weigh when it has this heaviest rice in it?”

A. “Eighty pounds. I filled one of those sacks, sewed it up and found it to weigh eight pounds with the heaviest rice.”

(Mr. Winton): “Now, how much does the second heaviest rice weigh, in one of these flour sacks?”

A. “Fifty-five pounds.”

(Mr. Winton): “Well I want to know how many sacks you usually get inside the reservation, so I can have it in figures?”

A. “I usually get about 12 sacks of rice on reservation, one year to another.”

(Mr. Winton): “I will ask you is that about the average of what you get a season?”

A. “Yes.”

(Mr. McPherson): “Rice does not grow every year does it Jim?”

A. “It grows every year the flood does not bother it.”

(Mr. McPherson): “Frost get it sometimes?”

A. “No, frost does not. In low water rice grows every year. There are big crops every year we do not get a flood.”

Re-examination of Jim Bennet by Mr. Winton.

(Mr. Winton): “Is it true Jim, that when you have a flood or any sudden rise in water that it does destroy the rice?”

A. “If the floods come before the wild rice crop is ripe, immature. It is very tender at that time, the roots are tender, and there is a sudden rise in water, it pulls out the rice straws from the bottom or else after the flood goes down it is so weak that it falls over. Any disturbance of high water on the rice at certain periods when it is tender, before it is ripe, has usually the effect of either the roots pulling loose or the rice falling over.”

(Mr. Winton): “How deep is the water where rice grows?”

A. “In two, or two and a half feet of water it grow best.”

(Mr. Winton): “Would rice grow where the water is ten or twelve feet deep?”

A. “You could never raise rice in ten feet of water.”

(Mr. Winton): “I want to ask Mr. McPherson a question. How high will the water be on the Chief River?”

A. Mr. McPherson: “It will be more than 20 feet, you will not grow any rice in it.”

(Major Marks): “Do the Indians on this reservation make any general practice of sowing rice?”

A. “Yes, it is a general practice of the Indians.”

Major Marks: “I am going to call an adjournment of the hearing until 9:30 tomorrow morning.”

Re-examination of Jim Bennet, continued:

(Mr. Winton): “The last question asked you yesterday was whether the Indians grow rice?”

A. “I did say the Indians would and could plant rice and transplant rice but I wish to be understood thoroughly on this point, that rice will not grow everywhere… In the past, in different instances in the past, the Indians have planted rice at certain places and found that it did not grow, or in other words, there was a failure because of conditions. The conditions are these: unless the bottom, wherein this rice is to be planted has a certain sort of muck, why the rice will not grow. It requires just a certain sort of muck and the conditions must be just so or otherwise the rice will not grow. They have had failures in re-planting wild rice owing to the fact that they did not have the right conditions; the soil and the muck are not all it ought to be and consequently the rice did not grow. I have planted the rice myself and failed, and have know others to do so.”

(Mr. Winton): “Would you say, Jim, that the Indians now have rice growing upon all the lakes and rivers within the reservation where rice will grow at all?”

(Frank Thayer): “I will ask him if he knows of any other grounds upon all the lakes and rivers within the reservation, where rice will grow. He did not understand your question, that way.”

A. “No.” (knows of no other place on the reservation where rice may be grown.)…

Onequit  Bluesky (in regard to rice within the reservation):

(Mr. Winton): “Onequit, of all the rice gathered by you, how much was in the reservation and how much outside of the reservation?”

A. “When rice grows fairly good, I gather all on my allotment and I get about 15 sacks in one season, referring to 50-pound flour sacks.”…

(Mr. Winton): “Computations from the figures stipulated above by the attorneys shows that these 17 pairs of Indians, whose names appear above gather in all, in one season, 11,220 pounds of rice. It is admitted by Mr. McPherson for the purpose of computation that at least half of this rice is gathered within the boundaries of the reservation, or 5,610 pounds. The attorneys, however submit that the evidence in the record shows that a much larger percentage than one-half of its rice is gathered by these 17 pairs of Indians within the boundaries of the reservation.”…

(Mr. Winton): “It is hereby stipulated by Charles McPherson, attorney for the Power Company, and E. W. Winton and Arthur LeSueur, attorney for the Chippewa Indians, that 30 pair of Indians, on an average, year in and year out, gather rice upon the territory described this morning, upon the Chief River and surrounding territories laying outside the reservation; and that the same figures agreed upon this morning as to the number of pounds of rice in each of the sacks, shall also be taken for the purpose of computation; and that the number of sacks per pair of Indians.  It is also stipulated that a fair market value for said rice is three pounds to the dollar. Or 33 and ½ cents per pound. From computation the number of pounds of rice on an average gathered upon said territory lying outside the reservation boundaries, is 19,800 pounds and the number of pounds gathered within the boundaries of the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is 5,610 pounds. Making a total of 25,410 pounds; the fair value of which, at the stipulated price, being $8,470.00 per season; and that the fair price for the value of the rice gotten within the Reservation alone is $1,870.00.”

4. FISHING

George James (On the subject of fishing, in English):

(Mr. Winton): “Is George James here?”

A. “Yes.”

(Mr. Winton): “You testified this morning that you live at the Post, that you run a summer resort there, up and down these rivers and lakes in boats. Do you act as guide for these people in showing them the best fishing waters, within and without the reservation?”

A. “Yes.”

(Mr. Winton): “Can you make a general statement as to the quality of the fishing in the lakes and waters inside of the reservation, if any will be flooded by the dam project?”

A. “Yes, sir, I can tell you something about that. Beginning from a point three and a half miles down the river from Pa-kwa-wang, then going up the Chippewa River to a point where the Chief River empties, into the Chippewa River, and then ascending said Chief River to the point of the outlet of Chief Lake – all this territory or streams that I have here mentioned is considered good fishing for muskellunge, pike (walleye) and bass. The waters and rivers have more or less rice on their banks and it is into these rice stalks, or rushes that these fish seem to make their home. There are small channels in places in the middle of the stream between these rice beds and it is there through these narrow channels in these rivers that I take fishermen, and they fish out of the boat, and catch fish from these rice beds where the fish generally stay.”

(Mr. Winton): “Do people at the Post depend upon the fish largely for their food?”

A. “Yes, they depend largely upon fish. When they want fish they go down to the river and catch as many of them as they want for their immediate supply.”

Louis J. Corbine:
(Mr. Winton): “I am going to ask you Louis, to make a few remarks on the rising of the water – how it will effect the shoreline and the fishing?”

A. “By raising the water on the Chief River and also on the Chippewa River it will make it very bad for fishing, because this here shore line will be full of snags, trees and brush, where no man can go to fish. If he does come in such a place he loses all his fishing tackle and this shore line is all together spoilt. About hunting or camping, we can go right alone there on these banks, to hunt deer in the night, fire hunting. We can almost catch them without a rifle, but if it is flooded it seems to me – I don’t think we can hear them. We can’t go there to hunt. That is all I have to say.”

5. TRAPPING

Aleck Rousseau:

(Mr. Winton): “Do you do quite a little hunting?”

A. “Well, I do hunt a little and trap. Trapping is my trade.”

(Mr. Winton): “You tell us what part of the reservation is the best for hunting and trapping.”

A. “I consider the Chief River one of the best rivers on or by the Reservation for trapping purposes. One of the reasons I think it is the best is there is considerable rice there, and the muskrats make their homes among the rice fields. In case that this ‘Old Man’ here should flood these waters as he wants to do, where is the muskrat going to go? One of the reasons I am so strongly object to the dam going in or about the Reservation and flooding the land of our Reservation and the Village is this: That our forefathers reserved this Reservation that we, the Indians, their children, may fish, hunt and trap upon these reservation tracts for our benefit. It was reserved not for the benefit of the white man. We were never given to understand that any white man was to come years later, flood our waters streams and lakes and interfere with our trapping and hunting. Now in the case of these river and waters that we have been talking about are flooded, the deer will not be able to come to the river banks that they now approach which is there feeding grounds, because the fact of the shore line of these rivers will be removed by the high waters. And it will also interfere with the fishing. We will not be able to catch any fish where we are now catching them. It is also going to interfere with our camp grounds. We know have camping grounds in places where we can approach the river and there camp out. When that part of the country is flooded it is going to remove the shore lines and interfere with our camping grounds. I haven’t much more to say, very little more. One of the reasons I do so strongly oppose the flooding of the land is this: the United States Government guaranteed to my forefathers that we Indians would never be interfered with by white men in anyway, shape or form; that we would be protected by the Government. And the ‘Old Man’ (Mr. McPherson) that is so solicitous for himself and white people, so anxious, shows such greed in wanting to hold our lands – I feel that he is a menace and is interfering in our liberties and privileges that we are enjoying. I feel that it is to our interest for us to protect our rights in the land in so far as the impoundment of the water is going to interfere with our hunting, fishing, etc. We did agree to let the white man drive his logs through these streams. That is all I have to say in reference to the hunting and the fishing.”
  “Now, I would like to dwell some upon the graves, the remains of our dead forefathers. I have a number of relatives buried in the vicinity and that part of the reservation that will be flooded by the dam. On both sides of the Chippewa, going up the river from Pa-kwa-wang, are the remains of my dead relatives, scattered along both sides of the banks of that river. It would be hard for any of us now present to say when the Chippewa Indians first settled that territory that we are now talking about. It is many, many years ago. There is none of us here present that is old enough to say just when our forefathers took possession of this part of the country for their future homes. That is all I will say in reference to the dead, the remains of our forefathers…”

6. GENERAL PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE POST WAS SET ASIDE AND THE GENERAL ARGUMENT AND REASONS AGAINST FLOODING.

Frank Thayer (Speaking for Dick Potack):

  On account of the age of Dick Potack, Mr. Frank Thayer acted as speaker for him. Dick Potack is one of the speakers of the Band, recognized by the Band as one of its speakers. Upon being called upon, he said that he was too feeble to speak and called upon Frank Thayer to make his talk for him. Mr. Thayer spoke in English…

A. “Well now in regards to the question at the village at Post, I will say this: my people, that is my forefathers has set that part of the Reservation aside for the purpose of us Indians to live on and to use it for the purposes we use it today. So that is where we are living and using it for those purposes we are supposed to be using it for, and I think that the people here and other people cannot dispute the fact that it is a good place and a beautiful place to live, and not only myself, but all my people who come here say that we are occupying it and using it as our home.”
  “Not only that, we use it for other purposes, such as fishing and hunting. The Chippewa River flows along here and in these waters we catch all kinds of fish, whenever we need any fish. It is there in this river and lakes surrounding that we go and catch our fish. That is part of our living, and not only fish, but other game that comes there, now, such as ducks in a certain time of the year.  They come here to feed on the rice beds, and of course that means a living to us as well. The ducks that we catch we use for our living.”
  “And furthermore that is not all the game. Then comes our deer, now in season, that is the summer season, we go there often from our part of the reservation (Post) to do this hunting for deer. Many of them go from here (Reserve), and go get this game and of course, the same for us (at the Post), they are using these waters to find this game, and it is for that reason that all of us here object to having to having this proposed dam built there. It will destroy such grounds by the rivers and lakes in connection with this river. It will spoil all our privileges, because the game that goes there in these and in these waters, feed there because there is a certain kind of food each animal feeds on – that is why they go there and feed in these waters. And of course when that dam is built and raises this water, the shorelines now, where they are will be destroyed and new ones will be made way up into the brush and woods. And such hunting will be totally destroyed for us because we cannot go in there with our canoes to kill this game. We can’t get to them; so that is one point. And of course, on the other questions, such as the rice that now grows on these lakes and on these rivers, which is a good part of our living, they will also be destroyed on account of being overflowed. And now in regard again, as to why the Indians reject having this dam there, it is on account of our dead, who have been buried along the banks of the Chippewa River and are still on tribal land now in question. There are a great many dead who have been buried there on these tribal lands, not only right there at the Post, but other lands up the river from the Post.”

  At this point John Gosling requested to be heard.

John Gosling:

  “In regard to the question that comes up before this hearing on the setting aside the tribal lands on the reservation, why did they reserve this tract of land?  In my opinion and with my knowledge of the Reservation the sovereign power was vested in that tract of land which will govern the Indians residing on the land. The powers were so invested in the land and on the Reservation that there is no State jurisdiction on such land in this Reservation; no law can have any effect upon it as to those Indians residing on it; and the only way an Indian can break up his Reservation is to give his consent that the Reservation be torn down and gotten rid of in anyway they wish; otherwise if they want to hold it together and to have it to there benefit as a Reservation as long as an Indian exists, they can have it as such, provided they want it that way. Now that tribal land is a tract of land which the title is determined the same as any foreign country, foreign power, because there is a tribe of Indians resides on that tract of land and they have sole power. They can have a Government of their own; if they wish to govern themselves, the power is invested in such a way, that they can have it, but there is not enough education among the people to keep it such. They do not realize there is such a power invested in them. Now, I do not know why there is this project, dam project, coming in, but I have a tract of land and village rights, that I myself oppose to have them flooded. If I have the right to oppose it, I strictly refuse to have it flooded, but at the last council they told us that if we don’t give our consent to the representative of Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company that they will come here and build the dam anyway without our consent…”

7. ORAL ARGUMENTS BY ARTHUR LESUEUR

(Arthur LeSueur): “I wish to state that Mr. E.W. Winton and myself desire to thank Major Marks for the extreme courtesy and patients exhibited here in this hearing; Mr. Winton and myself were appointed at the General Council of March 15, 1921, for the purpose of opposing the erection of the dam in the purposed project; what the evidence offered here with reference to wild rice, hunting and fishing privileges is offered primarily and in the main for the purpose of the purpose of connecting these privileges with the treaties referred to in the written objections filed; and the proof of the value of such privileges are there not for the purpose of fixing a money value but emphasizing the points of objection to the erection of the dam. The treaties referred to are public treaties, subject to general notice, and the presiding officer and Federal Power Commission are requested to take official notice thereof. It is recognized that the treaties involved are equal authority only with Acts of Congress, but we are contending in this connection, that no act of Congress has abrogated any of said treaties. We contend that the treaties referred to are still in force, and effective for all purposes, as our construction of the law is that in Acts of Congress treaties which are of equal authority, cannot be abrogated or nullified by mere implication, that the nullifying of these treaties must be done by direct intent, through an Act of Congress; that the Federal Water Power Act under which these proceedings are held expressly prohibited any implication of repel of any of these treaties by the virtue of the provisions reserving Indian reservations, which are contained in paragraph (d) of Section 4 of said Act. That therefore these treaties are at the day hereof law, governing the rights of Indians, in these matters to the same extent as though the Water Power Act had not been passed. In other words, the Water Power Act cancel none of the rights of the Indians on this reservation; that the authority of the Federal Power Commission in a case of this kind where the Indians refused their consent to the use of their tribal lands, for water power purposes is limited to finding that the use of water power purposes will destroy the use of said land for the purposes of which they have been legally reserved, and the Power Commission and Secretary of the Interior have no jurisdiction to proceed further when that fact is established without the consent of the tribal owners of the lands involved.”
  “We are contending further that the Treaty of 1837 granted privileges of hunting, fishing and gathering wild rice, not only upon the lands involved in this hearing but upon all the lands cited in the treaty, a portion of which are lands involved in this hearing. That the flooding of the East and West Forks of the Chief River, Chief Lake and Blueberry Creek, in which the rice patches are located outside boundaries of the Reservation, are at this time a violation of these privileges, based upon privileges granted in that treaty and upon the law with reference to navigable waters. It has been shown in this hearing that the Indians proceeded from the mouth of the Chief River to the rice beds in all of these streams. The fact that these streams are not meandered is not conclusive of the want of navigability of the waters and the bare fact that Indians travel these waters with their boats establishes the fact of their navigability. Therefore, private owners, or Indians owning allotments cannot claim riparian rights to the centers of these waters, but only to the high water mark. Therefore the tribe has the right to continue the exercise of its privilege in these tributary streams outside of the tribal lands involved in this hearing. These rights and privileges will be destroyed by the flooding of these waters outside the boundaries of the Reservation.”
  “We contend further that the Treaty of October 4th, 1842, conferred the right of hunting on said territory, with the other usual privileges of occupancy and again confirms the rights conferred in the Treaty of 1837, and does not abrogate the wild rice privilege, because that is one of the privileges of occupancy.”
  “We contend further with regards to the Treaty of 1854, made on the 30th day of September in that year, that this also, with the privileges reserved to the Indians therein, confirms previous privileges in the two prior treaties and does not abrogate them. To be more specific, in the language of Article 2 of the Treaty, “The United States agrees to set apart and withhold from sale for the use of the Chippewa of Lake Superior, the following described land tracts.” Now the Treaty does not describe that but provides in terms that these three certain townships are to afterwards selected, which was done under the provisions of the Treaty. And then Article 11 of the same Treaty, “and the said Indians shall not be required to remove from the homes hereby set apart them. And such of them as reside in the hereby ceded shall have the right to hunt, fish, therein until otherwise ordered by the President.” That is a clause that is down in all three of these treaties.  So far as I have been able to discover, the President of the United States has never his authority or in any way interfered with these privileges established until this date. Until he does so, any interference with these privileges establishes a clear and distinct violation of the privileges conferred in these three treaties. It maybe that he will never interfere with these privileges and under the authority of these treaties no one but the President has the right to do so. The Power Commission has no jurisdiction to say that these Indians shall be required to remove from this territory by confirming the rights of the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light & Power Company to flood their lands. There is absolutely no question to the fact which are shown in this case, of the purpose for which this Reservation was set aside. It has been agreed to by the Indians, it has been agreed to by the Government of the United States that they should have these lands for the purpose of establishing homes, and in the most solemn of languages the Government of the United States has said that they should not be required to remove from there. Under these circumstances, it appears to us that the Federal Power Commission has but one course to pursue and that course will not require the fixing of amounts of damages which the Indians are entitled to or require them to remove, for the Power Commission has no authority under the laws as they exist at this time to order the removal, or to permit conditions under their granting of license, which will compel the Indians to remove from their homes.”
  “One of the facts we would like to emphasis is the fact that no evidence has been offered in any form in this case which would shed any light what ever upon the value of the tribal lands at The Post. The Indians have not done so; we on their behalf, have thought it not necessary to do so; no one else has offered any competent testimony on that subject. We have thought it not necessary to do so because we believe the law does not allow the removal of the Indians without their consent. If, on the other hand, we should be mistaken about that and the Power Commission shall hold against our opinions as to the law and that situation, we shall call attention to the lack of competent evidence on the subject, and to emphasize the fact that the Indians as well as the white man has rights to his property.”
  “One point is the specific number of Indians on the tribal lands at The Post is not all conclusive of the importance of The Post as a center of their social and business activities; and the number of Indians surrounding and contiguous to The Post who use it as a headquarters, and a village center is important in determining the values of the Village property and land to be flooded.”
  “One other point that requires emphasis is the fact that out of the entire reservation the Indians themselves have selected the place of their chief village. There is no proof that any other suitable site within the reservation can be substituted for this village. There are things which can never be duplicated in any other place. The fact of the existence of their burial grounds, covering considerable portions of both banks of the river, and the many graves which will not be flooded we be entirely isolated on small tracts of ground, is one of extreme importance to the Indians themselves, as it would be to the white man in similar circumstances.”
  “In closing I wish to state that the Indians have in conclusive and almost unanimous decision in General Council, rejected the monetary offers made, and have stood squarely upon their rights to retain their lands. The purpose for asking for this hearing has not been a mercenary purpose, or one of simply driving up the offer of the Power Company. They have come in good faith with an honest opposition to the whole project, with the hope of defeating it, as they believe the law entitles them to do. Thank you.”
 


INVASIVE SPECIES AND WATER QUALITY CONCERNS
SAWYER COUNTY ZONING SUMMARY (PDF file)
AUGUST 2007 CHIPPEWA FLOWAGE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN (PDF file)
 (NOTE: The Chippewa Flowage Lake Association does not endorse this management plan and we note that the water level comments in the plan do not concur with  Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions requirements.)
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