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Office Mich. Ind. Agency
Detroit Dec. 15 1853


At the recent annuity payment at Sault Ste. Marie the Chiefs of the Bands assembled there handed me the recent petition with the request that I need forward it to you.

Very Respy.
Your Obt. Sert.
Henry C. Gilbert
Ind. Agent

Honorable George Marypenny
Comm. Ind. Affs.


The Honorable Commissioners of Indian Affairs,

We the undersigned Chiefs of the Saut de Ste. Marie Band, I yaw bay way dick, Kay bay no din, Garden River, Grand Island, and Drummond Island Bands of Chippaway Indians inhabiting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, respectfully present that we have advanced in the arts of civilization and are converts to the religion of Christ. We are anxious to attain still further perfection and to place ourselves upon a level with the white. The only, yet great, obstacle to our rapid improvement is the fear of a motion to the West of the Mississippi under which we constantly labor. We desire a certainty. We wish to know our destiny. We have no security, that we shall inhabit the dwellings we erect, or that the crops we plant shall be ours. We know that under the constitution of the State of Michigan we can become citizens, and that by availing ourselves of its provisions we are placed beneath a protection, which no power can violate, but in order to do this we must abandon our organization as a tribe and our connexion with the general government. The last is the proof of the first. We are members of tribes so long as we approach your pay tables. We have a hard alternative placed before us – to forgo all the benefits of the treaty of 1836, or to reject the proffers of the constitution. We turn to you as the only power that can aid us and request that you will communicate our wants to Congress.

By the treaty of 1836, we bound ourselves to remove west of the Mississippi. You guaranteed us a permanent settlement and lands there. Since that treaty was made the reasons, which rendered our amotion necessary have ceased to exist. We are at peace with the Whites. We are becoming educated, Christianized, civilized. The vices and bad example of a new country are here paving away – we can assist their influence. It is the desire of the State that we remain-a desire expressed in the most solemn manner, by the organic law, by frequent resolutions of the legislature, by the public press and by memorials from the citizens among whom we reside. The lands west of the Mississippi are more valuable and are becoming more rapidly occupied than any portion of the Upper Peninsula except the mineral range of Lake Superior. By removing us, you will place us among a larger population of whites than we have here, or will have during many years. You will renew those blighting influence from which we are just emerging influences which attend the first settlements of our country and which will only cease when your people are no longer migratory. You will take from us that great safe guard, which the Constitution has given to us – a vantage ground which has won us many friends and enables us to exert a power, which must result in our prosperity. You will rob this country of a large portion of its inhabitants-of its sailors, fisherman, agriculturists and lumbermen; and lastly you will tear us from all those incentives to sober, contented industry, which cluster around our own and our father’s home. It was here that the Chippaway nation was greatest in its days of barbarism. It is here that we will be strongest in our efforts, truest to our purpose of reclaiming ourselves and our people. We desire to live here-here where every association of the past, bids us onward to a useful, perhaps a great future – here where the State gives us a weapon, with which we may combat prejudice and oppression of which our race have been the victims-here where you have millions of acres of land which is useless, unoccupied. We do not ask this as a gift. We are willing to exchange for a permanent possession here, that which you have promised us west of the Mississippi. Let us have lands here to enable us to collect our people into municipal communities, so that we may accept the gift which the State is extending to us.

Sault de Ste. Marie Nov. 1st 1853

  • O Shaw a nah his + mark – Chief Sault Ste. Marie
  • Wa bo jeeg his + mark – Chief I yau bay was dich
  • Kay bay no din his + mark – Chief Kay bay no din
  • O mon no me ne his + mark – Chief Grand Island
  • Shaw won his + mark – Chief Drummond Island
  • Py yaw be dau dung his + mark – Chief Garden River
  • Waw we gun his + mark – Head man Sault
  • Pay ne quun his + mark – Head man I yaw bay mau dich
  • O baw gum his + mark – Head man Sault Band
  • Boi wun? his + mark – Head man Kay bay no din
  • Nien dos kung his + mark – Head man Drummond Isl.

In presence of J. L? Chipman
Eustach Russain U.S. Ind. Interpreter

Mackinac Agency
Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1828-1880
National Archives Microfilm Publications M234 Roll 404 1853-1855

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