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MICHIGAN AND NORTH WEST TERRITORIES.
I put these together, because, though distinct territories, they are at present under one Government, administered by one Governor. Some parts of these Territories, as Detroit, Mackinaw, Green Bay, and Prairie du Chien, have been places of renown in ancient and modern wars; but the countries around them, till very lately, remained unexplored, known only to the native tribes, who occupied them as their hunting grounds. Within a few years, these territories have risen into such importance, as that the Govornment of the United States, by their appointed Agents, have explored them to their remotest corners. Bordering, to a great extent, on the line which divides the United States from the British colony of Upper Canada, embracing points of much importance in conducting our Indian Trade, it has been thought necessary to be acquainted with them, that we might be the better able to avail ourselves of the advantages which belong to us, and to defend ourselves against encroachments. The survey of this wide spread wilderness has brought to our knowledge large bodies of Indians, hitherto known only to a few, who have been in the practice of trading with them.
At different, distant, and commanding points within these Territories, five military posts have been established, and a sixth is in contemplation.* These posts are intended to protect our rights in carrying on the Indian trade, and to exert an influence to preserve peace on these borders between us and the Indians, and between their different tribes, and to protect and aid any Education establishments which may be made in their vicinity. These circumstances, with that which has often been brought up to view, the selection of some part of these Territories, as the seat of a colony of Indians; and another, that this is the part of our country which I have personally visited, have led me to give a full and particular account of them. The view of them, which will be found in the Appendix,f renders it unnecessary here to add any
* Detroit, Mackinaw, Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, St. Peters, near St. Anthony's Falls—and one is contemplated at the Saut of St. Mary's.
+ Appendix 8.
further information on the several topics enumerated in my Commission. The whole of these Territories constitute one great field for moral cultivation; and when Education Families shall have been planted at the different military posts, a plan seriously contemplated, of immense importance; and which it is hoped will shortly be carried into effect, a channel, through them, will be opened to many large tribes W. of the Mississippi, to the Council Bluffs. Here again a military post is established, and a large Education Family are ready to occupy this commanding station.* All the tribes within the United States, N. of the Missouri, as far W. as the Council Bluffs, and beyond them, placed between these posts and these families, may be made to feel, in a greater or less degree, their combined, controlling, civilizing, and reforming influence.
INDIANA AND ILLINOIS.
Our table shews what tribes inhabit, or rather did once inhabit, these states. The most of them have sold their lands and are either still lingering on them, unwilling to take a last look over the fertile fields, which they once called their own, and at the mounds which contain the bones of many generations of their ancestors ; or they are scattered, and roaming without a home in the territories of strangers. Not many years since, we could point to the populous villages of these Indians, and knew where to direct our efforts for their benefit. Now we may ask the question “Where are they?" and there is no one among us who is able to give an answer. The most of them, however, are already gone, or are going, beyond the Mississippi, to some spot selected, or to be selected,t for their future “permanent,” residence.
II cannot deny myself the melancholy gratification of inserting here the following pertinent and touching specimen of
Descriptive Eloquence. “ This charming country," speaking of a part of Virginia, “belonged to the Indians ; over these fields, and through these forests, their beloved forefathers once, in careless gaiety, pursued their sports and hunted their game ;
This important change in the situation of these tribes is now in operation, and till it shall be completed, nothing definite can be either said or done as to their civilization or religious instruction. Very valuable information relating to some of the tribes who have inhabited, and are still within the limits of these states, I have recorded in the appendix,* in hope that while it answers the enquiries of the Government, it may come into use, when these Indians shall have found, if they ever do find, an unmolested home.
I have no knowledge that any Indians are remaining in this State. The Board of managers of the Baptist General Convention, under the conviction that the better way to do effectual good to the Indians is to “ bring them from the recesses of the forest, and inure them to the usages of civilized life, and in the hope, that they might themselves become the instructors of their brethren,” have established a School for the above purpose, at the Great Crossings in this state, which has lately been removed by the Board, to Rogersville in Missouri. They have the assurance of the Secretary of War, of receiving $250, for promoting this object.
Few of the Indians mentioned in the Table, as having resided in this State, thirty years ago, are now to be found. They have
every returning day found thein the sole, the peaceful, the happo proprietors of this extensive domain. But the white man came, and lo! the animated chase, the feast, the dance, the song, of fearless thoughtless joy, were over. Ever since, they have been made to drink of the bitter cup of humiliation ; treated like dogs, their lives, their liberties, the sport of the white men—their country, and the graves of their fathers, torn from them in cruel succession ; until, driven from river to river, from forest to forest, and through a period of two hundred years rolled back, nation upon nation, they find themselves fugitives, vagrants, and strangers in their own country!"
* Appendix V.
been scattered and diminished in the manner that hundreds of other tribes have been before them.
Nottaways, Pamunkies, and Martaponies.
Of these tribes, twenty-seven of the former, and a still less number of the two latter, it seems are all that remain of those numerous tribes, who once constituted the formidable Powhatan confederacy.
The Nottaways possess 27,000 acres of excellent land, on the W. bank of the river which bears their name, a small portion of which only, is under cultivation. A woman of this tribe, about sixty years old, named Edie Turner, is its present reigning Queen. Though uneducated, she has good sense, easy and fluent in conversation, has a well furnished and comfortable cottage-has horses, cows, and other domestic animals, and manages her farming and other business with discretion and profit. This Queen, and two others, of the most aged of the tribe, are all who now speak the ancient, or Nottaway, or Powhatan language. This language is said to be evidently of Celtic origin, and in expression and harmony, is equal to either the Erse, Irish or Welsh. It has two genders, masculine and feminine, three degrees of comparison, and two articles. Its verbs are very irregular.*
It would be easy, and of some importance, to preserve a specimen of this language. We do not know that they have ever been visited by missionaries, or favored with schools, or teachers in agriculture, or the mechanic arts.
When this State was first settled by the English, it was inhabited by twenty-eight tribes of Indians. The principal of these,
*I am indebted for the foregoing information to an anonymous article un der the head of Petersburg, (Va.) March 17, 1820.
were the Cherokees, Catawbas, Creeks, Chickasaws and Choctaws. The Cherokees inhabited the Western part of the State which they sold in 1777, and retired over the mountains, W. where they now reside. The Catawbas dwell on the river which bears this name, in the Northern border of the State, partly in North Carolina, lat. 34o. 49. N. on a Reservation of 144,000 acres, granted by the Proprietory Government, where there is still a remnant of about four hundred and fifty souls, all that remain of the bravest, the most formidable, and generous enemies of the Six Nations. All the twenty-eight original tribes, excepting those above named have disappeared.*
The Creeks and a part of the Cherokees reside in the Western parts of this State. An account of these tribes is given in the Appendix.f Overtures have heretofore been made to the Creeks to introduce among them Education Families, upon the plan of those established among the Cherokees and Choctaws. But their minds, irritated by the recent wars with them, on the part of the United States, were not at the time, in a proper frame to listen to these overtures. Lately, however, they have manifested more favora ble dispositions in regard to this subject, and the General Convention of Baptists are directing their attention to them. Their pumbers are such as will require more Education Families, to give instruction to all, than this Convention will be able to supply. This tribe, respectable in numbers and character, dwelling in the midst of us, and connected with several of the tribes West of the Mississippi, among whom, emigrants from this tribe are mingled, demand the special attention of the Government and of the Christian community. This tribe, with the three adjoining, the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, are in situations and circumstances very favorable to be educated where they are, raised to the rank and privileges of citizens, and merged in the mass of the nation. On these tribes we hope the Government will make the experiment