Treaty of Butte des Morts—Rencontre of an Indian with grizzly bears—Agency site at Elmwood—Its picturesque and sylvan character—Legislative council of the Territory—Character of its parties, as hang-back and toe-the-marks—Critical Reviews—Christmas.
1827. August 11th.—The treaty of Butte des Morts was signed this day. It completes the system of Indian boundaries, which was commenced by the treaty of Prairie du Chien, on the 19th of August, 1825, and continued by the treaty of Fond du Lac of the 5th of August, 1826. These three conferences, which may, from their having been concluded in the month of August of the respective years, be called the Augustic treaties, embody a new course and policy for keeping the tribes in peace, and are founded on the most enlarged consideration of the aboriginal right of fee simple to the soil. They have been held exclusively at the charges and expenses of the United States, and contain no cession of territory.
As soon as it was signed I embarked for Green Bay, on a gloomy, drizzling day, and pursued my way to Michilimackinac and the Sault, without a moment’s loss of time. I found the place still active, and filled with the summer visiting parties of Indians from the Lake Superior, the Upper Mississippi, and even from Pembina and the plains of Red River of the North.
Among the latter I observed a small and lithe Indian called Annamikens, or Little Thunder, also called Joseph, whose face had been terribly lacerated in a contest on the plains west of Pembina, with grizzly bears. The wounds were now closed, but the disfiguration was permanent. He told me the following story of the affair:—
The Sioux, Chippewas, Assinaboines, Crees, and Mandans, called by him in general Miggaudiwag, which means fighters, were at variance. About 400 half-breeds and 100 Chippewas went out from Pembina to make peace, and hunt the buffalo.
On the fourth day’s march they reached the open plains, and met a large body of Assinaboines and Crees encamped. Their camp was fixed on eligible ground, and the lodges extended across the plain. Annamikens and his followers encamped with them. After they had encamped, they observed every hour during the night that fresh arrivals of Assinaboines and Crees took place. On the third day of their encampment he was sent for to Cuthbert Grant’s tent, where he found a large circle of Indians formed, and all things in readiness for a council of the three nations, Assinaboines, Chippewas, and Crees. Grant was the trader of the Pembina metifs, and had followed them out. In the centre of the ring, buffalo robes were spread, and he with others was given a seat there. The object of this council was to decide upon a plan to attack a body of 200 Sioux lodges, which had been discovered at half a day’s ride on horseback distant. The principal chiefs, &c.,