July 28, 1862 - US Signs Treaty with the OttawaThe Lincoln Administration announced the signing of treaty with Ottawa Indians of Kansas. The US has entered into many treaties with the original inhabitants of this land and most have been later breached by the US whenever some new development has altered the potential benefit of the agreement. In particular, over the course of the last 80 years, the need for more fresh land by Southern planters has inevitably led to the removal of Indians from land that was not only originally theirs but ceded to them under treaties. Mr. Lincoln hopes to respect the treaties he signs. Time will tell if that holds true.
The Ottawa Indians originally lived along the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and western Quebec at the time of European arrival in the early 1600s. They moved into northern Ohio around 1740. They were part of the Algonquian Indians and are thus related to the Delaware Indians, the Miami Indians, and the Shawnee Indians. They were enemies of the Iroquois Indians and never really trusted the Wyandot Indians because they were related to the Iroquois.
Political alliances were complicated and changed with the times. Some Ottawas were allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country in the early 1700s. Many Ottawas moved into northern Ohio so that they could participate in the fur trade with the British. These natives lived in villages along the Cuyahoga, Maumee, and Sandusky Rivers, but the British were not content just to trade. Unlike the French, the British wanted to build forts and towns.
The Ottawa first encountered European explorers when Samuel de Champlain met 300 men of a tribe which he called "les cheueux releuez" in 1615. Ottawa from ǎdāwe, 'to trade', `to buy and sell,' applied to the Ottawa because they were noted among their neighbors as intertribal traders and barterers, dealing chiefly in cornmeal, sunflower oil, furs and skins, rugs or mats, tobacco, and medicinal roots and herbs.
Of the Ottawa, Champlain said that their arms consisted only of the bow and arrow, a buckler of boiled leather, and the club; they wore no breechclout, and their bodies were tattooed in many fashions and designs; their faces were painted in diverse colors, their noses pierced, and their ears bordered with trinkets.
In the following year, Champlain left the Huron villages and visited the "Cheueux releuez" (Ottawa), living westward from the Hurons. He said that they were very joyous at "seeing us again." He found the tribe populous. The majority of the men were warriors, hunters, and fishermen, and were governed by many chiefs who ruled each in his own country or district. The women had their bodies covered, while those of the men were uncovered, saving a robe of fur like a mantle, which was worn in winter but usually discarded in summer.
Pontiac was a famous leader of the Ottawa Indians. In 1763, he led a number of Indian tribes in an attempt to drive the British from their lands. They destroyed nine out of eleven British forts in the Great Lakes region. The Indians could not defeat the strong British forts at Detroit (Fort Detroit) and Pittsburgh (Fort Pitt). Pontiac's Rebellion came to an end after Colonel Henry Bouquet led a large army from Fort Pitt into Ohio to force the Indians to make peace.
During the American Revolution, the Ottawas fought for the British against the Americans. When the British surrendered to the Americans, the English turned their backs on their Indian allies. The Ottawas continued to fight the Americans. General Anthony Wayne defeated the Ottawas and other Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. They surrendered most of their lands in Ohio with the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville (1795).
Jotham Meeker was a Baptist missionary and printer. He and Eleanor Richardson moved to Thomas Station at the rapids of the Grand River in 1827. The Ottawas were led by Chief Noonday (who had fought with the British alongside Tecumseh in the War of 1812. Jotham and Eleanor were married in 1830. As white settlers pressed in, the Indians moved north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Meekers went with them. But, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, promulgated by President Andrew Jackson in an effort to appease Southern planters who sought more land for their slavery-driven enterprises, required all Indians to move west of the Mississippi River.
In 1833, the United States forced the Ottawas to give up their few remaining lands in Ohio. The treaty ceded their lands in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois in exchanged for lands in first Iowa and then Kansas. Jotham and Eleanor went with them arriving in northeast Kansas in fall 1833. Of the 600 Ottawa who emigrated to Kansas, "more than 300 died within the first two years, beccause of exposure, lack of proper food, and the great difference between the cool, damp woods of Ohio and the dry, hot plains of Kansas."
In 1834, the Meekers installed a printing press at Shawnee Baptist Mission and in 1837 established a mission where, for 18 years, he ministered to the needs of the Ottawa who lived there. They endured floods, prairie fires, cholera and malaria to serve the Indians for more than 20 years. Their daughter, Maria, was the first white child born in Kansas.
It was said of them in 1859: "This people is still advancing in agricultural pursuits; they may he said to have entirely abandoned the chase; all of them live in good, comfortable log cabins; have fields inclosed with rail fences, and own domestic animals." ·The Ottawa are expert canoemen; as a means of defense they sometimes built forts, probably similar to those of the Hurons.
On June 24, 1862, the Ottawa concluded a treaty with the United States, which, with amendments, was ratified July 16, 1862.
"The Ottawa Indians of the United Bands of Blanchard's Fork and of Roche de Boeuf, having become sufficiently advanced in civilization, and being desirous of becoming citizens of the United States, it is hereby agreed and stipulated that their organization and their relations with the United States as an Indian tribe shall be dissolved and terminated at the expiration of five years from the ratification of this treaty: and from and after that time, the said Ottawa, and each and every one of them, shall be deemed and declared to be citizens of the United States, to all intents and purposes, and shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of such citizens, and shall, in all respects, be subject to the laws of the United States, and of the State or States thereof in which they may reside."
The principal provisions of the treaty are:
The Ottawa are to become citizens of the State of Kansas in July, 1867, their annuities to be commuted and paid to them. Heads of families are to receive 160 acres of land each, and all other members, eighty acres each; none of this land shall be sold until they became citizens, and forty acres, including house and improvements, not to be sold during the life of the owner. Twenty thousand acres of average lands are to be located for school purposes, and the remainder to be sold to actual settlers, at not less than $1.25 per acre.