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there would seem to be left no doubt in the mind of
intelligent person, after reading the above quotations.
It is not to be wondered that when the news of such schemes as these reaches the Indians on their reservations great alarm and discontent are the result. We find in the reports from the Nebraska agencies for this year unmistakable indications of disheartenment and anxiety. The Winnebagoes are reported to be very anxious to be made citizens. A majority are in favor of it, “provided the Government will adopt certain measures which they consider necessary for the care and protection of their property."
They have had a striking illustration of the disadvantage of not being citizens, in an instance of the unpunished murder of one of their number by a white man. The story is related by the agent tersely and well, and is one of the notable incidents in the history of the relation between the United States Government and its wards.
“Henry Harris, a Winnebago in good standing, an industrious man and a successful farmer, was employed by Joseph Smith, a white man, to cut wood on his land in Dakota County, a short distance north of the reservation. While alone and thus engaged, on the 29th of last January, Harris
was shot through the heart with a rifle-ball. I had his dead body taken before the coroner of the county, and at the inquest held before that officer it was shown, to the satisfaction of the jury that rendered a verdict in accordance therewith, that the Indian came to his death at the hands of one D. Balinska, who had been for many years leading a hermit's life on a tract of land that he owned adjoining the reservation, and who had threatened Harris's life a few months before, when they quarrelled about damages for corn destroyed by Balinska's horse. There being snow on the ground at the time of the murder, Balinska was tracked from his home to the place where, under cover, he did the shooting; and his shot-pouch, containing a
moulded ball of the same weight as the one cut from the body of the Indian, was found near by and identified. Notwithstanding this direct evidence, which was laid before the Grandjury of Dakota County, that honorable body was unwilling to find a 'true bill;' for the reason, as I understand, that it was only an Indian that was killed, and it would not be popular to incur the expense of bringing the case to trial. This is but another illustration of the difficulty of punishing a white man for a wrong committed against an Indian. I need hardly say that the Indians, when comparing this murder with that of a white man, committed eight years ago by five of their young menwho, upon less direct evidence, were sentenced to imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for life—are struck with the wonderful difference in the application of the same law to whites and Indians.”
The report from the Winnebago Agency for 1879 tells the story of the sequel to this unpunished murder of Henry Harris. The agent says:
my last report I referred to the murder of one of our best Indian farmers by a white man, who was afterward arrested and discharged without trial, though there was no question as to his guilt. As a sequel to this, one white man is known to have been killed last May by Holly Scott, a nephew of the murdered Indian ; and another white man is supposed to have been killed by Eddy Priest and Thomas Walker, two young Indians who have left for Wisconsin. The murdered white men had temporarily stopped with the Indians. Their antecedents are unknown, and they are supposed to have belonged to the fraternity of tramps. Holly Scott was arrested by the Indian police, and turned over to the authorities of Dakota County for trial, the State Legislature having at its last session extended the jurisdiction of that county over this reservation, by what authority I am unable to say.
The effect of these murders was unsettle the Indians, nearly all industry being suspended for several weeks. They
feared that the white people would do as they did in Minnesota in 1862, after the Sioux massacre, when the Winnebagoes were driven from their homes in Minnesota. *** A number of our most quiet and industrious men became alarmed, and moved their families to Wisconsin, encouraged in so doing by the hope of receiving from the Government a share of the funds which have been set apart from the annual appropriations during the past four years for the benefit of the Wisconsin Winnebagoes, and which they suppose aggregate a large amount which will soon be paid in cash.”
This brings the story of the Winnebagoes down to the present time. What its next chapter may be is saddening to think. It is said by those familiar with the Nebraska Indians that, civilized though they be, they will all make war to the knife if the attempt is made by the Government to rob them of their present lands on the plea again of offering them a “permanent home.” That specious pretence has done its last duty in the United States service. No Indian is left now so imbecile as to believe it once more.
Whether the Winnebagoes' " patents" in Nebraska would, in such a case, prove any stronger than did their “ certificates” in Minnesota, and whether the Winnebagoes themselves, peaceable and civilized though they be, would side with the United States Government, or with their wronged and desperate brethren, in such an uprising, it would be hard to predict.
THE Cherokees were the Eastern Mountaineers of America. Their country lay along the Tennessee River, and in the highlands of Georgia, Carolina, and Alabama—the loveliest region east of the Mississippi River. Beautiful and grand, with lofty mountains and rich valleys fragrant with flowers, and forests of magnolia and pine filled with the singing of birds and the melody of streams, rich in fruits and nuts and wild grains, it was a country worth loving, worth fighting, worth dying for, as thousands of its lovers have fought and have died, white men as well as red, within the last hundred years.
When Oglethorpe came with his cargo of Madeira wine and respectable paupers from England in 1733, and lived in tents in midwinter on the shores of the Savannah River, one of the first conditions of safety for his colossal almshouse, in shape of a new colony, was that all the Indians in the region should become its friends and allies.
The reputation of his goodness and benevolence soon penetrated to the fastnesses of their homes, and tribe after tribe sent chiefs and headmen to greet him with gifts and welcome. When the Cherokee chief appeared, Oglethorpe said to him, "Fear nothing. Speak freely.” “I always speak freely," answered the mountaineer. “Why should I fear? I am now among friends: I never feared, even among my enemies."
The principal intention of the English trustees who incorporated the Georgia colony was to provide a home for worthy persons in England who were in decayed circumstances.”
Among other great ends which they also avowed was “the civilization of the savages.” In one of Oglethorpe's first reports to the trustees he says: “A little Indian nation—the only one within fifty miles—is not only in amity, but desirous to be subjects to his Majesty King George; to have lands given to them among us, and to breed their children at our schools. Their chief and his beloved man, who is the second man in the nation, desire to be instructed in the Christian religion.”
The next year he returned to England, carrying with him eight Indian chiefs, to show them “so much of Great Britain and her institutions as might enable them to judge of her power and dignity. *** Nothing was neglected,” we are told,“ that was likely to awaken their curiosity or impress them with a sense of the power and grandeur of the nation.” They were received by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by the Fellows of Eton, and for a space of four months were hospitably entertained, and shown all the great sights of London and its vicinity.
The tribes at home were much gratified by these attentions paid to their representatives, and sent out to the trustees a very curious missive, expressing their thanks and their attachment to General Oglethorpe. This letter was the production of a young Cherokee chief. It was written in black and red hieroglyphs on a dressed buffalo-skin. Before it was sent to England it was exhibited in Savannah, and the meaning of the hieroglyphs translated by an interpreter in a grand gathering of fifty Indian chiefs and all the principal people of Savannah. Afterward the curious document was framed and hung up in the Georgia Office in Westminster.
When the Wesleyan missionaries arrived in Georgia, two years later, some of the chiefs who had made this visit to Eng. land went to meet them, carrying large jars of honey and of milk as gifts, to “ represent their inclinations ;" and one of the chiefs said to Mr. Wesley, “I am glad you are come. When I