Treaty of October 26, 1832
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Menominee's Letters

In the treaty of October 26, 1832, the Potawatomi ceded a large tract of land to the United States. This tract is more or less the same as today's northwest Indiana. The treaty reserved eight tracts for the Potawatomi, including an area of twenty-two sections (a section is a mile square) reserved for Men-o-mi-nee, No-taw-kah, Muck-kah-tah-mo-way and Pee-pin-oh-waw and their bands. In the treaty of August 5, 1836, this reserve was ceded to the United States. The treaty did not carry Menominee's signature.

Menominee heard about the treaty soon enough. He wrote at least three letters of protest, which are presented here. Two were directed to Lewis Cass, the Secretary of War; at that time, the War Department was responsible for Indian affairs. One of the letters to Cass is not dated; the second bears the date November 15, 1836. The third, dated April 6, 1837, was addressed directly to President Andrew Jackson. Jackson was responsible for the government's aggressive removal policy, which was enacted into law in the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

No-taw-kah, one of the four chiefs named in both treaties, died before these letters were written. One of his sons signed in his place.

On August 30, 1838, Menominee's village was captured, the Potawatomi from the surrounding area were rounded up, and the forcible removal known as the Trail of Death began.

A note on these transcriptions: Handwriting customs have changed since the mid- nineteenth century. We have tried to steer a middle course in transcribing these letters, changing them as little as possible. Where we felt it was important for clarity, we have added punctuation, placing it in brackets. If a misspelled word's meaning is not obvious, we have repeated that word, in correct (or perhaps contemporary) spelling; again, you will recognize our insertion by its placement in brackets and the fact that we have used italics. Letters enclosed in brackets could not be read with certainty. One or more question marks in brackets indicates that while writing was clearly present, neither the discernible writing nor the context enabled us to make a reasonable guess as to what was written.

Potawatomi beaded 

To the Honorable
Lewis Cass Secretary
of War

We chiefs and family heads of the Potowatomie Tribe of Indians Residing upon our Reservation at Yellow River Marshall Co. State of Indiana Beg leaf to State Through your intermedation to our Great Father the President and Senate of the United States

that the Proceedings of his Agent Col Pepper towards us have been during all the Spring and Summer Season Strait, [?]ight in opposision with the grants and concessions of Our Father specified in his letter of 9 January 1836. There it is said that the Reservation is our own that we may stay on it as long as we shall wish. that we shall not any farther be disturbed in the Possession of it By the General Government.

Now early in the Spring Col. Pepper called us to gether for a Treaty. we did not go, But deputed afew of our men to inform him of the grants made to us by our Great Father[.] it was answered that this was all good fir nothing that he Col Pepper was the President of all the Indians that If we would not give up our Lands he would Call 2000 soldiers from Detroit, drive us of [off] reserve

In the first part of August last. we were again called for a Treaty at a Spot

[Page 2]

about Twenty Miles distant from our villag. None of we chiefs neither of our bands did go but Two men. Duing [During] all the times of the Counsel, we where [were] all peacebly working at our Fields. nevertheless afew days after [,] The white People was runing Through our Reservation Puting Preemption claim and told us that they were informed By Col. Pepper that our Reserve was Sold. [Eno] [And now?] as it is reported to us by the whites that this Treaty is directed to the approbation of our Great Father, which we can hardly believe -- We do beg you Honbl Sir to inform our Great Father and Senate that this is a false Treaty that neither we Me nomi nee[,] Par Kar tah mo wah[,] Pe pe no war[,] and We She Ke mar the Son of Notar Kah deceased) who are the recognized Chiefs by the Treaty of Tippecanoe, and neither any of our bands But Two except consented or signed any thing like a Treaty or Sale of our Reserve

And consequently we do by this object and Protest against any sale of our Reservation. Our mind is now as it was last Winter to remain upon our Lands to cultivat them. to be come Subjects of the Laws of the State and live like white people. We wish to State further that we were very ill Treated by the same Col Pepper last Payment. must [most] all our money was given to the whtes and none of us was allowed to speak

[Page 3]

and fearing to be cheated further we chiefs laft [left] the Payment without taking our annuity or giveing our names or signing any Peper. this now Two years that we have not receive any money. Consequently, If our names are seen in any Peper. they have been put there without our Knowledge. and are false Signors and for this reason, we do by this object and protest against them. Our wish is further to be delivered from the Agentcy of that Col Pepper Because without any Provcation he Treat us to [too?] Bad. And as we are sure that the mind of our Great Father is not to Treat his Red Children that way. we do confidently apply to him for Justice and remidy in our Sorrows.

[W]herefore we Sign and Sent this in Vilage this 15 of days of Nov. 1836.

Signatures - Letter to Cass, Nov. 15, 1836

Menomi X nee his marks
Mar.Kar,tah.mo X wah
Pe pe no war X
the Son of NotarKah We She ke-mar X
Pe pe she kah X
[W]e shaw bo X
Mah.quar.que.nik X
Ar yar she.
his X
War pe nim his X
[T]ar to ge ni his X

Source: National Archives, microfilm M234, roll 355; frames 715- 716.

Potawatomi beaded belt

To the Homble
Lewis Cass Secretary
of War Washington City

We undersigned Indian Chiefs of the Potowatmie Tribe Residing upon our Reservation in the State of Indiana, Marshall Co., Being informed by the white people that in the first part of the month August. Some thing like a Treaty is made for the Sale of our Reserve and Directed to the approbation of the President of the United States. Beg leaf to State Through your intervantion to our great Father the President and Senate of the United States. that as soon as we have been advised of this the most unjust proceeding against us. we have Directed a letter to our Great Father in order to inform him. that. We the recognized Chiefs by the Treaty of Tippecanoe of this our reservation have had no part or knowledge of said Treaty or Treatys Neither any of our bands. except Two individual who have no right or authorazation. for making any Treaty or Sale. that we neither any of our bands have not taken any goods or money in conquence of the Treaty. except perhaps them Two individual -- that During all the time that tho Indians were Called at a council in the month of August at aspot more then Twenty miles Distent from our Resevetion, we and all our band were all peacebly Working upon our lands

that we Chiefs have never Signed any Paper whatever During the whole Year. Not even in the Payment of our annuity. We have Preferd to Abandon our Small part of Ten Dollars then to expose ourselves of Being cheated out


of our right and Consequently If our names are seen in any paper they are false Signors:

But fearing that our Letter may perhaps not been arived at the knoledge of our Great Father the President we have resolved to Direct one of our Young Man who is acquainted with the English language the Bearer of this to our Great Father in order to remonstrated repectfully against the approbation of this Treaty

Being assured that If our Great Father and the Senate are properly informed that cannot give their Approbation to a Treaty made without the knowledge of the real owners of the Land; No it is not Possible have we said. that our Great Father who consider us So gracefully the Winter before this by a letter in date 9 Janury 1836 thee Whole property and titles of our Land and the Permision to remain upon them understurbed by the Genrl Government as long as we shall wish to remain there.

Should afew months after have order his Agent to go and make Afalse Treaty and Take our Lands Against our will. No this never we Shall believed

Trusting that the false Treaty will be rejected and properly measure be taken to stop the unjust---- Proceeding of our Agent against us

Signatures - Letter to Cass, Nov. 15, 1836

Therefore we have Signed

X his mark
Mar-kah-tah-mo X wah his mark
Pe-pe-no X wah his mark
Wekgoma son of no-taw-kah decesed

Ed. note: From the appearance of the microfilm, the document was folded in thirds, with the letter on the inside. On one side of the outside of the document, these notes, apparently added by the recipients, appear:

[G W Lud ????] (nodate)

Protest against the ratification of the treaties
made by Co. A. C. Pepper in August last.

Rec @ 15 Feb 1837

[Cri]ttenden file

And on the other side:


Feby 15. 1837

Indian office

Source: National Archives, microfilm M234, roll 355, frames 1209-1211

Potawatomi beaded belt

Ed. note: In the following letter to the president, the capital letter /I/ resembles a small /j/. Its use is so consistent that it seemed appropriate to use the intended /I/ in this transcription.

the 6th of April 1837

Great Father

We undersigned Indian Chiefs of the Potowatomie tribe residing in the State of Indiana beg leave to state

That by a solem treaty in date 28 [8br.] 1832 a reserve of 22 sections of land was granted to us and our bands

that by a letter of the Secretary of War on date 26 january 1836 we were assured that the land was our own that we should be no more disturbed by the general govrment that we may stay on it as long as we Shall wish [?a] a copy of the treaty and a copy of the map of survy was given to us as evidences of our title.

that we have never sold consented to, or signed any treaty or sal of our reserve

That inaswithstanding all this gen Tipton the Senator of Indiana has given aletter in date 25 March by which he Says that our resrve is sold and the treaty ratified and that the withe [white] people may go and settel upon it

We feel destressed Great Father

Page 2

durin two years we have worked very hard on the said land and were resolved to have it divided amongst us and live as White people and now they take is [it] from us against our will is this right?

We respectfully ask you Great Father to let us know your mind about this as soon as passible and We shall be satisfied.


Your must humble servant

Me-no-me-nee X his mark
Muck-Kah-tah-mo-way X his mark
Pee-pin-o-wak X his mark
Wikgama son of notawkah desesed

directian for answer to Mr. Benjamin Bertrand
Bertrand [town]
Brrien [Cty]

Source: National Archives, microfilm M234, roll 355, frames 1250-1251.

Potawatomi beaded 

Treaty of October 26, 1832
nIshnabe'k The People
bode'wadmimo speak Potawatomi
mzenegenek books
eagle aloft Treaty of August 5, 1836
Home Page: news & updates
nizhokmake'wen resources/help
BWAKA - about us

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