“As Long as the Grass Grows and the Rivers Flow” or “The U.S. Has Broken All the Treaties” (We Don’t Think So)

The Mille Lacs treaty case is a very complicated legal issue which has it’s roots in the 1837 treaty between the United States and several Chippewa Bands. PERM gets many requests for copies of the treaties, so they are reprinted in this newsletter. Included with the 1837 Treaty, is an 1850 Presidential Order and the treaty of 1855. All are relevant and key defenses in the Mille Lacs treaty case.

It’s interesting to note that nowhere are the phrases, “as long as the grass grows” or “as long as the rivers flow” , ever mentioned. In fact PERM has never seen a treaty between the U.S. and an Indian Tribe that used such language. Yet Indian treaty rights activists continue to promote this myth to turn temporary and limited treaty provisions into everlasting perpetual rights, grievances and entitlements.

PERM does not promote breaking the 1837 Treaty. In fact is fighting to honor it. It is PERM’s opinion that “privilege” granted to the Chippewa in Article 5, of the 1837 treaty was temporary in nature, and was lawfully ended. The facts show that all payments were made and all commitments honored by the U.S.

The Treaty of 1855 created a temporary Mille Lacs Reservation. It was also clear in stating that in exchange for the payments from the U.S., the Chippewa were giving up rights they may perceive to enjoy on any other lands within the Territory of Minnesota.