The ‘understanding’ issue after 157 years: Judge ruled on scant and subjective evidence!

//The ‘understanding’ issue after 157 years: Judge ruled on scant and subjective evidence!

The ‘understanding’ issue after 157 years: Judge ruled on scant and subjective evidence!

One of the key issues at trial was that of “understanding” – what the Indians understood about treaty rights in the ceded territory. Throughout her 133-page decision, Judge Murphy frequently stated, usually without hesitation or qualification, that “the Ojibwe” or “the Chippewa” understood this, or did not understand that. Expert witness “opinions” aside, there is no body of clear evidence from the year 1837 to demonstrate one way or the other what the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe specifically understood.

Instead of Mille Lacs-specific oratory and writings, the judge heard high-priced opinion of expert witnesses from Michigan and Chicago about what the generic “Ojibwe” might have understood. The judge also listened to a linguist’s sometimes contentious testimony which implied that the Indians could have understood little more than nothing.

(Even if that were the case at the time of the treaty signings, strong protests would have been mounted in later years, when perceptions of past wrongs would have been brought to light very strongly, and when there could be no questions about “understanding.” In fact, nothing like that ever occurred. Even the Band’s own history book, Against the Tide of American History: The Story of the Mille Lacs Anishinabe (1985) makes no claims about off-reservation fishing, hunting, or gathering rights in the ceded territory. And it’s not a topic in the book’s oral history interviews with tribal elders.)

The 1837 treaty signing at Fort Snelling, where Mille Lacs Band members had travelled for dealings with government agents since 1820, took place in the presence of thousands of Ojibwe, halfbreeds, traders, missionaries, interpreters, and others, some of whom were both cosmopolitan and multi-lingual. Who knows what words and understandings were exchanged? Who can confidently rule on what the Mille Lacs Band leaders understood in 1837 based on the scant and subjective evidence from that period presented by the Band’s witnesses?

What Mille Lacs Band chiefs said about rights

Unfortunately, despite their being on the record about rights concerns many times in the decades following 1855, the old Mille Lacs chiefs and their articulate and devoted advocates were generally passed over by the key witnesses. Surely, what these Band leaders said and didn’t say should reveal what they understood about off-reservation rights, especially in this later period when they were regularly voicing “rights” concerns with plenty of prominent help.

The Ojibwe, who lacked a written language, placed considerable importance on the spoken word. Author Mark Diedrich put it this way in his book entitled Ojibwe Oratory: Great Moments in the Recorded Speech of the Chippewa, 1695-1889: “Oratorical ability was a gift well-respected among the Ojibways, as it was the principle means of formulating public opinion and consensus of action.”

Diedrich observed that such oratory expressed “how the Ojibways felt, reacted, and responded at particular points in time, demonstrating as no history book can, their character, beliefs, and attitudes on the great issues of their lives.”

The same might be said about the body of speeches, letters, and petitions by Mille Lacs Band chiefs and by those they selected to help articulate their views. Obviously, if the Band felt it retained fishing, hunting, and gathering privileges in the ceded territory, it would have said so – forcefully and repeatedly – in the years following 1855 and especially later in the 19th century, when competition for resources increased with white settlement, and when the state of Minnesota began enforcing its conservation laws.

The Mille Lacs Band and its allies went on record many times in articulating rights concerns, dealing with matters ranging from the harvesting of pine timber on the reservation to the impacts of logging dams; from annuity payment issues to questions of reservation boundaries.

The chiefs went to Taylors Falls to check on land patents; they’d go to Princeton to use the telegraph; they made trips to St. Paul and to Washington for purposes of conveying their rights understandings; they sent numerous letters and petitions to government at all levels voicing their grievances. The Mille Lacs Band met in councils with government commissions in the 1880s, lobbied for legislation at the turn of the century, and later carried rights causes to the Supreme Court, the U. S. Court of Claims, and the Indian Claims Commission.

Not a traditional “rights” cause!

Surely a key to ascertaining the Mille Lacs Band’s “understanding” of rights lies in the Mille Lacs-specific letters, petitions, council minutes, speech summaries, media statements, and other sources where the Mille Lacs Band leaders and their allies are amply on record about their “rights” concerns.

This historian conducted such a review. I gained much respect for chiefs Shaw-bosh-kung, Mazomonie, Wah-we-yea-cumig, Mi-gi-zi, and others, who despite language and cultural differences, were able to forge effective political alliances with powerful people for the very purpose of conveying their “understanding” on issues important to them.

There is no indication, through a century and a half of Mille Lacs-specific Ojibwe oratory and writings, nor in the speeches and writings of the Band’s prominent advocates and legal advisors, that the Mille Lacs Band leaders understood they retained fishing, hunting, and gathering rights in the large area of east-central Minnesota ceded in 1837.

Moreover, the history of the Mille Lacs Band contains no 1837 treaty rights “cause,” and no 1837 treaty rights “fight.” This is not a historic, “sacred,” or traditional rights concern of the Mille Lacs Band. Rather, in the pre-casino 1980s – that’s 1980s – the treaty of 1837 popped up as a potential source of revenue and power for the tribal government. Consequently the lawsuit was orchestrated. While lucrative Indian gaming has since intervened, somebody decided to push the costly and divisive lawsuit anyway.

People who believe the present 1837 treaty rights cause of the Mille Lacs Band leadership flows from some historic or “sacred” rights fight of the Band have been severely misled!

By |2018-12-11T07:46:48-05:00November 28th, 2013|Categories: Articles|Tags: |26 Comments

About the Author:

26 Comments

  1. gamefly free trial May 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    If you are going for most excellent contents like I do,
    just visit this web site daily as it offers quality contents, thanks

  2. gamefly free trial May 30, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    If some one needs to be updated with newest technologies afterward he must be pay a quick visit this web site and
    be up to date every day.

  3. how to get help in windows 10 May 30, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I just couldn’t depart your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard info an individual supply in your visitors?
    Is gonna be again steadily to inspect new posts

  4. gamefly free trial May 31, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is only placing
    the other person’s weblog link on your page at appropriate place and
    other person will also do same for you.

  5. gamefly free trial May 31, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo
    News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Thank you

  6. gamefly free trial June 3, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant post.

  7. gamefly free trial June 4, 2019 at 1:17 am

    This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am
    in fact impressed to read all at alone place.

  8. gamefly free trial June 4, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any
    widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was
    hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to
    your new updates.

  9. gamefly free trial June 5, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will
    often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage
    yourself to continue your great writing, have a nice evening!

  10. ps4 plus free games June 7, 2019 at 9:06 am

    This is the right webpage for anyone who wishes to find out
    about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue
    with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about for years.
    Great stuff, just excellent!

  11. quest bars cheap June 14, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Hi to every , for the reason that I am really eager of reading this blog’s post to be updated on a
    regular basis. It consists of pleasant data.

  12. quest bars June 16, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit familiar of this your
    broadcast offered vivid transparent idea

  13. plenty of fish dating site June 21, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see
    more, thanks for the advice!

  14. plenty of fish dating site June 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    Always go after your heart.

  15. quest bars cheap June 23, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Informative article, exactly what I wanted to find.

  16. how to get help in windows 10 June 28, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for how to get help in windows 10

  17. tinyurl.com July 1, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your
    site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire
    in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your
    feeds and even I achievement you access consistently
    fast.

  18. quest bars cheap 2019 coupon July 9, 2019 at 2:21 am

    I got this site from my friend who informed me concerning this web
    site and now this time I am visiting this website and reading very informative content at this time.

  19. quest bars cheap July 11, 2019 at 12:30 am

    I think what you said was actually very logical.
    However, what about this? suppose you were to write a awesome title?
    I am not saying your information isn’t good., however suppose you added
    a headline that makes people want more? I mean The ‘understanding’ issue after 157 years: Judge ruled on scant and subjective evidence!
    – PERM is a little boring. You ought to peek at Yahoo’s home page
    and watch how they create news headlines to grab viewers to click.
    You might try adding a video or a related pic or two
    to grab readers interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it would bring your blog a little livelier.

  20. how to get help in windows 10 July 17, 2019 at 2:00 am

    This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post.

    Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  21. plenty of fish dating site July 19, 2019 at 2:22 am

    Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I am waiting for your next post thanks once again.

  22. plenty of fish dating site July 19, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    I have read so many content concerning the blogger lovers but
    this post is in fact a pleasant paragraph, keep it up.

  23. how to get help in windows 10 July 20, 2019 at 8:20 am

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy
    on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often.
    Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  24. how to get help in windows 10 July 22, 2019 at 12:09 am

    I’m really inspired along with your writing abilities as neatly as with the layout for your weblog.
    Is this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice weblog like this one today..

  25. natalielise July 22, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    It is appropriate time to make some plans for the
    future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this publish and if I may just I wish to recommend you some
    interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article.
    I desire to learn even more things about it!
    plenty of fish natalielise

  26. plenty of fish dating site July 23, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Hello, its good paragraph about media print, we all understand media is a enormous source of information.

Leave A Comment

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.