LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

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Native American History in Kansas - Page 4

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Delaware IndiansIn 1820 there were two bands -- numbering about 700 -- in Texas, but by 1835 most of the Delaware were settled upon their Kansas reservation between the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. Their title to this reservation was finally extinguished in 1866, and on April 11, 1867, President Johnson approved an agreement by which the Delaware merged their tribal existence with the Cherokee Nation.

 

In 1820 there was found an ancient hieroglyphic bark record giving the traditions of the Delaware tribe. This old record was translated and published in 1885. It gives an account of the creation of the world by great Manito; and of the flood, in which Nanabush, the Strong White One, grandfather of men, created the turtle, on which some were saved. This book is known as the "Walam Olum."

 

The Munsees (where stones are gathered together), one of the three principal divisions of the Delaware, originally occupied the country about the headwaters of the Delaware River. By what was known as the "walking purchase," in about 1740, they were defrauded out of the greater portion of their lands and forced to move. They obtained lands from the Iroquois on the Susquehanna River, where they lived until the Indian country was established by the act of 1830, when they removed to what is now Franklin County, Kansas, with some of the Chippewa. The report of the Bureau of Ethnology for 1885 says the only Munsees then recognized officially by the United States were 72, living in Franklin County, Kansas, all the others having been incorporated with the Cherokee Nation.

 

The Ottawa (traders), according to one of their traditions, were once part of a tribe to which belonged also the Chippewa and Potawatomi, all of the great Algonquian family. They moved as one tribe from their original habitat north of the great lakes, and separated about the straits of Mackinaw. Another account says that when the Iroquois destroyed the Huron Indians in 1648-49, what was left of the Huron found refuge with the Ottawa, which caused the Iroquois to turn on that tribe. The Ottawa and the Huron then fled to Green Bay, where they were welcomed by the Potawatomi, who had preceded them to that locality.

Ottowa Chief PontiacThe tribe is mentioned in the Jesuit Relations as early as 1670, when Father Dablon, superior of the mission at Mackinaw, said: "We call these people Upper Algonkin to distinguish them from the Lower Alkonkin, who are lower down in the vicinity of Tadousac and Quebec. People commonly give them the name of Ottawa, because, of more than 30 different tribes which are found in these countries, the first that descended to the French settlements were the Ottawa, whose name afterward attached to all the others."

 

After a time the Ottawa and Huron went to the Mississippi River and established themselves on an island in Lake Pepin. They were soon driven out by the Sioux and went to the Black River in Wisconsin, where the Huron built a fort, but the Ottawa continued east to Chaquamegon Bay. In 1700 the Huron were located near Detroit and the Ottawa were between that post and the Saginaw Bay. The Ohio Ottawawere removed west of the Mississippi River in 1832.

 

The following year, by the Treaty of Chicago, those living along the west shore of Lake Michigan ceded their lands there and were given a reservation in Franklin County, Kansas, the county seat of which bears the name of the tribe. In 1906 there were about 1,500 Ottawa living in Manitoulin and Cockburn Islands, Canada; 197 under the Seneca school in Oklahoma; and nearly 4,000 in the State of Michigan.

 

The Chippewa or Ojibway (to roast till puckered up) formerly ranged along the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron, extending across Minnesota to the Turtle mountains in North Dakota. At the time America was discovered, the Chippewa lived at La Pointe, Ashland County, Wisconsin, on the south shore of Lake Superior, where they had a village called Shangawaumikong.

 

 

 

Os Ko Bos, Chippewa Man

Early in the 18th century the Chippewa drove the Fox tribe from northern Wisconsin, and also drove the Sioux west of the Mississippi River. Other Chippewa overran the peninsula lying between Lake Huron and Lake Erie and forced the Iroquois to withdraw from that section. There were ten principal divisions of the tribe scattered through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, with more than 20 bands. Prior to 1815 the Chippewa were frequently engaged in war with the white settlers, but after the treaty of that year they remained peaceful.

 

In 1836, what were known as the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa sold their lands in southern Michigan and moved to the Munsee Reservation in Franklin County, Kansas. In 1905 the Bureau of Ethnology estimated the number of Chippewa in the United States and Canada at 30,000, about one-half of which were in the United States.

 

Little Turtle, Miami War ChiefThe Miami (peninsular people), one of the most important of the Algonquan tribes, was called by some of the early chroniclers the "Twightwees." The region over which they roamed was once outlined in a speech by their famous chief, Little Turtle, who said: "My fathers kindled the first fire at Detroit; thence they extended their lines to the headwaters of the Scioto; thence to its mouth; thence down the Ohio to the month of the Wabash, and thence to Chicago over Lake Michigan."

 

The men of the Miami tribe have been described as "of medium height, well built, heads rather round than oblong, countenances agreeable rather than sedate or morose, swift on foot and excessively fond of racing." The women spun thread of buffalo hair, of which they made bags in which to carry provisions when on a march. Their deities were the sun and the thunder, and they had but few minor gods. Six bands of the Miami were known to the French, the principal ones being the Piankashaw, Wea and Pepicokia.

 

The Piankashaw was first mentioned by La Salle in 1682 as one of the tribes that gathered about his fort in the Illinois country. Chauvignerie classed the Piankashaw, Wea and Pepicokia as one tribe, but inhabiting different villages. The Miami were divided into ten bands -- wolf, loon, eagle, buzzard, panther, turkey, raccoon, snow, sun and water -- and the elk and crane were their principal totems.

 

Early in the 19th century the Piankashaw and Wea were located in Missouri, and in 1832 they agreed to remove to Kansas as one tribe. About 1854 they were consolidated with the Peoria and Kaskaskia, and in 1868 the consolidated tribe was removed to a reservation on the Neosho River in northeastern Oklahoma. Numerous treaties were made between the main body of the Miami and the United States, and in November, 1840, the last of the tribe was removed west of the Mississippi River. Six years later some of them were in Linn County, Kansas, and others had been confederated with the Peoria and other tribes. In 1873 they were removed to the Indian Territory.

 

The Sac and Fox, usually spoken of as one tribe, were originally two separate and distinct tribes, but both of Algonquian stock. The Sac (or Sauk), when first met by white men, inhabited the lower peninsula of Michigan and were known as "Yellow Earth People." At that time, the Fox lived along the southern shore of Lake Superior and were called the "Red Earth People." There is a tribal tradition that before the Sac became an independent people they belonged to an Algonquian group composed of the Potawatomi, Fox and Mascouten tribes. After the separation, the Sac and Fox moved northwest, and in 1720 were located near Green Bay, Wisconsin but as two separate tribes. Trouble with the Fox led to a division of the Sac, one faction going to the Fox and the other to the Potawatomi. In 1733, some Fox, pursued by the French, took refuge at the Sac village near the present city of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Sieur de Villiers made a demand for the surrender of the refugees, but it was refused, and in trying to take them by force, several of the French were killed. Governor Beauharnois, of Canada, then gave orders to make war on the Sac and Fox. This led to a close confederation of the two tribes, and since then they have been known as the Sac and Fox.

 

In the early days of the confederacy there were numerous bands, but in time these were reduced to 14.  Black Hawk, the Sac War Chief, was a member of the thunder clan. After several treaties with the United States, the Sac and Fox in 1837 ceded their lands in Iowa and were given a reservation in Franklin and Osage Counties of Kansas. In 1859 the Fox returned from a buffalo hunt to find that in their absence the Sac had made a treaty ceding the Kansas reservation to the United States.

 

 

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