In the Senate of the United States.
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred a resolution of the Senate, instructing an inquiry into the expediency of extinguishing the Indian title in the State of Indiana, beg leave to refer to and adopt a report of the committee made to the Senate at the last session, and to two memorials of the General Assembly of that State on the subject. They report a bill.
January 7, 1830.
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, asking the immediate extinguishment of Indian title within the limits of that State, report:
The memorialists represent that the interests of the United States, as well as those of the State of Indiana, require the extinguishment of the remaining Indian title in that State, and more particularly that of the Miamies, lying on the Wabash, contiguous to and including the line of the Wabash canal; that their continuance where they are is injurious to the revenue, settlement, and prosperity of the State, detrimental to the progress of the canal, and dangerous to the peace and tranquillity of the frontier; that humanity dictates their immediate removal from a place where, from their intercourse with the whites, the very annuities they receive expose them to many evils. The General Assembly give it as their opinion, that "the speedy concentration of the Indians in some permanent situation, distant from our frontier, offers the only practicable method of diverting them from indolent and vicious habits, to which, by their vicinity to our population, they are unhappily inclined;" and that delay in this matter must increase the difficulties eventually to be encountered.
The Miamies consist of about eleven hundred souls, and chiefly reside on a few reservations south of the Wabash, through which some of the lines of the canal location have been run. By treaty of 1826, "it is agreed that the State may lay out a road or canal through any of their reservations, and
2for the use of a canal, six chains along the same" shall be appropriated: yet it is most certain that their residence on the canal line, and their owning a portion of the country through which it must pass, will prove in a high degree prejudicial, both to the State and to the Indians themselves. On the northern side of the Wabash, their title is almost entirely extinguished, and in a very short time they will be wholly surrounded by a dense population. The intercourse which must take place between the Indians and the laborers on the canal will be demoralising in its character, and cannot fail to engender feuds and animosities, which will terminate in blood: and no doubt is entertained that the price asked by them for their title will be greater after than before the canal is completed.
The Pottawatamies own a much larger tract of country than the Miamies, and their residence is in the northern and northwestern portion of the State: their numbers, too, are more considerable; but their country is less valuable, in proportion to its extent, than that of the Miamies. It is believed that, in reference to the necessary expenses of treating with these tribes, their whole number cannot safely be estimated at less than 4,000.
From the foregoing view of the subject, the committee are unanimously of opinion that the title in question ought to be extinguished as speedily as possible, and for that purpose report a bill.
DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
Office of Indian Affairs, 4th January, 1830.
DEAR SIR: The Secretary of War directs me, in reply to your letter of this morning, to state that there are twenty-five hundred and forty-one Indians within the State of Indiana that may be termed stationary or fixed; and a thousand or fifteen hundred that are in the State and out of it, as circumstances may incline them.
Of those who may be deemed stationary, there are thirteen hundred and fifty-eight Pottawatamies, eight hundred and forty-eight Miamies, and two hundred and twenty-five Eel Rivers.
It is my opinion that when any business is to be done with the Indians of Indiana, in which they are to receive any thing, and when data are to be assumed as to the cost, it would be well to go on the basis of about four thousand, since those who ramble under such circumstances would be sure to become fixed, at least for the time being.
With great respect, I have the honor to be your ob't serv't.
THOS. L. M'KENNEY.
To the Hon. WILLIAM HENDRICKS,
A Memorial of January, 1829.
The Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled:
The General Assembly of the State of Indiana, on behalf of their consituents, respectfully represent, that the interests of the United States, and of the State of Indiana, require, at this time, a course of appropriate measures to be pursued, calculated to extinguish the claim of the Indians (more particularly
3the Miamies) to their reserved territory, lying upon the borders of the contemplated Wabash canal, and within the boundaries of this State.
The continuance of these few savages within our limits, who claim so large a space of the best soil, not only circumscribes, in its practical effects, the usefulness of the privileges we enjoy as a free and independent State, but tends materially to impede a system of internal improvements essential to the prosperity of our citizens, and in a degree jeopardizes the peace and tranquillity of our frontier, which it is our right and our duty to secure. It is evident, that, although the Indians within our boundaries have been supported by large annuities, although their game has greatly decreased, yet agricultural pursuits are almost entirely neglected; and thus the large extent of country they yet claim is not only unprofitable to them, but, by its contiguity to the canal, is calculated to retard the settlement, the revenue, and the prosperity of the State.
Your memorialists will not fatigue your honorable body with detailing the evils which will necessarily follow the longer continuance of the Indians in the possession of their reserved territory: but they feel a confidence in saying that humanity dictates their immediate removal from a place where they are exposed to many evils, and where their stipend may prompt cupidity to resort to every species of imposition. The speedy concentration of the Indians in some permanent situation, distant from our frontier, offers the only practicable method of diverting them from indolent and vicious habits, to which, by their vicinity to our population, they are unhappily inclined.
Delay in this matter, we are sensible, must increase the difficulties eventually to be encountered, as we are convinced that any objections which the Miamies might now make to a sale of their reservations, the possession of which is important to our essential interests, would, in a great measure, be attributable to the influence of those whose cupidity must actively increase by the enlarged ability of those ignorant creatures, by the provisions of the last treaties, to gratify it.
Deeply impressed with the truth and force of these considerations, we respectfully ask the immediate extinguishment of the Indian claim to occupancy within this State.
Resolved, That a copy of this memorial be forwarded by his Excellency the Governor to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, and that they be requested to use their earnest endeavors for the speedy attainment of this object.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President of the Senate.
Approved, January 22, 1829.
J. BROWN RAY
Memorial of February, 1830.
To the Honorable the Congress of the United States:
The memorial of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana respectfully represents, that two tribes of Indians, about two thousand in number
4reside within the limits of this State. The means of subsisting by the chase being diminished, possessing neither the knowledge nor inclination to change their native customs, the total extinction of these people seems to be as rapid and inevitable as are the approaches and influence of civilization and improvement upon the forests which they inhabit. To endeavor to avert from the Pattawatamies and Miamies the fate which has attended many of their kindred tribes, is a duty sanctioned by a regard for the national reputation, and by every humane and philanthropic consideration.
As the best means of accomplishing so desirable a result, and securing the happiness of the aboriginal race, your memorialists respectfully and earnestly urge the adoption of measures to induce the Indians within this State to abandon, from choice, those narrow forests where they now acquire but a precarious and scanty subsistence, and to emigrate to the country west of the Mississippi, which is so much better adapted to their wants and their habits.
The benevolent and patriotic views and recommendations of the President of the United States on this subject, of which they tender their cordial approbation, render it unnecessary for your memorialists to offer arguments in detail.
As a preliminary measure to the removal of the Indians, your memorialists also request that an appropriation may be made in order to extinguish their title to certain lands within this State, particularly their tide to such lands as border on the line of the Wabash and Erie canal, their possession of which greatly impedes the progress of that important work, and arrests the settlement and improvement of the most interesting and desirable part of Indiana.
Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That the Governor be requested to forward a copy of the foregoing memorial to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, to be laid before that body at its present session.