The Yanktons & The United States Jul 11, 2009 23:57:51 GMT -5
Post by Spirit of the Owl Woman on Jul 11, 2009 23:57:51 GMT -5
The Yanktons and The United States
History of the Yanktons from 1804 to the signing of the 1858 treaty.
The Yanktons increasingly came into contact with Americans. The 1803 President Thomas Jefferson Purchased a vast track of central North America from France. The boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase were vague, but it clearly included the land of the Sioux. In 1804 Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to undertake a major expedition to explore so-called unknown territory in order to map its geography and assess its potential for trade. This was also the first official mission of the United States to the Native American people of the Mississippi River. Lewis and Clark began their expedition in St. Louis. They traveled up the Missouri River, across the Rocky Mountains, and down the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. In traveling west and on the return trip, they passed through Yankton territory. Their expedition opened this region to a massive migration of the Americans. They not only wrote reports on the tremendous potential for trade but identified locations for future trading sites. They proclaimed American sovereignty and demonstrated it not only through the display of the American flag but also by intruding into Native American affairs, albeit encouraging an end to intertribal warfare. Lewis and Clark were followed by traders, hunters, missionaries, ranchers, farmers, soldiers, and bureaucrats, the first steps toward reducing the sovereignty of the Yanktons and other branches of Seven Council Fires.
On 27 August 1804, as Lewis and Clark proceeded up the Missouri River, west of the mouth of the James River, several Yankton youths swam out to greet them. Lewis and Clark sent their interpreters, Pierre Dorian, Sr., and Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor, to a nearby village to ask the Yankton chiefs to meet with them. The two men were received enthusiastically. On the morning of 30 August Lewis and Clark met with a large Yankton delegation at Calumet Bluffs, located on the Missouri River about ten miles upstream from the James River. The meeting was held with full diplomatic protocol. As the delegation arrived, Lewis and Clark sent gifts of tobacco, corn, and iron kettles. The Yankton chiefs were preceded by musicians singing, drumming, and shaking rattles. After proper ceremonial introductions, everyone sat down and listened to speeches given by the Americans. Captain Lewis said he was interested in peace between the Indian nations and hoped that a delegation of chiefs from all the Sioux could be arranged. After the speeches the two explorers gave bronze presidential peace medal to five chiefs. They also gave the head chief an American flag and an artillery corps uniform and distributed tobacco to all. In return the Yanktons offered the Sacred Pipe as a symbol of peace and friendship. They say in a circle and smoked the pipe. That evening in front of a large fire they sang, danced and celebrated.
The next morning the head chief, whom Lewis called Weuche or Shake Hand in English and Le Liberateur in French, told the American delegation that the Yanktons needed trade opportunities and wanted firearms and ammunition. He offered to organize a Sioux delegation and said he would be happy to help establish intertribal peace and provide his services as an intermediary. All went well. The negotiations were hospitable and friendly and ended with the further distribution of gifts by Lewis and Clark. The Americans departed on 2 September, continuing up the Missouri River into Teton country. They left their interpreter, Pierre Dorian, Sr., and his son with the Yanktons. They hoped Dorian would continue facilitating intertribal peace and work toward fulfilling the major objective of the mission, which was to prepare the way for American merchants to follow Lewis and Clark.
The member of the expedition left significant historical and ethnographic documentation of their contact with the Yanktons. They described the Yanktons as a trading people who saw their economic stability based on an expanding trade network. The Yanktons traded deer, raccoon, bear, and beaver skins. Lewis suggested to them that they should also trade buffalo skins, buffalo tallow, and dried meat. Lewis and Clark reported that the Sioux held an extensive trade fair every year, located up the Missouri River. The explorers’ field notes and maps indicate that the village they visited was on the western edge of Yankton territories and that the larger body of Yanktons was still located between the Big Sioux and Des Moines Rivers. It was obvious to Lewis and Clark that the Yanktons were moving westward. While in the area they document much of Yankton daily life. For example, they described a tipi as “a conical form, covered with buffalo robes, painted with various figures and colors, with an aperture in the top for smoke to through. The lodges contain from ten to fifteen persons, and the interior arrangement is compact and handsome.” They also described a short trip up the Vermillion River, a tributary of the Missouri, to search for the large hill that the local Yanktons said was inhabited by “little people” or “little spirits.” Spirit Mound, as it is called today, is located nine miles up the Vermillion River and four miles to the west along present Route 19 north of Vermillion, South Dakota.
Lewis called it the Hill of Little Devils. From this advantage point they saw several herds of buffalo grazing at a distance. They found nothing unusual on the hill and mocked the beliefs of the Yanktons, saying that they were happy to have escaped the vengeance of the little people. Nevertheless, many Yanktons, both past and present, believe in the existence of spirits in dwarfed human form. They are said to be abut eighteen inches tall, with oversized heads. It is believed that they not only inhabit Spirit Mound but also live in some of the woods on the Yankton Reservation. These spirits, who are armed with sharp arrows, are considered evil and will kill anyone who approaches them. Local people would not go to spirit Mound with Lewis and Clark. The spirits are called canotina in Dakota (can is “tree” in both Dakota and Lakota).
These “little people” are described by such respected elders as Henry Hare, Sr., Joe Rockboy, and Asa Primeaux. Rockboy said that “they were the enemies of the Sioux from the time the Sioux entered this region.” Asa Primeaux said that the “little people” inhabit some of the woods between Chouteau Creek and Greenwood, just north of the Missouri River. While we were touring near the area, Asa explained that people avoided the woods even though they contained plenty of dead trees for firewood. He added that the “little people” are dangerous but that they are here for a reason: “This is God’s land and you have to respect God’s ways. If you follow God’s ways you can get through the woods okay, but it not, if you are a doubter, you may see one of the little people and they will get you.” Lewis and Clark may have doubted the existence of the “little people,” but they are a part of the Yankton belief system. Their presence in Yankton tradition has been documented for almost two hundred years.
Lewis and Clark’s skepticism about “little people” did not affect discussions and negotiations. They described a negotiating process that reflected Yankton cultural patters. There was always a preliminary exchange of gifts and the smoking of a Sacred Pipe. Each chief took a turn speaking in response to the American speeches. The chiefs then retired to discuss the negotiations. They again addressed Lewis and Clark, each chief expressing his own opinion. This multitude of opinions was confusing to Lewis and Clark; but allowing each chief to express his own views reflected the Yankton manner of negotiation and dialogue. This initial contact between the United States government and the Yankton nation ended in a friendly manner, at least according to Lewis and Clark.
In the years following the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Yanktons were visited by increasing number of American explorers and traders. American companies set up trading posts near Yankton territory. This was part of the United State’ policy to expand trade into the Louisiana Territory; it would eventually lead to the U.S.-Yankton Treaty of 1858. The treaty phase of U.S. expansion across the Mississippi gave American open access to the newly acquired territory. The treaties were also aimed at regulating relations between the Indians nations, because the United States considered intertribal strife inimical to its economic interests.
Between the War of 1812 and their removal to a reservation in 1859, the Yanktons signed a number of treaties with the American government. After 1815 the government diplomats were instructed to establish diplomatic relations with the Indian nations west of the Mississippi River. The goals were to establish good relations after the confusing allegiances of the War of 1812, to end intertribal strife, to prepare the way for trade, and, most importantly, to establish American protection. For example, in 1815 a “Treaty of Peace and Friendship was with the Yanktons. In addition, to declaring peace and friendship, the treaty placed the Yanktons under the “protection” of the United States of America. Meanwhile, the American government built a series of forts to enforce “peace” and facilitate trade.
Waskaigingo/Wahhaginea/Waskaijingo (Little Dish or Little Bowl or Pettit Plate):
From before 1806 to after 1836 he was Chief of the Yankton. About 1813 his tribe is driven to migrate west to the Big Sioux River due to war with the Sac & Fox. On the19th of July in 1815 chiefs and warriors of the Yankton Tribe met with William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste Chouteau, representing the United States, at the Portage des Sioux, signing a treaty of "...re-establishing peace and friendship...".(see ref.)
The order of Yankton signers was; Monlori (or White Bear), Waskaijingo (or Little Dish), Padamape (or Panis Sticker), Chaponge (or Musquitoe), Mindalonga (Parisan or War Chief), Weopaatowechashla (or Sun Set), Tokaymhominee (or The Rock That Turns), Keonorunco (or Fast Flyer), Mazo (or The Iron), Haiwongeeda (or One Horn) & Mazehaio (or Arrow Sender). Maurice Blondeau, Manuel Lisa, Thomas Forsyth, Louis Dorion and John Hay were also present at the Treaty; all of whom were very familiar with the Yankton and would likely have been the sources of the names and translation of the individual Yankton signers.(See reference**)
Forts were built along the Mississippi, Minnesota, and Missouri Rivers. By guaranteeing protection for the extension of American trade, these military outposts became the cutting edge of the U.S. expansion into the trans-Mississippi region. In order to facilitate expansion and trade, the federal government signed a series of treaties with Native American nations. Two treaties were signed in 1825. One was with various branches of the Sioux, including the Yanktons, the other with a wide range of groups. Both treaties established territorial boundaries in order to lessen the growing tension over land and trade. Establishing boundaries between Indian groups proved very difficult, because the presence of U.S. traders, such as the American Fur Company, created additional tension and competition over access to dwindling supplies of fur.
And the Chiefs and Warriors, as aforesaid, promise and engage, their band or tribe will never, by sale, exchange, or as presents, supply any nation or tribe of Indians, not in amity with the United States, with guns, ammunition, or other implements of war.
Done at Fort Look-Out, near the three rivers of the Sioux pass, this 22d day of June, A. D. 1825, and of the independence of the United States the forty-ninth. In testimony whereof the said commissioners, Henry Atkinson and Benjamin O'Fallon, and the chiefs, head men, and warriors, of the Teton, Yancton, and Yanctonies bands, of Sioux tribe, have hereunto set their hands, and affixed their seals.
H. Atkinson, brigadier general U. S. Army. [L. S.]
Benj. O'Fallon, United States Agent Indian Affairs, [L. S.]
Maw-too-sa-be-kia, the black bear, his x mark, [L. S.], Wacan-o-hi-gnan, the flying medicine, his x mark, [L. S.], Wah-ha-ginga, the little dish, his x mark, [L. S.], Cha-pon-ka, the musqueto, his x mark, [L. S.], Eta-ke-nus-ke-an, the mad face, his x mark, [L. S.], To-ka-oo, the one that kills, his x mark, [L. S.], O-ga-tee, the fork, his x mark, [L. S.], You-ia-san, the warrior, his x mark, [L. S.], Wah-ta-ken-do, the one who comes from war, his x mark, [L. S.], To-qui-in-too, the little soldier, his x mark, [L. S.], Ha-sas-hah, the Ioway, his x mark, [L. S.] (See reference*)
In order to coordinate expansion and protection, Congress established the Office of Indian Affairs within the War Department. In 1849 it was transferred to the Department of Interior. A commissioner of Indian Affairs, appointed by the president, coordinated diplomatic relations with Native Americans. The commissioner was charged with moving Native American groups westward. This resulted in a new round of treaties, including for the first time a visit to Washington, D.C., by a Yankton delegation. It was led by Chief War Eagle, who received a bronze peace medal from President Martin Van Buren. On of the signers was Padaniapapi (Struck by the Ree), future head chief of the Yanktons. In this treaty (1837) the Yanktons ceded virtually all their land in present-day Iowa except for a small area near Sioux City.
During these decades a flood of outsiders besieged Yankton territory, including more merchants, government agents, land speculators, explorers, and missionaries. In 1839 Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, a Roman Catholic missionary, visited the Yanktons. As a result of his visit, future chief Struck by the Ree converted to Catholicism. Naturalist and painter John James Audubon passed through by way of steamboat in 1843, as did other artists such as the Swiss painter Karl Bodmer and the American painter George Catlin. Trade companies had posts in Yankton territory. Fort Vermillion and Fort Pierre both attracted large volumes of trade. The Yanktons traded hides and furs for blankets, cloth, beads, and iron implements. Unfortunately, the growing contact with American traders brought alcohol as a trade item; thus with the benefits of trade came the debilitating effect alcohol.
During this era of the great fur trade, the demand for fur products in America and Europe was insatiable. By the mid-1840s, however, fur-bearing animals (especially the beaver) began to disappear. This meant the Yanktons and the other tribes of the region needed to expand their hunting range. The Yanktons had to cross the lower Missouri River (into present-day Nebraska) to hunt. This created tension and conflict with the Omahas, Pawnees, and Otos. Further north the Yanktons crossed the upper Missouri more frequently in order to hunt buffalo in the Great Plains. On the eastern side of the upper Missouri in the Prairie region, the buffalo herds were declining. Reports in 1840s by government agents and missionaries such as Father De Smet commented on this decline. The economic difficulties of the late 1840s and 1850s help to explain the Yankton decision to sign the Treaty of 1858 and surrender almost their entire homeland.
The general scarcity of game and food would be offset by the goods, services, or cash provided by the government as stipulated in various treaties. In 1846 the Yanktons received their last annuity until 1859. They got $5,000 in goods, an overdue payment from the 1830 treaty. This was mentioned in an 1849 report by Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota Superintendency. His report, titled “Background of the Dacotah or Sioux Nation,” described all the branches of the Seven Council Fires. Ramsey translated “Ihank Ton Won” as “People of the Further End” and said they numbered 3,200. He also commented on the great gathering: “the Sioux themselves tho [sic] scattered, meet annually on the Jacques [James River], those on the Missouri trading with those on the Mississippi.”
The Yanktons faced other problems in addition to the competition for scarce resources. Reports from this period indicate that smallpox, cholera, and measles were taking their toll on life. Alan Woolworth argues that there was a slow decline in the Yankton population from 1840 to 1858. He also believes that the government figure of 3,200 for 1849 is too high and that between 1825 and 1860 the population ranged between 2,000 and 3,000. While the Yanktons were facing economic hardships, other problems emerged. American settler, actually squatters, appeared on the eastern side of Yankton territory. There was also the problem of settles passing through Sioux Territory on their way west. “Oregon fever” spurred American westward. In 1845 the term “Manifest Destiny” entered the American lexicon; a rallying cry for expansion, it proclaimed America’s god-given destiny to possess the continent from coast to coast. The politicians expounded upon it, the press praised it, and the public bought it. It mattered little that Native Americans and Mexicans already occupied the land. They did not count. They must not stand in the way of America’s destiny. In reality, Manifest Destiny was the moral justification of expansionism; it was a racial and cultural manifesto proclaiming the inherent superiority of Anglo-American ideas, institutions, and people. It was a rationalization for greed, ambition, and exploitation that led the United States government to sign a myriad of treaties with Native American nations—treaties it later ignored.
A growing population helped fuel America’s westward expansion. Between 1840 and 1860 hundreds of thousands of immigrants streamed into America, increasing the population fro 17.1 million to 31.5 million. Iowa was granted statehood in 1846, Wisconsin in 1848, and Minnesota in 1858. Cities emerged west of the Mississippi. On the eastern side of Yankton territory the number of squatters increased. Along with land speculators they became pressure groups, demanding that Congress remove the Yanktons as well as other Indian people. In response the government pursued the policy of further compressing Indian land into small tracts with clearly defined boundaries. The tribes would be required to live within the boundaries, allowing more land for settlers and it easier for the U.S. military to control Indian nations.
Thus began the concentration policy or reservation system west of the Mississippi. These reservations would be located in remote areas away from the newly arriving settlers. For the Plains Indians this began the government policy of turning hunting people into sedentary farmers. In 1851 Indian agents gathered together a large number of Plains tribes at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, for treaty negotiations. Thousand of Native Americans appeared, including several branches of the Sioux, Shoshones, Gros Ventres, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Mandans, Arikaras, Assiniboines, and Crows. They agreed to cease hostilities among themselves and to allow American settlers unmolested passage through their lands. They also agreed to allow the government to build roads and forts and to draw boundaries between their lands. The government in return agreed to protect the Indians from Anglo-American deprivations and to divide among the Native American nations that signed the treaty $50,000 per year for fifty years. Congress reduced this to ten years with an optional five-year extension. The money would be paid in merchandise, domestic animals, and agricultural tools. The Yanktons were represented by Smutty Bear (Mato Sabi Ceya, 1790-1865). He was their most experienced negotiator, having participated in almost all previous treaty talks between the United States government and the Yanktons. It was also significant to note that the Fort Laramie Treaty clearly stated that the Black Hills belonged to the “Sioux or Dahcotah [sic] Nation.
In 1856 the Yanktons underwent a change in leadership; Padaniapapi (Struck by the Ree) became head chief. He replaced War Eagle (ca 1785-1851), the highly respected and popular leader. Chief War Eagle was not a Yankton; he was from the Mdewakantons or Santee Dakota but moved into the Yankton area near present-day Sioux City, Iowa, during the War of 1812. Must of what is known about him comes from oral tradition that has been preserved by his family. War Eagle was adopted by the Yankton people; and when head chief Little Dish died (in the 1830s), War Eagle was chosen as the itanchan, the new head chief. His rise in status and influence is attributed to his trade connections and the benefits that they brought to the Yanktons. He invited merchants into Yankton territory. One of these merchants was the French-Canadian fur trader Theophile Bruguier, who settled among the Yanktons and married two of War Eagle's daughters. Before War Eagle died, he chose a bluff over looking the Missouri River for his gravesite. In 1875 a memorial to War Eagle was erected on this same bluff. The memorial is a large granite statue of War Eagle that faces the Missouri River; very appropriately, War Eagle is holding a Sacred Pip in outstretched arms, offering it to those who pass below.
The career of Struck by the Ree, sometimes called Old Strike, is crucial to Yankton history. He headed a Yankton contingent to Washington to negotiate the Treaty of 1858; he led the Yanktons to their new home; and he was the essential person in helping the Yanktons adjust to reservation life. Under his leadership the Yanktons had to deal with the pressures of acculturation from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Christian missionaries, and the encroaching American squatters. Struck by the Ree is a controversial figure in Yankton history, but part of the controversy involved his entrapment by the reality of an expanding America. He lived in tumultuous times. His people were being forced to adjust to the loss of sovereignty and freedom and to live under restrictions and dependence. The position of head chief did not include any autocratic or arbitrary powers. One led through example, verbal persuasion, a reputation for integrity and generosity, personal honor, and prestige. With these skills, a head chief would attempt to develop a consensus among Yankton band chiefs and elders. The Yanktons were divided into seven bands. It is not clear how old the Yankton bands are, but it seems from extant reports that they were in existence in the early nineteenth century. Generally there were four bands living along the Missouri River, who were referred to as the Lower Yanktons. The other three bands lived farther north and northwest and were called the upper Yanktons.
During the 1850s and 1860s relations with the United States government and the encroaching settlers exacerbated the division between upper and lower bands. It seems that the lower bands wanted to follow a policy of cooperation and accommodation with non-Indians, whereas the upper bands supported resistance and non-cooperation. The Yankton bands remained constant through the remainder of the century. According to information collected by Stephen R. Riggs in 1878, the seven bands that existed at the beginning of reservation era (1859) were:
Lower bands: Cagu (Lungs) [Struck by the Ree’s band]
Oyate Sica (Band Nation)
Waceunpa (Roasters or the Ones That Cook)
Igmu (Cat People)
Upper bands: Iha Ishdaye (Mouth Greasers)
Wakmuha Oin (Pumpkin Rind Earrings)
Cankute (Shooters at Trees)
Later, probably in the 1860s the government established an eighth band, called Wasicun Cinca (White man's sons or "half-breeds"), with Philip J. Deloria as the band chief. In 1897 anthropologist James O. Dorsey listed the same eight bands. They functioned as social, economic, and political units. As such they threatened federal programs, representing a traditional structure that could resist acculturation, because each band lived as a unit in its own district. The Dawes Act, allotment, and scattered housing stripped the bands of their various functions. The bands were further weakened when the local BIA agents appointed band chiefs rather than allow leadership to emerge in the traditional way. In the Yankton census of 1887 the BIA lists Yankton population by band for the last time, leaving out the Dakota name of the band:
Band One: Struck by the Ree's Band
Band Two: Jumping Thunder's Band
Band Three: Medicine Cow's Band
Band Four: White Swan's Band
Band Five: William Beans, Sr.'s Band
Band Six: Feather in His Ear's Band
Band Seven: Frank Jandron, Sr.'s Band
Band Eight: Philip J. Deloria's Band
In the years before the Treaty of 1858, the Yanktons faced an increasing U.S. military presence. One can understand why the Yanktons would question the wisdom of armed resistance. In 1855 General William S. Harney led an expedition of 1,200 troops against their neighbors the Sicangus Lakotas (Bruels). In the ensuing battle Harney's troops killed eighty-five Sicangus and took seventy-five women and children prisoner. Harney spent the following winter at Fort Pierre on the edge of Yankton country. Even more threatening was the building of Fort Randall on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River just across from the Yanktons. As the military situation created problems for the Yanktons, so did the settlers. By the mid-1850s small settlements had turned into towns of Sioux Falls and Sioux City. Yankton villages began having serious confrontations with settlers along the Big Sioux River. In 1856 head chief Struck by the Ree and Smutty Bear, Igmu band chief, bean negotiations with General Harney at Fort Pierre. The Yankton leaders drafted a petition to President Franklin Pierce asking for funds that were due from previous treaties. They said that game was scarce and that they would us these funds for agricultural purposes.
These developments form part of the background for understanding the Yankton motives in negotiating the Treaty of 1858. Not only were the Yanktons threatened by U.S. Troops to their west and northwest, but they had to deal with mounting demands for land cessions on their eastern border from land speculators and settlers. The Yanktons also faced very difficult economic circumstances. In 1857 Alfred Cumming, the superintendent in St. Louis, recommended James W. Denver, the commissioner of Indian Affairs, that a treaty be negotiated with the Yanktons for the purchase of their land and that they be moved to a reservation on the western part of their land. The Yanktons, of course, were well aware of the fact that their eastern relatives (the Sissetons, Wahpekutes, Mdewakantons, and Wahpetons) had already signed treaties and were confined to reservations.
All this was part of the larger plan now being debated by the Department of the Interior in Washington. Two commissioners of Indian Affairs whose names live on in Yankton history, Charles E. Mix and Alfred B. Greenwood, were staunch supporters of the concentration policy, the suppression of American Indian culture, and eventual assimilation. The reservation was the tool to accomplish these ends. Mix was commissioner for only eighteen months; but for eighteen years he was chief clerk, the number two position behind the commissioner. As such Mix had a significant impact on the direction of federal Indian policy. Charles Mix County, the home of the Yankton Reservation, is named after him. One week after the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, Greenwood resigned and joined the Confederacy to recruit Native Americans to fight for the South.
Facing many pressures from a variety of sources, the Yankton leadership decided to negotiate with government. Meetings were held at Fort Pierre in 1857, and soon afterward a delegation led by Struck by the Ree traveled to Washington, D.C. Band chiefs such as Smutty Bear and Mad Bull of the Oyate Sica band were part of the entourage. Other prominent Yanktons included Jumping Thunder (1830? - 1901). Also in attendance was a key player in the negotiations was Charles F. Picotte (1830-96). He was the son of French fur trader Honore Picotte and Eagle Woman, sister of Struck by the Ree. A close advisor to his uncle, the head chief, and fluent in several languages, Picotte was the key interpreter during the negotiations.
As a result of disagreements among some of the Yanktons, the negotiations took almost four months. Smutty Bear and several other members of the delegation argued against the treaty. After considerable pressure Smutty Bear agreed to sign it. The main negotiator for the United States was Commissioner Charles E. Mix. The treaty was signed on 19 April 1858 and ratified and ratified by the U.S. Senate on 16 February 1859. In the treaty the Yanktons ceded more than 11 million acres of land to the United States. In return they were guaranteed 431,000 acres on the western side of their homeland along the Missouri River. This became the Yankton Reservation. The Yanktons also believed that they were guaranteed title to a small tract of land in Minnesota that contained the Red Pipestone Quarry. They surrendered all rights and claims acquired in other treaties except their annuity right from the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The Yanktons also agreed to move to "said reservation" within one Year. In return for ceding this large tract of land, the government would pay the Yanktons $1,600,000 in annual installments ($32,000 per year) for the next fifty years. The government would also send an agent to reside on the reservation and agreed to build a school and a mill to grind grain and saw lumbers. Charles Picotte and Zephier Rencontre, another interpreter, each received 640 acres from the government for their "valuable services." Finally, and most significantly, Article 11 states: "The Yancton acknowledge their dependence upon the Government of the United States."
There were sixteen Yankton signatories to the treaty. Twelve of the signers represented the four lower Yankton bands, the main supporters of the treaty. Charles Picotte also signed the treaty. Three band chiefs (White Medicine Cow, Little White Swan, and Pretty Boy) represented the upper Yankton bands. Their names are on the treaty, but they did not personally put their mark on the document. Their mark was made by their "duly authorized delegate and representative, Chas. F. Picotte." Did these tree band chiefs give this authority to Picotte because they could not attend the signing? Did they return home in protest? Did Picotte, whose self-interest was tied to the treaty, simply usurp the right to sign for them in their absence? The answer is unclear.
The Treaty of 1858 created controversy among the Yanktons. Ceding such a large amount of land and the small amount of the payment were criticized. The Yanktons ceded 96 percent of their land. The remaining 4 percent was not the best land. The $1,600,000 in annuities over a fifty-year period figures out to be (if we assume a cash value of $32,000 per year) $16 per capita per for 2,000 Yanktons. Even by nineteenth-century standards this is an insubstantial amount of money. When Chief Struck by the Ree returned home, waiting for the Senate to ratify the treaty, he faced opposition not only from the upper bands but also from Smutty Bear, who now condemned the treaty. Another leader of the opposition was future band Chief Feather in His Ear (1818-1901), from one of the upper bands. He not only opposed the treaty but opposed the presence of Christian missionaries on the reservation. The lower bands were the most numerous of the Yanktons. They tended to live along the river and depended on agriculture and trade for their primary livelihood and hunting to a lesser degree. Given their location, they had long-standing contact with non-Indians and had confronted many issues of accommodation. The upper bands relied primarily on hunting and less on agriculture and trade. They also had less contact with non-Indians and were more intolerant of accommodation with Anglo-American society. The leaders of the upper bands claimed that they had not been properly represented at the negotiations. Many blamed and were angered at both Struck by the Ree and his nephew, Charles Picotte. There were threats, unrest, and a legacy of controversy. According to Yankton elder Henry Hare, Sr., a descendant of Mad Bull's band: "Our people never did have a chance to vote on the Treaty that Struck by the Ree and Charles Picotte and others made with the government. A lot of us went on a hunt, for buffalo, and when we came back here we found out they sold our land to the whites.
In considering the motives of Struck by the Ree and his supporters, one must analyze the options available in the 1850s. He could have chosen resistance, armed or otherwise, against American expansionism; but this would have been doomed to failure. Struck by the Ree knew the power of the U.S. military, and he knew the military would protect American squatters. Militarily the Yanktons were in an impossible position. Their population was small, disease was common, and food was scarce. Out of 1,972 Yanktons in 1859, there were 440 adult men. They could not muster an effective fighting force. The feared General Harney, stationed at Fort Randall with 1,200 troops, made armed resistance an untenable option. Another possible option was voluntary migration west. This would have been possible but very difficult. It would have required a location, funding and consensus from the Yanktons. Voluntary migration, even if successful, would only have postponed and eventual collision with American expansion. The third option, accommodation with the United States, must have seemed like the only viable choice to Chief Struck by the Ree. Accommodation meant a guaranteed permanent homeland for the Yanktons and fifty years of annuity payments. This was much better than fruitless resistance where all could be lost. From his point of view, he had only one option.
Struck by the Ree weathered the storm. Within several years oppositions to him withered away, and he became a very popular and respected leader until his death in 1888. He continued to support accommodation with Anglo-American culture, including the acceptance of Christianity. When he died, he was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery near Greenwood. In the 1930s a large granite monument was placed at his gravesite as a memorial. It reads in part: "He was in his days the strongest and most faithful friend of the whites." When the United States Senate ratified the treaty, the Yankton people began moving to their reservation. Struck by the Ree's legacy was the survival of the Yanktons as a nation.
***As he grew older, Struck sometimes became frustrated with Government Agents and regretted his role in the Treaty of 1858:
"If I had understood from what my grandfather told me that I was to be treated as I have been, I would never have done as I have done; I never would have signed the treaty.....The Great Spirit knows that I have spoken the truth; knows what I say." Congressional Globe 1866
TREATY WITH THE YANKTON SIOUX, 1858.
Apr. 19, 1858.
11 Stat., 743.
Proclaimed Feb. 26, 1859.
In testimony whereof, the said Charles E. Mix, commissioner, as aforesaid, and the undersigned chiefs, delegates, and representatives of the said tribe of Yancton Indians, have hereunto set their hands and seals at the place and on the day first above written.
Charles E. Mix, Commissioner. [L. S.]
Pa-la-ne-apa-pe, or the Man that was struck by the Ree, his x mark. [L.S.]
Ma-to-sa-be-che-a, or the Smutty Bear, his x mark. [L.S.]
Charles F. Picotte or Eta-ke-cha. [L.S.]
Ta-ton-ka-wete-co, or the Crazy Bull, his x mark. [L.S.]
Pse-cha-wa-kea, or the Jumping Thunder, his x mark. [L.S.]
Ma-ra-ha-ton, or the Iron Horn, his x mark. [L.S.]
Nombe-kah-pah, or One That Knocks Down Two, his x mark. [L.S.]
Ta-ton-ka-e-yah-ka, or the Fast Bull, his x mark. [L.S.]
A-ha-ka Ma-ne, or the Walking Elk, his x mark. [L.S.]
A-ha-ka-na-zhe, or the Standing Elk, his x mark. [L.S.]
A-ha-ka-ho-che-cha, or the Elk with a bad voice, his x mark. [L.S.]
Cha-ton-wo-ka-pa, or the Grabbing Hawk, his x mark. [L.S.]
E-ha-we-cha-sha, or the Owl Man, his x mark. [L.S.]
Pla-son-wa-kan-na-ge, or the White Medicine Cow that stands, by his duly authorized delegate and representative, Charles F. Picotte. [L.S.]
Ma-ga-scha-che-ka, or the Little White Swan, by his duly authorized delegate and representative, Charles F. Picotte. [L.S.]
O-ke-che-la-wash-ta, or the Pretty Boy, by his duly authorized delegate and representative, Chas. F. Picotte. [L.S.]
Executed in the presence of--
A. H. Redfield, agent.
J. B. S. Todd.
Text obtained of “The Yanktons and the United States” is an excerpt from the book, Peyote and the Yankton Sioux; The Life and Times of Sam Necklace, pages 28 – 41, by Thomas Constantine Maroukis, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2004 (The author’s proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Institute of American Indian Studies, University of South Dakota.)
The names of the signors of the treaties were obtained and added in the body of the text in the interest of researchers, genealogists and historians involved in the compilation of Yankton Sioux history.
*Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties.
Vol. II (Treaties) in part. Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler.
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904.
**Information on Chiefs Weucha (Shake Hand) and Little Dish obtained from: www.tradegoods.org/weucha.htm
***Remember Your Relatives; Yankton Sioux Images, 1851 to 1904 by Renee Sansom-Flood and Shirley A. Bernie, edited by Leonard R. Bruguier
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Post Office Box 187,
Marty, South Dakota, 57361
Telephone number 605-384-5432, Altina Mace in the Purchasing Dept.