TERM OF LEADERSHIP: 1872-1903
After the passing of his father in 1872, Ayabe-way-we-tung became the third Little Shell Chief.
His first order of business as chief was to negotiate with Washington, hoping to secure an amenable treaty for his people for their lands in North Dakota, and for the establishment of a reservation that would serve them as a permanent homeland against the encroachment of white settlers. During his delegation of 1876, Little Shell and the other leaders of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa made a petition to the US Government asking for a settlement of their issues. They made several key points and concessions, and asked for considerations for their request to cede over 9-million acres of land in North Dakota. Among their main points were to define their territory formally with the government, to lodge a complaint about the establishment of the Sioux reservation at Devils Lake, and to ask for the establishment of a formal reservation of 50 by 60 miles in the area surrounding the Turtle Mountains. Unfortunately, the government refused to act upon their petition and soon thereafter a smaller reservation was established by Executive order in 1882. This reservation was further diminished in 1884 to the present-day size of 6 by 12 miles. The reduction of the reservation remained a bone of contention for Little Shell throughout all future negotiations with the government.
In 1892, negotiations between the government and the tribe were arbitrarily commenced in order to settle the title to 10-million acres of land yet unceded by Little Shell and the Turtle Mountain Band. The negotiating committee was headed by P. J. McCumber, and became known as the McCumber Commission. Even though Little Shell was the hereditary chief of the Band, the McCumber Committee refused to negotiate with him and his council – forcing Little Shell to walk out of the negotiations in protest. Taking advantage of this, McCumber instead undercut Little Shell by dealing with a “Committee of 32” which had been elected the previous year to deal with some internal problems within the tribe. The result of this negotiation was the so-called “Ten Cent Treaty” by which the Turtle Mountain Band, under the Committee of 32, agreed to cede their claims to their nearly 10-million acres of land for one-million dollars. This “treaty” was quickly contested by Little Shell and his council, who spent the next twelve years in a legal battle with the US Government. As a result, the Ten Cent Treaty was never ratified by Congress.
Little Shell III passed away in 1903 and Congress quickly ratified an amended McCumber Agreement (the Davis Agreement) in 1904.
Enhanced & Colorized by Dibaajimowin (07/20/2020)