New York Times: Feb 25, 1889
In 1889, the New York Times reported about disturbances at Turtle Mountain resulting from the reluctance of the US Government to deal fairly with the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and their half-breed element. The following is a lengthy discussion about the treaty and the situation at hand.
DAKOTA INDIAN TROUBLES
The disturbances among the Chippewa half-breeds of Northern Dakota are due to an attempt by the Sheriff of Rolette County to collect taxes from those of them that live on land outside of the reservations.
The difficulty appears to arise from the fact that the half-breeds have claims against the Government which have not been adjusted, so that they object to being taxed, and, indeed, may have dim ideas respecting the difference between county and Federal authority. The trouble is aggravated by the small size of the reservation of the Pembina Band of Chippewa, which consists of only two townships set apart for them in 1884, and of the late years the Indians have been joined by several thousand half-breeds from Canada, some of whom want to share the Government rations.
The question as to the right of the Turtle Mountain Band of Pembina Chippewa to a great tract of land lying northwest of Devil's Lake is a somewhat complicated one. The tract which they claim consists of between 9,000,000 and 10,000,000 acres and must apparently include not only this very county of Rolette which is now taxing their half-breed associates for the privilege of living there, but a great part of the adjoining counties on the Canadian line. Twenty-six years ago, in 1863, the Red Lake and Pembina Chippewa made an important cession of millions of acres belonging to them in Northwestern Minnesota and Northeastern Dakota. The present question is whether they ceded at that time the lands lying north and west of Devil's Lake. Secretary Vilas holds that the half-breeds of the two bands, who were even then in a vast majority, were not parties to the treaty, except that under one of its articles those of them who were citizens and had adopted the habits of civilized life were permitted to take a homestead of 160 acres, or scrip therefor, in the ceded territory, in lieu of all claims for annuities. They received 464 pieces of scrip for 160 acres each, entitling them to 74,240 acres of land.
Eight years later, in 1871, a Board of Visitors found that the Pembina Band, after having given up millions of acres, now a flourishing; and well-settled region, had fallen into a deplorable condition. They were unfriendly to the Red Lake Band and would not live on the Red Lake Reservation, which consists of about 3,200,000 acres, but wanted a reserve in the Turtle Mountain country, their old hunting grounds, and northwest of Devil's Lake, which they still claimed. The Commissioners who negotiated the treaty of 1863 have left on record that this region was reserved by the Pembina Bands; and the Board of Visitors of 1871 also recognized the justice of their request to go there, but as a practical measure, they suggested that the full-blood Indians should be separated from the multitude of half-breeds who had no claims to Government annuities -- many indeed belonging to Manitoba -- and should be removed to the White Earth Reservation. The agent of the latter also urged soon after that the department should "recognize their right to all their territory on Turtle Mountain and give them the means to farm there or purchase a right on the White Earth Reservation and order them to remove." An appropriation was accordingly made for this purpose, and the Indians were directed to go to the new home to receive their annuities. But extreme poverty, the long distance to be traveled, and the influence of those who hoped to benefit by payment at Pembina broke up the plan. Now, as has been said, they live on a small reservation of two townships within ten miles of the Canadian boundary and are surrounded by half breeds living on the public domain.
It is clear that the claim of the Pembina Chippewa to the Turtle Mountain region north and west of Devil's Lake has not been fully disposed of, and only a little more than eight years ago the General Land Commissioner refused to allow surveys on it. In the first session of the Forty-seventh Congress measures wore ponding before both houses to extinguish this claim, under the opinion of the Indian Commissioner that it was entitled to consideration. It happens that a bill is pending in the present Congress for the cession of the Red Lake Reservation, and this might be supplemented by a provision for settling the title of the Turtle Mountain region. But according to Secretary Vilas, the half-breeds would not be entitled to the benefits of such a measure, and they are making the present trouble.