From the proceedings of the old Crossing Treaty (1863)
During the Old Crossing treaty negotiations (September 29, 1863), Red Lake chief Little Rock made the following statement regarding his traditional territory:
"It has been a long time since we have made up our minds what we are going to do and say; not only myself, but all the chiefs and braves. My friend, just over there I mile from this road' [pointing to the Pembina trail crossing the river], is the line I have fixed for the home of my children, and beyond the line we will live. From the line of that cession that my relatives have ceded to you, there is where I have fixed my stake.”
In describing his former hunting territory, Little Rock stated:
“I follow the line I have stated to Tamarack Creek, and there I go in a straight line to, the Lake of the Woods, and I call that my line. That piece of land [pointing eastward towards Red Lake] is the place where I intend to live.”
Continuing to describe his former territory:
“I follow that line down Tamarack River, and from there I follow it up to Salt River [Park River] to the head of Salt River, and from there I follow it to the Place of the Stumps [Stump Lake], and from there I strike down to Poplar Grove [Grahams Island], and from there I go to the Sheyenne and follow the Sheyenne River down its channel to its mouth…"
Little Rock also addressed how he had come to take possession of this vast territory:
"My friend, I want you to fully understand how we came to own this land. Yes, my friend, you told the truth; this land used to belong to the Sioux, and so did the Red Lake. While the Sioux were in quiet possession of that country my ancestors had not laid down the tomahawk; we drove them, as it were toward the Rocky Mountains, and when we had (driven them off, then we claimed the land as our own. Talk about the Sioux owning that land more than we do! We can show you our camps all along the Sheyenne River; we hunt down there always. It is so still. We still hunt on that land, and we never want to shake hands with the tribe you have mentioned. It is only because you have driven them away in confusion that we cannot reach them."
"Whenever our people go to hunt for the Sioux, they do not find them on the Sheyenne but have to go beyond. The bones of the Chippewas are scattered all along the Sheyenne River, and that is the reason we consider it belongs to us; but you have battered the Sioux so badly we have reason to suppose there will be no dispute about boundary."
From 3878 S.doc.444, June 06, 1900, Committee on Indian Affairs. US Senate
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities