Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Sept 29, 1883
TURTLE MOUNTAIN ROW!
Particulars of the Emente - the Indian aided by Imported Manitoba Half-breeds.
Who's Country is it Anyway?
There is more than a speck of war on the horizon. Within a radius of 18 miles from St. John, a frontier settlement on the east side of Turtle mountains, four miles south of the international boundary and 80 miles from Devil's lake, reside over ;300 French and Scotch Canadian families, several native born and naturalized Americans, 150 half-breed Indians and a small band of full-blooded Chippewa Indians numbering 11 lodges. The latter are under the leadership of Little Shell as chief. By executive order issued by President Arthur last December a reservation 38 miles long and 24 miles wide on the east and south side of Turtle Mountain was defined and set aside for the full blood Chippewas, then thought to be a large band. Recent official examination shows the number to be limited to 11 families thus occupying 720 square miles, and Special Indian Agent Beadie recently recommended that the government reduce the Indian reservation to two townships lying in Little Shell valley and that the reservation be operated as a branch of the Devils Lake reservation. This recommendation having met with the approval of the interior department, special order was recently issued limiting the reservation and instructions were given Cortey Fessenden, surveyor general of Dakota, to cause the government survey of the reservation to be made at once. Recently, application has been made by settlers in five townships contiguous to St. John, asking for survey of same and the contract was let to survey to John M. Mellon, to whom with a corps of 18 men the contract of the two townships was also let. Last Monday the survey party reached St. Johns and to their surprise round they had caught a tatar.
Little Shell's chief soldier informed Cortey Fessenden, who was visiting Mr. Mellon, that the band of Indians numbering 400 (Little Shell has just returned from Woody mountain, 300 miles to the north west, bringing recruits, his own band of full bloods numbering not more than 5, including women and children), would not allow the survey to be made, that the Great Father was crowding them to the wall, and that they would kill the whole gang of surveyors. Gen. Fessenden said the survey would be made even though 4000 Indians should attack, for the survey was ordered by the Great Father. Here followed a scene without a parallel, perhaps, even in this frontier settlement, for curses and threats to shoot and scalp were made with intense excitement end found scores of ready seconders in the mongrel population of half breed Indians and French and Scotch Canadians (Metis) who inhabit the fertile valley skirting the foothills of the Turtle mountains, while the few American citizens who live out on the prairie were powerless to resist the gross insult offered their government and its faithful servants, the surveyors. These troubles were thus brought to a bend by this overt act of Chief Little Shell, who was heretofore thought to be satisfied with reduction of his reservation providing his band was allowed the appropriation if $10,000 which Congress granted them at its last session. This amount was to have been granted them as soon after they had signified their intention to accept the restricted reservation. It is thought that Little Shell has added to the strength of his force by promises to divide the spoils. Evidently the half breeds think themselves entitled to government aid also and they are found in sympathy with the full bloods and may join in any attack. Should such be the case Little Shell can have it all his own sweet way for a while for over 150 half breeds live within 10 miles of St Johns. Then again, the non-naturalized French and Scottish Canadians (Metis), whom one would suppose have no right to figure in this matter, are found among the instigators of the whole trouble. Possibly, however, they would do the best fighting for they do the most taking of all.
To state it mildly there is n***** in the woodpile in this whole matter. The government has been the victim of misinformation, and perhaps certain of its trusted representatives have been duped and misled. At any rate an official investigation of all matters relative to the Turtle Mountain Indians is needed at once. If, however, the Indians, half breeds, Scotch and French (Metis) parasites lord it over the genuine American settler, and try to cheat him out of securing any rights to which our homestead and preemption laws entitle him, the sooner they are taught differently the better. The question has been settled as to whether the Indians and their allies or Uncle Sam own the vast domain known as the Turtle Mountain region including perhaps the most fertile soil of North Dakota. The full blood Chippewas have been liberally provided for. The other claimants for special government recognition or support [half breeds and Metis] have not the shadow of right more than any beggars; and the sooner they learn this fact and quit growling the better. The French and Scotch Canadians who have, within the past year, emigrated from Manitoba evidently think that even though they have not taken the first step declaratory of allegiance to our government yet their "rights" ought to be respected even though they infringe on the bonafide American settler. In short, the last named individual must be a non-entity in certain portions of the Turtle Mountain region. He is at the bottom of the floor, being crushed by the combined weight of savages, aliens and half breeds. The United States government must soon decide which is chief in these parts and who possesses the best right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities