Louise Seymour Houghton.

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chieftainship. °

Angel De Cora was the granddaughter of the well
beloved Little De Kaury or De Cora (Cha-ge-ka-ka).
She studied art at Smith College and then under How-
ard Pyle, and had a studio in New York, illustrating
books and articles on Indian subjects in Harper's
Magazine and other periodicals, until she was called to
teach in Carlisle, where she married her colleague in
the art department, Mr. William Dietz, (Lone Star),
once famous on the athletic field. She has a remark-
able gift for adapting Indian ideas and symbols to
purposes of illustration, and with her husband follows
out with enthusiasm the plans for the revival of In-
dian art formed by Mr. Leupp when Commissioner.
At the National Education Association of 1910, coi'n-
cidentally with which Carlisle School held a Summer
Institute at Cleveland, Mrs. Dietz, with the aid of her
pupils, gave a practical demonstration of Indian rug
weaving. She is a young woman of charming person-
ality. The importance of her work is receiving new

^ It is the general belief that it was a member of this numerous
family, One^Eyed De Kaury, who took Black Hawk and the
Prophet prisoners at the Big Dells in 1832, and delivered them
to G-en. John M. Street, Indian agent at Prairie du Chien. Mr.
Louis Porlier, however, says (in W. H. C. XV; 442) that Black
Hawk surrendered not to De Kaury, but to Robert Grignon.


Our Debt to the Red Man

and interesting illustration in the very recent and
most successful attempt to preserve the fast vanishing
but remarkable art of the various Indian tribes. Mr.
Dietz has received a prize for the design of the offi-
cial medal of the Russian Wolfhound Club of Amer-
ica, and the Governors of the American Kennel Club
have decided to adopt it as a standard.

As yet, small attention has been paid, in Indian
education, to the possibilities of Indian music as a
distinctive art form, though this possibility was sug-
gested, as has been earlier observed, in a very interest-
ing musical composition offered in 1913 by a member
of the Carlisle Band, at Commencement. Music is,
however, a part of the curriculum of this and other In-
dian schools, several of whose pupils have won scholar-
ships in leading musical schools, and with some degree
of proficiency in the technique of the art we may hope
for some interesting contributions, such as have been
shadowed forth by Miss Nathalie Curtis in her valu-
able work already named. A number of French
mixed-blood girls are qualifying as teachers of music.
A considerable number of young men are members of
musical bands in various parts of the country. Miss
Alberta Bartholomeau, who was educated at Carlisle,
is teaching music in Sparta, 111. She has organized a
children's choir and is also church organist. Miss
Jean Senseney, instructor of vocal music in Wilson
College, was also educated at Carlisle. The daughter
of the Rev. Louis de Coteau is teacher of music in the
Sisseton School.


The Present Situation

HOW many French mixed-bloods there are at
present in the United States it is impossible
to say with any exactness. The elaborate
statistics of the 40,639 mixed-bloods reported by the
census of 1910 are of little avail to the student of this
subject, since no attempt was made in that census
(the first that has distinguished mixed-bloods from
full bloods) to show the white parentage. In fact, but
for the influence those living on the reservations exert
upon their fellow tribesmen, the inquiry is not import-
tant. The notable services of French mixed-bloods be-
long to the early history of our country. Still, a cer-
tain interest does inhere in the influence which this
class of Indians exerts upon those among whom they
live, and though the recent census gives no data tend-
ing to distinguish French from other ancestry, the
study of history and geography affords more than
one clue.

From Mr. Hazard 's Smithsonian Report we learn
that in Michigan in 1852 there were among the Ojib-
ways (Chippewas) 5,000 metis, many of them persons
of good education and high standing. More Anglo-
Saxon names occur among this tribe than among any
other, but in many of these cases (as also among the
French-Sioux with Anglo-Saxon names and among the


Our Debt to the Red Man

tribes of the old Six Nations) French blood can be
traced through the metisse mother. Mr. Hazard found
that in 1879 there were in the Northwestern States
from Michigan to Oregon 20,861 French mixed-
bloods. Wilkes gave a total of 21,691 French mixed-
bloods on the Canadian border. Of the 15,000 persons
of Canadian-French descent in Michigan in 1879,
probably few except in Detroit were free from Indian
blood. The Report of the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs for 1879 says that among the Turtle Mountain
Indians, Chippewa mixed-bloods (in this case nearly
all French) are very much in the majority, there be-
ing 1,700 of the latter to 363 full bloods. He inci-
dently emphasizes the greater industry and better
farming intelligence of the mixed-bloods.

In Nebraska, many of the Omaha and Winnebago
have French blood. Practically all the inhabitants of
the ''Half Breed Tract" in that State are metis. Of
the "five civilized tribes" of Oklahoma (Cherokee,
Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole) a large
element is white, some of it Anglo-Saxon, but more
comes from French traders before the Revolution.
The Iroquois peoples (who, with the exception of the
Sauks and Foxes, and in the South at one period the
Choctaws, were the only Indian adversaries of the
French), have a large admixture of French and also
English blood, both from adoption and from marriage
with captives, so that, as Mr. James Mooney of the
Bureau of Ethnology remarks, the mother was white
''more often than supposed." In Oregon, with from

[ 188 ]

The Present Situation

30 to 40 per cent of the Indian population mixed, the
French element is much less, and in Nevada it is
practically nothing. In Wisconsin, Montana, and
Washington, with from 10,000 to 15,000 Indians each,
the proportion is larger (40 to 60 per cent) in the first,
smaller (30 to 45 per cent) in the other two.

In Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North
Dakota, where the proportion of mixed-bloods is the
same as in Maine and New York (45-60 per cent) the
majority (excluding such recent removals as, for in-
stance, the Stockbridge Indians), are of French blood.
In the more recently settled Kansas, where the mixed-
bloods form between 60 and 75 per cent of the Indian
population, the proportion of metis, though import-
ant, is much smaller. In fact it may be roughly stated
that before 1811 nearly all mixed-bloods in the North-
West were of French descent, so that it is only in the
regions since then opened to settlement that Anglo-
Saxon mixed-blood is found in any considerable pro-

In Oklahoma, where the Indian population is one
tenth of the whole, the proportion of mixed-bloods is
large (75 per cent), but the French element is rela-
tively small, though largely represented in positions
of public responsibility, (Supra, p. 162), Senator
Owen, alone of this class of mixed-bloods, has no
French ancestry.

In Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, in each of
which, according to the last census, there are fewer
than one hundred Indians, there are among the white

Our Debt to the Red Man

population a considerable number, mainly persons of
good position, who are proud to trace French-Indian
ancestry. The same is the case in Maine and New
York, especially in the latter, where, as Mr. Mooney
tells us (H. A. I.) owing to the century-long enmity of
the Iroquoian tribes to the French, there was an un-
usually large proportion of women captives married
into the tribes. Distinguished instances already noted
are Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt (Tuscarora) and Mr. Arthur
C. Parker (Seneca). On the New York Reservations,
however, where the mixed-bloods are nearly 60 per
cent, there is little or no French blood. The consider-
able number of those having French ancestry, like the
two distinguished gentlemen already mentioned, are
living among the whites, and in all respects, except in
loyal and proud allegiance to their Indian ancestry,
are identified with them.

In South Dakota, with a mixed-blood population
of between 15,000 and 20,000, which is 30 per cent of
the Indian population, there is a considerable num-
ber of metis, many of them of high respectability,
many, indeed, as we have seen, having borne no mean
part in the development of the State.

In recent years the metis population of the states
on the Canadian border has been increased by migra-
tion from the Dominion. Some members of the Boi-
leau or Beaulieu (metis) family came over to Wiscon-
sin (then a territory) during the metis uprising of
1836-7 ; one of them being a member of the party that
discovered the actual headwaters of the Mississippi.

The Present Situation

The Bouquet family, whom Senator Clapp mentions as
being prominent near Cass Lake, Minn., probably
crossed the border at the same time. The uprising
under Louis Kiel (1885) was doubtless also instru-
mental in enriching our metis population by a number
of men of that race from Western Canada, men whom,
as we shall later see, Lord Dufferin, better informed
than some other Canadian authorities, was able to esti-
mate at a high value.

The migration of this class from Canada has
usually been deprecated by our Government, chiefly,
it is supposed, from motives of mistaken economy,
though Captain Pope, in a report from which more
than one quotation has been made, appears to have
had a clearer vision so long ago as 1849. Reporting
^f I'om Northern Minnesota that at that time there were
within the United States 1,000 French half-breeds
(Pembinas), he adds that across the line there are
7,000 whom he regrets that the United States should
have consented, ' ^ by the merest neglect ' ' to lose. ' ' Sev-
en thousand hardy and industrious people, " ' ' who are
only awaiting the slightest encouragement to settle
and develop the rich resources of this portion of
Minnesota, have not been invited to do so."

This attitude of our government is historical,
dating from the earliest days, although the example of
England was there to show it the better way. The
British Companies who took the fur trade after New
France passed under English rule, notwithstanding
the natural British hatred and distrust of both French


Our Debt to the Red Man

and Indians, were astute to perceive their need of
trained eyes and hands, and wise to retain the services
of those metis voyageurs, coureurs, and petty traders
who during the American Revolution for the most
part took the side of the revolting colonies. Yet for
more than a third of the century thereafter our legis-
lators, blind alike to the value of the fur trade and the
agricultural wealth that lay hidden in the northwest-
ern soil, paid no heed to British encroachments, until a
second war became necessary in order definitely to es-
tablish our northern frontier,^ and scores of bloody
conflicts were needed to awaken America to a recog-
nition of the true character of her Indian problem —
a problem to the solution of which the metis, fairly
understood and appreciated, might have lent import-
ant aid. In fact, wherever Indians have gone on the
war path, the government has been fain to depend on
French mixed-bloods to cope with them, says Mr.
Charles E. Dagenett; no doubt for the reason given by
Archbishop Tasse, that the ''savages everywhere re-
cognize the superiority of the metis." Civilization
seems still to lag behind savagery in this respect.''

It cannot, however, be denied that there are bad
metis as well as good, and in recent years, as the invest-
igations of the White Earth (northern Minnesota) em-
broglio have shown, certain individuals of the race,
chiefly of those whose arrival in this country dates

1 Letter from the Rev. John P. Williamson, D. D.

2 The Agency physician of South Dakota attributes it "solely to

their intelligence" that the French mixed-bloods do not join in
wars against the Government. He might possibly have found
loyalty also counting for something here.


The Present Situation

from comparatively recent times, appear in no envi-
able light. The chapter on White Earth in Prof.
Moorehead's work already cited, summarizing and
elucidating large volumes of official inquiries, are very
significant on this subject. The existence of certain
reprehensible individuals, however, in no important
way reflects upon the race as a whole.

It was a new departure when the distinction be-
tween full and mixed bloods was established in the
Census of 1910. But thus to measure the Indian in a
material way is not enough ; what is needed is a Social
Survey, to measure him as a social being. There is a
hiatus in the white man's thought until he learns to
understand the Red Man in a social light.

The theory that the Indians are "a vanishing
race" has been cogently refuted by Mr. Parker in the
Quarterly Journal of American Indians (2. '15) and is
sufficiently disproved by the recent census, which,
however, significantly finds the increase in numbers
which it registers to be chiefly among mixed-bloods.
It is, however, true that tuberculosis, one of the three
foes which Mr. Chauncy Yellowrobe, in the address
already cited, finds that the Indian must fight, is
making fearful ravages on the reservations. Gen.
Pratt, than whom no one speaks with greater author-
ity, lays this evil at the door of the Indian policy of
the Government : ' ' The System has been preeminently
supreme in working the Indian's ruin, through the
despair of isolation, idleness, insufficient feeding, hovel


Our Debt to the Red Man

housing, neglect of sanitation, scant medical attention
and ignoring all the facts of the growth of disease and
death and the causes. ... Go with me to dozens of In-
dian Reservations and I will show you right now the
disease-breeding methods of housing and the vile con-
ditions under which the Indians are forced to live,
and give you the amplest proof of the inefficient care
and scantiness of and disease-breeding food provided,
.... These alone are full warrant for the deplorable
health conditions among our Indians" (Journ. S. A. I.

Conspicuous instances of longevity among French
mixed-bloods in days before the Reservation System
had cast its blight over the race give a new glimpse
into the importance of metis in the process of race
preservation. Joseph Ronde, who in 1786 was the old-
est living settler in Minnesota, being then eighty years
old, could tell of one ancestor who lived to be 112, and
of two others who passed the century mark. He left a
large family. La Pointe, an uncle of J. B. Bottineau,
was living in 1884 at the age of 102. Grey-Headed De
Kaury was 109 years old in 1827; several of the De
Kaury chiefs lived well beyond a hundred years. We
have seen Mrs. Kinzie 's observation that One-Eyed De
Kaury was believed to be 143 years old. The splendid
physique of some Indian youth of today, who through
the Government schools have escaped the blight of
Reservation life, has been shown on many an athletic
field, in other lands than our own.

The Present Situation

The opinion of Dr. Z. T. Daniel, Agency physician
in South Dakota, that only foreign blood can stamp
out tuberculosis among the Indians, is worth quoting
in this connection.



French Mixed- Bloods and Our
Indian Problem

THAT French mixed-bloods have borne no mean
part in the development of our country needs
not be further urged. In the flight of years
the French strain has been diluted, so that but for the
amazing loyalty of men of that strain it would now be
too late to look for any further notable contribution
from this interesting group. Yet these pages will have
been written in vain if they shall not produce in the
candid mind the conviction that it is the right and the
duty of our government to look more seriously than it
has done for aid in its still difficult but imperative
problem of making American Indians into American
citizens, not only to the men and women of distin-
guished ability, such as many who have been here
named, but also to the large number of Indians on the
Reservations and in the common walks of life, who own,
and are proud to own, to a strain of French blood. It
has been amply shown that French mixed-bloods are in
general more alert, industrious, reliable, with a deeper
sense of the importance of education, than the general
mass of Indians. It is the opinion of a white man who
knows the Indians well, (Mr. Alanson Skinner) that
the admixture of any white blood stabilizes the In-
dian; he especially numbers among French mixed-

French Mixed-Bloods and our Indian Problem

bloods some of the finest men he has known. Wilson,
in ' ' Prehistoric Man ' ' expresses a like opinion. ' ' The
French mixed-bloods are more alert, livelier and more
frank than others."

It is some years since the value of that moral force
which Secretary Buchanan half a century earlier had
found the French mixed-bloods exerting, began to be
recognized by the more thoughtful of those who had
dealings with the Indians. Col. Maynandier wrote in
1886 to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs that he
had sent to the hostile Sioux two French mixed-bloods
who lived near Fort Laramie, because "they would be-
lieve them sooner than the Indians who went with
them." It is doubtless for this reason that we find
in later years many Indian Agents chosen from this
race ; men like Vital Jarrot, the friend of Lincoln — ' ' a
very capable and agreeable gentleman," writes Col.
Maynandier — who was appointed agent on the Upper
Platte, "having great influence from long residence
among them. ' '

Among French mixed-bloods whose influence to-
day is markedly on the side of the advancement of
their fellow tribesmen a few may be briefly men-
tioned : — Gauthier, or Gauki, who holds an important
position among the Menominee; Forest Choteau, al-
ready named, the most progressive man among the
Kansa tribe, more Indian than French, yet living in a
city, owning horses, an automobile, and in other res-
pects a progressive man ; the Rev. Francis Frazier of
Santee, Neb., who has been influential in promoting

Our Debt to the Red Man

the best interests of his people, and Mr. Samuel J.
Brown of Brown 's Valley, Minn., the son of a French-
Indian mother, who has made generous use of his res-
ervation lands in beautifying and otherwise further-
ing the civilization of the region in which he lives.
Moses Renville, a descendant of the friend of the mis-
sionaries, is ''a man of influence who looks French
and looks Sioux," says an American who knows him

It is certain that the French mixed-bloods are
admired and trusted by Indians in general to an un-
usual degree. The number of instances which have
appeared in this study, of Frenchmen who have mar-
ried into a tribe and have been made hereditary chiefs
— chieftainship not being in general hereditary, but
within certain limits elective — is by itself a sufficient
witness to the admiration and confidence with which
the French have inspired the Indians.

Wherever we find them living on the reservation
we find them the most progressive farmers, the most
convinced supporters of education, the most indus-
trious workers of their group, and engaged in the
greatest variety of occupations. So long ago as 1874
the metis among the Yankton Sioux, besides farming
some 2200 acres of reservation land, were, as wrote
the agent, ' ' apprentices in shops, blacksmith, tinsmith,
carpenter and grist mills. ' ' Today we learn from the
logging camps in northern Minnesota that the Chippe-
was, (Ojibways) few of whom are without French
blood, are "at least as industrious as the average

French Mixed-Bloods and our Indian Problem

white man," and that they have, in fact, solved the
labor problem, which in that industry had become
acute. We have seen that the Chippewas are now ask-
ing for home rule.

It is forty years since Commisioner E. P. Smith
urged that the obstacles to Indian citizenship lay not
so much in Indian character as in the anomalous rela-
tion in which they stand to the Government. It
would therefore appear that those Chippewas who are
now asking for home rule (Red Man, Dec. 1914, p. 94)
are at least not unduly urgent. When Agent Wright
in 1874 deprecated the marriage of Indian women
with white men, believing that the full blood Indian
''stands a much better chance to become a man than
the mixed-blood," the date of his remark reminds us
that Frenchmen were no longer entering Indian Res-
ervations. It was about that time observed of the
French mixed-bloods of a certain band that a "little
effort was required to discern any trace of the Indian
whatever," not so much "because of French blood as
French character."

In 1892 the protest of the Turtle Mountain Chip-
pewas against certain proposals of the Government for
a settlement of their (still pending) claims was based,
among other things, upon the failure of these pro-
posals to provide adequately for education The
French mixed-bloods of another tribe who entered a
protest against certain frauds on the part of whites
were known to their agent as "the most honest and
trustworthy men of the tribe " who "have taken a


Our Debt to the Red Man

deep interest in the education and civilization of the
full bloods. ' ' 80 long ago as 1876 the agent in charge
of the Sauks and Foxes reported that they (mainly
French mixed-bloods) ''entirely supported the Mis-
sion boarding school and farm," adding that they
ought to be treated as citizens, and that they needed
protection (from the whites) rather than charity.
Long before this, however, the French mixed-bloods
had i^roved themselves capable of succeeding without
''charity." It was in 1825 that Lewis Cass and
'J'ljomas McKinney urged the importance of making
some p(^rmanent provision for this class, because of
the value of their influence, and one may read similar
suggestions scattered all along through the reports of
agents and commissioners, from that day to this.

The fact that the mixture of Frencli with Indian
blood has brought to the front the best characteristics
of the Indian is the most cogent argument, as well as
that nearest at hand, for a more sympathetic study of
the Indian peoples themselves. Miss Alice Fletcher
speaks of that which she knows when she finds the pre-
eminent difficulty of a "just, humane and consistent
policy" toward this people to have been, and still to
be, " the antagonism born of ignorance of both races
of each other's mode of thought, social ideas and
structure, and customs;" and gifted full bloods and
metis, writing in the Quarterly Journal 8. A. I., are
now emphasizing tlie importance of removing this ig-
norance. It is this, with contentions about land,
which, says Miss Fletcher, have brought about "a dual

[ 200 ]

French Mixed-Bloods and our Indian Problem

condition, on one side a theoretic government plan,
ideal and worthy, on the other, modifications of this
plan in compliance with local ignorance and greed"
(H. A. I. 1, p. 497).

Were the civil status of the metis a fixed and
intelligible status the government might look with
confidence to this class of Indians for valuable aid, —
aid all the more valuable and efficient because it would
enlist the co-operation of the best class of full-bloods
— those who themselves have an intelligent interest in
the uplift of their race. But here is the fatal diffi-
culty: the Government appears not to know its own
mind upon this important subject; important not only
from the point of view of simple justice to a consider-
able number of inhabitants of this country, but of its
own interests. We have seen that the time has been
when any white person having any admixture, how-
ever slight, of Indian blood, was reckoned as a " half-
breed ' ' and was entitled to some share in the Reserva-
tion lands of the tribe to which he was held to belong ;
a position which lent itself to numberless abuses.
Most properly the Government has undertaken to
make a more equitable and intelligible ruling. But
without going here into details of recent discussions
and tentative plans, it appears to be clear that all the
elements of the problem have not yet been clearly ap-
prehended. Especially do the character, influence, the
very existence, even, of the class of Indians with which

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Online LibraryLouise Seymour HoughtonOur debt to the red man; the French-Indians in the development of the United States → online text (page 13 of 14)