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Treaty of Buffalo Creek (1838)

Title: Treaty of Buffalo Creek (1838)
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As a matter of tribal law and policy, a treaty is a legal binding agreement between two or more nations. From 1778 to 1871, approximately 370 treaties with Native Americans were ratified by the United States. Although treaties were common among the tribes in the southeastern United States, the Woodlands (eastern United States), the Great Plains, and the Northwest, many tribes in other regions did not routinely negotiate treaties with the United States. For example, few ratified treaties will be found between the United States and tribes in California or between the United States and the Pueblos of the Southwest. The United States did not enter into treaties with any of the Alaska Native sovereigns. The political consequences of treaty making continue to define the legal status of the 565 federally recognized tribal governments within the United States today.

The Treaty of Buffalo Creek called for land cessions, removal, and the reservation of other lands for the signatory tribes and stipulated methods of payment to them. Concluded at Buffalo Creek, New York, this treaty was signed by Commissioner Ransom H. Gillet for the United States and by numerous chiefs, headmen, and warriors of the Seneca, Tuscarora, St. Regis, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida of New York, Green Bay, and the Seneca Reservation on January 15, 1838.


Articles of a treaty made and concluded at Buffalo Creek in the State of New York, the fifteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, by Ransom H. Gillet, a commissioner on the part of the United States, and the chiefs, head men and warriors of the several tribes of New York Indians assembled in council witnesseth:

WHEREAS, the six nations of New York Indians not long after the close of the war of the Revolution, became convinced from the rapid increase of the white settlements around, that the time was not far distant when their true interest must lead them to seek a new home among their red brethren in the West: And whereas this subject was agitated in a general council of the Six nations as early as 1810, and resulted in sending a memorial to the President of the United States, inquiring whether the Government would consent to their leaving their habitations and their removing into the neighborhood of their western brethren, and if they could procure a home there, by gift or purchase, whether the Government would acknowledge their title to the lands so obtained in the same manner it had acknowledged it in those from whom they might receive it; and further, whether the existing treaties would, in such a case remain in full force, and their annuities be paid as heretofore: And whereas, with the approbation of the President of the United States, purchases were made by the New York Indians from the Menomonie and Winnebago Indians of certain lands at Green Bay in the Territory of Wisconsin, which after much difficulty and contention with those Indians concerning the extent of that purchase, the whole subject was finally settled by a treaty between the United States and the Menomonie Indians, concluded in February, 1831, to which the New York Indians gave their assent on the seventeenth day of October 1832: And whereas, by the provisions of that treaty, five hundred thousand acres of land are secured to the New York Indians of the Six Nations and the St. Regis tribe, as a future home, on condition that they all remove to the same, within three years, or such reasonable time as the President should prescribe: And whereas, the President is satisfied that various considerations have prevented those still residing in New York from removing to Green Bay, and among other reasons, that many who were in favour of emigration, preferred to remove at once to the Indian territory, which they were fully persuaded was the only permanent and peaceful home for all the Indians. And they therefore applied to the President to take their Green Bay lands, and provide them a new home among their brethren in the Indian territory. And whereas, the President being anxious to promote the peace, prosperity and happiness of his red children, and being determined to carry out the humane policy of the Government in removing the Indians from the east to the west of the Mississippi, within the Indian territory, by bringing them to see and feel, by his justice and liberality, that it is their true policy and for their interest to do so without delay.

Therefore, taking into consideration the foregoing premises, the following articles of a treaty are entered into between the United States of America and the several tribes of the New York Indians, the names of whose chiefs, head men and warriors are hereto subscribed, and those who may hereafter give their assent to this treaty in writing, within such time as the President shall appoint.

GENERAL PROVISIONS.

ARTICLE 1.
The several tribes of New York Indians, the names of whose chiefs, head men, warriors and representatives are hereunto annexed, in consideration of the premises above recited, and the covenants hereinafter contained, to be performed on the part of the United States, hereby cede and relinquish to the United States all their right, title and interest to the lands secured to them at Green Bay by the Menomonie treaty of 1831, excepting the following tract, on which a part of the New York Indians now reside: beginning at the southwesterly corner of the French grants at Green Bay, and running thence southwardly to a point on a line to be run from the Little Cocaclin, parallel to a line of the French grants and six miles from Fox River; from thence on said parallel line, northwardly six miles; from thence eastwardly to a point on the northeast line of the Indian lands, and being at right angles to the same.

ARTICLE 2.
In consideration of the above cession and relinquishment, on the part of the tribes of the New York Indians, and in order to manifest the deep interest of the United States in the future peace and prosperity of the New York Indians, the United States agree to set apart the following tract of country, situated directly west of the State of Missouri, as a permanent home for all the New York Indians, now residing in the State of New York, or in Wisconsin, or elsewhere in the United States, who have no permanent homes, which said country is described as follows, to wit: Beginning on the west line of the State of Missouri, at the northeast corner of the Cherokee tract, and running thence north along the west line of the State of Missouri twenty-seven miles to the southerly line of the Miami lands; thence west so far as shall be necessary, by running a line at right angles, and parallel to the west line aforesaid, to the Osage lands, and thence easterly along the Osage and Cherokee lands to the place of beginning to include one million eight hundred and twenty-four thousand acres of land, being three hundred and twenty acres for each soul of said Indians as their numbers are at present computed. To have and to hold the same in fee simple to the said tribes or nations of Indians, by patent from the President of the United States, issued in conformity with the provisions of the third section of the act, entitled "An act to provide for an exchange of lands, with the Indians residing in any of the States or Territories, and for their removal west of the Mississippi," approved on the 28th day of May, 1830, with full power and authority in the said Indians to divide said lands among the different tribes, nations, or bands, in severalty, with the right to sell and convey to and from each other, under such laws and regulations as may be adopted by the respective tribes, acting by themselves, or by a general council of the said New York Indians, acting for all the tribes collectively. It is understood and agreed that the above described country is intended as a future home for the following tribes, to wit: The Senecas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Tuscaroras, Oneidas, St. Regis, Stockbridges, Munsees, and Brothertowns residing in the State of New York, and the same is to be divided equally among them, according to their respective numbers, as mentioned in a schedule hereunto annexed.

ARTICLE 3.
It is further agreed that such of the tribes of the New York Indians as do not accept and agree to remove to the country set apart for their new homes within five years, or such other time as the President may, from time to time, appoint, shall forfeit all interest in the lands so set apart, to the United States.

ARTICLE 4.
Perpetual peace and friendship shall exist between the United States and the New York Indians; and the United States hereby guaranty to protect and defend them in the peaceable possession and enjoyment of their new homes, and hereby secure to them, in said country, the right to establish their own form of government, appoint their own officers, and administer their own laws; subject, however, to the legislation of the Congress of the United States, regulating trade and intercourse with the Indians. The lands secured to them by patent under this treaty shall never be included in any State or Territory of this Union. The said Indians shall also be entitled, in all respects, to the same political and civil rights and privileges, that are granted and secured by the United States to any of the several tribes of emigrant Indians settled in the Indian Territory.

ARTICLE 5.
The Oneidas are to have their lands in the Indian Territory, in the tract set apart for the New York Indians, adjoining the Osage tract, and that hereinafter set apart for the Senecas; and the same shall be so laid off as to secure them a sufficient quantity of timber for their use. Those tribes, whose lands are not specially designated in this treaty, are to have such as shall be set apart by the President.

ARTICLE 6.
It is further agreed that the United States will pay to those who remove west, at their new homes, all such annuities, as shall properly belong to them. The schedules hereunto annexed shall be deemed and taken as a part of this treaty.

ARTICLE 7.
It is expressly understood and agreed, that this treaty must be approved by the President and ratified and confirmed by the Senate of the United States, before it shall be binding upon the parties to it. It is further expressly understood and agreed that the rejection, by the President and Senate, of the provisions thereof, applicable to one tribe, or distinct branch of a tribe, shall not be construed to invalidate as to others, but as to them it shall be binding, and remain in full force and effect.

ARTICLE 8.
It is stipulated and agreed that the accounts of the Commissioner, and expenses incurred by him in holding a council with the New York Indians, and concluding treaties at Green Bay and Duck Creek, in Wisconsin, and in the State of New York, in 1836, and those for the exploring party of the New York Indians, in 1837, and also the expenses of the present treaty, shall be allowed and settled according to former precedents.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THE ST. REGIS.

ARTICLE 9.
It is agreed with the American party of the St. Regis Indians, that the United States will pay to the said tribe, on their removal west, or at such time as the President shall appoint, the sum of five thousand dollars, as a remuneration for monies laid out by the said tribe, and for services rendered by their chiefs and agents in securing the title to the Green Bay lands, and in removal to the same, the same to be aportioned out to the several claimants by the chiefs of the said party and a United States' Commissioner, as may be deemed by them equitable and just. It is further agreed, that the following reservation of land shall be made to the Rev. Eleazor Williams, of said tribe, which he claims in his own right, and in that of his wife, which he is to hold in fee simple, by patent from the President, with full power and authority to sell and dispose of the same, to wit: beginning at a point in the west bank of Fox River thirteen chains above the old milldam at the rapids of the Little Kockalin; thence north fifty-two degrees and thirty minutes west, two hundred and forty chains; thence north thirty-seven degrees and thirty minutes east, two hundred chains, thence south fifty-two degrees and thirty minutes east, two hundred and forty chains to the bank of Fox river; thence up along the bank of Fox river to the place of beginning.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THE SENECAS.

ARTICLE 10.
It is agreed with the Senecas that they shall have for themselves and their friends, the Cayugas and Onondagas, residing among them, the easterly part of the tract set apart for the New York Indians, and to extend so far west, as to include one half-section (three hundred and twenty acres) of land for each soul of the Senecas, Cayugas and Onandagas, residing among them; and if, on removing west, they find there is not sufficient timber on this tract for their use, then the President shall add thereto timber land sufficient for their accommodation, and they agree to remove; to remove from the State of New York to their new homes within five years, and to continue to reside there. And whereas at the making of this treaty, Thomas L. Ogden and Joseph Fellows the assignees of the State of Massachusetts, have purchased of the Seneca nation of Indians, in the presence and with the approbation of the United States Commissioner, appointed by the United States to hold said treaty, or convention, all the right, title, interest, and claim of the said Seneca nation, to certain lands, by a deed of conveyance a duplicate of which is hereunto annexed; and whereas the consideration money mentioned in said deed, amounting to two hundred and two thousand dollars, belongs to the Seneca nation, and the said nation agrees that the said sum of money shall be paid to the United States, and the United States agree to receive the same, to be disposed of as follows: the sum of one hundred thousand dollars is to be invested by the President of the United States in safe stocks, for their use, the income of which is to be paid to them at their new homes, annually, and the balance, being the sum of one hundred and two thousand dollars, is to be paid to the owners of the improvements on the lands so deeded, according to an appraisement of said improvements and a distribution and award of said sum of money among the owners of said improvements, to be made by appraisers, hereafter to be appointed by the Seneca nation, in the presence of a United States Commissioner, hereafter to be appointed, to be paid by the United States to the individuals who are entitled to the same, according to said apprisal and award, on their severally relinquishing their respective possessions to the said Ogden and Fellows.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THE CAYUGAS.

ARTICLE 11.
The United States will set apart for the Cayugas, on their removing to their new homes at the west, two thousand dollars, and will invest the same in some safe stocks, the income of which shall be paid them annually, at their new homes. The United States further agree to pay to the said nation, on their removal west, two thousand five hundred dollars, to be disposed as the chiefs shall deem just and equitable.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THE ONONDAGAS RESIDING ON THE SENECA RESERVATIONS.

ARTICLE 12.
The United States agree to set apart for the Onondagas, residing on the Seneca reservations, two thousand five hundred dollars, on their removing west, and to invest the same in safe stocks, the income of which shall be paid to them annually at their new homes. And the United States further agree to pay to the said Onondagas, on their removal to their new homes in the west, two thousand dollars, to be disposed of as the chiefs shall deem equitable and just.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THE ONEIDAS RESIDING IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

ARTICLE 13.
The United States will pay the sum of four thousand dollars, to be paid to Baptista Powlis, and the chiefs of the first Christian party residing at Oneida, and the sum of two thousand dollars shall be paid to William Day, and the chiefs of the Orchard party residing there, for expenses incurred and services rendered in securing the Green Bay country, and the settlement of a portion thereof; and they hereby agree to remove to their new homes in the Indian territory, as soon as they can make satisfactory arrangements with the Governor of the State of New York for the purchase of their lands at Oneida.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THE TUSCARORAS.

ARTICLE 14.
The Tuscarora nation agree to accept the country set apart for them in the Indian territory, and to remove there within five years, and continue to reside there. It is further agreed that the Tuscaroras shall have their lands in the Indian country, at the forks of the Neasha river, which shall be so laid off as to secure a sufficient quantity of timber for the accommodation of the nation. But if on examination they are not satisfied with this location, they are to have their lands at such place as the President of the United States shall designate. The United States will pay to the Tuscarora nation, on their settling at the West, three thousand dollars, to be disposed of as the chiefs shall deem most equitable and just. Whereas the said nation owns, in fee simple, five thousand acres of land, lying in Niagara county, in the State of New York which was conveyed to the said nation by Henry Dearborn and they wish to sell and convey the same before they remove West: Now therefore, in order to have the same done in a legal and proper way, they hereby convey the same to the United States and to be held in trust for them, and they authorize the President to sell and convey the same, and the money which shall be received for the said lands, exclusive of the improvements, the President shall invest in safe stocks for their benefit, the income from which shall be paid to the nation, at their new homes, annually; and the money which shall be received for improvements on said lands shall be paid to the owners of the improvements when the lands are sold. The President shall cause the said lands to be surveyed, and the improvements shall be appraised by such persons as the nation shall appoint; and said lands shall also be appraised, and shall not be sold at a less price than the appraisal, without the consent of James Cusick, William Mountpleasant and William Chew, or the survivor, or survivor of them; and the expenses incurred by the United States in relation to this trust are to be deducted from the moneys received before investment.

And whereas, at the making of this treaty, Thomas L. Ogden and Joseph Fellows, the assignees of the State of Massachusetts, have purchased of the Tuscarora nation of Indians, in the presence and with the approbation of the commissioner appointed on the part of the United States to hold said treaty or convention, all the right, title, interest, and claim of the Tuscarora nation to certain lands, by a deed of conveyance, a duplicate of which is hereunto annexed: And whereas, the consideration money for said lands has been secured to the said nation to their satisfaction, by Thomas L. Ogden and Joseph Fellows; therefore the United States hereby assent to the said sale and conveyance and sanction the same.

ARTICLE 15.
The United States hereby agree that they will appropriate the sum of four hundred thousand dollars, to be applied from time to time, under the direction of the President of the United States, in such proportions, as may be most for the interest of the said Indians, parties to this treaty, for the following purposes, to wit: To aid them in removing to their homes, and supporting themselves the first year after their removal; to encourage and assist them in education, and in being taught to cultivate their lands; in erecting mills and other necessary houses; in purchasing domestic animals, and farming utensils and acquiring a knowledge of the mechanic arts.

In testimony whereof, the commissioner and the chiefs, head men, and people, whose names are hereto annexed, being duly authorized, have hereunto set their hands, and affixed their respective seals, at the time and place above mentioned.

R. H. Gillet, Commissioner.
    Senecas:
Dao-nepho-gah, or Little Johnson,
Da-ga-o-geas, or Daniel Twoguns,
Gee-odow-neh, or Captain Pollard,
Joh-nes-ha-dih, or James Stevenson,
Hure-hau-stock, or Captain Strong,
So-ne-a-ge, or Captain Snow,
Hau-neh-hoy's-oh, or Blue Eyes,
Haw-naw-wah-es, or Levi Halftown,
Goat-hau-oh, or Billy Shanks,
Hau-sa-nea-nes, or White Seneca,
Howah-do-goh-deh, or George Bennet,
Hays-tah-jih, or Job Pierce,
Sho-nan-do-wah, or John Gordon,
Noh-sok-dah, or Jim Jonas,
Shaw-neh-dik, or William Johnson,
Gaw-neh-do-au-ok, or Reuben Pierce,
Shaw-go-nes-goh-sha-oh, or Morris Halftown,
Shaw-go-za-sot-hoh, or Jacob Jameson,
Gua-wa-no-oh, or George Big Deer,
Joh-que-ya-suse, or Samuel Gordon,
Gua-ne-oh-doh, or Thompson S. Harris,
Gau-geh-queh-doh, or George Jimeson,
Hon-non-de-uh, or Nathaniel T. Strong,
Nuh-joh-gau-eh, or Tall Peter,
Sho-nauk-ga-nes, or Tommy Jimmy,
So-joh-gwa-us, or John Tall Chief,
Shau-gau-nes-es-tip, or George Fox,
Go-na-daw-goyh, or Jabez Stevenson,
Tit-ho-yuh, or William Jones,
Juneah-dah-glence, or George White, by his agent White Seneca,
Gau-nu-su-goh, or Walter Thompson, by his agent Daniel Twoguns,
Dau-ga-se, or Long John,
Gua-sa-we-dah, or John Bark,
Gau-ni-dough, or George Lindsay,
Ho-ma-ga-was, or Jacob Bennet,
On-di-heh-oh, or John Bennet,
Nis-ha-nea-nent, or Seneca White,
Ha-dya-no-doh, or Maris Pierce,
Yoh-dih-doh, or David White,
James Shongo,
Ka-non-da-gyh, or William Cass,
Ni-ge-jos-a, or Samuel Wilson,
Jo-on-da-goh, or John Seneca.
    Tuscaroras:
Ka-nat-soyh, or Nicholas Cusick,
Sacharissa, or William Chew,
Kaw-we-ah-ka, or William Mt. Pleasant,
Kaw-re-a-rock-ka, or John Fox,
Gee-me, or James Cusick,
Ju-hu-ru-at-kak, or John Patterson,
O-tah-guaw-naw-wa, or Samuel Jacobs,
Ka-noh-sa-ta, or James Anthony,
Gou-ro-quan, or Peter Elm,
Tu-nak-she-a-han, or Daniel Peter.
      Oneidas residing in the State of New-York, for themselves and their parties:
Baptiste Powlis,
Jonathan Jordan.
    Oneidas at Green Bay:
John Anthony,
Honjoit Smith,
Henry Jordan,
Thomas King.
      St. Regis:
Eleazer Williams, chief and agent.
      Oneidas residing on the Seneca Reservation:
Hon-no-ne-ga-doh, or Silversmith, (For himself and in behalf of his nation.)
Hoge-wayhtah, or William Jacket,
Sah-hu-gae-ne, or Button George.
      Principal Onondaga Warriors, in behalf of themselves and the Onondaga Warriors:
Ka-noh-qua-sa, or William John,
Dah-gu-o-a-dah, or Noah Silversmith.
    Cayugas:
Skok-no-eh, or King William,
Geh-da-or-loh, or James Young,
Gay-on-wek, or Jack Wheelbarrow,
D'yo-ya-tek, or Joseph Isaac, For themselves and in behalf of the nation.
      Principal Cayuga Warriors, in behalf of themselves and the Cayuga Warriors:
Hah-oh-u, or John Crow,
Ho-na-e-geh-dah, or Snow Darkness,
Gone-ah-ga-u-do, or Jacob G. Seneca,
Di-i-en-use, or Ghastly Darkness,
Hon-ho-gah-dyok, or Thomas Crow,
Wau-wah-wa-na-onk, or Peter Wilson,
So-en-dagh, or Jonathan White,
Sago-gan-e-on-gwus, or Harvey Rowe,
To-ga-ne-ah-doh, or David Crow,
Soh-win-dah-neh, or George Wheeler,
Do-goh-no-do-nis, or Simon Isaac,
He-dai-ses, or Joseph Peter,
Sa-go-di-get-ka, or Jacob Jackson.

Witnesses:
James Stryker, Sub-agent, Six Nations, New York Indians.
Nathaniel T. Strong, United States' Interpreter, New York agency.
H. B. Potter.
Orlando Allen.
H. P. Wilcox.
Charles H. Allen.
Horatio Jones.
Spencer H. Cone.
W. W. Jones.
J. F. Schermerhorn.
Josiah Trowbridge.
 

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