The Native Americans

The treaty of 1819 in Michigan transferred a large expanse of Indian land to the United States. The area that would become the Scottish Settlement was included within this territory. The major Indian negotiator for the treaty was Chief O-ge-ma-ke-ga-to. He was only twenty-five years old, but he was head chief of the Chippewa nation, and as such was the central Indian figure at the treaty negotiations. He was over six feet tall, graceful and handsome. He did not like the unfolding of events and told this bluntly to General Cass, the U.S. representative:

"You do not know our wishes. Our people wonder what has brought you so far from your homes. Your young men have invited us to come and light the council fires; we are to smoke the pipe of peace, but not to sell our lands. Our American father wants them. Our English fathers treat us better. He has never asked for them. You flock to our shores; our waters grow warm; our lands melt like a cake of ice; our possessions grow smaller and smaller. The warm wave of the white man rolls in upon us and melts us away. Our women reproach us; our children want homes. Shall we sell from under them the spot where they spread their blanket? We have not called you here; we smoke the pipe of peace." (Bowman, 1970)
Federal records from the time of the treaty negotiations document the reaction of the Americans:

"General Cass was surprised at the remarkable brain power of the man, and remarked that he was "the smartest and most eloquent Indian he had ever met." His administration of the affairs of his people was so satisfactory that for over thirty consecutive years he was annually re-elected to the position of head chief . . . His power of oratory made him a great favorite with his people, and the fame of O-ge-ma-ke-ga-to spread far and wide. Subsequently at the ratifying of the reservation treaty, at Detroit, many learned and able lawyers were present, not one of whom, after hearing his great speech interpreted, dared to accept his challenge to discuss the questions affecting the Indian's welfare with him." (Andreas, A. T., 1883)

In Michigan, essentially four treaties purchased all of the lower peninsula. The treaty of Detroit in 1807 paid the "Ottoway, Chippeway, Wyandotte, and Pottawatamie nations of Indians" ten thousand dollars, plus an annual annuity, two blacksmiths, and establishment of Indian land, to cede forever the territory in and around Detroit. The land purchased was roughly one quarter of the lower peninsula (the southeastern quadrant of the state).

In 1819, the Treaty of Saginaw, resulted in Native Americans giving up more than six million acres in the east-central portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. This tract of land included Saginaw Bay and extended all the way to Alpena. In exchange, the Indians got the usual triad of cash, Indian designated land, and services.

The Treaty of Chicago in 1821, purchased the lower southwestern quadrant of Michigan, while the Treaty of Washington purchased the remainder of the lower peninsula in 1836. These four treaties, Detroit, Saginaw, Chicago, and Washington essentially defined the Michigan territory which would by 1837 become the boundaries of the 26th state of the Union.

Beyond Michigan, nationally, Indian wars raged through all the years of pioneer migration (1830 to 1900). The Black Hawk War started and ended in 1832. The Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo tribes fought against the United States and lost. From 1835 to 1842, The Seminole nation in Florida refused to be relocated from their native land. After seven years, the Seminoles were granted a reservation in Southern Florida, while others were moved west across the Mississippi. The Cherokees, Lenapes, and Shawnees fought and lost a brief war in Texas in 1838. The Comanches fought on and off in Texas from about 1840 to 1875 before succumbing to superior United States military forces. The Navajos fought the United States from 1846 to 1864. Also, from 1846 to 1848, while battling the Navajos, the Mexican American War started and ended. From 1850 to 1865, all the while the Civil War lasted, the California Indian War raged. The United States fought and defeated all the tribes native to California. The Apaches fought the United States for fifty years, from about 1850 to 1900. From 1850 to 1870, the United States military battled various Indian nations west of the Mississippi, including the Cheyenne, the Seminole, the Dakota, the Snake, the Comanche, the Apache, Puget Sound tribes, Coeur d'Alene, Paiute, Arapaho, Sioux, Lakota, and Kiowa. By 1870, with one exception (the Apache War), the conflicts were over, the Indians were subdued and moved to reservations; colonization was complete.

The Indians, of course, cannot be simply portrayed as peace loving victims of colonization. Before the Europeans came, Indian nations had long standing enemies; wars and battles flared and territory was gained or lost. The Iroquois, for example, just about annihilated a prominent Michigan tribe, the Hurons.

When colonization began, Indian tribes took sides, fighting alongside the British, Americans, French, Spanish, Mexican, or Canadians. As Europeans fought amongst themselves, they weren't able to push their settlements into Indian lands, so it was advantageous for the Indian tribes to keep the colonizers battling each other.

Before the War of 1812, most treaties were about establishing a truce or keeping the peace. They often were negotiated after the Indians had lost a battle. After the war of 1812, treaties were deliberate attempts to get the Indians out of the way so that colonization could proceed.