Ojibwa, the original name of the Chippewas, means puckered up, or to roast until drawn up (See Warrren's History of the Ojibwa Nation.)
I am free to admit, that I take a different view of the Indian question, and that my feelings and sympathies run in a different channel from that of many of the American people.
Sixty years of my life I have passed among or in close proximity to different tribes, and have traveled or lived among more than twenty different nations of Indians, speaking as many different tongues.
When a child in my mother's arms, we were both saved from a watery grave by a squaw, belonging to the Alleghany tribe of the Seneca Nation, who forced her way in a canoe, through a raging flood and rescued us from a block of ice that was hurrying at us at a rapid rate, down the swiftly flowing waters of the Alleghany River.
It is true that I have been twice held up by the Sioux Indians, who each time considered all white men as trespassers on their lands, and I was once robbed by the Bannocks, but they were then at war with the United States, and only two months before nearly three hundred of their warriors had been slain by our soldiers in a single battle.
I have lived for more than thirty-six years as a near neighbor to the Chippewa Indians here in Becker County, and feeling myself duly qualified to render an impartial opinion in their case, I pronounce them, with the exception perhaps of the Flatheads and Pend' Oreilles in Montana, to be the most honest, peaceable and trustworthy nation of Indians in the United States. Of course there have been criminals among them, like Bach-i-na-na, Bo-anece and Bobolink, who have been guilty of the crime of murder, but during the brief history of our county, twice as many murders have been committed by white men.
During my ten years' experience in logging on the Otter Tail River, I have had many losses from theft by white men, but never lost the value of a penny through an Indian.
Bishop Whipple once told of making a trip many years ago with a party of Indians, and one morning, as they were about to start out on a hunt, the bishop asked the chief what he had better do with his watch and pocketbook, as he did not like to carry them around through the brush and swamps, and he was afraid they would be stolen if he left them in camp. The chief replied, "hang them up on a tree, they will be safe; there is not a white man within fifty miles of here."
Ever since the discovery of America there has been a class of white men on the frontiers, who have considered the Indians as legitimate victims of plunder and rapine, and in some sections, and at different periods of our country's history it has been the height of ambition with some of this class of bravados to kill one or more Indians. Adam Poe, notorious as the slayer of Big Foot, a Wyandot chief, near the Ohio River, in West Virginia something like 100 years ago, once remarked that "he had killed 'bars' and 'painters' (bears and panthers) to his heart's content, but that there was no game like Injuns."
To the credit of the people of Becker County, however, the Indians here have received far better treatment than in many other localities.
W. W. Warren, the historian of the Chippewa Nation, himself one-fourth of Chippewa blood, in the preface to his interesting work makes the following touching arid eloquent plea in behalf of his kindred race:
It is true that the Indians are possessed of traits of character and an individuality peculiarly their own, and in most cases a white man who expects to deal with them by following the business rules and principles of the white men, will at first become puzzled and disappointed, but after a better acquaintance, and gaining their confidence will find his business with them very much simplified and more satisfactory. The following extract from the report of Indian Commissioner Leupp, for 1905, touching these peculiar characteristics of the Indian are well worthy of record.
I copy the following article from the White Earth Tomahawk. Of this report the editor says: "All those who may read the following extracts from the report of Commissioner Leupp, cannot help but admit that he has a sincere regard for the Indians. Notwithstanding that he may have overdrawn their virtues, there it not an Indian in America who should not feel grateful for the Commissioner's report as a whole."
The Commissioner says: