Chief Buffalo, as he is known now was born about 1759 on Madeline Island, part of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, part of present-day Wisconsin. He was known by other names as well, Kechewaishke meaning Great Renewer and Peezhickee meaning Buffalo.
He is considered a great chief of the Chippewa tribe at LaPointe. LaPointe was considered the "ancient capital" of the tribes that had moved further west after defeating the Sioux Tribes.
Chippewa government is based upon clans. Each clan is part of a doodem. Chief Buffalo was part of the Loon doodem. The previous chiefs were part of the Crane doodem. During the 18th century, the Crane doodem was prominent in representing the tribes.
By the 19th century, Chief Buffalo's doodem held the position of principal peace chief, but the Crane's still held some heriditary authority. As long as Chief Buffalo maintained the respect of his people, he could continue as principal peace chief.
The identity of Chief Buffalo's father is not entirely certain. He appears to be the grandson of Andaigweos and it is entirely possible that his father was also named Andaigweos. He is considered a descendant or somehow related to the great chief known as Waubojeeg.
When he was about ten, he moved with his parents near present-day Buffalo, New York. They stayed there for a couple of years, then moved to the Mackinaw area for a time before returning to the LaPointe area. As a boy and young man, he was known as a skilled hunter and athlete.
Chief Buffalo was known by more than one name which results in much confusion. Chiefs of other bands of Chippewa with the same name have been confused with Chief Buffalo.
He led his tribe into signing treaties in 1825, 1826, 1837, 1842, 1847, and 1854. After the Sandy Lake Tragedy, Chief Buffalo was able to negotiate reservations in Wisconsin and Michigan for many bands of Chippewa and the establishment of the Red Cliff Indian Reservation is attributed directly to him.
Over the course of his lifetime, he had five wives and numerous offspring.
In the aftermath of the success of the final negotiations which resulted in the reservations in Wisconsin and Michigan, Chief Buffalo was too ill to participate. He died of heart disease 7 Sep 1855 at LaPointe, Wisconsin and was buried in the Catholic Indian Cemetery at LaPointe. On his deathbed, he converted to Catholicism and requested that his pipe and tobacco pouch be carried to Washington DC. He was given military honors at his funeral.
Many of his descendants still live in the Red Cliff and Bad River areas near LaPointe, going by the surname of "Buffalo".
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