1855 to 1864
“1855: The Mississippi, Pillager, and Winibigoshish bands cede all of north-central Minnesota for reservations at Leech and Cass lakes, Winibigoshish, Mille Lacs, Sandy Lake, Rice Lake, Gull Lake, Rabbit Lake, and Lake Pokegama.
1863-4: The Pillager, Winibigoshish, and Mississippi bands are moved off of the reservations established by the 1855 treaty and are concentrated at Leech Lake.” *
As I ponder the creation of this reservation today, I’m struck by the names involved. Often, we live out our names, and what we call ourselves we become. Will You show me, kind Holy Spirit, how to pray for this moment 160 years ago?
I found a few clues about the place-names from Wikipedia.
“On early maps, Leech Lake is identified in French as “lac Sangsue” (Bloodsucker Lake), which was then translated into English to its current name; its French name was translated from the Ojibwe “Ozagaskwaajimekaag-zaaga’igan” (lake abundant with bloodsuckers).” **
Below are the names of the actual signees of this agreement
“George W. Manypenny, Commissioner
Tug-o-na-ke-shick, or Hole in the Day, his x mark
Que-we-sans-ish, or Bad Boy, his x mark
Waud-e-kaw, or Little Hill, his x mark
I-awe-showe-we-ke-shig, or Crossing Sky, his x mark
Petud-dunce, or Rat’s Liver, his x mark
Mun-o-min-e-kay-shein, or Rice Maker, his x mark
Aish-ke-bug-e-koshe, or Flat Mouth, his x mark
Be-sheck-kee, or Buffalo, his x mark
Nay-bun-a-caush; or Young Man’s Son, his x mark
Mah-yah-ge-way-we-durg, or The Chorister, his x mark
Kay-gwa-daush, or The Attempter, his x mark
Caw-cang-e-we-gwan, or Crow Feather, his x mark
Show-baush-king, or He that Passeth Under Everything, his x mark
Chief delegates of the Mississippi bands.
Maug-e-gaw-bow, or Stepping Ahead, his x mark
Mi-gi-si, or Eagle, his x mark
Kaw-be-mub-bee, or North Star, his x mark
Chiefs and delegates of the Pillager and Lake Winnibigoshish bands.
Executed in the presence of:
Henry M. Rice
D. B. Herriman, Indian Agent
J. E. Fletcher
T. A. Warren, United States Interpreter
Paul H. Beaulieu, Interpreter
Edward Ashman, Interpreter
C. H. Beaulieu, Interpreter
Peter Roy, Interpreter
Will P. Ross, Cherokee Nation
Riley Keys” ***
Jesus, will You forgive all the judgments and separations made in these events? United States representatives judged those from Minnesota, Minnesotan’s judged the Mississippi, Pillager, and Winibigoshish. Going the opposite direction, the Winibigoshish, Pillager, and Mississippi band judged Minnesotan’s, and the United States government; all are full of judgments and counter-judgments. Will You free the lands of Leech Lake, Cass Lake, Winibigoshish, Mille Lacs, Sandy Lake, Rice Lake, and Lake Pokegama?
Lord, this day, I ask You to co-sign this loan arrangement of Your property! I lift all these names to You. Where they were living in good faith, may they be blessed in perpetuity! Where they have defaulted on the use of Your property, or misused any descendants of these names, we ask for Your recognition of sin, repentance, and restoration of chesed.
You are the Host of this planet, and we often behave like its leeches; we only know how to live off the host! Will You add Your name to balance the deficits of our accounts today Infinite-One-Who-Gives-Blood-So-Others-May-Live? May You bring us to full restoration in these relationships, and fully reunite us with this portion of nature known as Minnesota!
** Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 90