Osage Tribe

Osage Tribe

The Osage were first recorded by Father Jacques Marquette in 1673. He placed them on the Osage River in present-day Vernon County, Missouri, where they were still established nearly 100 years later in 1759.[2]

There is little known about the Osage from this time until the treaty at St. Louis in 1804. Here we find the explorers and French traders marrying into the Osage tribe. Almost from the beginning, trading with the Indians became a lucrative enterprise, for the white man and the spread of trade brought a large number of tribes into contact with the French, Spanish and English. Of whom all groups were   trying to create allies among the Indians.[2]

In 1853 the Osages composed seven large villages, besides many smaller ones, along the Neosho and Verdigris rivers, and held sway, at one time, over most of the territory which now composes the states of Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas.[2]

During the treaty of 1894, at St. Louis, it had become apparent that they had in many instances married French traders and explorers, from whom they took the names that distinguishes some of the prominent Osage families of today. Some of these names are: Lessart, Revard, Plomondan, Del Orier, Pappan, Tayrien, Mongranin, Soldani, DeNoya, Fronkier, and Moncravie.[2]

Like many American Indian tribes, the Osages moved great distances over the period of centuries. From the Plains originally (the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and the Dakotas are named for sub-tribes of the Osage), they drifted well east of the Mississippi River before ultimately returning to America's midlands. By the time Europeans began to enter the mid-continent, the Osages generally held sway over lands between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers north and south and to the Mississippi on the east, from which location came the term by which they were known, "People of the Middle Waters." Many Osages moved into Oklahoma in the early 19th century to get involved in fur trading with French traders, including the Chouteaus, in the Three Forks area near Muskogee. Union Mission, the first established in Oklahoma, was started in 1821 to serve the tribe. The first school, begun the same year, was for French and Osage children. Osages had bloody fights with the Cherokees when the latter moved to Oklahoma from the Southeastern United States, and also with Plains tribes. In 1833 the Osages attacked a Kiowa village northwest of present-day Lawton at a spot that became known as Cutthroat Gap because the Osages decapitated their victims and stuck their heads in cooking pots.[1]

In the treaties forced by the federal government in 1818 and 1825, the Osages gave up their Indian Territory holdings for land in southern Kansas. At that time the Cherokee Outlet was established in northernmost Indian Territory (which then included all of present-day Oklahoma except the Panhandle). The Outlet ran west from a present-day Tulsa-Bartlesville line to the 100th meridian, where it met the Texas Panhandle. It was 58 by 226 miles (more than 13,000 square miles) and allowed the Cherokees to hunt on the plains, especially for buffalo. [Note: the term Cherokee Strip often is mistakenly used to refer to The Outlet. The Cherokee Strip actually was a 2?-mile north-to-south strip along the 37th Parallel (Oklahoma-Kansas border) that corrected an earlier surveying error and added the land in question to Kansas.][1]

Like most dealings with the government, the one involving the Osages and Kansas wouldn't last. The Osages had warriors on both sides during the Civil War (Bigheart, for instance, was a Union lieutenant; the Little Osage band favored the North, the Greater Osages the South). After the war the government ignored Osage service to the North and punished the tribe for its Southern connections by taking away part of its lands (as it did with the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory). There was increased pressure on the remaining Osage holdings in Kansas as whites demanded the lands be opened to settlement. White hunters were depleting the game upon which the Indians depended. Meanwhile the Cherokees were having trouble with The Outlet. The great cattle trails crossed it and the animals grazed it hard. Would-be homesteaders wanted the land. Timber thieves stripped it of what good wood there was. Land was needed for other displaced Indian tribes. And the government ruled many of the Cherokees' grazing leases with white ranchers were illegal, depriving the tribe of that revenue.[1]

So those old enemies, the Osages and Cherokees, struck a deal. The Osages, having sold their Kansas lands in 1870 to the government for a tidy profit (at $1.25 an acre), bought nearly 1.5 million acres in the eastern end of the Cherokee Outlet. That would become the Osage Nation, or Osage County, we know today. The price: 70 cents an acre, which subsequent events would prove to be one of the world's great real-estate steals. The Osages in turn sold 102,000 acres to their Kaw cousins, land east of the Arkansas River in Kay County adjoining the Osage. Tribes including the Ponca, Tonkawa, Otoe-Missouri and Pawnee obtained other parts of the old Outlet, and the Cherokees sold the remainder to the federal government.[1]

Most of the Osages moved to their new home in 1871 and 1872. They were fortunate in two ways: the new land cost less than the land they sold in Kansas, so they received enough interest income (from 5 percent on the surplus deposited in the U.S. Treasury) to meet tribesmen's basic needs, and they began to lease out parts of the county to cattle ranchers, providing another source of income. But they had problems as well. Perhaps half of the tribe died due to smallpox, cholera, TB and other diseases plus shortages in medicine and clothing. Hunger also took its toll, as by 1875 the buffalo largely had been eliminated on the Southern Plains.[1]

The first Osage agency was located at Silver Lake south of Bartlesville until it was discovered that was east of the 96th Meridian, hence on Cherokee land. The agency was moved to Pawhuska. Indian tribes soon encountered the Dawes Act, which was designed to break up tribally held lands and put property in the hands of individual Indians. This would both weaken tribal structure and allow "surplus" lands to be made available for settlers. The Osages and the Five Civilized Tribes were supposed to be exempt from the Dawes Act because they held patented title to their land, but pressure was applied and the tribes eventually caved in. The Osages were the last to do so, when the government said it would allot the land itself if the tribe did not cooperate.[1]

By the time (1906) the Osages agreed to divide the land, there were more mixed-bloods than full-bloods, and the former were more willing to walk the white man's path. Each Osage on the tribal rolls received a series of allotments totaling slightly more than a square mile. Of that, one 160-acre plot was designated a homestead and could not be taxed. Indians often were shortchanged or cheated in the process of passing lands on to others, and guardians, appointed particularly to run the affairs of full-bloods, who were considered less competent to handle their money, often ripped off their charges. Banks hit them with high interest and doctors and merchants overcharged them. Alcoholism also took its toll among the Osages.[1]

Nonetheless, the tribe had its assets. It continued to receive money from interest on the money it banked from the Kansas lands it had sold as well as from cattle leases. And the Osages were alone among Indians in retaining the subsurface mineral rights for the tribe rather than individuals. The Osage Allotment Act of 1906 was established to determine tribal members and allot them headrights; the total for the tribe was 2,229. These headrights would include children born before July 1, 1907. Those born afterward could become members of the tribe but did not have headrights in their own right; they could only get them through inheritance or marriage. This demarcation would assume immense proportions later when the Osages would become - per capita - the richest people in the world.[1]

The Osages certainly have provided Oklahoma with colorful names. The tribe has three primary bands: Dwellers Upon the Hilltop at Gray Horse, Dwellers in the Upland Forest around Hominy and Dwellers in the Thorny Thicket centered at Pawhuska. Names of prominent leaders within the nation included Bacon Rind, Lookout, Black Dog, Red Eagle and Strike Axe.[1]

Removal of the Osages from Kansas[3]
Part One

by Berlin B. Chapman

August, 1938 (Vol. 7, No. 3), pages 287 to 305 
Transcribed by lhn; 
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

WHEN the Great and Little Osage tribes, by the treaty of June 2, 1825, [1] ceded and relinquished to the United States all their claim to lands south of the Kansas river, and lying west of the state of Missouri and the territory of Arkansas, they reserved so long as they might choose to occupy the same, a rectangular tract of land in what is now southern Kansas, just west of the Cherokee neutral lands. [2] The tract was fifty miles wide and about one hundred and twenty-five miles long. By the treaty of September 29, 1865, [3] the Osages agreed to sell the eastern part of this tract of land to the United States. They ceded the northern part of the tract, or a strip twenty miles wide, to the United States to be held in trust and sold for their benefit at a price not less than one dollar and a quarter an acre; and the Osages agreed to settle upon their "diminished reservation." According to the treaty the Osages might unite with any tribe of Indians at peace with the United States, residing in the Indian territory.

     The treaty provided that if the Osages should agree to remove from Kansas and settle on lands to be provided for them by the United States in the Indian territory on such terms as might be agreed on between the United States and the Indian tribes then residing in said territory or any of them, then the diminished reservation should be disposed of by the United States in the same manner and for the same purpose as provided in the treaty in relation to said trust lands, except that fifty percent of the proceeds of the sale of the diminished reservation might be used by the United States in the purchase of lands for a suitable home for the Osages in the Indian territory.

     Articles fifteen [4] and sixteen of the Cherokee treaty of 1866 helpedto pave the way for the removal of the Osages from Kansas. A few years after the execution of the treaty, when valuable interests were involved, every word of these articles was examined and reexamined in an effort to apply every possible construction. Article sixteen was the more important, because the Osages finally settled on lands west of the ninety-sixth meridian. The article reads:

     The United States may settle friendly Indians in any part of the Cherokee country west of 96°, to be taken in a compact form in quantity not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres for each member of each of said tribes thus to be settled; the boundaries of each of said districts to be distinctly marked, and the land conveyed in fee simple to each of said tribes to be held in common or by their members in severalty as the United States may decide. Said lands thus disposed of to be paid for to the Cherokee nation at such price as may be agreed on between the said parties in interest, subject to the approval of the President; and if they should not agree, then the price to be fixed by the President. The Cherokee nation to retain the right of possession of and jurisdiction over all of said country west of 96° of longitude until thus sold and occupied, after which their jurisdiction and right of possession to terminate forever as to each of said districts thus sold and occupied.

     According to the treaty if the United States settled Indians on unoccupied lands east of the ninety-sixth meridian they were to be both "civilized" and "friendly," but the latter requirement alone sufficed for those settled west of that line. Article sixteen provided for the conveyance of the land in fee simple to Indian tribes, but did not specify by whom it should be conveyed. The last four words of the article deserve scrutiny. The words "thus sold" apparently refer to the words "paid for" used in the preceding sentences If the Cherokees had a fee-simple title to the Outlet prior to the treaty of1866, which they appear to have had," the title remained in them until conveyed by them as provided for in the treaty, or otherwise. By the treaty the United States was made the agent of the Cherokees for the sale and disposition of the lands. It seems to have been a condition generally accepted that the Cherokees were occupying the lands of the Outlet; the patent of 1838 had specified that lands granted to the Cherokees should revert to the United States if the Cherokee nation abandoned the same.

     An unratified treaty of May 27, 1868 [7] set forth terms on which the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad Company might purchase the lands of the Osages in Kansas. Article one stated that the Osages were desirous of removing to a new and permanent home in the Indian territory. By article fourteen the United States agreed to sell to them, for their future home, at a price not to exceed twenty-five cents per acre, the district of Cherokee country lying between the ninety-sixth meridian and the middle of the main channel of the Arkansas river. It was agreed that the United States should, at its own expense, cause the boundary lines of said country to be surveyed and marked by permanent and conspicuous monuments. It was also stipulated and agreed that when the United States had secured a title to the said district of country, the Osages should be required to remove and reside thereon; but that nothing in the treaty should be so construed as to compel them to remove from their reservation in Kansas until the government had secured said title, and notice thereof had been given by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the agent of the Osages.

     In his annual report the next year the local agent stated that in view of the condition of the Osages, their location and the immense immigration pouring in on the diminished reservation, nothing better could be done than to amend the treaty in certain provisions, so as for the government to take all the Osage lands in Kansas and move the Osages to Indian territory. [8] Supt. Enoch Hoag, after holding acouncil with the Osages, reported on October 11, 1869, that it was his judgment that the larger portion of the tribe would prefer that the treaty should not be ratified. According to his report the Osages stated that they were anxious to sell their lands and remove to the Indian territory, whether or not the treaty was ratified. [9] In January, 1870, Agt. Isaac T. Gibson, in three letters, reported to Hoag that the lands of the Osages were being unlawfully intruded upon by white settlers and that there was danger of an outbreak on the part of the Indians in defense of their homes. [10] On January 28 the Office of Indian Affairs received a recommendation from Hoag stating that if the treaty were not ratified the government should at once buy the lands of the Osages and open a new home for them south, where they desired to go. "If this is long delayed," said Hoag, "war may result therefrom." [11] In view of the impoverished condition of the Osages, and as affording a mode of speedy settlement of the diffIculties arising from the encroachment of the whites, Com. E. S. Parker on March 3 suggested that it be recommended to congress that the sum of $50,000 be immediately appropriated to remove and settle the Osages in the Indian country. [12]

     In March the Office of Indian Affairs was informed that the Osages desired to send a delegation of their tribe to Washington on business considered by them to be of great importance. According to Gibson, they desired to consider, among other things, the making of an agreement disposing of their lands and providing for themselves a new home. [13] Commissioner Parker did not approve their request, but submitted it to Sec. Jacob D. Cox for consideration and. instructions. [14] Cox said that while he was opposed to the practice of Indians coming to Washington, under the impression that they could be benefited, he was inclined to grant the request of the Osages. "They have certainly been imposed upon and cruelly wronged by the settlers in Kansas," he said, "and I suggest that Agent Gibson be instructed to bring to Washington such delegation of the Osages as they may select, in order that the Department may hear from them the story of their wrongs, and may take action with a view to redress them." [15] On April 5 Parker directed that Gibsonbring a delegation, not more than six in number and also an interpreter, to Washington at the earliest day practicable. [16]

     At a certain payment made to the Osages on May 4, Hoag took the opportunity in general council to urge them, for their welfare, to visit the Commissioner of Indian Affairs through a judicious delegation, and with the approval of the President, arrange for the disposition of their lands in Kansas, and the securing of a new home in the Indian territory at the earliest period possible [17] Although the Osages appeared fully to realize the advantages as set forth by Hoag, and to appreciate the interest of the government in the premises, they failed to elect a delegation, and scattered to the plains. There was so much feeling in the tribe on the subject of treaties that Hoag considered it difficult for them to select a delegation with authority to sell their lands, in view of the responsibility and displeasure of the tribe that might follow.

     In a letter to Commissioner Parker on June 7 Hoag stated that Gibson was of the opinion that the Osages would not return to their homes after their hunt. He suggested that Gibson be at once directed to go to Washington and give the Department what information he could in the matter and confer therewith as to the best course to be pursued. With his letter Hoag enclosed a letter from Joseph Pah-ne-no-posh, governor of the Osage nation, stating that it was the desire of all the headmen of the nation for the President to send commissioners to them about August 20 to make a treaty, as they expected to make a short hunt and come in. [18] "If the Department should authorize a commission to treat with them for the sale of their lands, and their removal to a new home," said Hoag, "I would suggest that, to avail themselves of the confidence of the Osages, it should be a body representing the Government, and who had not participated in former treaties with them, as misrepresentations have produced a shyness with many of the tribe." On June 20 the Office of Indian Affairs recommended that necessary measures be taken in order to have the asked for council held in the Osage country at the time requested and that the government be represented in the council by members of the President's special Indian commission. [19]

     Sections twelve and thirteen of the Indian appropriation act of July 15 [20] provided that whenever the Osages should agree thereto, in such manner as the President should prescribe, it should be his duty to remove them from Kansas to lands provided or to be provided for them for a permanent home in the Indian territory, to consist of a tract of land in compact form equal in quantity to one hundred and sixty acres for each member of the tribe, or such part thereof as said Indians might desire, to be paid for out of the proceeds of the sales of their lands in Kansas, the price per acre for such lands to be procured in the Indian territory not to exceed the price paid or to be paid by the United States for the same. And to defray the expenses of said removal, and to aid in the subsistence of the Osages during the first year, the sum named by Commissioner Parker in his letter of March 3 was appropriated, to be reimbursed to the United States from the proceeds of the sale of the lands of the Osages in Kansas. These lands, including the trust lands north of the diminished reservation, excepting sixteen and thirty-six sections, which should be reserved to Kansas for school purposes, should be sold to actual settlers at the price of one dollar and a quarter an acre; payment to be made in cash within one year from the date of settlement or of the passage of this act.

     It was agreed that the United States should pay interest annually on the amount of money received as proceeds of the sale of the lands at the rate of five percent, to be expended by the President for the benefit of the Osages, in such manner as he might deem proper. The proceeds should be carried to the credit of the Osages on the books of the Treasury. There were to be erected at their new home in the Indian territory, agency buildings, a warehouse, a dwelling and shop for a blacksmith, a saw and grist mill, a schoolhouse and church.

     In a report from the Office of Indian Affairs on July 19 the attention of the Secretary of the Interior was asked to the consideration of the request of Gov. Joseph Pah-ne-no-posh of May 20 that commissioners be appointed and sent to the Osages about August 20 to make an agreement with them, apparently in relation to their removal. Commissioner Parker recommended that steps be taken   as soon as practicable to carry into effect the provisions of sections twelve and thirteen of the Indian appropriation act of July 15. [21] A copy of the report was transmitted by Secretary Cox on July 22 to Vincent Colyer, secretary of the Board of Indian Commissioners, with the request that the board inform the Office of Indian Affairs at what time it would be practicable for them to visit the Osages, to carry into effect the recommendations contained in the report, [22] The subject was brought before the board at its special meeting in New York on July 28. John V. Farwell,.John D. Lang and Colyer were appointed a commission to visit the Osages, and if upon consultation with them it should be ascertained that they accepted the proposition of Congress, the commission were to assist them to the extent of their ability. On August 2 Acting Commissioner Cady wrote to the commission as follows:

Your board having arranged to be present at the council to be held with the Osages, in the Cherokee country, with a view to establishing this tribe upon a new reservation there, to be purchased from the Cherokees, the Secretary of the Interior directs me to say to you, that it is desired that the price to be given for the land shall not exceed 50 cents per acre, and that in making the arrangement with the Cherokees, your endeavor will be to subserve the interests of the Government as well as those of the Indians, and to effect, if possible, the purchase at even a less price. [23]

     However, Cady said that the matter was left to the discretion and sound judgment of the commission, and it was expected that the object would be accomplished to the satisfaction of all parties interested.

     Accompanying the letter was a copy of another letter by Cady to Hoag stating that the place of the meeting of the council with the Osages must be in the country to which they were to remove and not upon their reservation in Kansas. [24] On August 6 Hoag was advised that William P. Adair, Clement N. Vann and six other persons had been appointed commissioners on behalf of the Cherokee nation to meet the Osages in council in the Cherokee country sometime during August to confer upon the matter of procuring the Osages a home in that country. [25] The Cherokees were invited to be present at the council for the purpose of arranging their own terms. [26] Colyer objected to the provision in the instructions stating that the council should be held in the Cherokee country, since it assumed that the Osages would accept sections twelve and thirteen of the recent Indian appropriation act. On August 11 the instructions were changed so that it was left to the Osages themselves to select the council ground. [27]

     About this time Agent Gibson sent out runners to notify the chiefs of the coming of the commission. But when the commission arrived at the Osage agency at Montgomery, Kan., on August 20 the tribe were nearly all out on the plains buffalo hunting. Pending the arrival of the Osages, the commission engaged teams, and accompanied by Hoag and Gibson, they occupied the four following days in visiting and inspecting the Cherokee lands they believed to be just west of the ninety-sixth meridian, to which lands it was proposed to remove the Osages. It may be that these horsemen were more engrossed in the location of the future home of the Osages than in finding for themselves a retreat from the rays of the August sun; and that they faithfully rode across an expanse of good land in the valley of the Cana. The commission said:

     We rode forty-five miles into the reservation, making a wide detour on our return, so that we could see as much of it as possible. We found the land of excellent quality, a liberal proportion of it, along the banks of the Cana, good bottom land, well timbered, with tall and thick prairie grass, plenty of water, and the upland rolling, apparently covered with good pasture for cattle, and considerable timber. [28]

In establishing the Osage reservation there was no question more vexing than the location of the ninety-sixth meridian through the Cherokee country. The commission said that they could not find anyone who could inform them correctly   as to the location of that line; nor were there any surveyor's marks to be seen. By the advice of the commission and the urgent request of the Osages, Superintendent Hoag employed a surveyor to run the line immediately. He probably employed A. H. Perry. At any rate a special or preliminary survey of the line was made in the autumn of 1870 for which Perry was allowed the sum of $618. [29]

     The commission were confronted by two obstacles to which they turned their attention before the Osages came in from the plains for a conference with them. First, there were about three hundred white people already settled upon the lands designated as a new reservation for the Osages. By September 2 troops were in southeastern Kansas for the purpose of removing the trespassers from the lands and many of them were removed during the fall. Second, there was difficulty in satisfying Osages who were opposed to the acceptance of sections twelve and thirteen of the act of July 15, 1870. Among them were half-breeds who had farms of choice land worth twelve or fifteen dollars an acre. The commission found it desirable to accept pledges made by a mass meeting of citizens settled upon the Osage reservation in Kansas, who as a "community" agreed to resolutions guaranteeing to the half-breeds full protection in their right to enter their claims as white settlers, should they desire to remain upon them, and if not of selling them, and extending to the purchasers of such Indian claims the same protection in their right to enter. According to the commission there was no other alternative but for them to pledge their influence with the government to secure all that the mass meeting had guaranteed, or fail to get the desirable cooperation of these half-breeds. Consequently they said to the half-breeds that if they would sign "the bill" the commission would use its influence with the government "to compel those twenty thousand squatters to redeem their pledges to the very letter." It is almost incredible that the commission or Osages would expect the Kansas frontiersmen to keep, without compulsion, pledges and promises to their own economic detriment. [30] But with the two obstacles temporarily eliminated, the way for an agreement with the Osages was open.

     The commission met the Osages on the old council ground on the banks of Drum creek, at the agency. There was considerable discussion about the price the Osages were to pay for their new reservation. The commission fully explained to them the instructions of the government, that they were not to pay more than fifty cents per acre, in case they could not agree with the Cherokees, and referred the matter of price to the President.

     Clement N. Vann, representing the Cherokees, [31] was early on the ground, looking after the interest of his people, and was zealous in endeavoring to get one dollar and a quarter an acre for the lands to be occupied by the Osages. The commission said: "So earnestly did he press this that the Osages seemed at one time to be fully persuaded that they must pay that price for the new land, and it hindered our progress considerably." [32] However the commission stated that they succeeded in satisfying the Osages that the President would not make them pay more than fifty cents an acre for the lands.

     After the commission had had repeated conferences with the chiefs, a full council of the Osages assembled under a large elm tree in the afternoon of September 10 to determine whether they would accept or reject sections twelve and thirteen of the recent Indian appropriation act. All the tribes and bands of the Osages, except Young Claymore's band, were represented by their chiefs or headmen. A vast assembly of white settlers also came to witness the results of the day. In council the Osages observed that the land was as good as the money offered to them, and in fact could be longer retained by them. Gov. Joseph Pah-ne-no-posh stated that the government should pay the Osages about $300,000 for damages inflicted upon them by white intruders. [33] He presented to the commission a petition addressed to the President, signed by twenty-three chiefs, head men and councilors of the Osages.

     The petition stated among other things, that the Osages felt assured that "the bill" was the work of their friends, and not of speculators. It requested that the Osages be allowed to purchase a larger tract of country from the Cherokees than that provided in the act; to hold their lands in common until they asked for them to be sectionalized; and that the right to hunt buffalo on the western prairies on government land be secured to them as long as buffalo continued plentiful. The Osages in the petition requested protection from intrusion upon their lands. And they asked that the United States purchase for them, adjoining their lands in Indian territory, the same quantity of land as had been granted Kansas for school purposes out of the Osage lands. [34]

     The council was adjourned until after supper, was reconvened at 8:30 in the evening, and the necessary signatures of the Osages were appended to the act signifying their acceptance of the same. [35] On September 12 Watanka, head councilor of the Claymore band, arrived at the council grounds, and after having fully asserted his dignity and right to be consulted, signed the act.

     The Board of Indian Commissioners observed that five weeks were required to allow the Osages time to decide upon the acceptance of the act, and that it was "probably the most important transaction of their lives." [36]

     Since the Osages agreed to part with their lands in Kansas, it became necessary to determine what Cherokee lands they should occupy, and also the area and price of the same. They gave their number to the commission as 3,500 souls, which number according to the Cherokee treaty of 1866 would allow them a tract of 560,000 acres. A delegation appointed by the Osage national council in September proceeded on the duty of selecting a new home for the tribe in the Indian territory. In a regular council called for that purpose, the principal chiefs on October 26 formally selected a tract of country which the Osages had frequently occupied temporarily, and had for years regarded as their future home. [37] The tract was considered to be 60 miles long, 16 2/3 miles wide and to comprise 640,000 acres. The ninety-sixth meridian, as determined by the special survey in the fall of 1870, severed the tract in twain.

     During the fall the Osages settled on the tract and began making improvements thereon. Their efforts were arrested by allegations of the Cherokees that the special survey of the ninety-sixth meridian was in notorious variance with the official maps furnished them by the government, and with every map known to exist; and that under this "surreptitious survey" the Osages were really making improvements upon Cherokee soil east of the true ninety-sixth meridian. [38]

The situation of the Osages was further complicated because soon after they officially made their selection of land, a delegation of Kaws, with their agent, selected a tract of land for that tribe in the northern part of the Osage tract, and buttressed against the ninety-sixth meridian as determined by the special survey. [39] Most of the white settlers whom the military removed in the fall of 1870 from the lands of Indian territory bordering on Kansas, returned promptly when the soldiers left.

     During the summer Clement N. Vann, verbally and by letter, had pointed out that it would be better for the Osages and Cherokees to agree upon the price of the lands to be occupied by the Osages than to have the price determined by the government, because more cordiality and cooperation could then be expected between the two tribes. [40] Arrangements were made by Agent Gibson and Vann for a meeting of representatives of the two tribes on Cana river in the autumn, but   the meeting did not take place. On October 22 Principal Chief Downing suggested that the Osages send a delegation to the Cherokee national council, soon to convene, which body would have full power to represent the Cherokees. [41] The Osages were anxious to have the matter settled and preferred to have the President determine the price of the lands. But on the recommendation of Gibson   a delegation was appointed to go to Tahlequah. The Osage council instructed the delegation fully as to the choice of land, as to price, and instructed them to send their business to the President if negotiations with the Cherokees were not successful. In the minutes of the Osage council meeting of October 26 Gibson listed the names of ten delegates who were appointed-instructed to meet here (Canaville) in 12 days (Nov. 7), families of delegates to be subsisted here during their absence at nations expense. Delegates instructed as their first choice on both sides of 96--and second choice just west of 96. 6 of the Delegates will constitute a quorum. Delegates were instructed not to offer more than 25 cts per acre for the land except in case that the Cherokee Council offer to take 50 cts. per acre [42]

On November 17 Gibson and the Osage delegation arrived at Tahlequah. In a letter to the Cherokee national council the following day they referred to the selection of land made by the Osages, observed that the desirable land was in the eastern part of the selection, and they stated that the Osages had been virtually homeless for a considerable time and were anxious to acquire a permanent home. They stated that if the lands selected by the Kaws, amounting to about 93,440 acres, were included in the Osage tract, it would be necessary to increase the width of the tract to 19 1/10 miles. They asked the national council to consent to occupation by the Osages of that part of their selection east of the ninety-sixth meridian as then determined, and also to state the lowest price per acre for all the lands embraced in their selection. [43]

     According to Gibson the Cherokee national council appeared to the Osage delegation to be very dilatory in their action; and the delegation became indignant at the delay. On November 30 Gibson addressed a letter to the commissioners on behalf of the Cherokee nation named in Acting Commissioner Cady's letter of August 6, stating that the delegation would like to confer with them that day on the subject of procuring a home for the Osages in the Cherokee country. [44] On the same day Adair and Vann replied that it was their desire to accommodate their unfortunate brethren, the Osages, so far as they possibly could, but that their commissions expired at the termination of the late Osage council, called at the suggestion of the Interior Department. They stated that the matter of negotiating with the Osages was then engaging the official attention of the national council, and that it was to be hoped that it would soon be consummated with full satisfaction to all parties concerned. They asked that the delegation be patient until the national council should take legal action in the matter, which was of great importance to the Cherokees, the Osages and the government, and dispose of the same promptly and finally in a formal and business manner. [45] On the same day Principal Chief Downing explained that the matter of negotiating with the Osages had not been subjected to any unnecessary delay, although it might have had to yield to other business that had legitimate precedence. [46]

     The patience of the delegation was wearing thin and after two weeks of fruitless effort to bring about a council with the Cherokees, they left Tahlequah.

     An act of the Cherokee national council approved December 1 provided for the appointment of five commissioners to meet commissioners representing each of the several bands of Osages on January 2, 1871, "at Lewis Choteau's on Cana Creek" for the purpose of selecting and locating a permanent home for the Osage tribe west of ninety-six degrees. The area of the tract should be equal to one hundred and sixty acres for each citizen of the Osage and Kaw tribes who might locate therein. The Cherokee commissioners were not authorized to agree upon a smaller price for the lands than one dollar and a quarter an acre. [47]

     On December 3, 1870, a copy of the act was sent to Agent Gibson at Montgomery, Kan. In a letter to Principal Chief Downing on December 16 he observed that the act did riot authorize negotiations for Cherokee lands east of the ninety-sixth meridian, and that it also deprived the Osages from choosing their home from any Cherokee lands they might desire, west of that meridian, when taken in compact form. He set forth how faithfully the Osages and he had labored to bring about an agreement with the Cherokees, how at much expense, in   poor quarters and amid disagreeable surroundings the delegation had remained two weeks in Tahlequah. He stated that friendship and brotherly love would certainly have prevailed but for a failure for which the Osages and he did not feel responsible. He explained that the Osages were scattered over the plains and that it would be impossible for them to hold a council with the Cherokees before spring. "Knowing as I do, somewhat of the feelings of both tribes on this subject," he said, "such a council, with your commissioners, under the limitations, and instructions of that Act, is an occasion to be avoided." He said that the offer of the Osages was twenty-five cents an acre for the tract they had selected; and that he deemed it of the utmost importance to both tribes that the disagreement between them should be submitted at once to the President as provided in the Cherokee treaty of 1866. [48]

On the same day Gibson addressed a statement of sixteen pages to Commissioner Parker in which he favorably reviewed for the Osages, their recent relations with the Cherokees. [49]

     He recommended that the matter of securing a reservation for the Osages be submitted to the President, and that the selection they had made be confirmed to them. He did not fail to say that they had been assured by the President's commissioners that they would not have to pay more than fifty cents per acre for the lands selected west of ninety-six degrees; and that it was with this understanding that they had agreed on September 10 to remove to the Indian territory.

     A sketch map which he enclosed with the statement showed the rectangular tract of land selected by the Osages to be equally divided by the ninety-sixth meridian as determined by the special survey, so that it included a strip eight and one third miles wide, extending from Kansas to the Creek country, east of said meridian as then determined.

     In explaining why the Osages had selected one half of their lands east of the ninety-sixth meridian as then surveyed, Gibson said that the desirable agricultural land in the region west of that line was limited to a strip about three miles wide and sixty miles long, contiguous to the line. This small quantity of land, "in a string shape," was deemed insufficient by them. Gibson stated that the next eight and one third miles just west of the lands selected by the Osages was not worth five cents an acre for agricultural purposes. He said that it would be a misfortune for the Osages to receive it as a gift, compared to their securing the same number of acres east of the ninety-sixth meridian at a cost of five dollars an acre. Gibson continued:

The contrast between the surface of the country on the two sides of said line, is remarkable. On the West, the land rises from 200 to 500 feet, above the Cana River, and continues broken and rocky, and comparatively valueless, westward, to the Arkansas River. This broken range also continues South, parallel with said line, to the Arkansas River. The face of the country Southwest is of the same character. In exploring this wilderness, I have not found it possible to penetrate its recesses with a wagon, though it is said a California train many years ago, cut its way through these terrible passes to the Arkansas River, but there is no account of any one since, having the hardihood to repeat the undertaking. . . . The scenery is indeed wild, and grand, but certainly, it is not a fit place to settle wild Indians, and presume on Divine assistance in effecting their civilization. If educated white men were located here, the life they would be compelled to lead, would certainly lead them to barbarism, and starvation. Such is, unquestionably, the general character of the country

between 96 and the Arkansas River, as I have found it by personal examination, and from the testimony of scores of Osages, who know it well, and also from other Indians, and white men, who traversed it during the war. [50]

     The surface East of 96, is a beautiful plain, rising gradually, from the Cana River to the dividing line between that river and the Verdigris; nearly every acre is plough-land and productive, small creeks, for stock water, occur at regular intervals, . . . with narrow belts of timber, though not enough for building and fencing purposes; this supply properly comes from the heavy timber, on the Cana, which . . . lies mostly west of 96; hence the natural appearance of the country, strikes the observer, at once, that the land lying contiguous to 96, should belong to the same people.

     On January 12, 1871, Gibson wrote that the Osages must have one half of their reservation east of the ninety-sixth meridian, if money could buy it.

     On January 31 Commissioner Parker reviewed the petition addressed to the President by the Osages and presented by them to the President's commissioners on September 10, 1870. He observed that the Cherokee treaty of 1866 and the act of July 15, 1870, made provision for the quantity of land which the Osages should be allowed to purchase (being one hundred and sixty acres for each member of the tribe) and that no authority of law existed for allowing an increase in the quantity thereof. He considered the quantity provided for to be sufficient for all the reasonable wants or requirements of the Osages. He saw no objection to their request that they be allowed to hold their lands in common or to their request to hunt buffalo on public lands of the United States, and he recommended that both requests be granted. In his judgment the existing statutory provisions 52 afforded ample authority to guarantee security and protection to the Indians against intruders. He deemed the claim of the Osages for compensation, in some substantial form, for the loss of the "school sections" in Kansas to be eminently just and proper, and he recommended that Congress be asked to give the matter favorable consideration. [53]

     On January 28 Parker requested the Cherokee delegation in Washington to submit to the Office of Indian Affairs at as early day as possible such objections, if any, as they might deem proper to present to the selection of reservations for the Osages and Kaws, a. portion of the lands embraced in the same to be east of ninety-six degrees, in the Cherokee country. [54] In a reply on February 2 the delegation quoted from their instructions, given by the Cherokee national council under date of December 14, 1870, stating that they were without authority to limit, cede or dispose of, any part of the domain of the Cherokee nation east of ninety-six degrees, or to admit or incorporate any Indians therein, without the approval of the national council. They called attention to the fact that they were instructed to provide for the extension of the western boundary of the Cherokee reserved lands, so as to include east of said boundary all Cherokees, and recognized citizens of the Cherokee nation. Article fifteen of the Cherokee treaty of 1866 provided for the settlement of "civilized" Indians on Cherokee lands east of ninety-six degrees. The delegation stated that it was well known that neither the Osages nor Kaws were "civilized" but were known as "blanket Indians" who lived by the chase, and hence did not come within the class of Indians designated in the article. They endeavored to show that the article provided that settlement should be made as whole tribes or as individuals and not as fractions of tribes.

     In their opinion article sixteen of the treaty did not authorize the cutting in two of Indian tribes by the line of ninety-six degrees in settling them upon Cherokee lands. They noted that if the survey of that line when "properly made" should cut in two, lands assigned to the Osages and Kaws, the political situation for these tribes would be embarrassing. The delegation also said:

     The Cherokees have reluctantly yielded to a painful necessity in assenting to sell their lands as far east as 96°, and are strongly opposed to making any further cessions. They would en mass sharply oppose any such location of the Osage and Kansas Tribes as you have suggested, and the enforcement upon them of any such arrangement, at once so impalatable and so unexpected would almost unavoidably result in a ruption of the present friendly relations between the C/herokees and these Tribes.

     The delegation observed that article fifteen of the treaty of 1866 provided for the settlement of Indians, "friendly with the Cherokees," east of the ninety-sixth meridian. They stated that since 1868 the Osages had frequently appealed to the Cherokees to let them have the country on both sides of the "upper Cana river," believed to be east of ninety-six degrees; and that when the Osages were informed at their council at Montgomery in August, 1870, that the line was east of said part of the river, they expressed great satisfaction that it had been so determined. It was also noted that the Osage petition of September 10 following had made no mention of securing lands east of ninety-six degrees. In conclusion the delegation remarked:

     We are personally acquainted with many of the leading men and chiefs of the Osages, and have never heard them express any dissatisfaction at the idea of settling west of 96°, but from the agent of the Osages, we have heard much argument in his efforts to show that the location west of 96° would be unsuitable for the future home of the Osages, according to his theories. [55]

     On February 16 Commissioner Parker outlined the history of the controversy relative to settling the Osages and Kaws on Cherokee lands on both sides of the ninety-sixth meridian. He recommended (in case the Secretary of the Interior and the President were of the opinion that authority existed therefor under the provisions of the Cherokee treaty of 1866) that the location of the two tribes upon the tract of country selected and desired by them for their future homes, be approved, and that the price to be paid by them to the Cherokees therefor, be fixed by the President at twenty-five cents per acre, and further, that an executive order be issued authorizing the Office of Indian Affairs to have such tracts set off and assigned to the Osage and Kaw tribes, the boundaries thereof distinctly designated, and the price to be fixed thereon named. He further recommended that the sum of twenty-five cents per acre be fixed as the uniform price for all the Cherokee lands west of the ninety-sixth meridian. [56]

     Secretary Delano on February 24 set forth the conclusion that according to the Cherokee treaty of 1866 none but civilized Indians could lawfully settle within the Cherokee country east of the ninety-sixth meridian, and that the Osages, "not falling within that description," could not lawfully settle there. According to article sixteen of the treaty he said it would seem that a district of Cherokee country west of the said meridian to be occupied by a tribe of Indians, must be distinctly marked and set apart before the President could determine the price of the lands included therein, under the provisions of the article. [57] The next day Commissioner Parker advised Superintendent Hoag of the conclusion set forth by   Delano, but stated that any selection by the Osages of Cherokee lands, west of the ninety-sixth meridian, to the extent and in the manner provided by law would be approved. [58]

     An article succeeding this one will explain how the location of the ninety-sixth meridian caused commotion among the Osages and Cherokees, how President Grant settled the disputed price of lands, and how the Osages secured a reservation on the southern border of Kansas.

     AN ARTICLE preceding this one explained how the Osages in 1870 agreed to sell their lands in southern Kansas and to remove to Indian territory. Attention was given to the controversy between them and the Cherokees as to whether the Osages should be permitted to settle on Cherokee lands east of the ninety-sixth meridian, and to the decision of Sec. Columbus Delano in 1871 that the Osages were not civilized Indians, and hence could not settle east of that line. This article explains how the ninety-sixth meridian caused commotion among the Osages and Cherokees, how President Grant settled the disputed price of lands, and how the Osages removed to a reservation on the southern border of Kansas. The Osages, in face of Delano's decision, reluctantly made a second selection of Cherokee lands for a reservation, comprising a rectangular tract of country buttressed against the ninety-sixth meridian, extending from the south line of Kansas to the Creek country, and running thence west for quantity. [59] The quantity should be determined by allowing one hundred and sixty acres for each Osage settled on the lands. The Osages were willing to pay but twenty-five cents per acre for the tract, while the Cherokees were unwilling to part with the same for a less price than one dollar and a quarter an acre. On March 7 Acting Commissioner Clum recommended that the tract be set apart for the use and occupation of the Osages; he suggested that the President be requested to approve their selection, fix the price to be paid therefor at twenty-five cents per acre, and that an executive order be issued announcing the same. [60] Commissioner Parker on March 15 withdrew the recommendation that the price of the lands be fixed at twenty-five cents per acre and recommended that two or more members of the board of Indian commissioners be instructed to visit the tract selected by the Osages, and make a report to the Interior Department on the real nature and value of the lands, and the price the Osages should pay for them. [61] Secretary Delano observed, however, that members of the said board had already visited and reported upon the tract, and that it was the duty of the President under existing circumstances to fix its value. By an executive order of March 27 he assigned and set off to the Osages the tract recently selected by them, specifying the area of the same as 560,000 acres. [62] The tract was about 141/2 miles wide. Delano promptly recommended that the price of the lands be fixed at fifty cents an acre; and by an executive order of May 27 President Grant fixed the price accordingly. [63]

     ]n a communication of June 10 the Cherokee delegation in Washington protested against the price fixed by the President, claiming that it was far below the real value of the lands, and that such pricing was not in accordance with the spirit and intent of the Cherokee treaty of 1866 and other treaties affecting the lands. [64] In response to a similar protest presented to the Interior Department a month later by the delegation, Commissioner Parker said that he deemed the price of fifty cents an acre to be not only a fair, but an exceedingly liberal compensation to the Cherokees for the lands to be occupied by the Osages.65 It thus appeared that the Osages had secured a reservation at the price named in the instructions to the commission sent to negotiate with them in the summer of 1870.

     We may now direct our attention to a matter that disturbed the Cherokees, vexed and discouraged the Osages, and caused the executive order reservation for the latter tribe to fade from the map of Indian territory during the year after its establishment. That matter was the location of the ninety-sixth meridian through the Cherokee country. On December 3, 1870, Com. Joseph S. Wilson of the General Land Office made a contract with Theodore H. Barrett and Ehud N. Darling, employing them to survey and subdivide certain lands in Indian territory, extend the Indian meridian from the Canadian river to Kansas, and also determine, establish and survey the ninety-sixth meridian through the Cherokee lands. It was provided that the surveying should be completed on or before December 31, 1871. According to the contract Barrett and Darling should be subject to any special or general orders which the Secretary of the Interior might see proper to give in the premises. [66]

     On March 18 Commissioner Parker recommended to the Secretary of the Interior that the General Land Office be directed to instruct them to run the line of the ninety-sixth meridian at once, in order that the lands west of the line could be properly evaluated. [67] Ten days later the surveyors were instructed accordingly, it being observed that the line should be determined in order that the Indian agency buildings might be properly located. [68]

     On March 27 the executive order reservation was established. But the most desirable portion of it, a strip along the eastern side "in a string shape," was already occupied by about one hundred and fifty families of Cherokees, Delawares and Shawnees who believed they were living east of the ninety-sixth meridian, and who protested against the occupation of the land by the Osages. Agent Gibson had confidence in the correctness of the special survey of the line and he urged the Osages to make improvements On the strip. In erecting temporary buildings the Osages had frequently to abandon their work to avoid a conflict with the Cherokees, who resisted the necessary appropriation of timber. Early in the spring Gibson assured the Osages that the line of the ninety-sixth meridian would be located without further delay, because the Commissioner of Indian Affairs had given him an unqualified promise that it would be. By the time the planting season arrived the chiefs protested against further improvements being made at the agency because the line had not been run. The Osages were "rendered exceedingly dissatisfied" by the uncertainty of the location of the line. [69]

     On April 15 Barrett reported to the General Land Office that steps preparatory to the survey of the line had been taken; and that the work would be executed with promptness, due regard being had to its being correctly determined astronomically. [70] "It is expected that the survey of the line in question will be made this month," the Office of Indian Affairs advised Superintendent Hoag on June 5, "and the difficulties and disputes attending the present uncertainty of its location will be set at rest." [71] Astronomical observations for the initial point were made in that month and in July. Many complaints and suggestions from Hoag and Gibson, relative to the survey of the line, reached the Office of Indian Affairs during the spring and summer.

     On August 28 the General Land Office instructed Barrett and Darling to report at once when the survey of the line would be completed. "If no progress has been made you are required to use all diligence towards the completion of the same," said Com. Willis Drummond, "as important interests are involved and now delayed waiting the establishment of said line." [72] On September 7 Barrett replied that a surveying party under the direction of Darling was then in the field for the purpose of establishing and marking the line. [73] Agent Gibson reported on October 1 that if the official survey proved the narrow strip of tillable land in dispute to be east of the ninety-sixth meridian as the Cherokees contended it was, the land assigned to the Osages would be quickly abandoned by them, as they would probably not accept it as a gift for a future home. [74] Before the close of the month it was known by the said survey that the strip in question, "containing in fact all the improvements made and all the really available land in the whole body" intended to be included in the executive order reservation assigned to the Osages, was east of the ninety-sixth meridian. [75]

     On October 26, just a year after the Osages selected the first tract of country in the Indian territory, Hoag informed the Office of Indian Affairs that the ninety-sixth meridian was about three and one half miles west of the line designated by the special survey. [76] He stated that the "calamity" of throwing the Osages "into the Bluffs," added to lingering prejudices, had made their condition insufferable. He said that the Osages had become demoralized and would return to the plains with increased aggravation; and that he feared they would return to their former habits of plunder [77] unless the Interior Department took some immediate and decisive steps to redress their wrongs. He explained that they would not accede to the conditions of the act of July 15, 1870, providing for the sale of their lands in Kansas and the purchase of lands from the Cherokees, until the Caney Valley was by the special survey located west of the ninety-sixth meridian. Hoag continued:

     That valley was [a] condition to their acceptance. That survey so located their Eastern boundary. Now the official survey throws it all off, to the Cherokees. Our last year labor in improvements is lost, and our future prospect for immediate usefulness is blasted, unless we at once remedy this misfortune. The Osages now feel that the Commissioners, Agent and Supt. who have advised their removal, did so to defraud them of both their old and new homes. The question of their civilization is off [of] too high importance to lie another year on the contingency of running a line that might and should have been done in 30 days.

     On November 3 Acting Commissioner Clum recommended that immediate measures be taken to remedy, so far as practicable, a state of affairs, likely to be productive of such evil results as those mentioned in Hoag's letter of October 26. He said there appeared to be two alternatives. First, to have one or more members of the Board of Indian Commissioners, or some other suitable person, proceed to the Cherokee country to negotiate with the proper authorities of the Cherokee nation for the retention upon reasonable terms, by the Osages, of that portion of the tract of country supposed to have been included within the limits of the reservation set apart for them, but which was found actually to be east of the ninety-sixth meridian. Second, to provide a new reservation for the Osages in the portion of the Cherokee territory bordering upon the Creek country and lying to the west of the ninety-sixth meridian. He stated that the latter alternative would by no means be entirely satisfactory to the Osages and should only be entertained after every effort had been made for the success of the first proposition, without avail. [78]

     The next day Secretary Delano approved the suggestions embraced in the first alternative set forth by Clum, and designated Thomas Wistar and John B. Garrett of Philadelphia, and George Howland of New Bedford, Mass., as a commission to open negotiations with the Cherokees accordingly. Delano stated that if the commission should not succeed in negotiating with them for the continued possession by the Osages, of the lands they occupied, then, he desired that the attention of the commission be directed to the necessity of their making an examination of the country for the purpose of selecting a new reservation for the Osages. [79] Instructions were promptly issued to the commission stating that in the second alternative they should examine the Cherokee country west of the ninety-sixth meridian. [80] Agent Gibson was instructed to remain on the reservation as then located with the Indians in his charge, until the matter regarding the possession of the strip of land in question should be finally settled. He was also instructed to inform the Osages that they would be protected in their rights to the extent of the power of the Interior Department. [81]

     Soon after the location of the ninety-sixth meridian was officially determined the Osages went to the plains for their fall hunt, much displeased and discouraged, alleging that another gross outrage had been perpetrated upon them by the government. Early in February, Howland, [82] Gibson, and Mahlon Stubbs, agent for the Kaws, began a journey of one hundred and fifty miles, from the end of the railroad at Coffeyville, to Pond creek where a portion of the Osages were encamped. On February 16 they made arrangements with the Osages for the holding of a council near the agency on Caney river. The council met on the afternoon of March 1; about seventy-five Indians were present. Wistar and Howland were promptly asked to read their instructions, which they did. The Osages then retired to themselves to consider the two alternatives set forth by the Office of Indian Affairs. [83]

     The council met again on the evening of March 4 at the call of the Indians. About forty were present. On behalf of his people Gov. Joseph Pah-ne-no-posh presented to the commission a paper prepared by them on that day. It said in part:

     We the Great and Little Osage Indians, Chiefs, Councilors, Braves, Headmen and other members of nation have this day assembled in council at the house of Mrs. Rosalie Chouteau on the banks of the Caney River near the Agency, and do agree to take the proposed lands west of the M D. line 96, to the channel of the Arkansaw River Said Lands to be Sixty miles long bounded on the north by the Kansas line and on the South by the Creek nation . . . on Reservation the Caws to be included the bounds of their tract to be Settled here after the price pr acre for these lands not to exceed twenty cents pr acre. We also wish if possible a Small tract of Land west of the Arkansaw River. [84]

An agreement concluded the next day, when some fifty Indians were present, provided that in lieu of the strip, the Cherokee lands between the western boundary of the executive order reservation and the main channel of the Arkansas be ceded and transferred to the Osage tribe, and confirmed to them by the proper authorities at Washington; and that the price of said lands be fixed by the President. It was agreed that the Kaw tribe, then in Kansas, should have the right to settle on the tract of Cherokee lands above described, and ceded to the Osage tribe; and in case the Osage and Kaw tribes could not agree upon their respective locations, or upon the price to be paid for the lands ceded to the Kaw tribe, the President should determine these matters for them. Other provisions of the agreement related to protection of the Osages from intruders, and to the appraisal of certain improvements made by the Osages and Cherokees bordering on both sides of the ninety-sixth meridian. [85] As a point of objection to the agreement the Cherokee delegation in Washington on March 26 submitted that according to the Cherokee treaty of 1866 the President should fix the price of Cherokee lands west of the ninety-sixth meridian after the Cherokees and the Indians to be settled thereon had failed to agree on the price. [86] The Osages were able to pay for the lands designated in the agreement. Com. Francis A. Walker raised the question whether the government could afford to give up to the occupation of four thousand Osages and Kaws more than one and a half million acres of the lands on which the United States had acquired the right to settle friendly Indians by the Cherokee treaty of 1866. He wrote:

     Without apprehending that there will be any considerable difficulty in obtaining future further cessions of territory from tribes within the Indian country as the government shall desire, it would still be my belief that it was decidedly injudicious to exceed in any case the amount contemplated in that treaty, viz., 160 acres to each member of a friendly tribe so settled upon the ceded lands, were it not that the Osages have suffered great hardship and wrong in the country from which they came, and have now encountered a grievous disappointment in their expected home in the Indian country, solely through the failure of the government to properly determine their location. If the injuries which the Osages have suffered in the past, their disappointment now through the   fault of the Government, and the manifest and urgent importance of adjusting the   difficulty without delay, are held to constitute a sufficient reason for allowing these Indians to purchase more land than was contemplated in the treaty of 1866, I know of no reason why this agreement should not be pronounced to be expedient, so far as the United States is concerned, and either confirmed by the Department, or, in case it is held that the Department is precluded from assigning more than 160 acres to each member of the tribe, submitted to Congress for its action. [87]

     As to the price of the lands, Walker referred to the protracted efforts of the Osages and Cherokees to effect an agreement relative to the lands in the executive order reservation assigned to the former tribe, and to the fact that the matter was finally left to the President. [88] "I see not the slightest reason to believe," he said, "that negotiations in the present instance would find any other result." He did not consider it practicable to contract with the Cherokees for lands west of the ninety-sixth degree at any reasonable price.

     On April 8 the Cherokee delegation addressed a letter to Secretary Delano giving the assent and approval of their nation to the proposition providing for the settlement of the Osages and Kaws on the portion of the Cherokee lands between the ninety-sixth meridian and the Arkansas river. [89] The whole matter was submitted to Congress by the Interior Department on April 11. In order to provide the Osage tribe with a reservation, and secure to them a sufficient quantity of land suitable for cultivation, the said Cherokee lands between the ninety-sixth meridian and the main channel of the Arkansas were set apart and confirmed to them by an act of Congress approved on June 5. [90] The act provided that the Osage tribe should permit the settlement within the limits of said tract of land of the Kansas tribe of Indians, the lands so settled and occupied by said Kansas Indians, not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres for each member of said tribe, to be paid for by said Kansas tribe out of the proceeds of the sales of their lands in Kansas, at a price not exceeding that paid by the Osage Indians to the Cherokee nation. It will be remembered that the tract of land thus designated by Congress was the same tract which the United States agreed to sell to the Osages by article fourteen of the unratified treaty made with that tribe in 1868. The reservation acquired by the Osages, after a home had been provided for the Kaws, constituted the lands now in Osage county, Oklahoma, or a tract of about 1,470,059 acres. The Kaw reservation was on the border of Kansas, just east of the Arkansas. It embraced the lands east of that river, now in Kay county, Oklahoma.

     The Osages saved what they could from the wreck of their first settlement, and crossed the ninety-sixth meridian. Commissioner Walker, from his office in Washington, could say of their future: "Having now a fixed place of abode, and having large sums coming to them from the sale of their lands in Kansas, the Department sees no reason to doubt that they will in a few years become a rich and prosperous people." [91] The vision of Agent Gibson was less clear. He was on the reservation close to the "rocks," the "sandstone bluffs and ridges," and the "scraggy, knotty post-oak."

     The price of the lands of the reservation fixed by the President was satisfactory neither to the Osages nor to the Cherokees. Agent Stubbs and Superintendent Hoag considered fifty cents an acre a fair price for the lands. In June J. P. C. Shanks, John A. Smith and Samuel S. Burdett, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Indian Affairs were requested by Secretary Delano to examine the lands with a view of forming an opinion as to the price which should be paid to the Cherokees for the same. After examining the lands the subcommittee on January 9, 1873, reported their conclusion that the same should be priced at sixty-five cents per acre. It was understood, however, that this conclusion was a compromise and that at least one member of the subcommittee desired a higher valuation. On January 13 the Cherokee delegation earnestly protested against the price named by the subcommittee for the lands, and insisted strenuously that the price should be fixed at not less than one dollar and a quarter an acre. The Cherokees apparently considered that their lands just west of the ninety-sixth meridian were as valuable as lands, thirty miles farther north in Kansas, which the Osages had ceded to the United States in trust to be sold at a price not less than one dollar and a quarter an acre. On January 31 Acting Commissioner Clum stated that he considered seventy-five cents per acre would be a just and reasonable compensation to the Cherokees for the lands. [92] The correspondence relative to the price of the lands by Congress was the same tract which the United States agreed to sell to the Osages by article fourteen of the unratified treaty made with that tribe in 1868. The reservation acquired by the Osages, after a home had been provided for the Kaws, constituted the lands now in Osage county, Oklahoma, or a tract of about 1,470,059 acres. The Kaw reservation was on the border of Kansas, just east of the Arkansas. It embraced the lands east of that river, now in Kay county, Oklahoma.

     The Osages saved what they could from the wreck of their first settlement, and crossed the ninety-sixth meridian. Commissioner Walker, from his office in Washington, could say of their future: "Having now a fixed place of abode, and having large sums coming to them from the sale of their lands in Kansas, the Department sees no reason to doubt that they will in a few years become a rich and prosperous people." [91] The vision of Agent Gibson was less clear. He was on the reservation close to the "rocks," the "sandstone bluffs and ridges," and the "scraggy, knotty post-oak."

     The price of the lands of the reservation fixed by the President was satisfactory neither to the Osages nor to the Cherokees. Agent Stubbs and Superintendent Hoag considered fifty cents an acre a fair price for the lands. In June J. P. C. Shanks, John A. Smith and Samuel S. Burdett, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Indian Affairs were requested by Secretary Delano to examine the lands with a view of forming an opinion as to the price which should be paid to the Cherokees for the same. After examining the lands the subcommittee on January 9, 1873, reported their conclusion that the same should be priced at sixty-five cents per acre. It was understood, however, that this conclusion was a compromise and that at least one member of the subcommittee desired a higher valuation. On January 13 the Cherokee delegation earnestly protested against the price named by the subcommittee for the lands, and insisted strenuously that the price should be fixed at not less than one dollar and a quarter an acre. The Cherokees apparently considered that their lands just west of the ninety-sixth meridian were as valuable as lands, thirty miles farther north in Kansas, which the Osages had ceded to the United States in trust to be sold at a price not less than one dollar and a quarter an acre. On January 31 Acting Commissioner Clum stated that he considered seventy-five cents per acre would be a just and reasonable compensation to the Cherokees for the lands. [92] The correspondence relative to the price of the lands was submitted to President Grant, without recommendation or suggestions by the Secretary of the Interior. On February 4 the President by an executive order fixed the price at seventy cents per acre. [93]

     Superintendent Hoag on March 7 called attention to the fact that the price on part of the lands in question had been fixed at fifty cents an acre by the executive order of May 27, 1871, and he implied quite strongly that in justice to the Osages the price should not be increased. [94] Secretary Delano considered seventy cents an acre a fair price; and he held that the agreement of March 5, 1872,. and the act of June 5 following, annulled the previous action of the President as to the price the Osages should pay for the lands. He also observed that the valuation of fifty cents an acre was made without previously ordering an examination of the lands, and that the information before the President at that time consisted entirely of the opinions expressed by persons who had casually seen a part of the territory appraised. [95] In September, Gibson reported that the Osages regarded the price of seventy cents an acre as a plain violation of the promises of the government which guaranteed to them a home in Indian territory on lands that should not cost them more than fifty cents per acre. [96]

     An act of Congress, approved March 3, 1873, provided for the transfer from the proceeds of the sale of the Osage lands in Kansas, the sum of $1,650,600, or so much thereof as might be necessary to pay for the Osage lands in the Indian territory, and for placing the same on the books of the Treasury Department to the credit of the Cherokee Indians. [97] During the next decade sufficient money was realized from the sales of lands in Kansas to pay the Cherokees for the new reservation. The Osages paid the Cherokees as provided in the act of March 3, 1873, the aggregate sum being $1,099,137.41. [98] The lands thus paid for by the Osages were conveyed to the United States in trust for the use and benefit of the Osages and Kaws by deed of June 14, 1883. [99] And the Osages had secured a reservation in Indian territory and paid for it out of the proceeds of the sale of their lands in Kansas. [100]


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