STORIES OF STANISLAUS
A Collection of Stories on the History and Achievements of Stanislaus County
Sol P. Elias
The Treaty with the Indians
The pathetic story of the extinction of the Indians of Stanislaus has already been told.
The Indians of California have been signally overlooked by the United States and have been largely left to the mercy of the merciless elements. The Indians of other states have received not only sympathetic consideration but millions of dollars of money for rights in land not nearly so valuable as the federal government took without compensation from the helpless Red Men of this state.
Under the Mexican and Spanish laws that controlled prior to the annexation of California to the United States, the Indians' right of occupancy of the soil was expressly recognized. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ceding California to the United States, guaranteed Mexican land titles in the ceded territory as they stood at the time of the transfer. Under these laws the Indians possessed certain rights to the lands they occupied and could not legally be evicted from them. The United States ignored these rights within the Spanish and Mexican grants in all cases but two in California, though it was the duty of a commission appointed under a law of Congress to investigate and confirm the Indians' titles in the lands included within the limits of such grants. The new owners of the Spanish grants relied upon the Spanish law for the validity of the grants but appealed to the American law to evict the Indians – which they could not legally do under the terms of their grants.
This condition prevailed with reference to the Mexican grants, but in regard to those lands occupied by the Indians without these grants, the story is different. The United States persuaded the Indians to enter into treaties of peace and friendship in which the Indians' rights were recognized.
The Indians complied with all the provisions of these treaties. The federal government refused to ratify these treaties. The land was opened to homestead entry and the Indians dispossessed.
The majority of the Indians of California are in destitute circumstances and without educational advantages. Out of the 210,000 Indians of 75 years ago, there are left a miserable remnant of 20,000. The 210,000 estimate is an extremely conservative one, compared with that of Stephen Powers, one of California's most reliable ethnologists, who claimed that there were over 750,000 Indians in this state at the time of the coming of the white man to California.
In 1851 the United States, through three commissioners, entered into eighteen treaties with the tribes of California. All these treaties were referred to the Senate of the United States on May 28th, 1852, by President Millard Fillmore. They were received by the Senate on June 7th. On June 7th, they were all read and with accompanying documents referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs and ordered printed in confidence for the use of the Senate. On June 28th, 1852, they were all unanimously rejected. On January 18th, 1905, the injunction of secrecy was removed and on the following day they were ordered reprinted.
These treaties included in the neighborhood of five million acres of land. The Indians complied with all of their agreements. They never thereafter went on the warpath. They became attached to the government and participated in all its functions. The government provided nothing for the Indians at the time and for years after gave them little, if anything. It took all of the land and disposed of it as other government domain. None of the land was ever transferred to the Indians.
The following is the text of the treaty that was entered into between O. M. Wozencraft, Indian Commissioner representing the United States, and the several tribes at Dent and Vantine's Ferry on the Stanislaus river at Knight's Ferry, on May 28th, 1851:
Treat made and concluded at Dent & Vantine's Crossings, May 28, 1851, between O. M. Wozencraft, United States Commissioner, and the Chiefs and Head Men of Iou-ol-Umnes, We-chillas, etc., tribes of Indians.
A treaty of peace and friendship made and concluded at Dent & Vantine's Crossings, on the Stanislaus river,
California, between the commissioner plenipotentiary of the United States of America, of the one part, and the chiefs, captains and head men of the Iou-ol-Umne, We-chcilla (sic), Su-caah, Co-to-planemis, Chap-pah-sims and Sage-wom-nes tribes, on the other part.
Article 1. The several tribes or bands above mentioned do acknowledge the United States to be the sole and absolute sovereign of all the soil and territory ceded to them by a treaty of peace made between them and the republic of Mexico.
Art. 2. The said tribes or bands acknowledge themselves jointly and severally, under the exclusive jurisdiction, authority and protection of the United States, and hereby bind themselves hereafter to refrain from the commission of all acts of hostility and aggression towards the government, or citizens thereof, and to live on terms of peace and friendship among themselves, and with all other Indian tribes which are now or may come under the protection of the United States.
Art. 3. Lest the peace and friendship hereby established between the United States and the said tribes be interrupted by the misconduct of individuals, it is expressly agreed that for injuries on either side no private revenge or retaliation shall take place, but instead thereof complaint shall be made by the party aggrieved to the other, through the Indian agent of the United States in their district, whose duty it shall be to investigate and, if practicable, to adjust the difficulty: or in case of acts of violence being committed upon the person or property of a citizen of the United States by an Indian or Indians belonging to or harbored by either of said tribes, the party charged with the commission of the crime shall be promptly delivered up to the civil authorities of the State of California for trial; and in case the crime had been committed by a citizen or citizens of the United States upon the person or property of an Indian or Indians of either of said tribes, the agent shall take all proper measures to bring the offender or offenders to justice in the same way.
Art. 4. To promote the settlement and improvement of said tribes or bands, it is hereby stipulated and agreed that the following district of country in the State of California shall be and is hereby set apart forever, for the sole use and occupancy of the aforesaid tribes, to-wit: beginning at an
acute bend of the river about a half a mile distant from and above this place, running thence in a due line to the elbows of Tuolumne, opposite the point fixed in the former treaty, and running down in a straight line eight miles on said river, from thence across the Stanislaus river on a line parallel with the first, thence up the middle of said river to place of beginning, to have and to hold the said district of country for the sole use and occupancy of said Indian tribes forever; Provided, that there is reserved to the government of the United States the right of way over any portion of said territory, and the right to establish and maintain any military post or posts, public buildings, school-houses, houses for agents, teachers, and such others as they may deem necessary for their use or the protection of the Indians. The said tribes or bands, and each of them, hereby engage that they will never claim any other lands within the boundaries of the United States, nor ever disturb the people of the United States in the free use and enjoyment thereof. It is expressly understood and stipulated, that the right of way heretofore specified does not include that of ferriage free of toll on the rivers within or bounding said reservation to persons other than those in the service or employ of the United States; the latter, however, shall pass free of toll; the said ferries to be under the control of the agent for the use and benefit of said bands and tribes of Indians.
Art. 5. To aid the said tribes or bands in their subsistence while removing to and making their settlement upon the said reservation, the United States, in addition to the numerous and valuable presents made to them at this council, will furnish them free of charge, with four hundred head of beef cattle to average each five hundred pounds, two hundred sacks of flour of one hundred pounds each, and two hundred head of goats, within the term of two years from the date of this treaty.
Art. 6. As early as convenient after the ratification of this treaty by the President and Senate, in consideration of the premises, and with a sincere desire to encourage said tribes in acquiring the arts and habits of civilized life, the United States will also furnish them with the following articles (to be divided among them by the agent according to their respective numbers and wants) during the two years succeeding the ratification, viz:
one pair strong pantaloons and one red flannel shirt for each man and boy; one linsey gown for each woman and girl, one thousand yards of calico, one thousand yards of brown sheeting, ten pounds of Scotch thread, two dozen pairs assorted scissors, four dozen thimbles, three thousand needles, one 2 1/2 Pt. M. blanket for each man and woman over fifteen years of age; one thousand pounds iron and two hundred pounds of steel; and in like manner for the first year for the permanent use of said tribes, and as their joint property, viz: twenty-five brood mares and one stallion, one hundred and fifty milch cows and nine bulls, four yoke of work cattle with yokes and chains, four work mules or horses, ten ploughs assorted sizes, ten sets harness for plough horses, seeds of all proper kinds for planting, thirty-five chopping axes, ten mattocks or picks, thirty-five hatchets, one hundred garden or corn hoes, thirty-five spades, and six grinding stones. The stock enumerated above and the produce thereof shall be marked or branded with such letters as will at all times designate the same to be the property of said tribe, and no part or portion thereof shall be killed, exchanged, sold, or otherwise parted with, without the consent and direction of the agent.
Art. 7. The United States will also employ and settle among said tribes at or near their towns or settlements, one practical farmer, who shall superintend all agricultural operations, with two assistants, men of practical knowledge and industrious habits; one carpenter, one wheelwright, one blacksmith, one principal school teacher and as many assistant teachers as the President may deem proper to instruct said tribes, in reading, writing, etc., and in the domestic arts upon the manual labor system; all of the above named workmen and teachers to be maintained and paid by the United States for a period of five years, and as long thereafter as the President shall deem advisable. The United States will also erect suitable school houses, shops and dwellings for the accommodation of the schools, teachers and mechanics above specified, and for the protection of the public property.
Art. 8. The chiefs and captains aforesaid, for themselves and their respective tribes, stipulate to be active and vigilant in preventing the retreating to or passing through the district or country assigned them, of any absconding slaves or fugitives from justice; and further agree to use all necessary exertion to apprehend and deliver the same to the agent, who shall receive orders to compensate them agreeably to the trouble and expenses incurred.
Art. 9. For and in consideration of the uniform friendly, honest and meritorious deportment of Captain Cornelius towards the American citizens, it is agreed and stipulated that the tract of land on which he now resides is hereby set apart for the sole use and occupancy of himself and his people, but not as a grant in fee simple, bounded as follows: beginning at a point on the northeast side of Tuolumne river, one-quarter of a mile below How's ferry, running thence out and back to the place of beginning, embracing a square of three miles; and in further consideration of his appreciation of our republican form of government, we hereby present him with an American flag, being the first request made by him to us.
These articles to be binding on the contracting parties when ratified and confirmed by the President and Senate of the United States.
In testimony whereof, the parties have hereunto signed their names and affixed their seals, this twenty-eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight-hundred and fifty-one.
O. M. WOZENCRAFT, (Seal)
For and in behalf of the Iou-ol-umnes:
Cornelius, his x mark (Seal)
Sala-do-nia, his x mark (Seal)
For and in behalf of the We-Chillas:
We-chilla, his x mark (Seal)
Jose-Trin-I-Dad, his x mark (Seal)
Lu-tee-ma, his x mark (Seal)
Francisco, his x mark (Seal)
Nen-tu-ia, his x mark (Seal)
Manuel, his x mark (Seal)
Iran-ka-lino, his x mark (Seal)
Manuel, his x mark (Grande) (Seal)
For and in behalf of the Suc-caahs:
Suc-caah-ke, his x mark (Seal)
You-it-ka, his x mark (Seal)
For and in behalf of the Co-to-pla-ne-mis:
Pa-kino, his mark (Seal)
Fer-re-seto, his x mark (Seal)
For and in behalf of Chap-pah-sims:
Fe-lippe, his x mark (Seal)
Ni-co-las, his x mark (Seal)
For and in behalf of the Sage-wom-nes:
Yo-mil-lo, his mark (Seal)
Signed, sealed and delivered, after being fully explained in presence of:
E. S. LOWELL, Secretary
A. JOHNSON, Agent.
JOHN C. DENT.
S. D. DENT.
Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
Source: Elias, Sol P., Stories of Stanislaus – A Collection of Stories on the History & Achievements of Stanislaus County. Modesto, CA. 1924.
© 2012 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.