[Senate Doc. 512, vol. 246, page 443]
Fort Mitchell, September 7, 1832
We, the commissioners, engaged in taking of the census of the Creek Indians, meeting with some difficulty in the construction of a part of the instructions, which we had the honor to receive from you relative to the discharge of that duty, beg leave respectfully to propound the following, as questions upon which we are in need of information; and of which we beg of you the favor to furnish, as early as may be convenient, a solution.
1st. If an Indian have a plurality of wives separately established, that is, living in different houses, and having inmates under their control, is each wife so established to be considered the head of a family, and independently of the rest, entitled to a reservation; or are they all to be computed as collectively forming one common family, and consequently the husband, as the sole head, entitled to but one, or a single reservation in right of the whole?
2d. Is an Indian countryman (that is, a white man who has intermarried with one or more Indian women,) to be considered as an Indian, and indued with the same rights; and in the event of his being considered as such, is, or not, a distinction to be drawn between those, who, by a marriage and residence among the Indians, prior to the time of the making of the late treaty, might be adjudged to have acted in good faith, and others who have entered into such connections since that period, most probably for the purpose of procuring a title to reservations merely? It having been represented to us by some of the chiefs, with whom we have conversed, that numerous relations of the latter kind have been formed, and are daily forming with such intent, and which will be observed and considered sacred, according to their opinion, no longer than is necessary to complete their fraudulent purpose, to wit: of obtaining a property in the land, & c.
3d If an Indian have living with him, as a wife, a negro slave, the property either of himself or another, is he to be considered as the head of a family, in the sense contemplated in the instructions transmitted to us, and to be enrolled, &c., as others entitled to reservations?
4th. Is one of the mixed or half-blood of the Indian, and negro, free, keeping a separate house, or establishment, and having a negro slave for a wife, to be ranked and enrolled in like manner as an Indian, &c.?
In addition to the above questions, (for the information of the Indians by whom the inquiry is frequently made of us,) we shall feel indebted for the communicating of your views of the following:
" If an Indian have been expelled from his home by a white man, making intrusion (and which we regret to say, if what they complain of be true, is not unfrequently the case) will any new location which such Indian may have already made, or in consequence, have it in contemplation to make, be lawful? Also will any new, or change of location, made by an Indian voluntarily; and without expulsion or cause of violence, be recognised as such?
We have the honor, &c.,
B. S. Parsons,
Thos. J. Abbott,
For E. Parsons
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of War