Cherokee Phoenix


Published April, 30, 1831

Page 4 Column 3b


A gentleman in Michigan, in a letter to the Editor of the Hudson (Ohio) Observer, writes respecting the Indians as follows:

When their annuity is paid in money, the Indian Traders who are constantly pouring in their whiskey upon them, stand ready unjustly to take from them every cent. Neither are they very particular at all times to count what they take. The following is a specimen of their open robbery at public payments, as related to me by two intelligent gentlemen who were present at the last payment at Chicago and saw the infernal deed. The money was paid to the Chiefs of different tribes in half-dollars, to be distributed by them to individuals.

This money is commonly kept in small bags by the chiefs and wrapped in their blankets.--One of these tricked traders was seen to go to an Indian and thrust his hand into his money bag, and take from thence as many half dollars as his hand could hold with his fingers distended as much as possible. With his ill gotten gain, he retired to his store, and deposited it there; and soon returned to prey upon another Indian in the same way. The poor Indian made no resistance; but merely partly turned around to prevent the robbery. His money too would have been taken, but for the interference of one of the gentleman above mentioned. When he asked the robber what he was doing? he was insolently told, 'It is none of your business.'

Such kind of robbery, it is said is frequently practised upon the defenseless Indians, who have no means of redress.

Another method practised, is to take from them many dollars for only enough whiskey to make them drunk! Many murders have been committed among the Indians in the vicinity where I live (Michigan) by means of whiskey furnished by white persons. In addition to this, many are settling on lands which were never ceded to the United States by treaty in any form. Some of those who live near to me are making preparation to remove on to the Indian lands, and take possession in a few days.