Munsee tribe celebrates treaty signing anniversary

The Herald Staff

The Kansas Munsee Tribe, which settled in Franklin County, continues to fight for federal recognition of the tribe.

This Thursday marks the 161st anniversary of the treaty signing between the Chippewa and Munsee Tribes with the federal government.

The tribes ancestors signed the treaty on July 16, 1859.

The Munsee Tribe’s relationship with the United States began in 1788 when the U.S. Government offered three parcels of 4,000 acres to entice the Christian Indians to return to the former Moravian Mission towns of Gnadenhutten, Schonbrunn and Salem.

By 1792, the Christian Indians had re-established themselves at Moraviantown in Ontario, Canada.

The Christian Indians never returned to Ohio after the Gnadenhutten Massacre of 1782.

In 1823, the United States sold the 12,000 acres of land offered to the Christian Indians and put the funds in trust in the U.S. Treasury for the benefits of the Christian Indians.

The same year through Executive Order the United States offered 24,000 acres west of the Mississippi River to the Christian Indians upon return to the United States.

In 1837, the Christian Indians began their migration to the U.S. from Ontario, Canada, staying for a couple of years near Green Bay with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians.

After a journey down the Mississippi River and up the the Missouri River, the Christian Indians and some Stockbridge Indians arrived at Westport (now Kansas City, Mo.) in 1839. The lands west of there were Shawnee and Delaware lands by treaty and the agent stated there was no land available.

From 1839 to 1851, the Christian Indians stayed on Delaware lands until the Delaware tribe sold that land to the Wyandotte Tribe.

Munsee Chief Frederick Samuel wrote President Zachary Taylor asking for the United States to honor its promise of reservation lands for the Christian Indians in 1849.

In 1854, the Delaware Tribe sold the Christian Indians four sections of land for $2.50 an acre.

Squatters pushed for a couple of years until a treaty took place on July 8, 1858, ceding away their Leavenworth reservation for $42,700.

On July 16, 1859, the Christian Munsee and Black River and Swan Creek Chippewa Tribe entered into a treaty where the Christian Munsee tribe paid from the sale of their Leavenworth lands to buy into the Black River and Swan Creek Chippewa reservation. Each tribal member was given a 40-acre allotment of tribal lands.

These two tribes endured citizenship and removal treaties in 1864 and 1868 that went unratified by Congress.

In 1896, Sen. Charles Curtis, of Kansas, proposed a bill to open the Chippewa and Munsee Reservation and push U.S. citizenship.

The Munsee and Chippewa people voted to accept allotment and the bill became the Act of June 7, 1897. This act led to the issuing of patents in fee of allotment lands from the 1859 treaty and dispersal of tribal funds held in trust by the U.S. Treasury on Nov. 8, 1900.