The Chippewa, and Munsee (Christian) Indians have almost ceased to be Indians in the ordinary acceptation of the term. They are quite equal to the average white pioneers in mental capacity. They read, write, and speak the English language at all times. Their physical condition is as good as that of the average whites about them. They have no constitutional diseases nor any results of vicious habits.
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They dress like the whites, cultivate the soil, and raise corn, wheat, and other crops. Nearly all of the older members of these tribes have thrifty orchards of the apple, peach, cherry, and plum, and receive a considerable income from them.
The majority of these Indians’ are industrious and good citizens, while a few are shiftless and lazy. They live in comfortable houses built of logs nicely hewed, with the interstices well chinked up and pointed with lime mortar, which are very neat and tidy. Some live in frame houses, while some of the houses are frame and log combined. Inside their dwellings are neat and tidy. They cook on kitchen stoves, have cupboards and dishes, eat on tables, and sleep in comfortable beds and upon fair looking bedsteads. They have knives and forks and spoons; in fact, if there were no Indians near, one would think he was in a white man’s house.
The upward progress of these people has been very marked. They marry legally, have one wife only and live as virtuous lives as the white population about them. In fact, were it not for the bad influence of some of the whites who have married into the tribes they would be making quite rapid progress in all that goes to make good citizens. Some of the squaw men are decidedly bad and are the cause of much trouble among the good Indians in various ways, such as teaching bad morals to the younger men and getting them quite dissatisfied with the manner in which the older and better men of the tribe have managed their affairs, and are using their influence with them against education and religious instruction.
Many of these Indians are Christians, and are regarded as quite as good and consistent in their lives as the white Christians around them. They are under the care of the Moravian church, and that society has built a chapel for their use and supports a Moravian missionary among them, whose labors meet the constantly opposing influence of bad squaw men. The Moravians have educated several young men at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and they are a credit to that church and the tribe. Their children attend the public schools in the neighborhood or go to the Haskell Institute at Lawrence, Kansas.
Their wealth consists principally of their land and its products. Many of them have horses, cattle, and hogs, and, what is unusual among Indians, they raise, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese in large numbers and derive quite an income from their sale. Some of them are quite well off, keep a bank account, and pay their debts with checks. These Indians have made bat little increase for the last 2 years; in fact, each year for the last 2 they have had 1 death more than births; bat this was the result of accident and not of ordinary fatality. Their loss the last 2 years has been about 1.5 per cent annually.
Their lands are rough, scraggy hills. The soil, sandy and thin, when newly cultivated, will raise good crops in ordinary seasons, bat only for a few years; then it requires fertilizers, rest, and very careful tillage. Without great care it will soon wear out and become worthless.
The unsettled condition of the titles to their lands greatly annoys these, Indians and retards their progress. Some years since their lands were allotted to them in severalty under a special act of Congress, but their evidences of title were not left in good shape. Since then there have been deaths, and, the heirships remaining unsettled, now there are strifes and dissensions among them and an unwillingness to improve their lands while these uncertainties exist.
These Indians are citizens of the United States and are entirely self-sustaining. They receive $1,064 semiannually from the United States as an annuity. They vote in Nebraska and pay taxes on their personal property.
A government Indian training school, Haskell Institute, is located at Lawrence. It had in 1890 an enrollment of 460 pupils. The cost to the government was about $76,000. There was an enrollment of 33 Indian pupils under government contract at the Mennonite Mission Boarding School at Halstead, costing about $3,300, and an enrollment under government contract of 25 tit St. Ann’s Academy at Neosho, costing about $2,250.
Portions of the Chippewa and Munsee Indians, known as Christian Indians, have been for more than a century under the charge of the Moravians. The Christian Indians have been located in Indiana, Michigan, New York, northern Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and were made up from many bands. Gathered up from roaming Delawares, Mohicans, and Shawnees, the Munsee portion, 47 in number, of this little band of 75 civilized Indians. is a remnant. At Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1740 the Moravians, after the arrival of the Christian Indians front. Shekomeo, a Mohican village in New York, founded a town 30 miles up the Lehigh River, called Gnadenhutten. (tents of grace), used as headquarters for Indians gathered from surrounding tribes, where, in 1749, were located as farmers and mechanics several hundred Christian Indians. The mission closed during the French and Indian war. In 1755 the town was destroyed and many of the Christian Indians were killed. In 1757 the Moravians began a new settlement for these Indians at Nain, an outskirt of Bethlehem, which prospered. The Pontiac war of 1763 and the attacks of savage Indians upon the white settlers prejudiced the people against all Indians, and the Christian Indians of Nain, who were persecuted by their red brethren for being Christians and by many Christians for being savages, fled, and finally went to Philadelphia. In 1705 they, numbering 83, permanently removed from Nain to a town in northern Pennsylvania named Friedenshutten. Here they remained until 1771. In the meantime Pennsylvania, in 1768, by the treaty of Fort Stanwix obtained title to the lands on which the town was built, and because of the encroachments of white people, and for social reasons, in June, 1771, they, numbering 200, again moved, this time to a tract of land on the Muskingum River or one of its branches, in Ohio. Pennsylvania gave them a grant of £125 for their improvements and some Friends contributed $100 more. They went down the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers in 15 canoes, and up the Beaver River to their new home in the Tuscarawas. Valley, in Ohio. May 4, 1772, the Moravian mission town of Schonbrunn (beautiful spring) was located. Other Moravian Indian towns were Gnadenhutten and Lichtenau. These 3 towns contained 414 Christian Indians in 1776. Schools were kept up, trades taught, and homes and farms made. The Revolutionary War changed the aspect of things, and the soldiers of the 2 armies annoyed the Indians. The 3 towns, for safety, were consolidated for a time into 1, Lichtenau. Hostile Indians after this were constantly annoying and robbing the white people, who, becoming incensed, decided in 1780 upon the removal of Lichtenau, which was on and along the trail of Indian warpaths, and Salem, a new town, was built for the people of Lichtenau, 6 miles from Gnadenhutten. In 1781 the British had been defeated by the colonists and they incited their Indian allies to renewed efforts against them, The colonists resolved in retaliation for this to blot out the 3 Christian Indian towns; so in the autumn the. Christian Indians, accompanied by the faithful Moravian missionaries, were removed by force to a location on the Sandusky River, in Ohio. A cold and desolate winter followed. A pint of corn a day was issued to each person. Many of the Indians, fearing starvation, scattered, and some returned to their old home at Gnadenhutten, in the Tuscarawas valley. Prior to this a party of settlers had arrived from the Monongahela Pennsylvania, in pursuit of certain Indians who had massacred a family. They came back through Gnadenhutten on their return, and finding these few defenseless Christian Indians, to punish the guilty resolved to murder the innocent. The massacre occurred March 8, 1782. The men were placed in one building, the women and children in another, and in the course of an hour 90 (28 men, 29 women, and 33 children) inoffensive Christian Indians; were killed. Ninety years after the massacre the Moravians met at Gnadenhutten and dedicated a monument, to the memory of the murdered Christian Indians. The monument stands upon the site of the old mission church, and the shaft, 25 feet above the base, was unveiled by 4 Moravian Indian’s, one of whom was the great-grandson of Joseph Schebosh, the first victim of, the massacre. The shaft on its western face bears this inscription: “Here triumphed in death 90 Christian Indians, March 8, 1782”. Bishop De Schweintz in his address gave the names of the victims. (See Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Quarterly, volume fit, page 295.) The Indians who escaped returned to Sandusky. New Salem vas built on Lake Erie in 1787, and ceased to be a Christian Indian town in 1791. A new settlement of Gnadenhutten was attempted again in 1791-1792 by Zeisberger and discontinued in 1809, the Christian Indians going to Canada. The Christian Indians in April, 1782, at the settlement on the Sandusky were ordered away by the half king of the Hurons and wandered away to the west and joined the Chippewas, Miamis, and Shawnees in northern Ohio or in Michigan, and thence to Indiana, where they became known as the Munsee Christian Indians.
A treaty was first made by the United States with the Munsee Christian Indians and the Miamis of the Lake, July 4, 1805. A treaty was also made May 9, 1836, and many more followed, July 16, 1859, a final treaty was made with the Munsee Christian Indians at Sac and Fox agency, wherein their desire to unite with the Chippewas was agreed to, and a reservation west of the Mississippi River of about 4,880 acres, the present one in Brown County, Kansas, was set aside for them. Thereafter they became known as the Chippewa and Munsee Indians, and moved to their present reservation in Kansas.