1854 Treaty

On September 30, 1854 the Chippewa (Ojibwe / Anishinaabe) of Lake Superior entered into a treaty with the United States, whereby the Chippewa ceded ownership of their lands to the United States. Click HERE to view the original 1854 Treaty, along with a typed copy of the text.

Prior to the Treaty of 1854 and despite several earlier treaties, the U.S. Government attempted to eliminate or remove all tribes to locations west of the Mississippi River with the passage of the Indian Removal Act, signed by President Jackson in 1830. The Indian Removal Act also preceded the Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 with the deaths of hundreds of tribal people in the deceptive ‘death march’ to northern Minnesota.

Chief Buffalo, Chief Oshogo, along with other Clan Chiefs of the Grand Council challenged the past treaty agreements and accused the U.S. Government of carrying out a great deception towards the Ojibwe in earlier treaties signed.

At age 93, Great Buffalo and several band chiefs were delegated to begin the several months long journey to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Millard Fillmore. When they finally met, along with the words of the Grand Councils, they carried a Pa-wa-gon, or great pipe, which was smoked with the President. Following the meeting, the chiefs returned home with that pipe, now known as the “Buffalo Peace Pipe” which became a symbol of our nation’s agreement, and today it is preserved and protected by the Red Cliff Tribe.

President Fillmore rescinded the Indian Removal orders and agreed that the Ojibwe would never be required to leave its homelands. The Treaty of 1854 would forever change the Anishinaabe as well as other tribes. With the establishment of homeland reservations, it marked the end of federal efforts to remove tribes onto lands west of the Mississippi River. The ‘gi-chi-b-waa-tig’ continues to follow these traditions and agreements, preserving our traditional knowledge, wisdom and sovereignty, and maintaining our cultural integrity for the benefit of future generations.

Pages from 1854 Treaty Original Scan and Typed Text