Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. 37

       The 24th Congress under Andrew Jackson's presidency was responsible for all the Indian war parties till nearly the end of the 19th century. Washington got caught lying and tried to cover up its own shortcomings by altering the original wording on the Treaty of 1836 document. 
       Here the Indians were being scripted and taught the Holy Bible since 1579 not just Catholic and Baptists between 1818-1836. Those in Congress 1835 read the same passages about "Thou shalt not lie, Thou shalt not steal and sinned against God to save there own skins and dupe the Indians.
       The Jesuits had been preaching to the Indians since 1579 in the Grand River valley - that is why so many gold crucifixes with diamond inlays were found beneath the streets of Grand Rapids and in the vicinity of the Norton Indian Mounds.  Another Indian legend of the Ottawa and Chippewas residing in Michigan's Grand River Valley after the Treaty of 1836 was signed starts in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona in 1847. The trail leads into Michigan towards the Ottawa and Chippewas "Gateway to Heaven."  This legend concerns the disappearance of a 900-lb gold cross from the Dutchman's Mine worth $17.3 million at today's rate of exchange.  That's about the time gold was discovered at Ft. Sumpter in California in 1847.
       In essence, Congress created nightmare Indian scenarios that took more than seventy-five years of warring heartaches whether red, white or black to end and all because Congress spoke with forked tongue associated with as snakes and lizards.  They proved religion didn't matter, but greedy men speak the same language when dollar signs are seen and they want to get it no matter who gets hurt.
       Nearly all of us at some point in our life become like teabags.  We really aren't worth much until we've been rinsed through some hot water.  Sometimes we learn more from failures than successes of naturally being right, but through failure once or twice and never a third time.  
       Treasure hunters like those who search for the Lost Dutchman Mine seem to disappear the second time by accident and third by design of unscrupulous others seeking to defraud others.  The Jesuits priests had been mining gold, too, from the Old Dutchman Mine thru five King Philips and others leading up to the Peralta massacre at a time when King Philip was getting disgusted with their lies and stealing. The priests got greedy and were shortchanging the King and got caught and so he ordered all Jesuits out of Arizona and New Mexico about 1847 under President James Polks administration.
       Settlers were rushing across North America seeking fortunes in gold and silver and it didn't matter where they went or who owned the land and they began killing Indians and vice versa to get it.  Where money was so was the greed of others who didn't want to work to get it, but who lied, cheated and stole the livelihood of others.  The 24th Congress broke the bottle of right and wrong (like President Clinton and Hillary), but when Jackson was just about to leave office in 1837 the misgivings of his administration he had witnessed what his mother was trying to teach him in his youth.  Be careful when dealing with others - don't fall into their traps to get rich at the expense of others.   
       President Jackson realized America was in a free fall into a financial abyss.  He reckoned if he didn't get a handle on land speculators, crooked bankers and the abuses of money (cash) borrowed on credit at 30% and higher premium interest payments the poorest citizens unwittingly were going to assume the largest financial disaster that would affect them personally for years.  Jackson knew what was right or wrong with the way Americans were borrowing against their future.  Many time he remembered how his mother was always trying to instill religion in his life, but in his youth he had swallowed a wisdom pill one night and when he woke up he wouldn't listen and became a rebel.
       Along the way life changes everyone, you too.  We all morph into those things we didn't want to hear or become when younger by the wisdom of the aged.  It wasn't until Jackson became president did he realize that the things of his youth were trivial as compared to all the matters on his plate as President to deal with for eight long grueling years.  Don't spend what you don't have or can't afford. (continued)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 36

       To really understand Cobmoosa you must see the whole picture of the times under which he lived.  An older historian once impressed upon me - don't study the man, but study the people, known or unknown about his life and times.  They will provide you with insights to be shared with others.
       It has taken me five years of research to write about Cobmoosa and under what conditions he made his mark on Indian life and that of others.  Recently while researching his travels I came across an interesting tale about how the Indians of Cobmoosa's villages were invited to the second Fourth of July 1837 celebrations at Ionia, Michigan. 
       Samuel Dexter, Alfred Cornell Jr., and Sanford Yeomans engaged the services of Ezekiel Welch to set up a dinner for fifty area couples and build a 100 foot long table.  With assistance from Welch's wife she baked a dinner consisting of roast beef, roast pigs and all the fixings.  She prepared the meal for one hundred settlers, but only 80 arrived and since there were many leftovers the master of ceremonies decided not to let it go to waste.  He extended an invitation to local Indians who were walking about to fill up.  It was said the hungry redskins attacked the tables with invigorated and voracious appetites and ate everything so it appeared no food was left on the tables.  Picked clean as if the food never existed.  The only local Indians were those of Cobmoosa's village and there was a shortage of food supplies as small pox waned.  Cobmoosa was off teaching the youngest surviving Indians  how to hunt and fish in the upper Flat River area and bring food back to his people.
       Why do I tell you this now - because it was what happened for the better, the bringing together of three different cultures (black, red and white).  They all feasted together as one civilized unit, but even back then 10 couples decided not to partake and ignored their pledges to take part and left - that was why so much food was left on the tables.  Doesn't matter what color of skin when you might be starving.  Don't waste food - someone or something might benefit from malnutrition.
        But something more spectacular happened.  I stumbled upon something I had been researching since 1985 in "Search for Secrets of a Sunken Cannon."  Previously in this blog I mentioned that President Andrew Jackson received letters from missionaries in Grand Rapids telling him that war drums were beating louder each night by renegade Indians hoping to stop negotiations in the winter of 1835-36. 
       Jackson dispatched an army detachment hauling two 4-pound cannons.  While crossing the Grand River on river ice east of Portland, the two cannons broke thru thin ice.  Only one cannon was recovered.  Unknown was the risen cannon's destination - but both disappeared.  Destination unknown until...
       I stumbled upon a different 1837 Independence Day celebration.   At Lyons east of Ionia, they had a "bowery" dance (Dutch), and of course, speeches, cannon-firing and many more festivities.  In 1836, the first military cannons entered the interior of Michigan. 
       Who brought the cannon? What conveyance got it there?  When did it arrive?  Where did it come from?    How did it get there?  Why was the cannon left at Lyons?  This was the first recorded instance of a cannon in the Grand River watershed.
       Did the army detachment leave it at Lyons as a defense from marauding Indians prior to the initial signing of the Treaty of 1836, because of fear the Indian's in this locale might instigate another Indian War.  Chief Dayomac and Manuquod villages presumably had those who didn't want to sell their Indian land. 
       Could it be these two cannons were destined for Washington Centre, a high-sounding name for what was to become known as Ionia in the near future?  Remember these were 4-pound iron cannons.  That was the largest of military cannons in the U.S. Army.  Might these two cannons have been poured from the same casts as that of Sam Houston's twin-sister cannons going to Texas?  Winter 1836.
      Next time I return to base course and I put the finishing touches on the legends of Chief Cobmoosa's treasure, but remember I take side-trips to reach conclusions and I've got another Indian legend pertaining to "Washington speaketh with forked tongue" intrigue - that of the treasure hunting Librarian. (continued)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa and Pres. A.J. - 35

      President Jackson had paid off the National debt in 1835. He had been studying the needs of the country and didn't like what his "kitchen cabinet" discovered.  Too many speculators and too many citizens with little money to spare were borrowing money with incredible high credit interest.  He realized that in time many of the poorer folks would lose their newly acquired lands.  In fact his mother was always just scraping by when he was younger.  Seemed like all were scrounging to make a living.  When a person doesn't work they shouldn't expect to eat free.  Starve a little to save and pay taxes.
       Through the eyes of President Jackson he removed government funds from the Bank of the United States and began his quest to put distance between the government and business.  As I said previously the specie circular order had been in the planning works three years into his administration (1832).  After watching for years how the Indians were paid for their lands he thought he had a plan on how to pay them more favorably and the specie circular was the answer.  He had seen enough abuses perpetrated on uneducated Indians by Fur Traders, Indian Traders and shyster business people who were always planning to defraud them of what little they got. 
       Some would think the Indian's got a good deal, but the educated half-breeds got more than Chiefs.  Others beneath them got only $1.25 per year while some Half-Breeds got thousands. The people often got swindled - incorrect change.  He witnessed it first hand and missionaries reported it to him in yearly reports. 
       Cobmoosa and Wabasis inherited most of money from their father-in-law Chief Wobwindigo who had two villages.  He was the tribes caretaker during the early 1830's, but he didn't spend it on himself.  He took care of others making sure that when the tribes were too sick with the Small Pox epidemics of 1831-1832 and 1836-37, he at the age of 69 led hunting parties up the Flat River basin for game.   
       With many generations wiped out by disease Cobmoosa had to teach the younger generations that survived how to hunt but he would walk to the hunting grounds and never go by canoe.  As far as I know history does not give information why Cobmoosa suffered from hydrophobia and the time line is unknown, but what is known it was from before he was 50.  Remember he grew up in Noon Days "rapids"  village was back beyond the Amway Hotel in Grand Rapids is today.   A near drowning someplace changed his perspective on water travel.  That's the center of the wild rapid days of the Grand River.
      This is what city fathers and sports professionals want to put back in place 2015.  Return the river to its once wild rapids known for its deafening noise.  The "Rapids" village was never on the shore.  It was established not on present day Monroe, but as far back as Ottawa and Ionia.  Any closer and the sounds of violent rushing water nobody could carry on a conversation.  The noise level of rushing water will increase to the point where the people will be able to carry on conversations near the waterfront.  Remember the original river bed up until the later 1840's fell 21 feet from Leonard to Fulton.
       I could never figure out why Noon Day's got a sculpture in Grand Rapids, when it was truly Cobmoosa who should have gotten it.  Noon Day in history was a blood savage hungry Indian who killed many settlers during his first 62 years of life.  Cobmoosa was the Grand River valleys peacekeeper.  He and Wabasis, along with Boshaw. tempered the fires of would-be renegades like Max Sauba dubbed the 'little rattlesnake."  He worried the settlers.
      Cobmoosa inherited the title as Chief - The last Ottawa Indian Chief of the Grand & Flat River areas. Two villages at Ionia, but since he never signed the Treaty of 1836 he received lesser amounts, and when Wobwindigo died from smallpox complications after returning from Washington.  Once Washington defaulted on the treaty the Indians remained in the river valley until Chief Cobmoosa signed the Treaty of 1855 that would force remaining Indians to northern reservations, but there were other Ottawa and Chippewa villages on the Grand River east of Ionia.
       As late as 1846 these villages were known as "Mishshiminecon, Chiminecon and Michigmmeny Cahniny" according to English interpretations "sour apple-tree and apple-orchard.  These were permanent villages for many years on section 22 in Danby Township complete with Indian graveyard..  These Indian villages raised corn in summer and sugar making in the spring.
       According to Indian legend of the time it made no difference to a dead person how they got to the graveyard.  The Indian philosophy was to tie her lifeless body to a pony tails with rope and drag her to her resting spot in the graveyard.  In the 1840's these villages were civilized by a Methodist preacher and they dressed an lived like white folks and provided a sustainable living from agriculture, but there were those who didn't like organized labor and were the renegades - the panhandlers.
        The Chiefs of the villages were Dayomac and Manuquod.  The prominent ones were Onewanda, Nacquit, Negumwatin, Sisshebee, Nikkenashwa, Whiskemuk, Pashik, Squagun, Thargee and Chedskunk. (continued)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 34

       Until January 1837 Jackson's primary goal was to free America from the shackles of a monopoly by rich outsiders whose power he deemed too great and whose public morals were bankrupt.  In his heart and mind he believed they were too loose for the country's good and that of the world.  He started his plan not in 1837, but five years earlier in 1832, when he transferred deposits from the Bank of the United States to what he thought were sound State banks because they would be custodians of public revenue.  He reasoned the crash of the markets would be less severe.  During his second term in office he revisited how his plan was unfolding.  Had he made the right decisions?  He saw the country slipping into moral decay.
       There comes a time in the lives of many men when it is required to reassess your actions.  In the back of our minds we begin to doubt our progress and what makes the biggest impact on how to correct problems.  Life's problems change and we can't always see our perils.  We can control our plan, but when additional problems creep into the mix we think 'could I have made better use of my time?  We win together or the CEO accepts all blame. 
       Jackson was no different - he just put in plans in motion and shoved off to lessen the collapse of the country.  After all he examined he trusted his instincts and made the right decisions.  Sometimes an altered plan change in course is a good thing.
       However he didn't know the depth of greedy speculators and shyster State bankers and the gamblers, lobbyists and speculators caused the final collapse of financial markets by fraudulent means by suspending Jackson's specie circular circumventing Jackson and President Van Buren's standing order.
       Bankers got caught up in the coils of speculation trying to rescue greedy men and protect other bankers.  Dishonest bankers falsified their books to hide their own peril.  Jackson repeatedly warned President Van Buren to examine all deposit banks and get the Treasury funds in places of safety.
       In March 1837 in President Martin Van Buren's first session of the 25th Congress his administration failed to accommodate businessmen with suspension of the specie circular.  The passage  of the Senate's Independent Treasury Bill died in the House of Representatives. 
       Van Buren felt constant pressure by the lobbyists and speculators to suspend the specie circular.  Even before Jackson left office he re-examined the depth of his perceptiveness.  He re-examined plans by which the Treasury should care for its own funds issuing its own money based on the metal in its own vaults.  The Treasury would issue its own money; gold and silver coinage for units less than 50 dollars and note currency above that unit.
       During Van Burens first litmus test about financial security his life was complicated when he had to stop his fellow Americans from New York intervening in the latest insurrection in Canada. This was just after September 1837 when the banks had just rescinded Jackson's specie circular starting the Panic of 1837 financial markets.  In late 1837 a group of Canadians dissatisfied with the British government broke out in revolt and attempted to establish their own independence.  The insurgents found much sympathy in New York citizens unknown to President Van Buren or the 25th Congress.
     The rebels resurrected an Army of 700 American men from the State of New York.  They took up arms, seizing and fortifying the old Navy Island in the Niagara River.  The loyalists in Canada attempted to recapture the island and failed, but they succeeded in burning the "Caroline," the supply ship of the New York army.  Loyalists of the Crown set it ablaze, cut her moorings and the burning vessel drifted down the river and down the precipice of Niagara Falls.
       This action caused considerable excitement and the peaceful relations of the United States and Great Britain was strained again by an unauthorized war.  The War of 1812-1818 prohibited either country from conducting military or naval operations on the Great Lakes and its connecting waters.  The American army was acting without authorization from President Van Buren and that was illegal. 
       President Van Buren then wrote a proclamation of neutrality to Great Britain; which forbid interference by American citizens to engage in the affairs of Canada.  General Wool was sent to the Niagara frontier with sufficient force to quell the disturbance and punish the guilty.  New York insurgents on Navy Island were obliged to surrender and order was restored.  Van Buren didn't relish the excitement, but the skirmish did improve the economy of America.  It was getting healthier and he had to once again get back into the business of separating the government from the business of Americans before the start of 1838. (continued)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 33

       What were "petty banks?"  These were state banks.  That where Old Hickory put the surplus money thinking they would be safe within a government institution.  Trouble is there seemed to be more criminals than honest bankers. 
       The broker's office sold specie while supplies of gold and silver lasted, which usually was gone before noon or night each day.  Night and noon boxes were seen passing from the land office to the broker's office and the specie used to buy land was used twice each day.  Crooks within pocketed 20 cents on each dollar every day.  Money was taken from the pockets of those who could least afford it.
       Those who bought land to make homesteads and farms often became disgusted and left without being refunded.  Jackson wondered why they didn't storm the land and broker offices once they found out that criminal activity was afoot.  Those who fell for the ruse did so out of respect for Old Hickory's presidency.  They trusted Jackson' wisdom and theorized he knew what he was doing issuing the specie circular law. 
       Capitalists and speculators not the same.  They reasoned the President was out of touch with their slipshod philosophy.  For those who felt jilted raiding the brokerage wasn't a safe exploit despite the speculators who swooped in taking the land and holding it from settlement or improvements for five to eight years.  Some paid taxes upon the land while those much poorer let it be sold for taxes.
       The specie circulars shock waves caused the economy to shudder during March and April of 1837 during President Van Buren's earliest days in office.  Jackson's foresight warned Van Buren not to rescind the specie circulation order, because many would try to overturn that ruling.  It was tough for Van Buren to let the law continue, but the banks illegally suspended specie payment not the government.  In doing so the mercantile businesses failed and the true 'Panic of 1837' took everyone by surprise.  By September 1837 every avenue of trade suffered.  During the last two months the failure rates for commerce in New York and New Orleans amounted to a 150 million dollar loss.  The government was about to be defrauded out of millions of dollars.
       Only then did a committee of businessmen from New York, Nashville and New Orleans convene in Washington to request that President Martin Van Buren rescind Jackson's 'specie circular' and call a special session of Congress.
       Van Buren denied the request so he and Congress could have time to study all the pros and cons of Jackson's specie circular law, but within a short time he caved in to pressure demands of businessmen by the distress felt around the country.  Jackson maintained he shouldn't have rescinded the order because the speculators were the greedy officials who didn't go through proper government policy to suspend specie payments.  They instead tried to lay the blame on Jackson, but it was greedy bankers and speculators who caused the panic and Jackson was their scapegoat.  Jackson in letters to Van Buren told him about twenty times not to give in to specie circular removal.
       When Congress reconvened in late September from summer recess several measures of relief were brought forward.  A bill authorizing the issue Treasury Notes not to exceed 10 million dollars was passed as a temporary provision.  It was brought before Congress as "The Independent Treasury Bill." 
       Provisions stated that public funds of the Nation were to be kept on deposit in a treasury to be established for that special purpose.  President Van Buren with special friends argued that all surplus monies of the country would drift into the Independent Treasury and lodge there as a means of checking against the speculative mania still present.  Extensive speculations couldn't be carried on without an abundance of currency.
      Former President Andrew Jackson and current President Van Buren's contention was to separate the business of the United States from the general business of the country.  With Jackson's issue of the specie circular he meant to help the country, but the shock waves were felt beyond its border - worldwide. 
       China and Japan today are the speculators thriving in America today and eventually if it isn't from terrorists America's economy will collapse under the weight of its own debts.  It continually borrows, but doesn't repay even a portion of what is spent.  President Jackson as I said was the ONLY president to have a zero national debt and still have a cash surplus. (continued)

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 32

       During the Jackson years (1829-1837) credit extensions by traders and speculators (Europeans, too) to the public and Indians getting annuity payments were ripe with fraud.  Jackson sensed that soon every aspect of business would suffer.  Inflation was out of control.  The business of America was growing by leaps and bounds  - the land boom was operating at fever pitch and Jackson would use his 'specie circular' to slow down the criminal activity, which was to strike the public without warning.
       Extensive tracts of the most valuable Indian lands were soon being thrown into the market.  The officers of speculators and bankers were so devoid of all sense of honor as to practice by daylight the most barefaced lies and frauds against poor men who could least afford it.  Trusted bank and government officials joined the ranks as speculators showering others with criminal favoritism.  Those who were wealthy would bribe others to secure the greatest numbers of acreage to hold wild and free.
       President Jackson sensed economic danger ahead and then ordered the issue of his "specie circular," which meant that all Federal lands (Indian or American) must be purchased in gold and silver.  Fraudulent land deals were running rampant with worthless western currency and Jackson's newly ordered specie circular law shocked the speculators and economy - downturn.  The criminally negligent really started the Panic of 1836-37.  This is what Jackson attempted to do - break the fraud.
       The specie circular law came into force when greedy officials were swindling honest purchasers in detail and bulk.  Methods of fraud were extensive, but this new law required that each parcel of land be offered first at auction.  Bids were required to be in writing and placed in a box previous to the day of sale, but Jackson was unaware of the extent of dishonest businessmen who would rule the day.
       When the day of final decision arrived and the boxes were opened all bids were missing except the one put in by bribery to secure the largest tracts of land.  Under rules of engagement by Jackson's specie law only gold and silver or the bills of a few favored petty banks were received for lands.  The tender for the land caught the poorest of men unprepared who were unaware of specie circular demands.  They couldn't by the land on credit, however, some greedy officials exchanged cash from credit at 30% interest, which was way beyond the livable means of repayment.
       Those living on borrowed cash from credit were operating beyond the livable means of repayment and those who did so lost it to forfeiture and inability to pay taxes.  Jackson was unaware of the depth of greed gripping the country.  He knew it was bad, but wasn't expecting a financial panic.
       A broker's office was usually across the street from the land office and here is where the fleecing of poorer men began.  People said it was good to have a brokerage nearby for gold and silver, which was in high demand and paying a 10% premium.
       Yes, gold in America was in short supply.  Gold wasn't discovered in California until 1847 so where did Jackson get gold and silver coinage?  Well within two years of the Treaty of 1836 Jackson had established petty banks.
       Jackson before 1836 paid off the National Debt - no other President in America's history has ever done it - the debt under Pres. Obama went from $9 trillion to 18.5 Trillion dollars from 2009-2015.  Will the war on terror break America?
       When the Treaty of 1836 was signed, the National Debt had a zero balance and the U.S. Treasury had a $40 million dollar surplus.
       Jackson had invested 36 million dollars into a handful of his newly established "petty banks" and another four million dollars was used to purchase specially minted gold and silver coinage from Spain and Italy.  He had it in reserve for distribution to Indians for land payment prior in the spring of 1838 after the introduction of his specie circular law.  As land speculation boomed so did hundreds of new banks operating on fraud. (continued)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -31

       Cobmoosa and Wabasis were son-in-laws of Chief Wobwindigo.  Both married the chiefs daughters and neither were chiefs until the death of Wobwindigo several months after the formal signing of the 1836 treaty.  Neither signed this treaty.  Wabasis became Chief of his own clan at his banishment village at Wabasis Lake in 1838 and Cobmoosa became the last Ottawa Chief of the Grand and Flat River tribes upon Wobwindigo's death in summer 1836. 
       Wobwindigo's last remaining son didn't want the responsibility for keeping together the remaining chiefs two villages fearing the small pox epidemic that was out of control prior to the signing of the treaty.  He took off for Gull Prairie and Cobmoosa stepped into Wobwindigo's moccasins and took command of the surviving people.  He had a caring heart for Wobwindigo's people.
       Cobmoosa like Wabasis were educated half-breeds.  They caught Washington in the big lie.  Washington had spoken, but this caused many Indian chiefs to say "Washington speaketh with forked tongue."  These five words spread across the Mississippi River, the prairies and mountains like wild fire warning all other tribes of Washington's indiscretions and the misdeeds of scoundrels that lie, cheat and attempt to steal opposite their teachings of the Holy Bible. 
       Congress had wrote in additional language to favor themselves at the Indians expense.  It would take another 24 years (1860) more to force remaining Indians from the Grand and Flat River area to reservations.  Cobmoosa was the last remaining Ottawa Chief and he did sign the Treaty of 1855.  He was Chief of the Ottawas from 1836-1866 by the death of his father-in-law Wobwindigo. 
       Although Cobmoosa signed the Treaty of 1855 it wasn't realized until about 125 years later (future) the Federal government failed to acquire Michigan's natural resources. It made no provisions for the earliest mistakes.  This was forgotten by the 24th Congress and omitted by former President Andrew Jackson and President Martin Van Buren's administrations, which culminated in Indian casinos today.  Michigan has two conservation law organizations for fisheries - Indian and American.  Van Buren tried to save face for the blunders of his administration, but at least he admitted to Indian injustice.
       There was much public jubilation once the Treaty of 1836 was signed, but the march of time was going to prove disastrous for the booming economy during Jackson's last year in office.  He had seen the pain brought against Indians thru invasion and years of fraud.  To slow down speculation fever he issued his "specie circular" on July 11, 1836.  Whether Indian or American any sales for land purchased from Indians had to be paid for in gold and silver coinage to pay debts under $50.00.  The economy was slowing and within the next several months a great depression caused widespread panic and the financial end did collapse under its own weight.  Many speculators lost their entire life savings and not even the wealthiest were immune to the economic disasters.
       President Jackson's own personal accounts suffered, too.  Fact is he told his young son Andrew not to get land speculation fever, but the young man fell into bad company and he did just as President Jackson feared.  The president bailed him out of his financial ruin.  Drought, the worst in Tennessee history put Jackson's own 1000 acre wheat field on the extinction list and put his Hermitage in dire straights of repair.  The value of qualified slaves dropped from $1,500 dollars to 500 per head.  The southern states were sorely disgruntled with Jackson's specie circular.  He used it not to break the people, but to save them from worst financial  ruin.  (continued)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -30

       During President Jackson's administration the American economy had gained substantial financial footing, but he feared the speculative spending would in the near future cause chaos in financial markets.  Speculators, many of whom were from Europe, were too willing to assume great risks in purchasing power and lobbyists were pressuring Washington to open land offices in advance of opening large tracts of wild land for purchase.
       The Federal government couldn't sell Indian lands until they were surveyed and advancing on these wild lands was prohibited until treaties were signed for lands north of the Grand River (western Michigan to the Straits of Mackinaw).
       Two years before the Treaty (1834) was signed an Indian named Negake engaged a government surveyor trespassing.  The surveyor claimed he accidentally strayed across the Grand River, but an enraged renegade Indian named Negake confronted him and in a fight killed the surveyor.    The surveyor had strict orders not to cross the Grand River.  The government could not intervene.
       This confrontation is what fired up the renegades demanding that the Chiefs act against government intrusion, which is why the dark night sky north of Kent (Grand Rapids) glowed brighter each night and settlers were getting worried by the sounds of louder drumming.  This is exactly what Jackson feared would happen before the treaty was signed.
       Jackson's missionaries were busily teaching the Indians about religion (Baptist or Catholic) and how to live as civilized people under the Ten Commandments, but one indiscretion of a American bad apples could bring treaty negotiations to a standstill.  This would enrage both sides and Jackson didn't want bloodshed between either party.
       Jackson didn't want another Indian war, but on the same token he wanted to prepare the Indians for a wave of future settlers seeking a better life - that's if they had the money to purchase wild lands. Jackson wanted to make sure the Indians during his years were paid fairly and he saw the abuses in how they were fraudulently paid at a time when the business of the country was showing signs of increasing too fast for sustainability.
       Ever increasing speculation fever put strain on Congress to open the land offices soon.  Speculators were rushing to get the upper hand at wild land auctions.  The public was getting anxious and rejoiced over the prospects of purchasing land within the new treaty area and so the initial treaty was signed in Washington on March 28, 1836 and the formal signing (original) May 28, 1836 was signed by the "People of Three Fires" for lands north of the Grand River.  The formal signing was doomed for failure and broken by Congress when Jackson, while reading the signed treaty discovered that Congress (responsibility) gave no timeline for Indian removal. The legislature also failed to include in the treaty specifics; reservations and purchase of Indian natural resources.
       President Jackson was furious.  He spent much time educating and bringing religion to the forefront with treaty Indians.  Capitalists and speculators wanted this land on the auction block soon so he told Congressmen they had to fix the mounting problems before bidding could start.  Congress didn't want to admit they made a huge treaty error so they got the bright idea to fraudulently tamper, change and add removal date and reservation language after the formal treaty was signed after May 28, 1836.
       Congress didn't want the public to know they were responsible for creating a disastrous mess.  The Twenty-Fourth Congress (1835-37) had manipulated, changed and added wording to the original document signed by the Indian Chiefs.  The government produced proof for Indian removal, but Congress forgot the Grand and Flat River tribes were indoctrinated with an education and religion.  Indian Chiefs that signed the initial and formal treaty were given the exact duplicate, which didn't match the (forged) documents signed in Washington.
       Educated Indian Chief's like Cobmoosa and Wabasis caught Washington in a "lie" and the Chiefs pointed out that nowhere in the initial and formal treaty signatures did it give date of removal (1841) to three reservations; Pentwater, Mt. Pleasant or Traverse City.  In futuristic language Congress didn't want to admit to the public and speculators they tried to pull a Crazy Ivan (Russian) on the Indians and got caught in their own lie.  (continued) 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 29

       Cobmoosa's stature, demeanor and manner of his walking abilities gave him his name, "The Great Grand Walker."  The Indians on the Pentwater Reservation waited patiently for the aged Cobmoosa to return.  His people of long ago led him personally to his knew log cabin built for the "Last Ottawa Chief of the Grand and Flat River valleys."
       On the day of arrival he stood at the cabin's threshold, but before he could go inside he had to provide his proof to his claim as Cobmoosa and President Andrew Jackson provided him with the key.  Standing outside the cabin door he greeted old friends and after a short visitation the day was at hand and he pulled out of his clothing a rawhide poke with drawstrings.  He spread the rawhide strings and poured out the contents in his hand to prove he indeed was Cobmoosa in the flesh and out tumbled proof positive he was Cobmoosa.  In his hands were minted coins dated 1836... but coins with a special inscription, but Cobmoosa didn't receive payment until two years after the Treaty of Washington - 1836 was signed.
        1836-1837 was a turbulent time in America.  It was a time of great prosperity under President Jackson's administration.  For the first and only time Jackson had entirely liquidated the National Debt and the U.S. Treasury had accumulated a surplus of 40 million dollars.  By an Act of Congress the vast sum was distributed to "Petty Banks" among several states.  With the abundance of money speculations of all sorts grew and it affected Indian life, too.  Land speculations went wild with the openings of new Federal lands purchased from the Indians.
       Credit for goods had been around for several years and from Jackson's spies within the tribes he knew the credit bartering for goods and services was fleecing the Indians, because they knew little nor understood if they were getting a good deal.  Unscrupulous traders were fleecing them of their annuity payments.  And so the government's policy in dealing with the Indian's under the Jackson administration was to buy them out not with paper currency, but gold and silver coinage.  Jackson had the foresight to understand that prior to 1836 and the signing of the latest treaties that the credit system had invaded every aspect of business.  Indians were disgruntled - so too many speculators whose fortunes would fall.
       It was the government and the peoples desire to expand westward into territories occupied by Indian tribes and so President Jackson lumped the desires of his people with Indian payments for land.  The petty banks thrived from a few in  1836 to more than 700 before the close of 1837.  The Indians perceived that payment would begin shortly after signing treaties, but it wasn't until 1838 and during that time the Indians were given credit for goods and supplies - the interest on such monies owed was 30%.  This is what increased the fraud against the Indians or anyone dickering without money.  Vast issues of irredeemable paper  currency stimulated the speculative spirit with increased the opportunities of fraud.
       The bills of these unsound  banks were receivable at land offices; and settlers and speculators made a mad rush to secure the public lands while the money was plentiful.  In receiving such an unsound currency in exchange for the national domain the government was more likely to be defrauded out of millions.  So six weeks after the Treaty of 1836 was signed President Jackson issued a species order called the 'Specie Circular', by which all land agents were directed to receive nothing, but coin in payment for public and Indian lands.  Jackson's circular order did not affect his presidency so much as that of President Van Buren's administration in 1837. 
       In the meantime the interests of the government had been secured through Jackson's vigilance.
       It is necessary for you to understand all the ramifications of Jackson's specie circular and then I will reveal what the coins in Cobmoosa's hands were to provide positive proof what Chiefs were paid for Indian lands. (continued).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -28

      The Ottawas that left the Ionia, Michigan area in 1858 and had been waiting for Chief Cobmoosa to arrive at the Pentwater Reservation before the end of 1860.  Since he didn't arrive they feared he may have died along the way, but such was not the case.  He pushed himself to exhaustion and had to stop his labored journey to regain his strength.  The brutal winds and blinding snowstorms got the best of him, but after a little rest he trudged onward towards Grand Haven.
       Strange as it might seem word of his arrival that year would be short lived at the reservation.  Indians on the reservation heard reports about his arrival at Grand Haven.  Those who knew Cobmoosa feared he might try walking to the Reservation, but some, too, knew his fear of water and hoped he would regain his courage and step onto a steamer and forget the perilous walk.  His people were waiting patiently for him to arrive in the Spring of 1861 and once the new shipping season commenced he hoped to board an upward bound Lake Michigan steamer.  From where he would originate was unknown.  What they did know was that he would arrive by foot on his own accord.
      Someone in Grand Haven gave the aged Chief Cobmoosa shelter at the docks in Grand Haven during the winter of 1861-62.  It was during that time he began to hear rumors that Washington was preparing for war shortly.  The docks were abuzz with talk about a Civil War - the northern states against the southern states.  Cobmoosa for the first time in his Indian life was really alone and was looking forward to greeting old friends at the reservation when he was told that on April 12, 1861 the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina started the American Civil War.
       Within the first week hundreds, then thousands of volunteers for military duty appeared at the docks.  Because of shipping security for men, military provisions for distant military operations up and down the lakes his chances for booking passage up the lake had stalled.  Men from all walks of life some that Cobmoosa recognized were the newest volunteer enlistees for military training in the Union Army and Navy. 
       Cobmoosa watched and listened intently as they talked about how the war would go or not.  Cobmoosa was informed that because of the onslaught of the Civil War supplies he might have to spend the entire year in Grand Haven.  The old Indian began to feel his true age and exercised to keep his aged muscle in check so when time arrived he would appear on foot and reclaim his legendary title as the "Last Ottawa Chief of the Grand River Valley. Alas, the amount of military provisions and men going south necessitated that he remain in Grand Haven.  During the spring, summer and fall Cobmoosa who although was known as a man of "respect and courage" found it would take him that amount of time before he'd step onto a vessel.  This was the man who wouldn't even sit in a canoe or wade across a fast moving stream more than knee deep let alone take a steamer.
       Finally in the Spring of 1862, the buzz on Lake Michigan had tempered and the government wishing to get Cobmoosa (aged 94) on the reservation paid for his passage to Pentwater and he arrived four years after the flotilla left the Grand River Basin in 1858.  Upon landing in Pentwater those who remembered him waited patiently to great the old Chief and he undertook the last leg of his journey to the Indian Reservation in Elbridge Township (Oceana County) just east/southeast of Hart, Michigan.  He was nearly the last of the oldest living chiefs of his generation.
       The government was so moved by his stamina and stature they quickly built him a new log house since the old fashioned wigwams of his life didn't last long.  Wigwams were too cold and drafty for an old Indian of advanced age.  Washington respected Cobmoosa and felt he deserved a warm log house as opposed to a cold wigwam built of bark and cattail thatched roof.  Washington remembered him as the Grand River valley "peacekeeper." (continued)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -27

       Cobmoosa never wore the attire of white men as an Indian.  Whenever he met someone and in talking he said " he would stay Indian and not be anything but Indian.  He had fought against offered clothing from friends and relatives for 92 years, but he didn't know that is own destiny would be reshaped soon after he was seen arriving in Grand Rapids.  People on the streets couldn't believe the old shuffling Indian Chief was still alive and walking on Division Street - walking in the biting cold and sleet in such ragged clothing befitting a hermit or homeless person.
       "Time and death had neglected" Cobmoosa.  The sight of Grand Rapids left him sad.  Gone were the sights and silence of the "rapids" village.  Wooden buildings replaced the natural environment.  The hustle and bustle of a booming lumber town was too much for him to accept.  Nothing of his youth remained.
       Shuffling through town, the cold winds, rain and sleet beat against his face.  He hurried along hoping he wouldn't be recognized.  He feared being arrested by government lawmen, but they greeted the old Indian Chief with respect.  They never harassed or intimidated him.  December was not the time of year to cross the Grand River in the shallows, but instead did walk across a bridge. Just before he started westward, the old hunched over man greeted an old friend with a firm handshake.  Cobmoosa turned his face away from the cold sleet and the man took pity on his friend that "death had neglected."
       Suddenly his friend unbuttoned his winter coat and placed it around and over Cobmoosa's shoulder and helped him slip his arms into the sleeves.  He for the first time in his long life didn't refuse the white man's clothing.  He accepted the coat for he needed warmth to conclude his journey to Grand Haven.  Without the white man's clothing old Cobmoosa would freeze to death somewhere along the trail.  Just because he accepted the coat doesn't mean he isn't Indian, but he was wise enough to accept the coat knowing without it he would surely die along the trail.
       Imagine visiting (time traveling 150 year future) your doctor for your dwindling health at 92 years old says you must start walking and exercising more, because frankly you are obese and gravity has settled your girth.  In a nutshell do you have the stamina and ability to walk from the Ionia area via Grand Rapids to Grand Haven, then northward to Pentwater.  That's an overland trek of more than 130 miles.  Would you ever attempt this at 70 years of age.  You must walk like Cobmoosa in old clothes - not Sunday or daily clothing of the 21st century.  You must look like the homeless street people you see living in paperboard boxes beneath bridge overhangs.  Could you survive?
      Cobmoosa was a man of courage, but he still feared he might get arrested for not leaving his homeland soon enough.  After all when he encountered his friend he still had a 35 mile walk to Grand Haven.  What an odd scene to see a lone bent over gray-haired Indian moving 'turtle' slow in early December. 
      He was spotted two weeks later near Christmas stumbling in wagon ruts near the Crockery Creek Crossing southwest of Ravenna.  Many settlers in wagons tried to give him a lift, but he refused and went on his way.  Eyewitness accounts say as they approached he disappeared into the brush when  remembering an old familiar trail.  He arrived in Grand Haven in early winter.   Eyewitness sightings place him in Grand Haven by the end of 1860. What an arduous task when 92 years old.  Only half of his journey was completed. (continued)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 26

       Every three years, the Ottawa Indians would gather together to celebrate the "Feast of The Dead," which happened on Nov. 2nd.  Cobmoosa took it upon himself being the last Ottawa Indian Chief to honor the dearly departed.  The day long ceremony was arduous for him, but he mostly just sang and provided food for himself.  At age 92 time had passed him by for athletic events, dancing and offering a feast, but at least he remembered his forefathers, family and friends and honored their spirits one last time. 
       Usually at the conclusion of the feast of the dead, the bones of those who died three years past were buried in a common grave, which 'united the spirits of the dead' with 'joining the friendships of the living.'  Now you understand why it is that with all the housing developments being built around you excavators don't unearth departed Indians.
       The Yanonomi Indians of Brazil (1995) still cremate their dead to this day.  These cremation Indians are considered to be the richest in the world and yet at the turn of this century they do not know the value of money and modern man is prohibited from entering their tribal land.  They are protected by the Brazilian government and military forces.  They cremate the dead and gather the ashes.  They mix the ashes with flour and bake and break bread at a similar 'spirit of the dead'.  The spirit of the dead then lives within the living as they journey through life.  Hard to fathom the 'Spirit of The Dead' honors the dead in the 21st century.  Before the flotilla of Indians left the Grand and Flat River country Cobmoosa's goal was to celebrate the Feast of The Dead in their absence.  This he accomplished.
       Put yourself in Cobmoosa's life as a ghost shadow and walk beside him in old moccasins and ratty Indian attire in 92-year old feet.  The cold air challenged his nose and he knew Winter was not far off.  His bones ached and he trudged to graves of relatives and friends.  Sitting besides their graves he celebrates them in song chanting old familiar tunes of long ago for the last time in 1860.  Being 92 year old he didn't do much dancing because of a body that death had neglected.  He was about to undertake the pilgrimage of his life to the Pentwater Reservation just east of Hart, Michigan in Oceana County (Elbridge Township).  Still for  his ancient age he was a skillful athlete and hunter and carried food and provisions.
       The woodland forests were barren of leaves, the wind howled through the stark gray woods, the ground strewn with many colorful leaves that rustled in frosty morning breezes.  Each morning the air was colder,  the skies darker and Cobmoosa knew it was time to leave.  His bones felt the cold winds of change as dense fog hovered over the Grand River, the sun barely seen before noon.   He was leaving the land of his forefathers.  Unknown was his route to Grand Rapids or where he crossed the Grand River.  He could have crossed at Ada or Plainfield (bridges).
       Five years earlier (1855) when he signed the treaty of 1855 he was 87 years old and many saw him yet as a majestic in appearance meaning he was a man with a distinctive and identifying posture who walked and talked Indian.  He was offered settler attire many times but refused saying "he would stay Indian and not be anything but Indian.  He was a man of "mark or mein" (majestic).  
       At 92 (1860) his wrinkled facial expressions showed he was still comfortable in his old Indian skin for now he was hunchbacked and walked forward with deliberate purpose so he would stumble and fall.  The old Indian still could travel great distances more so than settlers.  He was blessed with knowledge and still took charge of his own life.  He spoke his mind to any man he met and would listen to his ramblings and it wouldn't fail him once the Civil War began.
       Cobmoosa couldn't believe his eyes wandering into Grand Rapids.  Gone were the sights and silence of his youth.  He couldn't find his birthplace - it was all buildings at the "rapids village" beside the Grand River.  His birthplace in 1768 didn't exist at the rapids.  His world ceased to exist, but at least he had his mind's eye memory of those he cherished.  His old eyes had seen the drastic changes of settler civilization. (continued)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -25

       In 1858 it was quite the scene to witness the departure of 800 Indians in 300 canoes packed with possessions  down the Grand River to just about Grand Rapids.  They landed just south of Leonard and a little beyond the confluence of Coldbrook Creek and prepared to disembark and portage everything they owned about a half-mile around the Six Street Dam.  Why so far?
       Grand Rapids had displaced many remnants of Noondays village where Cobmoosa was born in 1768.  In the encampment in 1822 he stood at the "rapids" village and welcomed both Catholic and Baptist missionaries.  No longer could canoes pass over and down the spillway - they'd submerge in the violent water.  Indians had to portage around the new lock construction that were never completed for upriver steamboat traffic (from dam to Michigan Street) once the railroad arrived.  The quarry hole was where my cousin Mitch Idema drowned in the 1980's.  It was that deep stretch from the dam along the east wall where today the U.S. Post Office resides.  I honor his memory, too.
       Noonday's village was wall to wall buildings that now shield Monroe from the noise of the rapids.  In his day, it was not quiet.  From Leonard to Fulton the original riverbed dropped 21 feet making it a violent and turbulent river.  Not the best spot to arrive on shore in the middle of a raging river. Cobmoosa's phobia of water may have originated from the rapids - did he almost drown here or did he witness the drowning of family or friends.
       What the Indians found was no wilderness and now wooden buildings and commerce.  Directly across the river the Iron Horse spewing lots of dark smoke and sparks chugged up the tracks for further construction of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Rail Road from Ft. Wayne, Indiana northward towards Cadillac (White Pine Trail).  The RR was bringing up steel railroad tracks and ties for construction just north of Comstock Park.  Nothing looked the same to the Indians.  What they remembered was "gone-gone-gone."
       We would be no different if we were absent from our childhood home after 40 years?  We've all seen the degradation, economic advancements and environmental changes to the landscapes of our youth after 15-20 years. 
       Our cultures and traditions leave and return under good and bad moments in life.  It might be disheartening to witness the changes in childhood or adult life.  All the Indian villages north of the Grand River were vacant.  This was the last time any settlers would be threatened by the presence of bad Indians, but such would not be in the case of Chief John Wabasis at his Wabasis Lake encampment.  The renegades wouldn't permit him to leave.
       Cobmoosa was finally left alone for the last time when 87-90 years old.  What could be possibly have left undone from 1858-late 1860?  It's not what he couldn't do, but rather what he did do for his people left behind buried in cemeteries and Indian graves along the Grand River.  He simply thought it was his responsibility to honor his ancestors and friends in graves and making sure that when new settlers arrived that they didn't desecrate their graves along the Grand and Flat Rivers.
       The mass migration of Indian ceased in late summer.  The region was void of Indians - not all, the renegades near Greenville stayed behind to harass Wabasis and his family, but they never intentionally tried to harm Wabasis family.  Gone were the glowing orange skies on dark nights.  No more beating drums - only replaced with sounds of crickets, coyotes and wolves howling in distant forests.
       October's colorful leaves were beginning to fall.  Morning frost left a nip in the air until a couple hours after glorious sunrises.  Cobmoosa rose from his sleep to find another a morning sky azure blue with wisps of feathery white clouds barely moving.  A warm autumn breeze caressed his face as he wandered along the riverbank hedging towards the ancient burial grounds. 
       Showers of falling leaves to the forest floor made for difficult walking for a  90 year old man.  The fragrances of fall tickled his nose, but the sun felt good on his face and the warmth in afternoon sun felt good on his aching body.  He could hear the Manistee winds sighing thru pine needles, the whispers of winter announcing that snow would soon appear.
       Being old with age he probably sat down atop high hill to rest overlooking the river and smelled the fragrances of the river and ate an apple while resting.  Water wherever found has a particular fragrance.  The stronger breezes sent blizzards of red, orange and yellow leaves to the ground.  The sounds of swirling leaves clicked together as the hardened Aspen leaves struck each other with the sounds similar to raindrops striking water.  He had lived a long life a life that death had neglected.  His time along the Grand River valley was short, but he promised President Pierce he would leave before 1860 closed.  He would after he visited the graves of his ancestors and friends and celebrated for the last time the "Feast of The Dead.
       Feast of The Dead was a time of remembrance for all those Indians who passed away.  Some reached for the happy hunting ground while those who were Christians at time of death were dead in Christ.  Cobmoosa was at the graves of his ancestors.  Many died during several small pox epidemics, but he would remain vigilant to protect the burial sites.  That was his duty to the "People of Three Fires - Ottawa, Pottawatomie and Ojibway (Chippewa). (continued)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 24

       Cobmoosa despite being slowed by age took it upon himself to make sure no small skirmishes broke out between Indians or arriving settlers.  He welcomed settlers, farmers, timber spectators, missionaries and priests with firm handshakes, the same as Chief John Wabasis - his foster son.  Chief Wobwindigo was Wabasis' adopted son, but both Cobmoosa and Wabasis were half-breed Indians and eventually son-in-laws of Wobwindigo.  Wabasis married a daughter named Cononama and Cobmoosa married three daughters simultaneously, that is, before becoming a Christian.
       Jean Boshaw of Chief Hazy Cloud village was Cobmoosa's go-between half-breed, too.  He was fast to get to trouble spots. 
       From 1836-1855 many Indians remained and took up farming until Washington decided it was time to settle the Treaty of 1836 for Indian displacement to reservations.  Accordingly all Indians north of the Grand River were given five years to leave, but Cobmoosa wanted to make sure they left around 1858.
       Cobmoosa was 87 years old when he signed his name on the treaty, and yes, indeed he was known as the "Last Ottawa Chief of the Grand and Flat River bands."  No longer could the Indians remain on their birthplace lands or wander as free spirit Ottawas or mixed breeds.  The Indians didn't know what to expect as they traveled to Pentwater, Traverse or Mt. Pleasant reservations.
       Cobmoosa along with other Indians would meet several times at Indian council meeting to discuss departure of the main body and they all agreed it was time to make preparations for departure in the summer of 1858.  Several hundred Indians gathered in Ionia and set off for Detroit to pick up their last annuity payments.  When the men trickled back to Ionia they made hundreds of canoes for passage to Grand Haven then by steamers to Pentwater.
       One day the residents in the Ionia area were getting concerned with the large influx of Indians and were intimidated by the numbers swelling into town.  Fearing an Indian uprising was beginning several residents in town began ringing the church bells that summoned townsmen back from the outside farms.  Ringing church bells meant imminent danger and their families might be in jeopardy and rushed back to town to render aid, but such was not needed.
       When they returned they saw hundreds of Indians trickling into town and found the Indian encampment where the Ionia Free Fair is today getting larger as each day passed.  The bonfires at night cast an orange glow over the Grand River Valley.
       Then one morning Cobmoosa ordered 300 canoes be put in the water and loaded with all the possessions of 800 Indians for the journey to Grand Haven.  Wabasis and his family were not among them - he wouldn't risk loosing his life by leaving his wife.  He feared the renegades were watching so they could collect on his death warrant.  His people left room for Cobmoosa, but he refused to leave with them.  He told his friends and family members he would be along shortly, but he sort of fibbed and was maybe hoping to die so he could be buried in the river valley before he had to walk to the reservation.  Little did they know he wouldn't arrive until 1862. 
       Cobmoosa assured them he made other arrangements and needed time to stay and finish up he still needed to be taken care of.  He told them not to worry.  He did indeed leave and he kept his promise to President James Buchanan and did abide by treaty requirements for resettlement at Pentwater. (continued).

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 23

       People in general are always talking about how bad the weather was in their own lifetime.  Cobmoosa lived with extremes in weather for nearly 98 years.  Noonday died at age 100.  Each generation has been battered by the weather.  The weather of today is the same weather of yesteryear.     
       Many think it is worse, but the reality is instead of living father apart we live like sardines packed into a tiny can (concrete and asphalt jungles).  The more condensed communities become the more damage tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons, wind and thunderstorms, the more premature deaths. The weather is no more violent today than the past.  Mother Nature calls the shots.
       Whatever happened is constant only to the people who were living at that time.  As a historian I hear many people complain about how bad the 21st century weather is across America; the rainstorms, snowstorms, floods, firestorms, tornadoes, etc., but the weather today carries the same extremes in cold, heat and precipitation.   There was a time shortly after the Treaty of 1836 when Indians who were traveling felt the Great Spirit was furious at them for selling tribal land to the Federal government.
     The wacko fringe scientists today are alarmists and try to scare us about the extremes of "Global Warming or Climate Change" because of burning too much fossil fuel (hydrocarbons) creating ozone that keeps all the hot air from escaping.  They continually "say how cold or how hot it is" and are always citing temperature is increasing in summer and cold in winter - but it has risen less than 1 degree.  Weather extremes in recorded history are no worse today than yesterday.  The earth is not sick, the weather is no worse than 200 years ago depending on where you live in the summer and vacation in the winter.  The Indians considered the Grand River and Kalamazoo River valleys as tropical paradises, because within a half-a-mile of the river temperatures in winter are 10-15 degrees higher than inland.  Mackinaw Island Indians spent winters in the Grand River valley, because in the Straits region, the temperatures were sub-zero in the winter.
       Sure across the country in 2015  four hundred plus tornadoes have raked across the mid-west and Great Plains country, but that is normal each year.  Deluges of rain have flooded many towns, even deserts, and yes, there is an extreme drought in California and hundreds of forest fires.  Sorry water shortages occur when green golf courses are built in the desert - what a waste of Colorado river water.
       In the polar region, yes, ice is melting in the summer, but in the Arctic and Antarctica sorry to report the 90-95 degrees F. for one week in the Arctic and Antarctica is normal. Ice does melt at alarming rates, but what they don't tell you is that during previous winters cold below normal temperatures created twice the amount as lost ice.   When are people going to understand history - the earth is evolving the same as man.  Nothing stays the same - it is always changing for the good or bad. Yet they are quick to point out that since the ice is melting the west coast is going to be under water miles inland and for all the melting that has occurred already, the sea has risen less than one inch in 200 years, but now predict a rise of four to six feet before the 22nd century.  Must be  scientists don't understand condensation. 
       As I see it surface heat off of black asphalt highways - the more you create the more heat rises - well gosh it brings about more deluges and floods.   Warm air plus cold air make water.  I don't believe in global warming, but do agree we don't need more black asphalt roadways to spice up the atmosphere.  Black absorbs heat - concrete doesn't.  It isn't the people or the burning of fossil fuel that is the problem - the problem is climate change and man's need for money.
       You might not believe it but just because we've had many tornadoes over the mid-west this year it's a drop in the bucket for what happened in weather just after the Ottawa Indians signed the Treaty of  1836.  In the summer of 1836 more than 200 tornadoes ripped thru West Michigan in a months time.  Everywhere the Indians walked they saw the destruction of the forests - mangled and twisted trees, fields and forests obliterated as if a giant grinder passed by.  Some Indians were terrified by the howling winds at night.
       In 1847-49, the Grand River was but a trickle.  Summer of 1847 more than 100 degrees for more than 60 days.  The Grand River valley was scorched and tinder dry.  No 4th of July celebrations - so hot the leaves on trees fell and trees barren in July.  Indian's that had not yet removed to reservations couldn't recall anytime in their own history when it had been so hot.
       Leaves were on the trees in February 1848 and off before July at a time when America's railroad engines wherever traveling burned 47,000 cords of wood daily.  Heat rising.  During the mid 1860's tornadoes were on the increase, too.  From winter 1897 to 1901 it was so cold the temperature never got above -10 degrees F. for 40 days.  Cold killed most of the fruit trees in Michigan - hardest hit was the Traverse region.  The weather has always been as bad as those seeing it happen.
       When one or two tornadoes touch down in Michigan in one year we think devastation was bad, but it was nothing compared to the devastating years (1832-1901) in Michigan weather history.  I don't have faith in weather scientists not when in 1986, the water levels were the highest in history and those same scientists said it'd take more than 100 years to fall 4 feet - it fell 4 feet in four years.  It rose and fell again in the 1990's then rose up again slowly and now is higher in 2015 than the last record.  Lake Michigan was nearly 80% frozen in the winter of 2014 & 2015 so too in the late 1890's.  And for the past winter year it was El Nina and El Nino summer weather due to the warm than normal water temperatures near the equator.
       Mother Nature has dominion and there is nothing man can do, but complain about the weather in his part of the world.  Tell me what in life never changes?  (continued)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 22

       "Those who quit learning get old, but those who keep learning are young forever," said Chief Seattle.  Cobmoosa never stopped moving and was quick to learn about Washington.
       So when father and mothers of the 21st century ask their young sons and daughters what they learned in public or private schools today never let them say "nothing".   Challenge them.  Nothing is the wrong answer. 
       They should be learning and memorizing 6 new things everyday of their life, because the older they get without instructions the harder it is to make sense out of life.  Young children should be like sponges and soaking up life lessons for future reference.  Learning nothing drives nails in their coffin before life began.  It shows lack of respect for elders, the cultures and tradition necessary for survival.
       This is why it is so important to learn lessons from past history - the good and bad times, but bad lessons learned are sometimes just as beneficial depending on what is remembered.  Just don't make the same mistakes twice as those who never learned the first time.
       Cobmoosa's life lesson with Chief Noonday and Chief Saginaw made him a better man of courage, skill and valor.  Courage was never in doubt.  He outperformed others and for that he became a trusted Indian who stood his ground in adversity.  He faced bigger threats, but he could hold his own when wrestling.  He taught Wabasis how to defend himself.  Both were tall with squared shoulders, bulky but a moving mass of muscles.  He was someone you didn't want to fight with in the dark.  He was built like Mr. T. only taller.
       In 1834, a tribal renegade named Maxsauba started thrusting tomahawks and spears into the ground besides a bonfire in the presence of Cobmoosa.  He wanted Ottawa power to strike down incoming settlers and wage war with Washington, but Maxsauba couldn't attain the power.  Screaming in defiance at Washington he did his own version of dancing around village campfires.  He tried acting like a "bigshot," but his appeals for war were met with sharp criticism from Chief Cobmoosa, Chief Kewaycooshcum prior to 1836, Jaun Boshaw and Chief Wabasis.  All except Boshaw were chiefs.
       Time and time again Maxsauba thrust tomahawks and spears into the ground near fires, but that was the chief's job and he wasn't chief of any tribe.  He tried to insight fear in newly arriving settlers with blood curdling thirsty talk, but failed miserably and gained a bad reputation as being a "weak mouse" or as some referred called him the savage "little Mississauga rattlesnake."  His soft rattle did scare a few incoming settlers.
       Still war words had gotten to President Andrew Jackson.  He received letters from missionaries (spies) at the "rapids" who stated their concerns and warned him that the nightly sounds of beating drums got louder and the bonfires were getting larger and the night sky was glowing orange. 
       Jackson felt Maxsauba could be arranging a war party and those in Michigan warranted a U.S. Army detachment from Washington.  A small detachment with two 4-pound cannons was dispatched and they made it to the banks of the Grand River  above Portland.  When crossing the thinning ice the two cannons fell through thin ice and lodged in the bottom.  The soldiers retrieved one,  which disappeared into the bush not knowing its true destination.  The other sank in the mud.
       When Cobmoosa heard about renegades inciting war he sent runners to Wabasis and Boshaw, too, for an impromptu council meeting.  Often they arrived within days by canoe or horseback and settled hostilities and stop the fighting before it began to avoid Washington interference.  Cobmoosa would arrive for weeks because he'd walk.
       History doesn't say why Cobmoosa was terrified of water.  Somewhere in his life he witnessed the drowning of friends, family member or the near drowning of himself.  Maybe something in his childhood frightened him.  Water had to be shallow - ankle to knee deep water that had no strong current otherwise he would not cross.  Not many of those locations in the Grand River.  Whatever the trouble Wabasis, Boshaw and Cobmoosa sprang into action.  Moss was trounced under their feet.  (continued)

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 21

       For the first time in Cobmoosa's entire life he signed the Treaty of 1855 as the "Last Chief of the Ottawa bands in the Grand and Flat River valleys.  He signed that document, a replacement for the flawed Treaty of  1836, but under the new treaty he knew all Indians had to move to reservations set aside for them at Pentwater, Traverse and Mt. Pleasant.
      Where they went didn't matter to Washington.  Leave within five years, which included Chief Cobmoosa. He was unsure of his final destination (life or death) in 1858.  He would have preferred being buried in the land of his forefathers.  Many that left as individual families left no forwarding address for annuity payment, but if they went to a reservation and registered they would receive payment.  Those that didn't sacrificed their annuity payments.  All this because Congress under President Andrew Jackson's administration on May 28, 1836 failed to relocate the Indians north of the Grand River.
       The earlier treaty made no provisions for where the Indians must go between 1836 and 1855.  The Twent-Fourth Congress, too, made no payment for the Natural Resources under tribal lands, which is why under rules and regulations the fishing industry in Michigan is regulated under state laws and Indian law - two conservation departments regulate fishing on Lake Michigan, Huron and Superior.
       Since the state never owned the natural resources, the Federal government lets them build casinos, but the state and local governments reap sizable benefits from these commercial businesses.
       Many Indians left for Missouri reservations under the Treaties of 1821 & 1836.  Whole families vanished from tribal lands and the government regulating annuity payments didn't know who, what, when, where they disappeared to.  They walked away from their annuity payments maybe to finally become successful farmers.  Some just walked into the bush and were never seen again.  Strange there never was a definitive trail to Indian villages.  Quite similar to nomad Korean peasants who encountered American soldiers and passed by on roads only to turn around and they vanished into the brush when they sensed North Korean soldier presence.
       Cobmoosa always walked to Grand Rapids for his annuity payment.  One day while talking with his friend, Louis Campau of Grand Rapids he said, "I wish my people and my children and grandchildren to be civilized."  He knew government ways "were far superior and his people must adopt their views or die."
       In almost the same breath he said, "I cannot change.  The young can adopt new ways; the old cannot."  Sounds the same nearly 180 years into the future (2016) just as it was in 1836.
       "You can bend the young tree, but not old oaks," said Cobmoosa.
       The old ones stand strong and stronger with passing years and are set in their ways, the young not so much.  (Remember that when you vote in 2016). 
       Cobmoosa was a visionary.  If the Indians fought against Washington they would perish before the light of dawn.  The dreams of his people would be disastrous.  To survive into the future they must all bend like mighty willows or be consumed by the storms of life to come.
       Our world spins faster today than anytime in past history.  What 21st century man knew five years ago is ancient history.  Can't sit and coast through life on what you learned yesterday.  We must continually look for ways to empower ourselves.  Got to keep learning and thinking forward.  Got to envision life in the future.  Life experiences and skills teach us how to fix what is wrong before life spiral's out of our grasp.  Those who fail to learn the real realities of life shrivel like over-ripening grapes on the vine to raisin mentality.  Those who fail to respect others for what they can offer are doomed to a life a complaining and misery. (Cobmoosa and I share the same philosophy).  Respect each other.  (continued).

Tragedies of Not Knowing The Way

     Odd title, don't ya think?
     Haven't written much due to hectic warm weather work schedule, but only when I play do I realize that knowing the way means "passing of time is fleeting."  We seem to rush towards the ends of our lives, and yet sometimes we get the notion for a little fun and some older folks forget where they are going or how to get there unnoticed.
     They rush around trying to get where they can slowly relax and go to sporting events with their children to watch the grandchildren excel.  But, as always from time to time the oldest are put on the back burner when life's maladies appear and the children forget that just as their parents took care of them they forget to pay attention to the needs of the oldest married couples."
     I once heard a song sung by Fastball called "The Way."  It's a true life tragic story about a couple who are approaching the end of life who desire maybe one last fun day together, because they are ignored by their children.  As the story goes they are an aging couple still madly in love with each other who without telling anyone, even the children, that they've decided to "give it all away" and packing up and going for a fun drive.
     They were leaving for a few days of fun at a Pioneer Days Festival in Temple, Texas about 30 miles or so from Salado, Texas.  The old married couple, Lela and Raymond Howard, who left home in June 1997 didn't know the way they often traveled and disappeared from sight for two weeks.  They had a love for driving highways and vanished and they never told anyone when or where we they going nor how long they would be gone - not even their children until they went searching for them. Hundreds of rescuers were searching for them.
     Sitting in the car the old man is scans thru FM Radio stations and among the songs being played are Roy Orbison's 'You've Got It," Jewel's 'Foolish Games' and Madonna's 'Vogue.' Now you've got to look up the lyrics for "The Way" by Fastball.  To listen to the song my karaoke listeners thinks the song tells how the 'old and gray' couple, whose car breaks down were hit walking along the highway by a passing or drunk motorist.
     Alas, such is not the case.  The married couple had lived a good life, but in the end the children and rescuers couldn't find them, until someone saw their bodies lying next to each other down in deep ravine near Hot Springs, Arkansas, some 300 miles from where they were going.  They weren't hijacked driven someplace and bodies dumped.  Their car did break down, they did walk to find help, but they simply got tired and stumbled down the embankment to their deaths.  As I said, this loving couple left everything behind so they could have some fun - you could say they were neglected and nobody knew where they went.  They had the desire to leave everything behind and spend their last moments together.  So why didn't they arrive in Temple, Texas?
     You see Lela suffered from Alzheimer's and Raymond was recovering from recent brain surgery.  The couple loved each other dearly, but they missed having fun while driving the open road. Doctor visits, getting more pills and procedures and friends and family ignoring them-well they needed to leave - they were sandburs to those who were all into themselves.  Nobody checked on them - they were in all essence divorced from family gatherings, by those who should be taking care of them.  It's a sad song, but it is replayed over and over by grown children who ignore the oldest married couples needs for a little fun, too.

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -20

     All of humanity has had mentors that us valuable lessons about respect for elders and possible changes to come in a future world that seemingly went crazy with the quick passage of time.  Cobmoosa's mentors were the great Pottawatomie warrior Chief Noonday who learned his skills from Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and likewise from the greatest Chief of the Ottawa bands Chief Pontiac, but some referred to call him "Pondiac."  Strange how an automobile carries the name Pontiac.
     Noonday in the early 1820's after Christian baptism in the rapids said, "Had I found religion earlier in life I wouldn't have become such a blood thirsty savage" during the American Revolutionary War, the Indian Wars and the War of 1812.  Chief Tecumseh died in battle and Pontiac in 1766 signed a peace treaty with the British and together they fought against the Americans during the American Revolutionary War.
     Cobmoosa didn't relish the stories told when Noonday returned from war.  He often boasted of the atrocities committed, which Cobmoosa disliked and refused to engage in and for that reason Cobmoosa never became a Pottawatomie warrior.  Instead Noonday made him second in command of Noonday's two villages;  the "Rapids" and Kalamazoo Bands of Pottawatomie villages.  Through the mistakes of his mentors Cobmoosa learned from the past mistakes of others and did the opposite of what he felt erroneous mistakes by warriors.  Past evil things are better left forgotten, but under certain conditions bad things can teach us lessons to make us better.
     Cobmoosa used his social skills and historical knowledge to impress everyone that influenced his life.  He spoke with eloquence to Presidents and Congressmen and any Indian who would listen.  He with his closest assistants; Wabasis and Boshaw, both educated half-breeds like himself tempered the flares of wanna-be blood thirsty renegades who hated Washington for trying to purchase tribal lands.
     Cobmoosa mindset was razor sharp his entire life like his hunting knife.  It was used to harvest game for Pottawatomie and Ottawa people and used never to take a human life.  He used his persuasive speech to thwart the instigators - the renegades like Maxsauba stoking the "People of Three Fires" living in villages along the "Owashtenong" or Grand and Flat River valleys.
     His primary function under Chief Noonday was to keep his village people safe and to participate and teach his people how to provide them with food, shelter and protection in Noonday's absence.  Whenever Noonday's war party left he was in charge and did everything Noonday expected him to carry out.  Cobmoosa had earned respect.  No different than 179+ years into the future (2015).
     Life can change in an instant and it happened to Cobmoosa once Chief Noonday and Chief Kewaycooshcum of the Thornapple Village signed the Treaty of 1821 deeding tribal lands south of the Grand River to Washington under President James Monroe (1817-25).  The result the Indian had to remove to Missouri reservations, but Cobmoosa who had earned the reputation as the most respected chief in the river valley.  While most of his friends left for Missouri he was welcomed with open invitations to intermittently reside in the  Ottawa village of Chief Hazy Clound at Ada and Chief Wobwindigo's village at Lowell.
     He was a man of respect, but a new chapter in his life was about to unfold.  His destiny would forever change after Chief Wobwindigo signed the in Washington the Treaty of 1836.  That treaty was destined to displace the remaining Indians north of the Grand River.  Cobmoosa always cherished the memories imparted to him by his forefathers and families and he remained steadfast and vigilant for 19 years later (1855) and more.
     Correction from the last post (19), Cobmoosa saw the rise to power of 16 presidents (Washington thru Lincoln).  Not 15.  (continued)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J.-19

     Cobmoosa was the most colorful and well respected Potawatomie in the Grand River Valley until after the Treaty of 1836 was formally signed at the Straits of Mackinaw on May 28, 1836.  Chief Wobwindigo whose health was still in jeopardy made the trip.  Getting close to death after signing it Wobwindigo relinquished his control of the Flat River Bands of Ottawa Indians bands to Cobmoosa, his son-in-law and this is how Cobmoosa became Chief of the Ottawas.  He inherited the title "Last of the Ottawa Chiefs" living in the Grand River Valley.  Wobwindigo had two villages.   
     The Federal government brokered this treaty, but failed to abide with its directives about Indian removal.  No stipulation called for a timetable for Indian removal - where they were to remove to or a reservation.  Washington failed to put language in the treaty about Indian dispersal from Michigan land. Jackson was ticked off.  The powers added reservation language after the Treaty was formally signed and tried to pass it off as being in the details upon signature signing. 
     Cobmoosa, and his foster son Chief Wabasis, explained at a council meeting to those that signed the Washington treaty that Washington broke their own treaty rendering it void.  Washington also failed to include payment for natural resources.   They changed and added language that did not appear on the formal signing.  Cobmoosa and other educated Indians accused Washington congressmen of lying to save their own embarrassment over Indian removal.
     When Cobmoosa attended council meetings it was apparent that Washington left no directive for where or when the Indians of the Grand River Valley were to leave.  Washington surveyors were already drawing township and county borders, but the Indians were not moving.  They remained and roamed freely for about 19 years (1855).  When Cobmoosa began talking the Indians listened for he was considered to be full of wisdom and during his life he learned from past mistakes and wouldn't make mistakes ever again.
     Although Chief John Wabasis was banished to his Wabasis Lake garden plot for 27 years he did leave to attend council meetings even under the threat of death by renegades.  Wabasis and Cobmoosa tempered the fires of hostile Indians and Wabasis would arrive by horseback within days.  Cobmoosa, the Grand Walker, took sometimes weeks to get to impromptu council meeting.  When together they  were powerful chiefs and Chief Wabasis mentors were Cobmoosa and Chief Wobwindigo.  Wabasis had the ability to quash unfounded rumors and keep the peace while Washington licked its self inflicted wounds.
     Cobmoosa's life was an Indian testament on how to survive with incoming settlers in the land of "The People of Three Fires," the Ottawa, Pottawatomie and Ojibwa" in Michigan.  Cobmoosa carried lots of respect among Washington forefathers and President Jackson.  Wherever he walked he was held in high esteem.
     In Cobmoosa's lifespan he had seen the rise to power of 15 Presidents of the United States of America and he was legendary figure.  He admired President Andrew Jackson.  He learned how to deal with many government officials along with Jesuit, Baptist and Catholic missionaries and had witnessed much change in the Grand and Flat River watersheds before he left the Grand and Flat River valleys in 1860.
     Who would have thought that Chief Cobmoosa and President Andrew Jackson would share something in common?  Although separated by culture and heritage these two men; had gained the respect of many friends and foe thru such turbulent times.  They were driven by the mentorship, those they admired, to accomplish more for the good of others instead of finding ways to kill each other.  Along with Chief John Wabasis they all had hearts of gold for their own people.  Some they encountered didn't share the same thoughts when Washington failed to address their own failures and invented a lie to cover what they missed.
     Who mentored you to become what you are today?  Who taught you life skills or took you under their wings and taught you that culture and heritage were important along life's journey.  From turmoil during the American Revolutionary War, Indian Wars and the War of 1812 came lasting friendships for Cobmoosa, John Wabasis and President Andrew Jackson.  (continued)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 18

        Andrew Jackson had an illustrious career as a valiant Indian fighter before he ever aspired to become President of the United States (1829-1837).  Most of his claim to that fame originated from his days stopping the bloodshed of settlers in Florida from rampaging Seminoles.  Frequently when the settlers started pushing into the jungles of Florida there were those renegades (spies) who excited peaceful members and they began waging war with Washington. 
        President Monroe sent a letter to Gen. Jackson appealing for help at a time when the coffers to pay militiamen wasn't available nor was any money sent to pay the men.  Jackson didn't want the men to lay down their lives for nothing so he became paymaster.    He paid 1500 men approximately $4000 out of his own pocket for their services to stop settler killings in the wilds of Florida.
       When the settlers began to arrive they quickly overran Indian land.  Indians feeling pressure from Washington went on a rampage like swarms of disturbed bees, but when Gen. Jackson arrived with his men he found the Seminole villages empty, they scattered to survive.  As Gen. Jackson pushed deeper into Florida, the Indian spies in the dense jungle sent word to the chiefs that a detachment of militia was coming and the Indian scattered making it very difficult to find them.  Jackson's expeditionary force had arrived in 1817 to protect US territory citizens.
        The Seminoles called Gen. Jackson "sharp knife."  His militiamen sought out the Seminoles and the bloodshed between Indians and settlers ceased.  Later in life he became known as "Old Hickory," the tough man who when animated by someone was a fighter from his earlier days.  Since growing up without a father's perspective he was considered a wild boy, the head of the rowdies in Salisbury, N.C. in 1784.  He was the most roaring, rollicking, game-cocking, card shark, horse-racing gambler and mischievous fellow the local girls laid eyes upon.
        The local girls were constantly talking about this tall young square shouldered 18 year old Irish Celt with intense blue eyes and a long, fair, pock-marked and scarred face that ended somewhere  in his ruddy hair.  He held an acute imagination animated face - imagination face destined for action, fierce in its loyalties and hatreds in the Waxhaw settlement hinterlands and yet destined him for a steep social climb. 
        The Waxhaw settlement was comprised of about 50 families.  He was the poorboy living among the richest, but he feared nobody in Salisbury, North Carolina.  He was a snappy dresser, better than he could afford.  Debts or not he rode the best horse and none were ridden better.  He consumed liquor and mulatto (European & Negro) mistresses that legends assigned to them in the history of the student's residence in Salisbury.  As such Andrew attained a position of leadership among the  socially eligible bloods of the countryside.
        A young woman named Nancy Jarret often met him at parties, balls and at the house of her relative.  She knew Andrew as well as any other men...when she was single.  All the girls in the settlement knew him as wild, a gambler who was by no means a Christian, but he would come full circle and embrace Christianity before he entered the White House as President. 
        He was calm and talked slowly and methodical in language, but excited he became animated with a North-Irish brogue meaning ' a soft local pronunciation of Irish-English accent'.  Not only did the young ladies talk about Andrew but their mothers, too, feared he was a gambler who was not a good sportsman who could afford to lose a bet.  They feared the two hundred acre Waxhaw settlement couldn't support Jackson's scale of living and Andrew became a guest of the McNairy's whose neighbor was Governor Martin of North Carolina and so spiraled upwards into the militia and political history.
         Jackson and Cobmoosa were the same age and grew up in similar circumstances just separated by about 1000 miles.  Jackson had used his cunning skills of Indian management to prevent anymore Indian War's in America.  Educated Indians feared Washington - to start a war was foolish - the masses would win and the Indian would lose more than they could ever gain. (continued)