Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -6

        "History is the torch that is meant to illuminate the past, to guard against the repetition of our mistakes of other days.  We cannot join in the rewriting of history to make it conform to our comfort and convenience," said Claude G. Bowers (1878-1956) an American diplomat.

         President Jackson was a future thinking man, a visionary.  From past personal experiences he saw how easy it was for bootleggers to manipulate and fleece the Indians of their annuity payments.  Change he knew would bring its own set of challenges to be solved, but change would be more beneficial to Native Americans all across America in how they were paid. 
        For Jackson this change was going to be a vacation from an incorrect way of thinking and living.  He wanted to hold to the truths that to be satisfied in our own lives we must satisfy others greater and that's what he set out to accomplish knowing when he died he had done his best to help Indians.
        So in the 1830's several lazy Blackskin Indians living near Greenville, Michigan began to accuse and convince themselves that John Wabasis was a thief for stealing their share of annuity payments they wanted him to pickup on annuity payment day in Grand Rapids.  Wabasis did go in 1838 but he along with other Indians were unaware of the Jackson's change in how they were going to be paid.  When Wabasis returned he told the Blackskin they had to go and sign for it, but they didn't believe him and falsely accused Wabasis of stealing.  The Blackskin tribe was composed of 11-15 members and were known in the Greenville areas as lazy panhandlers targeting settlers for money and food - they worked for nothing and settlers were growing tired of being hassled. 
        To receive payment in GR they couldn't be a proxy for others.  They had to show up and personally sign or place their mark for their own and nobody elses.  They received specially engraved minted year dated gold and silver coinage.  The was (destiny day) to the Indian.  Show up or lose what little you had coming.   Another change - bad Indian behavior got them less. 
        Missionaries McCoy and Slater mailed yearly reports to Washington listing the lazy and panhandler Indians in the Grand River region and the Blackskins topped the list in the Greenville area.  The President wasn't going to allow bad Indians the same amount as those Indians who prospered.    President Jackson had changed this payment plan in 1834, but it wasn't until after the Treaty of 1836 that it was implemented.  The chiefs and half-breeds received their own shares at higher rates than those in the tribe.  All remaining Indian had to go and sign for their own allotment of money. No proxies.
        Some historians counter that the President and Congress couldn't pay out in gold and silver because that was in short supply in America, but under the treaty this special coinage was purchased specifically from European countries and shipped to America for disbursement. This is the hidden mystery of Cobmoosa and Wabasis.
        Cobmoosa in the late 1850's carried a poke, a small leather bag with rawhide draw strings and inside that bag were his engraved gold and silver coins.  When he arrived at the reservation to prove that he was Cobmoosa he poured out the coins into his hands.  The gold coins were stamped, "Treaty of 1836."  Several witnesses confirmed these coins, but unknown is what happened to Cobmoosa's coins upon death?  Got to read on to find the possible answer someplace else.
      Wabasis never gave the Blackskins anything for his twenty-five years.  That's how long he was banished to his own 40-acre garden plot at Wabasis Lake.  Try as they might the Blackskins never found out where Wabasis hid the money.  Cobmoosa taught Wabasis early on how to outwit and survive in a hostile environment where renegades wanted to kill him.
      One evening in 1863 they along with Chief Neogamah of Plainfield Village brought some whiskey and sat around a bonfire late at night trying to be friendly.  Plied him with some firewater rotgut to loosen his tongue, but Wabasis didn't cooperate.  Being disgruntled they hatched a pre-meditated murder plot to trick Wabasis off his property to kill him.  They were angry because they never collected one penny. (continued)

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