President Andrew Jackson was a shrewd military man. Before he became President he availed himself to dealing with Indians, both friendly and hostile. He knew from his earliest days that taking Indian lands by force led to much bloodshed and he would later in life like to avoid that travesty.
Under the direction of President James Monroe he with his detachment of military men struck out for Florida to stop the Seminole raids on US territory in 1817 and was named provisional governor of Florida in 1821. At the time President Monroe was engaged in the Treaty of 1821 for lands south of the Grand River. The primary chiefs would receive upwards of $1000.00 each, while their people only received a little more than 10 cents per year and the Indians could receive annuity payments by proxies.
The Indian proxies were stealing money from each other and tribal feuds were festering. Indians were fighting each other and so when Jackson became President he gave the Twenty-Third Congress an ultimatum to change how Indians would be paid. Congress in 1834 made it illegal for any one individual Indian to be a proxy for others, but many Indians knew nothing about this change. Indians had to show up in person to claim their own annuity after the Treaty of was signed. What chiefs and family members were paid was what Congress agreed to pay. Educated half-breeds were paid exclusively by Presidents - sometimes depending on their services to Washington.
President Andrew Jackson has been the only president to clear the national debt and he paid that last installment in 1835
It was not uncommon to pay a half-breeds higher each year as opposed to chiefs that received less. Under the newly signed 1836 Treaty the educated half-breeds could get $5000.00 a year as deemed applicable by missionary reports. Six weeks after the treaty was signed President Andrew Jackson being frustrated how easy it was to fleece the Indians issued a 'specie circular' ordering that all Federal lands be purchased in gold and silver.
Some historians for years stated America didn't have gold and silver to pay them, but whoever said the gold and silver was mined in America. President Andrew Jackson purchased that minted gold and silver coins from Spain and Italy and it was shipped to Washington exclusively for Indian payment. Mining of gold and silver wasn't a happening thing until the 1847 California gold rush.
Under the 1836 treaty the chiefs got about got less, because in the old days since they were proxies they had to share it the tribe. Under this treaty tribal members received $1.25 plus one blanket. Since chiefs were no longer proxies they got less. The President paid the half-breeds upwards of $5000.00 and Congress had no part in dictating how half-breeds like Cobmoosa, Boshaw and Wabasis, born of French Traders were paid.
The differences between the 1821 and 1836 treaty is quite simple. Under the 1821 Treaty they were paid 10 cent and 1836 paid $1.25. Under the 1821 treaty it covered a much broader territory than the 1836 treaty. Thousands more Indians lived south of the Grand River.
Prior to 1836 the Federal government estimated more than 17,000 lived in the western half of the lower Michigan and 4000 lived along the Grand River. But with the influx of settlers came a wave of small pox epidemics that decreased the population by two-third. As the disease spread thru villages many died and the shares of those who died were passed on to the living. Those who left the area out of fear left no forwarding addresses so payments were greater to.
What Indian half-breeds and chiefs were paid was also determined by 'spy reports' sent from missionaries within the Indian tribal villages to President Jackson. They would report on who were considered friendly and those who the renegades. Missionaries would write how they found the Indians and if they accepted religion - Baptist or Catholic.
President Jackson knew that to be successful during America's expansion period he had to pursue peaceful negotiations with the Indians. He knew he couldn't steamroll them with broken promises. He had to get them engaged in religion and farming. (continued)