Scope and Contents
This collection contains photostats of letters copied from the records of the Office of Indian Affairs and the Office of Indian Trade housed at the National Archives. Ranging from 1815-1821, the bulk of the collection is correspondence sent and received by Michigan territorial governor, Lewis Cass, regarding the Michigan superintendency. Major issues discussed are the licensing of British subjects for trade with the Indians, the distribution of annuities established by Indian treaties and the handling of other public moneys by Indian agents, the issuance of commodities (such as bread, beef, and corn) to the Indians, the nature of treaty making and the interpretation of treaties, and actions of the military against the Indians. There are references to General William Henry Harrison, the Treaty of Greenville, the Treaty of Fort Wayne and much discussion about the activities at Fort Wayne. The geographical focus of the collection is the state of Ohio, the territory and state of Indiana, the Michigan territory, and the Eel and Wabash Rivers. Native American tribes mentioned in the correspondence include the Potawatomi, Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandotte, Delaware, Shawnee, Seneca, Miami, Weaw, and Kickapoo. Correspondence in the collection also relates information about the consolidation of Indiana agencies and the personnel disputes.
Correspondents included in collection:
John C. Calhoun, Lewis Cass, William H. Crawford, D. (Daniel) Curtis, A.(Alexander) J. Dallas, George Graham, Jonathan Jennings, John Johnston, Charles Jouett, John Kinzie, Charles Larned, Thomas L. McKenney, James Monroe, B.F.(Benjamin Franklin) Stickney, Dr. William Turner, John R. Walker, W.W. Walker, Major J.(John) Whistler, Abraham R. Woolley.
Conditions Governing Use
Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.
In 1775, the Continental Congress created a committee on Indian Affairs. In 1789, Indian affairs were put under the authority of the Department of War and territorial governors served as district superintendents. In 1806, a superintendent of Indian trade was appointed to oversee government trading posts and this official regularly corresponded with the Secretary of War. After Congress discontinued the government trading posts, Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, appointed Thomas L. McKenny commissioner of what would become the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1824. By an act of Congress in 1832 the BIA was given legal authority over the government's trade and treaty activities with the Indians and in 1849, the BIA was transferred to the Department of the Interior. The agency was known by a variety of names and didn't officially take the title, "Bureau of Indian Affairs" until 1947.
"Burerau of Indian Affairs." US Department Of The Interior: Indian Affairs. Accessed March 15, 2017. https://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/BIA/.
Kutler, Stanley I., ed. Dictionary of American History. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003.