Red Lake History Project
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Red Lake History 1900-1949
1900 - William R. Spears declined the post office appointment made on December 15 at Red Lake.

1900 - Dr. Julius Silverstein was the physician in charge at Red Lake.

1900 - A Census of the Red Lake Reservation listed 1,350 Ojibwa Indians.

1900 - Construction was started on a new government Indian Boarding school at Red Lake. Nearly all the building materials and supplies were hauled across from Solway by "Tote Team." The school was finished in late fall and opened with Oscar H. Lipp as Principal and head of the school.

1900 - Trouble was encountered in establishing a location for a Boarding school at Cross Lake. An attempt to locate the school at the Narrows, known as "O-bash-ing" or "O-baush-eeng", was met with severe resistance by the "Pagan" Indians of Cross Lake. They didn't want their burial grounds and homes molested and said they would destroy any school built at that site. A compromise was made and the school was built further to the east which proved a much better location later on.

1900 - Construction was started on the Cross Lake (Ponemah) Boarding school and it was completed late that fall. It opened on January 10, 1901, with John G. Morrison Jr. as the Principal, Mrs. Morrison as matron, William Bonga as the Industrial teacher, Madge (Margaret) Nason as teacher, and Josette Lawrence as seamstress. Mary Brun was cook and Susan Sayers was the laundress. The attendance grew from nine to forty-two in the first six-months. (See 1907 for the Principals or head teachers that followed.)

1901 - A smallpox epidemic broke out in Ponemah and the Agency physician, Dr. Schneider attended the sick. He ordered the school closed, but by some directive it was ordered to remain open. The students were all vaccinated and none of them got the illness. They were not allowed to leave school to mingle with others at home.

1901 - An application for a post office at Cross Lake was made to help facilitate the handling of mail to this remote station. The names of Spears, Narrows, and Ponemah were submitted. The latter name (Ponemah) was selected [the name of a suburb of Philadelphia] and a post office was opened on May 10 of the same year. John G. Morrison, Jr. was the first postmaster and continued until July, 1902. Ponemah means, "Hereafter".

1901 - Peter Graves was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on April 30 and served for several years.

1901 - The Commissioners report stated: "Cut on Redlake diminished Reservation - 5,783,120 feet of logs, which were sold for $33.731.35 and the total expense of these logging operations amounted to $21,781.83, leaving a balance of $11,949.52 to be de- posited to the credit of the "proper Indians". (C.R. 1901 pp 69).

1902 - No timber was cut this year because of the negotiations to cede land.

1902 - G. L. Scott, Major 10th Cavalry, was acting Agent in charge of the Leech Lake Agency until 1906 and Red Lake was a sub-agency under his direction. The sub-agent in charge of Red Lake was Robert E. Lee Daniel.

1902 - An Amendment to the Act of January 14, 1889 had some effect on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. On March 10, 1902, James McLoughlin, an inspector with the Indian Service, concluded an agreement with the adult male Indians of the Red Lake Reservation to cede 256,152 acres of land within Red Lake County to the U.S. Government for $1,000,000. Of this amount, $250,000 was to be paid in cash as per capita payments to all Red Lake Indians (share and share alike, men, women, and children) within ninety days after the ratification of the agreement. The remainder, ($750,000), was to be paid in cash per capita payments in fifteen (15) annual installments of $50,000 each in October of each succeeding year. [See appendix for the complete signatures and witnesses.]
This agreement was amended as approved on February 20, 1904. The chief difference from the 1902 agreement was in the manner of compensation or the paying of the money as stated in article two and three. Instead of paying $1,000,000 for the ceded portion, the 256,152 acres of land were to be offered for sale, subject to the homestead laws of the United States, at the rate of $4.00 per acre at public auction. It was provided further, that one-fifth (1/5) of the purchase price was to be paid at the time of the purchase bid and the balance paid in five equal installments. The proceeds of the land realized would be credited to the Red Lake Indians and deposited with the U. S. Treasury.
According to Folwell's, "A History of Minnesota", Vol. 4, this 256,152 acres was sold at public auction which took place at Thief River Falls from June 20 to July 14,
1904. It was resumed again at Crookston on October 3, 1904 and at later sales. A total of $1,265,000 was received through sales in this manner and credited to the Red Lake Indians. This amount exceeded the original agreement made in 1902 by comparison.

1902 - The Agreement of 1902 was signed by the following Chiefs:
No. Name English Name Status Mark Age Seal
1. Kah-bay-no-din (Perpetual Wind) Chief X 67 Seal
2. Mays-ko-ko-noy-ay (Red Robed) Chief X 70 Seal
3. Pay-she-ke-shig (Striped Day) Chief X 35 Seal
4. Nay-ay-tow-up (Lone Sitting) Chief X 54 Seal
5. Ak-mun-e-ay-ke-zhig (Praying Day) Chief X 76 Seal
6. I-een-je-gwon-abe (Changing Feather) Chief X 63 Seal
7. Kay-bay-gah-bow (Perpetual standing) Chief X 55 Seal
There were 213 other male adult Indians that signed.
Other signatures were James McLaughlin as United States Inspector;
Jos. C. Roy, C. W. Morrison and Peter Graves as interpreters;
Daniel Sullivan, Overseer of Sub-Agency;
Frank Kratka, Mayor of Thief River Falls;
G. L. Fairbanks, White Earth Agency;
and G L. Scott, Major, 10th Cavalry, Acting Indian Agent.

1902 - Madge Nason was appointed postmaster at Ponemah on July 26 to become the second postmaster that was appointed. The first mail carrier contract to Ponemah with two mails per week was awarded to J. C. Roy. The lake was used a great deal during the summer months for this purpose as the distance was shorter and travel easier.

1902 - There were a number of Non-Reservation schools through- out the United States that were listed as Indian schools and students from various reservations were privileged to attend them upon approval of their agency superintendent. These schools were; Haskell Institute, Pipestone school, Hampton Institute, Vermilion school, Morris school, Tomah school, Carlisle school, Chilocco school, Chamberlain school, Riggs Institute, Toledo school and Pierre school.
Sometimes large numbers from White Earth and Redlake attended these schools. The White Earth Agency during this year had 274 in attendance in all of the above named schools. No record was found listing the number from Red Lake since it had been under the Leech Lake Agency since 1899. Prior to that time Red Lake had been under the White Earth Agency.

1902 - The Cross Lake school (Ponemah Boarding school) had an enrollment of sixty students and forty-two of these were boarded. There were seven employees-six Indian and one white. The cost to the government was $6,630.29 or a per capita cost of $157.86.

1902 - The Red Lake Boarding school with a capacity of one- hundred students had an enrollment of ninety-three with seventy-seven students boarded. There were ten employees with one Indian among them. The total cost was $12,619.49 or $163.88 per capita.

1902 - The St. Mary's Mission Boarding school with a capacity of eighty students had an enrollment of seventy-one students and sixty-two were boarded. Eight employees were listed with seven white and one Indian. The per capita cost to the Mission was $70.73. [Non-Government.]

1903  Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock Supreme Court rules that Congress has power to abrogate treaties with Indian tribes

1904  The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.   Only 14 Percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.   Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City costed eleven dollars.   There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.   The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.   Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.   With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populated state in the Union.   The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.   The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.   The average worker in the U. S. made between $200 and $400 per year.   A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.   More than 95% of all births in the U. S. took place at home.   Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."   Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.   Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks.   Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.   The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona. Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.   The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30.   Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.   There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.   One in ten U.S. adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."   18 percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.   There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

1904  Steenerson Act

1904  Clapp Rider Authorizes the sale of timber resources by "Competent Indians"

1904 - A severe storm in the Ponemah area in late Autumn (September) resulted in one of the worst blow-downs on record. It was toward evening and great storm clouds gathered followed by a calm. Then winds of such velocity as had never been recorded unleashed in torrential rains resulting in the blow-down of approximately 25 million feet of timber. It was scaled at about 23 million feet and sold later and cut by timber companies. A full history of the blow-down timber on the Red Lake Diminished Reservation was given in The Annual Report to the Department of Interior.

In 1904, fire destroyed the temporary church that had been converted to a boys' dormitory. A year later, the sisters' and girls' first house was also destroyed by fire (see photo)" The wood-burning stoves were a constant hazard for the early pioneers. In one of his letters, Father Thomas Borgerding describes the agony of not being able to save the building because of the intense wind.
Father Thomas Borgerding wrote to Katherine Drexel requesting funds and she responded with an $800 donation. Using 30,000 feet of lumber stored at the mission, a new building was built by 1905 which housed the boys' residence on the upper level and the sisters and girls on the lower level. By 1906, construction was begun for the sisters and girls' residence and was completed after many summers.

1904 - Timber cuttings records on the Red Lake Reservation for this year were as follows:
2,818,387 feet White Pine @ $4.00.............$11,273.55
7,065 feet White Pine Waste @$8.00...............56.52
7,718,211 feet Norway Pine @ $3.00..........23,154.63
25,058 feet Norway Pine Waste @ $6.00........150.35
One-half Scaler's Salaries......................................572.98

1904 - It was said that the heavy rains during the Autumn of this year caused the ground to become loose and soggy and therefore portions of the Reservation suffered heavy windfalls.
In a narrative summary compiled by William Heritage, Regional Forester in 1936, he states that, "in 1905 to 1914 heavy windfalls occurred on the Reservation at different times. Fire also swept over portions of "The Point" (Ponemah) and through large areas near Sandy River and elsewhere on the south side of the lake, killing and damaging a considerable volume of timber. The records prepared at the Red Lake Forestry office showed that during this time a total of 56,376,376 feet of timber with a value of $328,512.41 was sold under the "Dead and Down Act". The areas burned on "The Point" during these fires are now covered with an exceptionally heavy growth of Norway and White Pine, while a considerable portion of the areas on the south side of the lake are covered with Jack Pine and brush. Where the more barren areas occur, plantations have been made."

1904 - The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians ceded to the Government on February 20, Red Lake ceded the area adjoining the Thief River and Red River Valley land, 256,152 acres known as the eleven western townships. After the sales of the land were complete a total of $1,265,000 was received and credited to the Tribal Fund. Payments were made in accordance with the Treaty agreements as amended.

1904 - By an Act of April 8, the Minneapolis-Red Lake and Manitoba Railway Company was authorized to select 320 acres from land on the Red Lake Reservation, adjacent to the Northern terminus of its line of railroad. A map showing the lands selected was approved on March 18, 1905, and the agent of the Leech Lake Agency was designated to appraise the land selected, which amounted to 300.50 acres after excluding the right of way previously acquired. The Agent's report of appraisement, submitted on April 26 and approved the same day, showed the value of the improvements to be $1,355.00 and of the land $5,461.20, for a total of $6,816.20. This amount was paid by the company through its attorney. The application for the issue of a patent to the company covering the lands thus acquired was denied by the Department on June 26. Thus no patent was ever issued.

l905 - The Act of February 8 granted 320 acres on the Red Lake Reservation as right-of-way for the Minneapolis, Red Lake and Manitoba Railway Company.

1905 - There was reported a severe storm and blowdown on the Red Lake Reservation and Dr. B. E. Fernow, Special Agent, was sent to look after the timber matters and cutting contracts. He issued this special report on Red Lake:
    6,097,505 feet White Pine @ $5.00                     $30,487.53
  10,878,403 feet Norway Pine @ $4.00                    43,513.61
       207,690 feet W. P. Boom Timbers $7.00              1,453.83
         80,410 feet N. P. Boom Timbers @ $6.00             482.46
         22,290 feet W. P. Waste Boom Timbers               
                                             @ $ 10.00                          222.90
         41,630 feet N. P. Waste Timbers  @ $ 8.00            333.04
         17,410 feet N. P. Camps @ $4.00                             69.94
         One-half of scaler's salaries ($1345)                         672.50

         Deduct for correction
         10,690 feet W. P. credit recheck scale                        53.45
           8,480 feet N. P. credit recheck scale                         33.92
    :                                        Net Proceeds              $ 77,158.14
Some timber left in woods. (C.R. 1905 pp 79)

1905 - The Townsite of Redby was platted by the Minnesota Red Lake and Manitoba Railway Company. This marks the be- ginning, yet the continuance, of a village that had long existed.

1905 - Early Indian Police were poorly paid. They received $10.00 per month as a private and $15.00 per month as an officer with some rations allowed while on duty in certain cases. These rations were staple foods as salt pork, tea, flour, etc. If the police- man had to use a horse for part of his work, the feed had to be furnished by him in any manner that he could secure and pay for without re-embursement. The clothing worn was of the old blue suit kind with the dark blue hat. The Agent recommended a change to the Army tan or similar color to give the police more prestige.

1905 - The first police force for Ponemah was allowed by the government this year. The salary was $10.00 per month and the policemen for Ponemah at different intervals were Joe Brown, Charles Jackson, John Stillday, George Blakely, James Downwind, Charles Dick, Mike Blakely, Spencer Whitefeather, John Signa, Peter Martin, Dan Perkins, George Oldman, Charles Bug Sr., John George, Harry Johnson Sr., Alfred Wind and Tom Cain.
Early policemen for Red Lake were: George Highlanding, Kay-bay gah-bow, Lewis Jourdain, Pay-she-Ke-shig, Joe Bellanger, Henry Taylor, Joe Mason, Nay-gah-wah-jeence, Way-me-tig-oshe, John Martin, William Jourdain, David Lajeunesse, Clifford Sitting, Peter Graves, Joe V. Roy, Norman Kelly, Chas A. Beaulieu, Mike Lussier, Bazil Maxwell, Holinday, Francis Gurneau, Bazil Lawrence, O-ge-mah-eenze, Patrick Lussier, Baptiste Thunder, Leo Desjarlait, William Blue, William Fineday, Warren Greenleaf, Gus Lajeunesse, Peter Sitting,, Ed Prentice, Albert Stately, Sr., Gilbert Lussier, Stoneman, Frank Prentice, Charles Prentice, John Squirrel, Alex Jourdain, Geo. Chase, Albert Jones, John A. Smith, Louis Yellow, Louis Barrett, Llewelyn Parkhurst, Herman Smith, Herman English, Charles White, Marvin Yellow, Simon Beaulieu, Tom Barrett, John English, Louis Caswell and Louis Jourdain. Deputy Special Officers: Louis B. Harwood, Charles Harkins, Lizziam Archambeau, Earl Robinson and Theodore Murphy, Present Police: Royce Graves, Mathew Sayers, Melvin Strong, Frank Stately, Albert Stately Jr., and Tom Cain.

1905 - Small hospitals with the necessary attendants were recommended for each of the five Boarding schools under the Leech Lake Agency. Red Lake and Cross Lake [Ponemah] were included in the five. The Cross Lake school had wood stoves and kerosene lamps yet at this time and a steam or hot water system was recommended for heating and an acetylene plant for lighting. The Red Lake school was reported without a cottage for use of the employees. The Superintendent, wife, and two children, together with nearly all other employees occupied badly needed rooms in the school building. A cottage was recommended. (C.R. 1905).

1905 - The first payment to the Red Lake Chippewas for the sale of the western portion of the diminished reservation was made in February.

1905 - John G. Morrison Jr. was re-appointed postmaster of Ponemah.

1905 -The railroad was extended from Nebish to Bemidji giving the Reservation railroad service from Redby to Bemidji for the first time. This brought the Indians in closer touch with the outside world.

1905  The Red Lake Boarding school, with a capacity of one-hundred students, had ninety-five enrolled and an average of eighty-seven boarding and in attendance.  There were ten employees and three were Indian and seven white.  The total cost to the government this year was $11,678.49.  The Agency Superintendent was Harry C. Normal and he received a salary of $1,000 for the year.  Other employees were Lizzie G. Daniel, teacher $600; Cynthia E. Webster, Ass't. teacher $400; Nellie M. Rogers, cook $480; Addison C. Goddard, engineer $840; Alexander Graves, laborer $600; Albert Greely, night watchman $800.

1905  The Cross Lake (Ponemah) Boarding school had a capacity of fifty students with sixty-three enrolled and fifty-six boarded.  There were seven Indian employees listed, John G. Morrison, Principal and head teacher $780; Carrie E. Beers, teacher $540; Edith E. Morrison, matron $540; Elizabeth M. Morrison, seamstress $300; Margaret S. Webec, lau\ndress $300; Elsie E. Silas, cook $300; Frank L. Morrison, laborer $500.  The total cost of operation for the year was $7,363.71.

1905  The St. Mary's Mission Boarding school at Red Lake had a capacity of eighty students--had eighty-one enrolled and an average of sixty-five boarded.  The non-government cost of operation was $4,325.00.

1905  It is interesting to note that in this year there were thirty-nine Mission Boarding schools reported operating in the U.S. for Indian students.  The capacity of these thirty-nine Mission Boarding schools and six day schools that were in operation was 4,949 pupils, the enrollment 3,363, and the average attendance 2,868.  Of these schools, thirty-six were maintained by the Catholic church, five by the Presbyterian church, one by the Reformed Presbyterian church, one by the Congregational church, four by the Episcopal church, three by the Lutheran church, one by the Evangelinal Lutheran church, one by the Methodist church, one by the Baptist church, and the Lincoln Institute was maintained by voluntary contributions.  These denomination figures include nine contract Mission schools in addition to the forty-five schools ordered to above.

St. Mary's Mission school at Red Lake was one of these Contract Boarding schools with a capacity of eighty students, eighty-one enrolled, and sixty-five in average attendance.

1906  Cutting records on the Red Lake Reservation were as follows:

          White Pine........................................6,905,410 feet
           Norway Pine.....................................8,480,640 feet
     4,350 feet
           TOTAL                                             15,390,400 feet

1906  John T. Frater was temporarily in charge of the Red Lake Agency when it separated from the Leech Lake Agency.  Charles S. McNichols succeeded Major Scott at the Leech Lake Agency.  The first Independent Superintendency was established at the Red Lake Agency on December 13.  The superintendent in charge was Earl W. Allen for 1907-08 following John T. Frater's short stay.

1906  Burke Act Burke Act amends Dawes Act, defines and allows 'competent' (1/8 white) Indians to sell allotments

1906  Alaska Allotment Act An Act authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to allot homesteads to the Natives of Alaska.

1906  Susan Meley was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on January 24.

1907  The Commissioner's reporte stated:  "On the Red Lake Reservation, Minnesota, 2,804,280 feet of fire killed timber was sold to W. A. Gould under the Act of February 16, 1889 (25 Stat. L 673) for $25,215.64.  In addition thereto, the Indians cut for Agency use, 206,000 feet of "dead and down" timber, valued at $1,572; 250,000 feet for their own use, valued at $1599; and for posts, cordwood, etc. from unmerchanitable "dead and down" timber which sold for $5,044.86."  (C.R. 1907).

1907  George C. Davis succeeded John G. Morrison as head of the Ponemah Boarding school.  He also became the postmaster by appointment on August 1.

The following principals succeeded Mr. Morrison and Mr. Davis at Ponemah:  C. L. Breckner 1911-36, Roy H. Cross 1936-37, George Be. McClusky 1037-49, Herman J. Day 1940-43, Warren R. Norman 1943-49, Mr. Rolson 1949-50, D. C. Orton 1950-51, Wilbert C. Hograde 1051-52, Richard H. Price 1952-54, and Thomas Millar 1954-57.

1907  John G. Morrison Jr. was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on September 13.  He held that position until 1911.

1907  The first recorded post office for Redby was established this year.  Westley O. Newman was appointed postmaster on October 1.

1907  The Boarding schools on all Reservations were branded by the Indian Commissioner (Leupp) as alien to the spirit of American life and recommended that they be gradually replaced with the American Day school.

1907  A public school was under construction this year at Redby and it became known as Unorganized District No. 118 of Beltrami County.  The school opened the next year with Stella Minton as the first teacher.  She had school for seven months, had twenty students, and received a salary of $45 per month.

Stella Minton was succeeded by the following teachers at Redby;  Hazel Wells in 1909-10, Orna Hannah 1910-11, Ellen Gleason 1911-12, Katie Workman 1912-13, Maisel Drink-wine and Mrs. R. J. Workman 1913-14, Catherine Durand 1914-15, Katie Workman 1915-16, Velma F. Dally 1916-17 (salary was still ?$50.00 per month), Mrs. Glen Sadler taught part of a month, Alpha C. Johnson 1917-18, Ellen Bliason 1918-19, Cora Lambertus 1919-20, Mrs. Glen Sadler 1920-21, Elizabeth Flyn and Effie Thompson 1921-22, Luetta Drewes 1922-23, Margaret Powers 1923-24, Harold Barber and Margaret Hanlon 1924-25.  In 1924 a new school was being built at Redby.  (See 1024 for the list of teachers that followed.)

1907  Oklahoma becomes State Combines Indian and Oklahoma territories, tribal governments are dissolved

1907  The sawmill from Shell Lake was moved to Red Lake and greatly enlarged for the benefit of the Red Lake Indians.  A planer was added a little later and the yearly output of lumber was almost one million feet.  The mills in the past were small and not in good repair.  They just supplied needed lumber for the agency and needs of the Indians.

1008  The school at Redby was finished and this marked the beginning of public school education of Redby.

1909  William H. Bishop was appointed Agency Superintendent at Red Lake through the year 1911.

1909  A per capita payment of $14.65 was made to 1,366 Red Lake Indians from their Tribal funds making a total payment of $20,011.90.

1909  The Red Lake Boarding school had an enrollment of 111 with an average attendance of 91.  At Cross Lake (Ponemah), the enrollment was 77 with an average attendance of 55.  St. Mary's Mission Boarding school at Red Lake had an enrollment of 89 with an average attendance of 58.

1909  The population of the Red Lake and Pembina Chippewas was listed as 1,359.

1909  Mabel Anderson, present school librarian, began her teaching career this year.  She has the longest teaching record in the Red Lake Public school system.  Mr. O. L. Breckner was head of the Ponemah school from 1911 to 1936 when it was not part of the public school system.  Mabel ANderson came to Red Lake in 1943.  She has 43 years of teaching experience to date.

1909  The last official Indian Delegation went to Washington on Treaty grievances and claims against the government.  John Gibbons, a Bemidji lawyer, was their attorney and accompanied them.  The chairman of the delegation was Day-be-gi-shik and the interpreter was Paul H. Beaulieu.  Others attending were Joe Mason, Bazil Lawrence, Alex-eaince Jourdain, Shay-nau-wish-kung, George Highlanding (Bay-baum-e-ge-shig-waish-kung), John English, Nodin, O-ge-mak-be-naise and Ain-dus-on-un-ding.

1909  This panoramic view of St. Mary's Mission shows the outlay of buildings and the extent of the farm and gardens around 1909. Records reveal the great amount of produce that supported the mission. For example, one summer 1,800 bushels of potatoes and 600 bushels of corn were harvested. The horses, cattle, and chickens were all important in the survival of life on the mission.
Red Lake mission prospered despite the early trials of hunger, cold and destructive fires. The sisters maintained an enrollment of 80-100 pupils in the boarding school during the next 50 years.

"Traditionally the governmental structure of the Ojibwe was based on adherence to an hereditary clan chieftainship among the people, and the right to participate in clan decisions was an inherited right." (Lindblad, p. 78)" They did what they could to keep friendly relations with government agencies, traders, lumbermen and missionaries, while preserving their status of the reservation as a "closed reservation." The people of the Red Lake reservation themselves insisted on this status to protect their autonomy and food source. It took years for the American people to realize the injustices that were inflicted upon the Americans Indians. The Ojibwe's efforts at revitalizing their culture attest to their dignity and resilience as a people.

1909  Forestry work of the Indian Service began by putting more men out in the field to make examinations of forest reserves on the reservation.  Patrick Kennedy, Lumberman, and James A. Howarth, Junior Forest Assistant of the U. S. Forest Service, were sent to Red Lake to make some surveys.  The cruisers employed were John P. Johnson, Harry W. Johnson and E. R. Getchell.  Three students from the Forestry school of the University of Minnesota were employed.  They were Fred Moffit, J. E. Orr and Arthur W. Hodgman.  The amount of white pine and norway pine timber found by this cruse was 125,000,000 board feet.  The report stated that "fires are very common on the reservation and great areas are burned over each year and all parts of the reservation outside of the wetter swamps are burned over at irregular intervals, usually of but a few years."

There were no forest protection force organized prior to 1912 except what was organized and done by the Indian Police at Red Lake.  (See 1912 for first organization.)

1910  The Mess Club building was built at Red Lake for the Agency employees.  It was discontinued in the fall of 1955.  The public school set up its own Mess Club in another building in 1955.

1910  The original Episcopal church building which was built in Redby in 1878 burned.  A new one was built to replace it.

1911.  A. D. Perry was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on January 24.

1911  Graham Commission

1912  Walter F. Dickens was appointed Superintendent of the Red Lake Agency and served until 1919.

1912  Louisa Beaulieu was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on August 9.

1912  Public school education had its beginning at Red Lake by forming Unorganized District No. 119.  One room was used in the Government Boarding school and it became known as the "Public School Room".  The first teacher in the public school room was Myrtle Boabar and her salary was $50 per month.

Teachers following Myrtle Boabar (1912-12) were Georgia Smith in 1913-14, Myrtle Boabar in 1914-15, Edith M. Boabar 1915-16, Ester McCalla in 1916-17, Edith Boabar in 1917-18, Connie M. Abbot in 1918-19, Mrs. Luzenia Isham in 1919-20, Bitha Goddard in 1920-21, Alice Klopleisch in 1921-22.

A new two-room public school building was being built in the year 1922-23 and there was no record of teachers for that year.  (See 1923 for the continued list of public school teachers.)

1912  In an effort to protect the forest lands on the reservation, the first Forest Rangre was appointed at Red Lake.  The name of the first Ranger was N. J. Head, a Red Lake enrollee.  Through his efforts the first forestry telephone system was developed.  He also installed three lookout towers and constructed a number of ranger stations.  He continued his work until the autumn of 1917 when he resigned.

1913  White Earth Roll Commission UofM Anthropologists hired to see who was a full blood on White Earth by measuring physical traits such as skull, nose, and skin scratch test. Majority of full bloods now listed as mixed and more land and timber is lost.

1914  The present government Indian hospital was built at Red Lake.  (It was turned over to the U. S. Public Health Service in 1955.

1915  John G. Morrison Jr. was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on August 10.  He continued until 1926.

1915  Sandy Lake Indian Reservation established

1916  Approximately 100,000 acres of Forest land was put under the Red Lake Indian Forest preserve.

1916  The Red Lake Indian Forestry Act, approved May 18, 1916 (39 Stats. 123-137) read in part as follows:  "That said forest shall be administered by the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with the principles of scientific forestry, with a view to the production of successive timber crops thereon, and he is hereby authorized to sell and manufacture only such standing and growing pine and oak timber as is mature and has caused to grow.  (Letter-Heritage-September 26, 1952).
1916  In Autumn of this year, Mark L. Burns, Lumberman for the Indian FOrest Service, and a large number of young graduate Foresters including H. B. Steer, N. O. Nicholson, W. P. Harley and others set out to map and cruise more accurately the Red Lake Indian Forest.  Local experienced cruisers were employed as compassmen.  By the Spring of 1917, the area north of Red Lake was completed.

1916  Timber cut on the Red Lake Reservation under the logging Act brought an estimated $1,395 into the Red Lake Tribal Treasury.

1917  William Heritage, Regional Forester, in a letter dated Sept. 26, 1952 pointed out that "Heavy fires occurred and damaged the southern portion of the diminished Red Lake Reservation in the Spring of 1917 and the damaged portions were offered for sale.  Approximately 105 million feet of timber was removed.  Seed trees were left and also some blocks of standing timber."

1917  Of the timber offered for sale, the Clark Tie and Pole Company of Bemidji was a high bidder.  This was fire-killed timber.  Being a small operator, the company tried to dispose of the pine to big operators but the bond time expired and the bid was cancelled and awarded to the International Lumber Company of International Falls, MN at the following prices:


White Pine.............................................................$14.10 per M
Norway Pine..........................................................  10.25 per M
Jack Pine.................................................................   4.00 per M
Spruce...................................................................... 10.00 per M
Tamarack..................................................................  5.00 per M
Cedar.........................................................................  4.00 per M
Balsam.......................................................................  3.50 per M
Cedar and Tamarack for railfoad ties.......................  .18 each
Spruce and Balsam, Pulpwood................................ 1.50 per cord
Cedar products  -  30 foot pole..................................   .65
                                60 foot pole.................................10.00

The American Cedar Company, a subsidiary of the International Lumber Company handled all cedar products.  John Cluffey was the manager.

Logging operations continued for twenty-two months in the fire=killed timber under the direction of Mark L. Burns, supervisor.  The logs were shipped to Bemidji on the Minnesota-Red Lake and Manitoba Railway and then over the Northern Pacific system to International Falls, MN.  The cost was in excess of $6.50 per thousand feet of timber.  All saw timber was railroad logged with sleigh haul in the various branches.  Cedar operations were sleigh hauled to Spur 28, then sorted and shipped.

1917  The out-put of the Red Lake sawmill was increased to approximately two million board feet per year and continued until the new sawmill was build in Redby in 1924.

1917  The Red Lake Fisheries was organized under Minnesota Law to produce fish as a war time measure during World War I.  Carlos Avery, State Game and Fish Director aided to get federal approval.  W. Kay Kane sold the first fish produced on the open market in St. Paul.

1917  An Elementary School of three rooms was built at Ponemah.

1918  The General Counsil of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians was first organized by Peter Graves.  The officers elected were Joseph B. Jourdain as chairman, Peter Graves as Treasurer, and John Graves as Secretary.  The date was April 13, 1918.

The seven recognized Chiefs at the time of organization were, O-ke-mah-je-wa-be, Nay-ay-to-wun, Way-me-tig-osh-eence, William Sayers, May-ako-g-won, No-din, and Pay-she-ge-shig.  Each Chief could appoint five councilmen.

1919  In October, William Heritage was poointed deputy supervisor of forests at Red Lake and took charge of the cuttings in the green timber.  During the next nineteen months 60 million feet of green dimber was logged which was mostly over-mature or decadent and located east of the M.R.L. & M. Railway.

During this same period about two million feet of logs were cut annualy from "The Point" for sawing at the Red Lake Sawmill.  Mark L. Burns was in charge of cuttings there.  The out-put of the mill had been increased nearly one million feet since 1917.

1919  George W. Cross was appointed Agency Superintendent at Red Lake and served until 1922.

1920  The first self starting automobile, a Ford, was purchased for Forestry use on the Reservation.  In 1921, a Dodge Commercial Truck and small fire fighting tools were added.

1921  An addition to the 3-room school at Ponemah was built by Joseph Jourdain.

1922  Brete H. Dooley was appointed Agency Superintendent and served until 1926.

1923  Shortly after the first of the year, the Department of Interior built a public school building with two class rooms near the highway at Red Lake and then turned it over to the County to operate and maintain as a public school.  The County was to furnish education to all non-Indian students in the Red Lake area.  The school was built by the Diskinson Constrcution Company of Bemidji and Chris Becker was the foreman in charge.

The school opened in October with Vera May and Mildred Dickinson as the teachers.  The school year was 1923-24.  The teachers that followed were Harold and Adah Searls in 1924-25; Harold Searls, Ramona Hutchins and Myrle Methven (Kullrener) in 1925-26; Harold and Aduh Searls in 1925-27; Harold Searls on leave and Howard Johnson and Harriet Ruthbun in 1927-28; Harry B. White and Harriet Hathbun in 1928-29; Mrs. Clara Ryan, Harold Searls returning, and Harriet Hathbun in 1929-30; Harold Searls and Mabel Thorpe in 1930-31; Harold Searls and Helen Sather in 1932-33; Harold Searls and Mabel Thorpe in 1933-34.  (See 1912 for the first teachers in the public school.)

The Red Lake Boarding school became a public Day School and the two-room school was no longer used as a separate school.

1924  Indian Citizenship Act.  Congress granted citizenship to all Indians born in the United States who were not yet citizens.

1924  The Act of June 5, 1924 (43 Stat. 412) was as follows:  "The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to withdraw from the Treasury of the United States the sum of $75,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, of the principal sum on deposit to the credit of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota, arising under the Act of May 18, 1916 (39 Stat. - 138) and to expend the same in the construction and equipment of a sawmill, including employees' quarters and other necessary buildings, for the benefit of the Red Lake Indians, said mill to be located at Redby, Minnesota on a site to be leased by the United States for a period of ninety-nine years."

1924  A new sawmill was built at Redby to furnish employment to Indian workers.  It opened in September and during the next few years the mill saved approximately 5 million feet of lumber per year.

1924  Upon authority from the State Legislature in 1923, construction was started on the present Red Lake Fisheries buildings.  They were completed in 1925 at a cost of $50,889.40.

1924  A cottage for the public school teachers at Red Lake was built near the site of the two-room school built in 1923.

1924  Duran family builds a store in Redby, which was later sold to Henry Staberg.  (Still in business in 2010 and called "The Other Store".)

1924  A contract for the construction of a new public school at Redby was awarded to Ben Bredeson of Bemidji.  The school had three class rooms and one library and was built by contract for $14,500.

John Hanlon was the janitor and Harold Barber and Margaret Hanlon were the teachers.  When the school was finished completely the next year, 1925-26, Harold Barber, Margaret Hanlon and Martha Latford were the teachers.  Others following were Roy H. Cross, Agnes Oakre, and Inger Ledingin 1926-27; Roy H. Cross and Agnes Oakre in 1927-28; Mrs. Doris Guptill and Lenora Paulson in 1928-29; William E. Haaverson and Alma Aleshire in 1930-31; Roy H. Cross, Leo Stapelton and Eleanor Werstlein in 1931-32; Roy H. Cross, Fred Dickenson, Eleanor Werstlein and Hazel Johnson in 1932-33; Roy H. Cross, Fred Dickenson, Seline Swenson and Hazel Johnson in 1933-34; Roy H. Cross, Fred Dickenson, Hazel Johnson and Seline Swenson and Julia Deutsch in 1935-36.  (See 1907 for first teachers.)

Up to this time the school was under the jurisdiction of the County Board of Education, Unorganized Terriroty.  The next year (1936-37) the Redby school came under the immediate supervision of the Superintendent of Schools at Red Lake.

1926  Brete H. Dooley was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on January 1.  He operated the store purchased from John G. Morrison Jr. with the postmastership.

1926  John G. Morrison Jr. was appointed postmaster for Redby on March 1 and again on February 3, 1927.

1926  Mark L. Burns was acting Superintendent for Red Lake and served until 1930.

1926  The Act of May 10, 1926 (44 Stat-475) was as follows:  "The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to withdraw from the Treasury of the United States the sum of $30,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, of the principal sum or deposit to the credit of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota arising under the Act of May 18, 1916 (39 Stat-139) and to expend the same in the constructiona nd equipment of a planing mill, box factory, cottage, office, and minor sawmill appurtenances.  (C.R. 1926).

1926  During the summer, the International Lumbre Company again started cutting operations.  Six logging camps were constructed and 50 mils of logging railroad laid.  About twenty miles of sleigh road was also built.  The timber was removed from about 19,000 acres with a volume of approximately 45 million feet.  By early spring of 1927 operations were completed and the logging railroad was removed.

1927  The Forestry telephone system was built and ploaced in first class condition.  It was also extended.

1927  An Elementary Day School was built at Red Lake having four class rooms and an Auditorium.  Mark Burns was Agency Superintendent in charge.  He also had a large gymnasium built about 200 feet south of the government Boarding school.  (Burned in 1940).

1928  Frank Gurneau was acting postmaster at Red Lake until 1930.

1928  A decision was handed down from the Supreme Court stating that the State Game and Fish Department could not engage as a commercial producer of fish.

1928  Meriam Report Officially titled "The Problem of Indian Administration", published in 1928 by a team of social scientists, it recounted the conditions for Indian peoples on reservations. The report singled out the U.S. government's allotment policy as the greatest contri

1928  Indian Re-organization 1928-1953

1928  Northern Gospel Missionaries, Mr. Alrich Olson and Ernest Pearson, started a mission in Ponemah.  (The first to be permanently stationed there).

1928  Catherine Bailey was appointed postmaster at Redby on October 1, 1928 and on January 17, 1929.  She served until 1934.

1929  The Red Lake Indian Fisheries Association was organized under a cooperative law of the State by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians on March 27, to do commercial fishing on Red Lake.  The state fisheries plant was leased to the United States for the Red Lake Indians' benefit only.  The buildings were leased by the fisheries association until 1943 after which the title was transfereed to the United States by the State.

The first Board of Directors were John Wind, Peter Sitting, Peter Graves, Simon Stately and Benjamin Littlecreek.

Any member of the Red Lake Band who engages in fishing can become a member of the association by producing a certain amount of fish.  The fishing is operated under the supervision of the State and subject to the rules and regulations of the Department of Interior.  The State selects the manager subject to the approval of the Directors of the Red Lake Fisheries Association.  Hatchery personnel are employed by the State and Fisheries on a ratio basis.  Large amounts of fry are put back into Red Lake.

This is perhaps one of the most stable industries of the Reservation and could support from fifty to one-hundred families if they operated wisely.

1930  Paul H. Beaulieu was appointed postmaster at Red Lake on April 4.  Mary M. Beaulieu was appointed to serve on August 9.

1930  In Autumn, a wind of cyclonic proportion swept the reservation and uprooted and twisted off over two million feet of seed, trees which had been left for reserve seeding.  Later 1,100,000 board feet of the blow-down timber was salvaged.

1930  In August, a heavy forest fire swept some 3,000 acres through the area south of Redby and destroyed practically every growing tree within its perimeter.

1931  Jesse C. Cavill was named Agency Superintendent at Red Lake to 1933.

1931  It was extremely dry in the early spring and in May a number of forest fires occurred which covered approximately 13,000 acres, destroying some of the finest pine reproduction on the south side of Red Lake.  Large fires occurred southeast of Redby and in the area west of Sandy River and also on "The Point".

1931  A small forest nursery was started at Red Lake through the efforts of Mr. Charles H. Winton of the Winton Lumber Company of Minneapolis.  Over 230 acres were replanted in the next few years.  This project continued until the late 1940's.

1933  The Redby sawmill was closed down for three years due to the large stocks of lumber on hand and no demand for it.

1933  Raymond H. Bitney was appointed Agency Superintendent in Carge of Red Lake to September 1939.

1934  Rose Graves was named acting postmaster of Redby to 1935.

1934  The Red Lake Boarding school became a Day school.  John McPherson was the principal.

1934  Johnson O'Mally Act The Johnson-O'Malley Act was passed, allowing states, other political subdivisions, and private entities to provide for the health, education, and welfare of Indians through contracts and grants. The Indian Reorganization Act, passed as part of President

1934  Indian Reorganization Act Ends allotment, provides for self-government, eliminates traditional government, legislation passed in 1934 in the United States in an attempt to secure new rights for Native Americans on reservations.

1935  James W. Kauffman, supervisor of Extension for the United States Indian Service made a survey and reported that approximately 30,000 acres of land would be available for potential agricultural development on the Red Lake Reservation.

1935  Datus M. Arnold was appointed postmaster of Redby on October 22 and was still serving in 1957.

1935  Construction began on the first high school building in Red Lake.  The building was not finished in the fall when school started but other available facilities were used until the work was completed which carried over into the next year.

The first Superintendent of the schools was John Schulling who was hired in the Spring and began work in August at a salary of $150 per month.  Between eighty and ninety students were registered in high school the first year through grade eleven.  There were no students in grade twelve this first year.

1936  Redby and Ponemah Elementary schools became six-year elementary schools and also came under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Red Lake and the public school system.  Ponemah had been under the jurisdiction of the Federal system of Boarding and Day schools and Redby had been under the Unorganized County system.

Also during this year, the State Department of Education in Minnesota took over the operation of all schools with Indian children by contract with the Federal Government excepting Pipestone and two Mission Boarding schools.  The Red Lake High School then became an accredited six-year high school and Redby and Ponemah became graded elementary schools through grade six.

1936  The first high school faculty hired was John Shulling, Superintendent, Casper Ingebritson, H. S. Principal, Bruce J. McGhee, Rogna Gennes and Stanford Oksness.  There were hired in the fall of 1935.
The Red Lake elementary school had Frank L. Nelson, Marlon Gwinn, Esther P. Carlson and Evelyn Lonergon as the teachers.  Redby had Ry. H. Corss as principal, Hazel Johnson, Seline Swenson and Julia Deutsch as teachers.  Ponemah had O. L. Breckner as principal.

1936  {ome stumpage values decreased to a value of $5.00 to $6.00 per M.  This compares with stumpage values of $14.00 per M. in 1917; $16.00 per M. in 1920 and some for $20.00 per M.  In 1922 a stumpage value of $22.00 per M was received for White Pine in the Chippewa National Forest.

1936  The Red Lake Sawmill was third in size of the three largest mills left in the State of Minnesota in 1936.  There were twenty-five to thirty larger sawmills earlier.

A forest survey conducted by the U. S. Forest Service listed 554 small sawmills in the northern part of Minnesota at one time.

1936  Forestry policies of the Red Lake Indian Forest at this time were greatly aided through the prior efforts of Messrs, J. P. Kinney, Mark L. Burns, J. C. Cavill, A. C. Goddard, Raymond H. Bitney, Superintendent, A. W. Mollison, Associate Forester, and William Heritage, Regional Forester, Lake States Region.

1936  Peter Graves was appointed Judge of the Court of Indian Offenses and served until 1943.  His fairness and judgement were respected.

1936  Tom Cain was postmaster at Ponemah in 1941.

1937  The first five students to graduate from the Red Lake High School were Katherine L. Bailey, Alphid S. Selvog, Louis R. Caswell, Orvin Nelson and Kella H. Selvog.

1937  MCT Constitution  Ratified in 1934, this constitution brought together six of the seven Chippewa (Anishinaabe) tribes in Minnesota, joined them together as the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

1937  The road program received $75,000 of Government funds to build two new roads.  One was around the lake to Ponemah Point to bring that road up to standard and to improve the highway south to U.S.  Highway No. 2.  Three years earlier, $25,000 of Tribal funds were used to improve roads on the Reservation.

1937  After some remodeling of the Boarding School at Red Lake, the high school was expanded to include three special departments, Industrial Arts, Home Economics and Agriculture were added to the curriculum.

John Schulling took a leave of absence to go to Peabody College on a scholarship to work for his master's degree.  Casper Ingebritson then became superintendent, Allen Fields became principal, Carl Ostrom was hired as Agriculture teacher, E. K. Platt was hired as the Industrial Arts teacher and Juliette Myren was hired as the Home Economics teacher.  Other school teachers were Ragna Gennes, Allen L. Hanson, Margaret A. Tuckey, Fore Allegrezzo, Miles Nelson, Johanna Dolgaard, Marion G. Gwinn, Margaret Gennes and Marguerite Jameson.

1937  The Redby school faculity had Glenn E. Holty as principal, Margaret Cota and Seline P. Swenson as teachers.  At Ponemah, George R. McCluskey was principal and Louise A. Ness, Mrs. Mary McCluskey and Alice Melby were teachers.

1939  Floyd H. Phillips served as Agency Superintendent at Red Lake from September 1939 to January 1940.

1940  The Red Lake High School and gymnasium burned on July 13, leaving the Old Boarding school dormitory building as the only available place for high school classes until the new school was built in 1049l.  Conditions were very crowded since the upper floor was used for teacher's living quarters.

1940  Raymond H. Bitney returned as Agency Superintendent from January 1940 to 1943.

1941  Mrs. Rodney Henry was postmaster at Ponemah to 1944.

1941  The building of a new gymnasium-auditorium with a kitchen for hot lunches, a library, one classroom and shower failities greatly improved the educational plant and community center at Ponemah.  (It burned in 1951).

1942  Mrs. Ella Skime served as Postmaster at Red Lake after Mary M. Beaulieu and was followed by Mr. Lee until 1962.

1942  The school system up to this time was still under the Unorganized Territory of Beltrami County and under the County Board of Education.  Efforts were put forth and Independent School District No. 45 was organized with a local school board for the first time.
The Agency Superintendent, Raymond H. Bitney and the school Superintendent, Arthur U. Hafdahl, both worked hard to get this school district organized independently so that local representation could serve on the school board.
The first school board members were David R. O'Bear of Redby, Mrs. Ruth Korstad of Redby, Alfonse Caswell of Red Lake, Mrs. Helen Norman of Red Lake, Spencer Whitefeather and Nathan Whitefeather of Ponemah.

1942  St. Croix Reservation established established from privately owned Indian land.

1943  Tom C. White was agency Superintendent while Raymond Bitney was on leave.

1943  The school Agricultural department tried an experimental plot of head leccuce.  It was a dry year and the project proved unsuccessful.

1944  Mr. Unrau was postmaster at Ponemah to 1945.

1944  National Congress of Indians.

1945  Mrs. Tom Spears was postmaster at Ponemah to 1954.

1946 Raymond H. Bitney returned as Superintendent until 1947.

1946  Indian Claims Commission established.

1947  Peru Farver was Agency Superintendent to 1952.

1948  A credit system or plan was established by the Red Lake General Tribal Council and approved April 15, 1948 by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to set aside $110,000 of the Red Lake Tribal funds to be used for credit loans to Indians of the Red Lake Reservation for their general improvement and betterment.

To 1957 over 700 revolving loans have been made totaling over $285,357.64.  Home improvement loans, business loans, educational loans and agricultural loans are the more general loans made.

1949  A new high school building was started and completed in March 1950.  A gymnasium-auditorium was included.  An addition was added in 1951, for a music department, a commercial department and one classroom.  The total cost to the Bureau of Indian Affairs was about $330,000 with equipment.

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