TO THE 63RD LEGISLATURE
BY LEWIS MITCHELL, (Excerpts)
OF THE PASSAMAQUODDY TRIBE OF INDIANS
was authorized by the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Indians to come here before you
for the purpose of making known to you what the Passamaquoddy Indians have
done for the American people, and how we have been used by the American people
and how we used them. In 1775 or
1776, in the struggle between Great Britain and America, your people came to
us for assistance. You authorized
Col. John Allan to speak to us and you said, He is our mouth, believe what
he says to you. After many
kind words and promises, Francis Joseph, who was the chief of the tribe at
that time, accepted his offer. He
promised to go and help his people gain their independence.
Immediately he sent his captains to different parts of his country to
notify his people to prepare for immediate war.
In a few days Francis Joseph gathered an army of six hundred men.
At that time, and many years before that, the Passamaquoddy Tribe was
the headquarters of the Abnaki Nation.
Tribe can show you by a letter from Col. John Allan when he authorized the
Passamaquoddy Indians to guard the coast form Machias to Passamaquoddy, and
authorized them to seize the enemys vessels.
And according to his orders we can show you by the affidavit, Capt.
Sopiel Socktoma, with fifty others of his tribe, captured an armed schooner in
Passamaquoddy Bay, and they ran her to Machias and gave her up to Col. John
know the Indians who served in that war are passed out of existence, but the
Passamaquoddy Tribe helped the Americans in that war, and the tribe is still
in existence. Now we bountily ask
your attention to help us by letting the Legislature examine the papers and
refer them to Congress, if they see fit.
the treaties of 1725, 1794, and Governor Dummers treaty of 1727, and in the
laws of Massachusetts and Maine at their separation, we were guaranteed the
right to hunt and fish forever.
the year 1854 or 1857 some dishonest person or persons presented a petition to
the Maine Legislature, asking the State to sell the Indians land
Indians did not need it so the Legislature passed a resolve, that a
certain piece of land, situated in the Town of Perry, owned by the Indians,
would be sold by public auction, on such day, at Perry (they must have
arranged everything so they wouldnt bid against each other) and that land
was sold for the small sum of $500.00. The
Indians opposed the sale of it. Now
their firewood costs the Indians of Pleasant Point $1,500.00 a year.
If that land had not been sold, the Indians would not suffer for want
of firewood. Thousands of cords
of cordwood have been cut, and wood is on it yet.
land cleared by the Indians was also sold.
Now we claim again that this is not right.
An Indian agent himself bought this land afterward and again when we
lost the claim on the Islands the case Granger vs. Indians, we not only
lost the claim, but $2,500.00 out of the Indians in favor of Mr. Granger.
consider, today, how many rich men there are in Calais, in St. Stephen,
Milltown, Machias, East Machias, Columbia, Cherryfield, and other lumbering
towns. We see a good many of them
worth thousands and even millions of dollars.
We ask ourselves, how they make most of their money?
Answer is, they make it on lumber or timber once owned by the
many of their privileges have been broken?
How many of their lands have been taken from them by authority of the
State? Now, we say to ourselves,
these Indians ought to have everything they ask for.
They deserve assistance. We
are sent here to help the poor and defend their rights.
this plainly shows us how much worse a people of five hundred and thirty souls
are, stripped of their whole country, their privileges on which they depend
for their living; all the land they claim to own now being only ten acres. If
one or two men in this body were Indians they would fight like braves for
look at yourselves and see whether I am right or wrong.
If you find any insulting language in my speech, I ask your pardon.
I dont mean to insult anybody, but simply tell you of our wrong.
Copyright © 2003
Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point