Source: Spokane Review, May 26, 1891, page 1

Subject: Colville reservation

Headline: "1,500,000 Acres"

Notable Quotes from the Article:

Synopsis: The Colvilles and other tribes agree to cede 1,500,000 acres of their lands. This article is a detailed report on the negotiations, which took place at the mouth of the Nespelim River; it provides abundant information on the activities of particular tribes and individuals.

  • This treaty was never ratified, but the subsequent arrangement of the reservation followed closely the arrangement set forth in the treaty.



1,500,000 ACRES


Work of the Colville





And Have Returned to This





A Great Pow-Wow Was Held at

the Mouth of the Nespe-

lim River.




At First They Were Not Inclined

to Sell an Acre of Their





The Stubborn San Puells to a Man

Refused to Sign--A great




MARCUS, May 25.-[Special.]-The Colville Indian commission closed their treaty with the Indians here Saturday afternoon. Two of the commissioners, Messrs. Fullerton and Dufur, went down to Colville yesterday morning with F. S. Sherwood, who has been in the service of the commission as interpreter, while the third member, Mr. Payne, remained here till noon today, when he took the train for Spokane, expecting to be joined at Colville by Messrs. Fullerton and Dufur. The three will go to Colfax, Mr. Fullerton's home, Tuesday, and will there complete certain clerical features of their report to the government. They expect to have everything ready by June 8, when Mr. Dufur will go to his home in Oregon and Mr. Payne will go to his home at Alma, N.C., stopping at Washington city on his way to present in person the report of the commission to the department of the interior.

The commission has been very successful in their negotiations with the Indians, and if the treaty they have made is ratified by congress, one-half of the great Colville reservation will be thrown open to white settlement and the door opened from Spokane to the Northwest. The event is one of great importance to all Eastern Washington, to the entire state in fact, for it gives us a wide area of new territory that is capable of supporting a large and flourishing population, and that will supply trade of magnificent proportions.

The commission left Spokane about May 1, and went in company of Indian Agent Hal. J. Cole, who has charge of the entire Colville reservation, to the agency near Fort Spokane. From that point they gave notice by carriers that they would meet the various tribes or their representatives near the mouth of the Nespelim, a stream that flows south through the reservation and empties into the Columbia, about seventy-five miles below Fort Spokane. At this point is the agency sawmill, and near here lives[sic-live] Moses and Joseph, the two great chiefs of the reservation.


Thursday, May 7, was the day set apart for the council to open. It was two days later than that before all the Indians arrived, and even then there were but a few of the Lakes and Colvilles present, their homes being in the northern and northeastern portions of the reservation. The tribes fully represented were the Columbias, of whom Moses is chief; the Nez Perces, of whom Joseph is chief; the Okanogans, of whom Antoine is chief, and the San Puells, who have no recognized chief. Lot, the chief of the Spokanes, was present, though he had no direct interest in the proceedings.

The commissioners, while at the agency, telegraphed a request to the Indian department that Agent Cole be permitted to accompany the commission and give them such assistance as might be in his power. The permission was given and Mr. Cole continued with the commission until the work was closed here at Marcus Saturday afternoon. The commissioners, without exception, speak in the highest terms of the services of Agent Coles,[sic ;] in fact they say the promptness with which the treaty has been made is almost entirely due to Mr. Cole. He has the confidence of the Indians, and while he shows great kindness and consideration for them, he exercises over them great firmness and complete authority. He knows the Indian character, and his speeches to them throughout the negotiations have been plain, straightforward, and very effective.


There was much opposition at first among the Indians to selling a part of the reservation. Moses was indifferent and Joseph said he did not feel that he had a right to decide a question of the kind, because he said that his people had been placed on the reservation by the government more as prisoners and wards than as independent owners of the land. The commissioners and Agent Cole had to talk to the Indians two day before any agreement could be reached. The first chief to sign was Antoine, of the Okanogans. He was followed by his people. Then came Moses and his people, and next Joseph and the Nez Perces. The San Puells were bitterly opposed to the sale, and not one of them signed. They said they had never asked any favors of the government, had accepted none and simply desired to be let alone. It was agreed that the Lakes and Colvilles would meet the commissioners at Marcus and there consider the matter of signing.

The treaty as finally drawn up and adopted in the council at Nespelim consists of twelve articles.

The first describes the boundaries of the land to be ceded. It embraces sixty-two townships, or about 1,500,000 acres, being the upper portion of the Colville reservation, and sixty miles from east to west and thirty-eight miles f[r]om north to south. The south line starts from Rickey's Landing on the Columbia river, and runs directly west to the Okanogan river. The British Columbia line constitutes the northern boundary.

Article 2 provides that each Indian, male, female, adult or child, living on the ceded portion, shall have the right of selecting eighty acres of land for a home, this to be given them under the allotment law as soon as the treaty shall be ratified by congress.

Article 3 provides that if the Indians living on the ceded portion of the reservation prefer to do so they may move onto the portion of the reservation not ceded.

Article 4 provides that the United States government shall establish a school on the part of the reservation not ceded in the place of the one on Bonaparte creek, and that 640 acres of land shall be given up for the purposes of the school. This article also provides that a sawmill and grist mill shall also be established on the same tract of land at the expense of the government.

Article 5 provides that the United States government shall pay the sum of $1,500,000 for that portion of the reservation ceded, in five annual installments of $300,000 each.

Article 6 provides that the property of those Indians who desire to keep their homes on the ceded portion of the reservation shall not be subject to taxation and that such Indians shall not be restricted in their liberty of hunting and fishing.

Article 7 provides that the government must erect a blacksmith shop for the use of the Indians on the diminished reservation.

Article 8 provides that certain Indians shall have the money due them paid in two annual installments.

Article 9 provides that Indians not signing the treaty may at any future time give deed of relinquishment to the agent in charge of the reservation.

Article 10 provides that the school, mill and blacksmith shop shall be established on land convenient to those Indians having homes on the ceded portion of the reservation.

Article 11 provides that there shall be paid in cash $1,500 to Moses, chief of the Columbias; $1,000 in cash to Joseph, chief of the Nez Perces; $1,000 in cash to Antoine, chief of the Okanogans; $1,000 in cash to Barnaby, chief of the Colvilles, and $1,000 in cash to Arapaughin, chief of the Lakes, in consideration of their using their endeavors to see that the provisions of the treaty be faithfully executed on the part of their people.

Article 12 simply provides that the treaty shall go into effect immediately on its approval by congress. This is a wise provision as there will be none of the usual delays. No proclamation by the president will be necessary. Neither will it be necessary to have a special agent make allotments to the Indians who select homes on the ceded land. As soon as the bill passes congress and is signed by the president the land is open to white settlement.

The treaty is signed by 506 adult Indians and by a majority of all the tribes except one. The commission obtained nearly 200 more names than were necessary. The law said that a simple majority of all the adult Indians was all that was necessary, so that if they had obtained a little over 300 names it would have been sufficient.

When the commissioners came to Marcus last week they met, according to agreement, the Colvilles and the Lakes, with their chief[s], Barnaby and Arapaughin. The council did not really open till Saturday morning. The Colvilles signed almost immediately, and the Lakes, after much discussion, signed in the afternoon. This closed the work of the commission.

The treaty is certainly a fair one to the Indians. They receive a large sum of money. They can keep their homes if they so desire, or they can go into the land yet reserved, which is of ample extent and resource to maintain them in comfort. There are about 700 Indians on the section of the reservation proposed to be ceded, and if everyone of them exercises his right to select eighty acres of land it means the loss of only 56,000 acres from the whole body. But it is thought that most of these Indians will move on to the diminished reservation. It would be natural for them to do so. They can not sell the land they may select, but may sell their improvements. They will probably select lands and soon abandon them to the whites, selling their improvements for what they can get.

The price paid is a large one in the aggregate, but it is only about $1 an acre, and it is worth every cent of it. Two of the commissioners have gone over much of the country conveyed by the treaty, and they say they found much valuable agricultural land and boundless tracts of the finest grazing lands. There is an abundance of good timber and many beautiful streams and fine springs. There is also a promise of great mineral wealth. In fact the commissioners think the land ceded will constitute the richest and most attractive portion of the state. The rapidity, thoroughness and success with which the commission have accomplished this great work are highly gratifying and they have thus imposed on the people of Washington a debt of obligation which can not be easily discharged. They have purchased for us a territory larger than the state of Delaware and more than twice as large as the state of Rhode Island.

The commissioners who have made this treaty are Mark A. Fullerton, a prosperous young lawyer of Colfax, Wash.; Hon[.] James F. Payne, of North Carolina, a long time leading member of the senate of that state, and W. H. H. Dufur, a prominent young man of Oregon, who is extensively interested in agricultural and stock raising pursuits.