The Sokaogon Chippewa and their lost treaty : 'We have always been here'
McGeshick, Joseph R.
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The Sokaogon Chippewa struggled for years in northern Wisconsin to retain their traditional land which provided all the necessities of life. Researching Sokaogon history from 1826 to the early 1850s reveals that the Sokaogon enjoyed separate recognition from the federal government, as an autonomous group of Lake Superior Chippewa. However, the federal government, with the eager support of the Euroamerican population in the state, attempted to consolidate as many of the different Lake Superior Chippewa groups as possible to make room fro the influx of settlers, miners and timbermen. According to Sokaogon oral tradition, and supported by contemporary Chippewa historians and scholars, the Sokaogon negotiated and signed a treaty sometime between 1854 and 1855. Unfortunately, the treaty, and an accompanying map outlining a reservation of some twelve square miles, was lost before being ratified by Congress. Some eighty years passed before the government recognized the Sokaogon as a separate group of Lake Superior Chippewa.