ALABAMA RESIDENTS SUPPORT OUR NATIVE AMERICAN NEIGHBORS

The following letter was sent in support of the Seneca Indians from the Tonawanda Reservation. The government was trying to force the tribe to move from their home reservation to reservations in the midwest.

“To the Senate of the United States: The undersigned, citizens of Alabama, Genesee County, in the State of New York, humbly represent that we believe great injustice is about to be done to the Tonawanda band of Seneca Indians, by the execution of the treaty of 1842. We believe that treaty to be invalid, for the following among other reasons: Almost every signature was obtained on the assurance that if it were not signed, the treaty of 1838, driving them from all their lands, would be immediately executed. The company then knew, and now acknowledge, that that treaty could not be legally enforced. Less thab two hundred Indians, on all the reservations, could be found willing to sell, and the chiefs who signed the treaty did so not to part with, but as far as possible to save their homes. If they had known their rights as they now do, not twenty signatures could have been obtained. Of the Tonawanda band, not one chief ever signed either treaty, nor could a single Indian be induced to consent to departure. The treaty gives them for their lands but one-tenth of their value, and nothing for one of the finest water privileges in the state. They have no place to go except the Indian Territory; and of two hundred who went there from Cattaraugus last spring, over eighty died within four months, from the unhealthiness of the climate. They are a moral, industrious, honest people, rapidly improving in their condition, possessing good farms, and are strongly attached to the homes of their fathers. The people of the State of New York do not desire their removal, and have no sympathy with their spoilers. In view of these facts, we humbly and earnestly petition your honorable body to except the Tonawanda band of Indians from the execution of the treaty of 1842.”

Signed: R. B. Warren, H. Pettibone Jr., Wm. G. Morse, Thomas W. Allis, Jeremiah Horning, Abiatha W. Green, H. H. Stage. John M. Warren, Chester Miller, George C. Alexander, Samuel Piper, Curtis Barnes, William Carr, Wyatt W. Goodrich, H. H. Hatheway, Jacob K. Bartlett, O. S. Hathaway, Joseph Webster, N. A. Ensworth, W. R. Hopkins, Samuel Winchel, James Matteson, Guy B. Shepard, A. B. Palmer, Allen Rice, Eleazer Bemis, E. B. Ingalsbe, Selah Vosburgh, Levi Ingalsbe, Charles Adams, James B. Chambers, Shubel Franklin, Walter Rider, Peter Coon, Lorenzo Clark.

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