A History of the Rice Lake Indians by Mary Jane Muskratte Simpson
The benefit of the Indian tribes
Records of Crown Land Dept. L.W. No. 39
Copy of a report or a committee of the Hon. The Executive Council, dated 12th; July 1856. Approved by H.E. The Governor in Council 14th; July 1856.
On a report from the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, submitting two surrenders made by the Mississauga Indians of Rice Lake, and by the Mississaugas of Alnwick. Of certain lands and islands which they claim.
The Superintendent-General states that the above surrenders were obtained by Captain Anderson in June last; that the only stipulation attaching to them are that the monies arising from the sales of such surrendered lands may be invested for the benefit of the land surrendering and that a duplicate of the instrument to give it such bands.
That the surrenders by the Mississaugas of Mud Lakes compromises the islands in Rice Lake hitherto surrendered, and all the islands and mainland lying and situated in the Newcastle and Colborne District, except the reservations on the shore of Rice, Mud and Scugog Lakes.
That some of these islands are valuable, one in Balsam Lake containing 1000 acres. That some doubts exist as to whether these islands were, or were not, included in a former surrender, but that there does not seem to be any objection to deciding the matter by accepting the present cession.
That the Mississaugas of Alnwick cede the islands belonging to them in the Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario, Weller's Bay and the river St. Lawrence and certain parcels of territory on the mainland.
That to the islands in the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario that their title is undisputed. That the ground on the mainland and the islands in the St. Lawrence are claimed by other parties.
He therefore suggested that in accepting this surrender it would be advisable to insert a stipulation that the covenant as to the investment of the proceeds for the benefit of the Mississaugas of Alnwick should be held binding only as far as the title of that band should be found to be good, but that they shall be considered as having now waived all right hereafter to raise claims to these surrendered lands, this cession being considered final as regards to them.
The committee recommended that the surrenders be accepted in the manner and upon the conditions suggested by the Superintendent-General and that they are recorded in the offices of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and of the Provincial Registrar respectively. Certified, "Wm. H. Lee" C.E.Q.
Provincial Registrar's Office, Toronto August 4th, 1856.
I Hereby certify that the foregoing minutes in council, together with the two accompanying surrenders, have respectively been entered upon the records of this office in Lib.C.S. Folio 152, 153, 154, 155. "Thomas Amiot" Dep. Reg'r.
Report on Special Commissioners, 1858
The Mississaugas of Rice, Mud, and Scugog Lakes; Captain Anderson's Evidence:
These Bands, members of the same tribe, surrendered the greater part of their possessions in 1818 for an annuity of $2,960 (740 pounds). The tract so ceded contains 1,951,000 acres, situated in the Newcastle District.
The Rice Lake Indians occupy about 1,550 acres of land, of which 1,120 were granted in 1834 to trustees for "the benefit of the Indian tribes" in the Province, and with a view "to their conversion and civilization".
They have subsequently purchased 430 acres in addition out of their own funds. 200 acres in Otonabee are also held in trust for the joint benefit of the Rice and Mud Lake Indians.
Rice Lake Band: These tribes are all Christianized, the Rice and Scugog Indians adopting the Methodist form of belief, while the Mud Lake tribe are under the superintendence of the New England Company. Their present minister is a Baptist.
The Rice Lake Indians number 145, being a small increase within the last fifteen years. Their village contains 26 houses, all but one of which are built of logs, 13 barns, of which 11 are frame structures, a frame church, a schoolhouse, and a school-master's house, also a council-house.
The school is at present kept by a white woman, and the usual attendance is reported latterly to have reached 30. During the past winter, it averaged about half that number, the total number of children of an age to attend school is given at 40.
Mud Lake Band: These Indians are so-called from the settlement on Mud, or Chemong, Lake where there have been located upwards of 25 years.
They occupy a tract of 1,600 acres in the Township of Smith, which was given for them in trust to the New England Company, in 1837. Their present clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Gilmour, has allotted to each family a parcel of ground varying from 1 to 4 acres. They number 96 individuals, holding 70½ acres of ground, all of which are cleared. Their public property consists of a log church and a small quantity of farming implements and stock. They possess 17 houses and 6 sheds or barns, all of which are made of logs. The produce raised last year was Spring Wheat, 35 Bu; Indian Corn, 15 Bu; potatoes, 195 Bu; and 10½ tons of Hay. Their stock comprises 4 horses and 17 head of cattle.
The average attendance at school is said to be about 20.
Cobourg Sentinel-Star, issue July 14th, 1858; Meeting of the Sons of Temperance.
The Editor of that day gives a sketch of the Reserve at Alderville, where he attended this meeting.
"The venerable Chief, John Sunday, so well known as a speaker on missionary platforms, was present and was duly elected and installed as one of the officers of the Division, as was also his son-in-law John Rice, an Indian of more than ordinary intelligence. There were, if we remember rightly, nearly a score of old members present, and we trust that with the able co-operation of the Rev. S. Hurlburt, under whose pastoral care this very interesting mission is now placed, the good cause will flourish again and take deeper root than ever, and fill the neighbourhood with its pleasant fruits."
"After the immediate object of our visit was concluded we paid a visit to the schoolroom, a commodious structure of brick, where we were particularly struck with the reading of one of the Indians. Few white men can read English with half the clearness of enunciation, the correct emphasis, and thorough appreciation of the subject as this young son of the forest, whose mind is anything but 'untutored'. It is truly gratifying to know that under the care and influence of Mr. Bettice, the younger members of this interesting community are acquiring at least the rudiments of knowledge, and learning to become useful members of society. There are from 50 to 70 attending this school."
"We cannot entertain but pleasing anticipations of the results of the combined labours of the missionary, the schoolmaster, and the Temperance Brotherhood of the future prospects of this beautiful village, over which there already reigns a Sabbath-like placidity which contrasts most favourably with many a village of the white man."
"We may observe in connection with this matter the unblushing manner in which the law prohibiting the sale of liquor to an Indian is violated in this town. Whenever Cobourg has inflicted upon it the visit of a circus or anything of the kind, many of the Indians were discovered reeling drunk about the streets and nobody has done the mischief! What a burning shame it is that our tavern-keepers should be allowed to go on breaking the laws with impunity. Sooner or later they will bitter repent their iniquitous conduct, and discover that money thus earned brings with it a fearful curse."
"Many of our readers have doubtless noticed in the shop of Mr. Pringle, watchmaker, a beautiful silver tomahawk. This very beautiful specimen of silverwork was lately presented to Captain Anderson by the Mohawk Indians near the Bay of Quinte upon the occasion of his farewell visit. The pipe-tomahawk, for it is a combination of the emblems of war and peace, is a most admirable piece of workmanship, the head being of silver exquisitely chased and engraved.
On one side are delineated the emblems of three different tribes, the turtle, the bear, and the wolf, disposed triangularly; and on the other a beautiful sketch of an Indian encampment by the lakeshore, surrounded with flowers, scroll-work, etc; the whole forming a very fine specimen of the skill of J. G. Joseph and Co. of Toronto by whom it was executed, and a most tasteful tribute to Captain Anderson, by whom it was wholly unexpected.
When he took his leave of them for the last time some of the principal men of the tribes accompanied him for nine miles on his way, and then in bidding him farewell presented him with this most beautiful and appropriate testimony of their respect and goodwill. On the socket which receives the mahogany stem or handle the following inscription is engraved: 'Presented to Captain T. G. Anderson by the Mohawk Indians, Tyendinaga, 1858.'