With conflict focusing attention on the far eastern and western ends of the U.S.-Canadian border, the interior plains boundaries were overlooked for a time, but federal concern soon grew over border security coast to coast, and border-violating Natives became seen as a problem (p. 42)
…for examples of evolving American views of transnational Crees in the 1840s and 1850s (p. 230)
Citing the movement of Métis buffalo hunters from Canada in 1844, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, T. M. Crawford, complained that they “ought not be permitted to hunt within our boundaries, to the injury of our Indians and the citizens of the United States who are trading among them.” Crawford’s ire was not a wholesale condemnation of border-crossing Natives, but a complaint was of an extractive hunting presence. Crawford’s complaint signaled a shift in rhetoric, but not wholesale rejection of indigenous border-crossing. The positive presence of transnational fur-trading Natives was altogether different. Soldiers in Nebraska territory (future Montana and Wyoming Territories) continued to note of regular and Cree and Chippewa traders in the territory in the 1850s with no negative commentary. Fur traders were contributing to a regional industry, whereas the Métis were not.
- United States, Office of Indian Affairs, 1844 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Washington D.C.: T. Barnard, Printer, 1846), 7.
- James Chambers, 21 June 1855, Fort Sarpy Journal, in Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana (1940 reprint, Boston: J.S. Canner and Co., 1966), 10: 130.
- Edwin A.C. Hatch Diary, June 26, July 5, July 6, 1856, Edwin A. C. Hatch Diary, 1856, SC 810, Montana State Historical Society (MSHS), Helena, MT.