REMOVAL OF THE INDIANS
In the spring of 1848, arrangements were inaugurated with a view to the removal of the Indians to some distant point where the aggressions of civilization had not yet manifested them-selves, and to which it might be years before they would extend. And here may be related an incident of Indian character which will illustrate one of the reasons why their intimate association was not desired by the whites.
During the winter, their removal had been agitated, and a band laden with furs had encamped at the foot of the bluffs at some distance from the city, preparatory to negotiating the sale of their peltries. Having communicated their desires to Mr. Levy, and engaged with him to visit their camp the succeeding day, they departed. In accordance with this arrangement, Mr. Levy and an assistant started at daylight the next morning, and traveled all day in the direction of the camp. Late in the afternoon, he reached the objective point of his journey, and halted at a distance from the Indian wigwams. It being late, he suggested to them that they postpone trading until the next day. But they’d none of it, and acting upon the apparent desire of the savages, trading was commenced while yet the light remained. By using expedition and avoiding disputation, the trades were concluded by dusk, and each sought their camps for the night——the one to plan to prey, and the other to plan an escape; for while the sales were in progress, the companion of Levy heard them conspiring to steal back the skins while
their purchasers slept, and secure them at any sacriﬁce. So as soon as the purchases could
be securely packed on the sleigh, the traders hitched up their team, and by very careful management were enabled to elude the vigilance and cunning of the savages, and get out of their reach. They traveled all night, and reached home at daylight the next morning, happy in their good fortune, while the Indians, on discovering their escape, as was afterward ascertained, pranced about with fury and disappointment.
When the decision to remove the savages to Crow River Reservation was promulgated, as may be readily inferred, it was not accepted with a spirit of resignation or willingness to accept the situation. The Indian character is notoriously deﬁcient of those characteristics which breed these excellent virtues. On the contrary, they swore they would not go, and employed every means available or to be availed of to give emphasis to this determination. Dandy and his band were particularly severe in their denunciation of the move, and specially determined not to go. In May, the excitement ran high, and fears of trouble were expressed. During that month, a number of the head men among the Indians sought Mr. Levy and asked permission to hold a council in his house, which was granted on condition that the participants remained sober and refrained from manifesting too much war spirit. They accepted those stipulations and returned to their camp, a short distance up the river. The next morning, the river was crowded with canoes, ﬁlled with Indians painted to represent them in the most unamiable mood, with feathers in their hair and other evidences of warlike intentions. The spectacle while aboriginal, and in some respects attractive, was not calculated to inspire the settlers with a peace of mind indescribable, but the boats were rowed to the village, where they unloaded, and the march to Levy’s house began.
Upon reaching that domicile, they were surprised to ﬁnd it locked, as Mr. Levy had omitted to mention the matter to his wife, and she, fearful of an attack, had closed up the premises and retired to an inner room for safety. After some delay, admission was obtained and the pow-wow carried on in the dining room, each Indian with a pipe betwixt his teeth smoking, reﬂecting and expectorating with a solemnity that would have deﬁed the profundity of a philosopher to imitate or emulate, and secured for each the lasting disgust of Mrs. Levy. Here they remained for two hours perhaps, when, having concluded their business, they vacated the premises and returned whence they came, their canoes plowing the waves of the river, the surface of which appearing in the sunlight bright and sparkling as the burnished shield of Achilles.
There was no trouble resulting from the council, neither was the decision to move them affected thereby. Communications were addressed the authorities at Washington by those kindly disposed toward them to which no attention was paid, and in June, they were sent further West to grow up with the country, accompanied by White, Marks and Horton, settlers in La Crosse. In 1849, those who escaped the ﬁrst emigration followed in the footsteps of their brethren, and a dissolution of the partnership of Levy & Snow was decided and accomplished upon the following basis: Snow received the farm at the mouth of State Road Cooley, and Levy the Spaulding claim, while the goods in stock were divided between them. Subsequently Levy purchased the claim of Ann White, and came into possession of about one-fourth of the river front.
Source : https://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/la-crosse-to-ditch-columbus-day-celebrate-indigenous-peoples-day/article_6afe971b-22b7-56d4-8ae5-38d20cc8ca38.html