Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

Fort Belknap

The Bogus 1855 Hell Gate Treaty and the Rocky Mountain Trench

We must begin our research about Fort Belknap Reservation History, by learning about the 1855 treaties. On July 16, 1855, the bogus Hell Gate Treaty was signed. In the 19th century, the United States made a blunder by placing the main divide (Continental Divide) of the Rocky Mountains in the wrong place on maps. It continues to this day. It is the Rocky Mountain Trench which is the main divide (Continental Divide) of the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountain Trench extends south from near the Yukon border, to Montana, then into the Flathead Valley where Flathead Lake is, and south into the southern Flathead Valley (Mission Valley), which is within the boundaries of the bogus Flathead Reservation. Why is the Flathead Reservation bogus? Because of the Rocky Mountain Trench! As mentioned, the United States made a blunder by placing the main divide (Continental Divide) of the Rocky Mountains in the wrong place on maps. It is not 20 to 30 miles east of the bogus Flathead Reaervation. It is in the middle of the bogus Flathead Reservation. It means the 1855 Hell Gate Treaty never happened and the Flathead Reservation is really a part of the Ojibwa's Blackfeet Reservation.

The First Blackfeet Reservation (October 17,1855 Treaty)

On October 17, 1855, the Judith River Treaty established the first Blackfeet Reservation including what is now Flathead Reservation. On land cession maps, the western boundary of the first Blackfeet Reservation, is the Main Divide or Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains which is the Rocky Mountain Trench. Flathead Reservation is really a Blackfeet Reservation, as well as a Nez Perce who are the Amikwa Ojibwa's, and Flathead who are an admixture of Ojibwa and Salish, and also Kootenai who are also an admixture of Ojibwa and non Ojibwa. What is now Fort Peck Reservation, was not included as being within the first Blackfeet Reservation. On the east, the eastern boundary of the first Blackfeet Reservation, was the mouth of Milk River directly north to the Canadian border. The September 1, 1868 Treaty, is suspicious for not only being unratified but mistakes made in the boundaries of the Reservation.

The Second Blackfeet Reservation (the 1873 Treaties)

After the Mullan Road War diminished somewhat after 1870, another treaty was reached between the United States and representatives of the Ojibwa Nation, on July 5 of 1873. Land was added onto to the second Blackfeet Reservation where Fort Peck Reservation is but Reservation land was illegally ceded where the land cession numbers 398 and 399 are. Later on, the Montana Ojibwa's continued to honor the October 17, 1855 Treaty by living throughout the land area where the numbers 398 and 399 are. That includes Flathead Reservation. It would lead to many forced Deportations the Montana Ojibwa's had to endure. Fort Peck Reservation is also a Blackfeet Ojibwa Reservation. Also in 1873, the United States reached an agreement with the Ojibwa People known as the Gros Ventre (they refer to themselves as the Atsina and White Clay People - they are also known as the Crow and Hidatsa and the Falls People, People of the Falls and the Pembina), about relocating to Minnesota. In 1867, the United States added land to Leech Lake Reservation. On the west, they added land which today is White Earth Reservation. The proper name of White Earth Reservation is White Clay Reservation. The soil has a distinct white color at White Clay Reservation. On March 3, 1873 the treaty was signed that established White Clay Reservation or as it is known today, White Earth Reservation. Then on August 16, 1873 the Ojibwa's (Gros Ventre or Crow) signed a treaty that established a Reservation in Montana about 17 miles southwest of Fort Belknap Reservation. It may be the infamous Turtle Mountain Reservation of Montana or the 8th Ojibwa Reservation of Montana. The October 29, 1873 Treaty probably involved the Gros Ventres as well. It added land to Leech Lake Reservation or established the Winnibigoshish Reservation (aka White Oak Point Reservation).

The Third Blackfeet Reservation (April 15, 1874 Treaty)

Although the treaty the previous year created a new Blackfeet Reservation, the United States had no intentions of honoring that treaty. On April 15, 1874, the United States broke treaty and reached a treaty agreement with representatives of the Ojibwa Nation who did not have the authority to act on behalf of the Ojibwa Nation. Land was illegally ceded where the land cession number 574 is.

The Fourth Blackfeet Reservation (May 1, 1888 Treaty)

This treaty from May 1, 1888, is the infamous 10 an Acre Treaty. Ojibwa leaders refused to sign the treaty. In fact, they continued to honor the October 17, 1855 Treaty which created the first Blackfeet Reservation. However, they may have agreed to cede Reservation land where land cession number 565 is. That may have happened on September 1, 1868. Instead of dealing with Reservation leaders as one entity, the United States instead dealt with leaders from four distinct regions. They are the Forth Blackfeet Reservation, Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation (aka Rocky Boys Reservation), Fort Belknap Reservation, and Fort Peck Reservation. Ojibwa leaders continued to honor the treaty that created their Reservation. In May of 1895, the United States arrested several Montana Ojibwa leaders and Deported them to the Turtle Mountain Reservation of North Dakota, then for some, to Canada. Afterwards, many forced Deportations of the Montana Ojibwa's commenced. The forced Deportations may have lasted up to the 1940s.

Chief Rocky Boy

In an article from the Butte Inter Mountain Newspaper from March 8, 1902, it was reported that ogima Rocky Boy has made application to the United States government requesting for Reservation. The same article stated that the total number under Rocky Boys leadership was 400 and some lived near Great Falls, Butte, and Havre. It was encouraging news to the United States who were impressed with Rocky Boy. This event from March 1902, led to Rocky Boy becoming the Gitchi Ogima of the Montana Chippewas. Click here to read the March 8, 1902 article.

After ogima Rocky Boy sent the letter, which was written for him by Anaconda attorney J.W. James, to the President, requesting for a Reservation, it was reported in the Butte Inter Mountain Newspaper on May 14, 1902, that the request was refused by the Department of Indian Affairs which is a lie. When the petition was brought to the commissioner, he instructed the Indian Agent at Flathead Reservation to visit Anaconda to determine if the Chippewas were American born. Another white excuse. American leaders were very interested in chief Rocky Boy. They knew Rocky Boy was very willing to negotiate land deals and the McCumber Agreement would be voted on shortly. They also knew Land Acts would happen within a few years. They knew they needed Rocky Boy's support. Click here to read the May 14, 1902 article. You will notice the article has the headlines "No Reservation." Chief Rocky Boy also contacted Senator Gibson requesting for his support which Gibson agreed to. The Indian Agent at Flathead Reservation, Thomas Downs, recommended that room be made on the Flathead Reservation for the Chippewas from southwestern Montana under chief Rocky Boy's leadership. A bill was prepared for the ratification of the agreement to set aside new Chippewa Reservations. Sentor Gibson was put in charge.

The January 8, 1904 Ratification

Then in 1904 (the year the fraudulent 10 cent an acre Treaty or McCumber Agreement was passed), chief Rocky Boy was given very postive news. On January 8, 1904, Senator Gibson's bill known as S. 2705 (S. 2705, Fifty-eighth Congress, first session) was ratified. They claim otherwise but they lied. Chief Rocky Boy knew congressman Joseph Dixon had been given the power to give Rocky Boy new Chippewa Reservations. Thus, the reason the visit between chief Rocky Boy and Dixon happened at the Chippewa village at the base of Mount Jumbo in 1904. The Mount Jumbo either on the north side of Hellgate Ganyon or Hellgate Pass, near Missoula, or the Mount Jumbo 21 miles northeast of Seely Lake. Since Seely Lake is within Swan Valley, that area is the likely location of the meeting. After chief Rocky Boy had his Reservation request supposedly rejected, he then commenced a campaign to allow the Ojibwa's he led, to settle on unsurveyed land. Swan Valley is located within Flathead Reservation. They have maps from the late 19th century which clearly show Swan Valley within Flathead Reservation. The Chippewa's led by chief Rocky Boy, were relocated to what is now Flathead Reservation or Swan Valley.

1908-1909: New Reservation

In response to the hostile Chippewas of Fort Peck Reservation, chief Rocky Boy negotiated with Indian Agent Frank Churchill about a new Chippewa Reservation for them. Churchill agreed and requested from the government of the United States, that all of Valley County, Montana be withdrawn from white settlement and that a new 72 township or 2,592 sq. mi. Chippewa Reservation be set aside. It was really Fort Peck Reservation that was withdrawn from white settlement. The government of the United States agreed to Churchills request. They needed time to find suitable land that the Chippewas from Fort Peck Reservation would take kindly to and the whites would avoid. They sought out the Fort Belknap Reservation Superintendent William R. Logan. Logan new the region south of Fort Belknap Reservation was quite mountainous and the region west of Fort Belknap Reservation was even more mountainous. Logan had that land added on to Fort Belknap Reservation.

A battle may have been fought south of Fort Belknap Reservation in 1909, which probably intensified the search for a new Chippewa Reservation. By November of 1909, an agreement had been reached in which the new Chippewa Reservation was added onto Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. It is located south of Fort Belknap Reservation to the Missouri River and follows the Missouri River to Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation. It includes the entire Bear Paws Mountain Range and the land directly north of same said mountain range, to Fort Belknap Reservation. Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation covers over 1,000 sq. mi. and so does Fort Belknap Reservation. The size of all 3 Reservations, which are connected, is around 4,700 sq. mi.

Lies of 1916

In early 1916, chief Rocky Boy supposedly passed away. A few months later the United States once again resorted to infidelity (refused to honor treaty agreements) and dramatically reduced the size of the Chippewa Reservation set aside in 1909. Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation was reduced from over 1,000 sq. mi. to under 100 sq. mi. The land addition of 2,592 sq. mi. was eradicated. Several hundred full blood Chippewas were forced off of Reservation rolls and relocated to the Papago Reservation of Arizona in 1917 and the Navajo Reservation in 1918. Both Fort Belknap Reservation and Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation (aka Rocky Boys Reservation) should have larger populations. Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation had its name changed to Rocky Boy's Reservation. Those who were kicked off of Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation rolls were full bloods. Many mixed bloods were allowed to remain instead. Before 1909, the population of Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation was between 500 and 1,000. After the 300 or so full blood Chippewas were kicked off the Reservation, the population of Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation declined to around 400. For you to understand this information more clearly, Rocky Boy's Reservation was not set aside in 1916 but most of it was stolen in 1916. Havre, Montana is actually within Rocky Boy's Reservation. Check out the Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation map. Fort Belknap Reservation remained as it was before 1909. It covers around 1,014 sq. mi. That's after land was added to Fort Belknap Reservation in the 1930s and 1940s, for the supposed landless Chippewa's of Montana. As mentioned, these Reservations are still intact, as is the real Rocky Boy's Reservation.

Demographics of Fort Belknap Reservation

Covers 1,014 sq. mi. (including the 72 townships chief Rocky Boy received in 1909, 3,606 sq. mi.)

Population is 2,851 (2010 census)

Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation (aka Rocky Boy Reservation)-Fort Belknap Reservation Communities - 2010 population for both is 6,930 (Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation 3,260 including mixed bloods and Fort Belknap 3,670 including mixed bloods and the cities of Harlem and Dodson, Montana.

Fort Belknap Agency
Gold Creek
Lodge Pole
North Hays or Old Hays - they actually have a roundhouse there
Star Hill - it's located 1/2 mile southeast of Hays along Star Hill Road

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