Paying Tributes

“As at St. Joe and in the west bottoms the emigrants had been pestered by ‘dirty looking redskins’ looking for handouts. These were the more shiftless members of the Kickapoo, Sac and Fox tribes who had been settled on the west bank of the Missouri River in the early 1840s. West of Mosquito Creek these tribesmen had more clothing and fewer lice, and their begging assumed more sophisticated forms, of which Lucius Fairchild’s experience was typical: ‘We met two Indians one a Sac and the other a Fox both chiefs with a paper from the Indian Agent saying that these Indians complained of the emigrants burning timber and requested all to pay them something so we gave them half a dollar which satisfied them.’ In 1852 several indignant travelers mentioned the levying of tribute at the rate of 25¢ per team just to cross the reservation.’The tariff,’ wrote Jay Green, ‘Idid refuse to pay as I thought it a skeem of speculation got up by the Indian Agent.'”