Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

SCC Hopes to Convince Congress of Treaty Mistake

Photo courtesy of WJFW

By Ben Meyer, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter – WJFW Newswatch 12

At a glance, the acre is a simple swath of land in the woods near Pelican Lake. But to Jimmy Landru, Jr.’s eyes, it’s a cornerstone of his Tribe.

“It brings a lot of emotions to me, because this is my home,” Landru, a member of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, said last week.

The Tribe bought the acre of land and erected a historical marker this year on the site. In documents passed down through his wife’s family, Landru learned the historical range of the Sokaogon once covered about 20 square miles in today’s Oneida, Forest, and Langlade counties. It traced a rough square with Pelican Lake, Summit Lake, Pickerel Lake, and Lake Metonga on its corners.

Landru is leading the effort to buy pieces of land on the corners of that square and put up historical markers. The one on Pelican Lake is the first.

“When I got these documents, it put a fire under me to try to find it,” Landru said.

The documents, now turning yellow, were written by former Chief Willard Ackley. They suggest the Tribe, in a 1854 treaty with the United States, was promised a reservation of at least 12 square miles within that 20-square-mile box.

Instead, they got no land at all.

“They wanted to conveniently cheat us out of our land,” Landru said.

Some treaty documents were lost, and the Sokaogon Chippewa was landless for more than 80 years. For that reason, some people still know them as the “Lost Tribe”.