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James A. Clifton Native American research collection, 1806-2001 (Scattered), and undated

36 cubic ft. (in 19 boxes, 19 card boxes, 2 Oversized Folders)

Collection of wide variety of research and reference materials on Native Americans, mostly Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Ottawa, mainly in Michigan and Kansas, but also includes Wisconsin, Canadian, and other Native American tribes. The main series are: Clifton personal, research, reference, and academic materials, Bay Mills Indian Community Court Case materials, Canadian Potawatomi research materials, Kansas Potawatomi research materials, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community vs. the State of Michigan court case materials, Michigan tuition waver project materials, [Native American] Removal documents, reprints, Saginaw Chippewa Tribe court case materials, and Wisconsin vs. Baker court case materials.

Abbreviations: Due to the size of this collection, the following abbreviations have been used to cut down on the size and of the finding aid. Abbreviations used include the following: ABCFM for American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM was used by Clifton in many of his notations in the Reprints series). ARSMPIS for Annual Reports of the Superintendent of the Mount Pleasant Indian School. AG for Attorney General. BIA for Bureau of Indian Affairs. COIA for Commissioner of Indian Affairs. ICC for Indian Claims Commission. IL for Illinois. IN for Indiana. JL for journal. KN for Kansas. KUPS for University of Kansas Potawatomi Survey. MAG for Michigan Attorney General. MI for Michigan MHS for Minnesota Historical Society. MN for Minnesota. MO for Missouri. MS for Mississippi.i NAM for National Archives Microfilm. NEB for Nebraska. NY for New York. NWT for Old Northwest Territory. OK for Oklahoma. PA for Pennsylvania. Qly for quarterly. Re: for regarding. SD for South Dakota. US for United States. W for West WI for Wisconsin

Spelling Note: The spelling of Indian words, such as villages, tribes, bands, and the names of individuals, varies greatly among and within nineteenth century documents and articles. I copied the spelling [errors] or phonetic pronunciations used in these older documents for this finding aid.

Series Description: Overall, Clifton’s collection documents his academic papers, large research projects, and his reference collection. It also includes a small amount of biographical material on Clifton.

The collection consists almost entirely of photocopies or photo-static copies of published and unpublished articles or drafts of articles, speeches, complete or partial books, correspondence, contracts, curriculum vitaes, government documents, treaties, grant proposals and related materials, faxed information, lists, notes, and various other reference materials, maps, a small number of duplicated black and white photographs, mainly from the Smithsonian Institute, and other materials, including a few overheads.

The originals in the collection include some Clifton’s correspondence and some of his notes and notecards. Many of his notes, particularly in the KUPS series are typed.

The collection is first divided by the size and format of the material into three groupings. First, (mostly) letter-sized material (with some legal-size material). Second, note cards, and, third, oversized material.

The letter-size material is then organized into a number of series. Each series is then organized alphabetically by subject, and then within each series alphabetically and chronologically by the folders’ headings, as appropriate. As much as possible, the archivist used Clifton’s headings, or an expanded version of them, as needed, for ease of use by researchers. In cases were there were no folder headings, or indeed no folders, the archivist sought to organize and label materials as simply as was possible for reasonable easy use by researchers.

The following letter-size series (a total of 18 cubic ft.) are found in this collection: 1) Clifton Materials-Biographical and Academic Papers; and his large research projects and reference collection are documented in the following series: 2) Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) Court Case Materials; 3) Canadian Potawatomi Research Materials; 4) Kansas Potawatomi Research Materials; 5) Keweenaw Bay Indian Community vs. the State of MI Court Case Materials; 6) MI Tuition Waver Project Materials; 7) [Native American] Removal Documents; 8) Reprints; 9) Saginaw Chippewa Tribe Court Case Materials; and 10) WI vs. Baker Court Case Materials.

Most of the remainder of the collection consists topical 5x7 inch handwritten Notecards (15 cubic ft. in 19 boxes). Oversized materials (approximately 3 cubic ft.) include an oversized folder of some Isabella County (MI) plat maps (copies), 1891; and an oversized volume of various pages from multiple nineteenth century Tract Books of the General Land Office (Ionia, MI).

1) Clifton Materials, 1963-2000 (total approximately .5 cubic foot), includes his Biographical Material, 1987, 2000 (1 folder), with his Obituary, 2000; and his Academic Papers, 1963, 1972-1989, 1990, 1993, 2000, consisting of Clifton’s bibliography on Old Northwest Indian removal, 1825-1855; copies of book reviews, introductions to books and articles, his coursepack for a class; papers for publication and presentation, published articles, reports for the WI Dept of Justice for WI vs. Stockbridge [Mohican] Munsee Community (Case No. 98-C-0871), a case he researched for the WI Attorney General’s office, some of his research materials, and notes.

The Judicial Update website of Morisset, Schlosser [who specializes in federal litigation, natural resource and Indian tribal property issues], Jozwiak and McGaw (, on Nov. 18, 2004, describes the WI vs. Stockbridge Munsee Community Case No. 98-C-0871 67 F Supp. 2 d 990 (E. D. Wisc. Sept. 30, 1999) as follows: “[The] State [of WI] brought action seeking to prevent the tribe from operating Class III electronic games of chance at a casino located outside boundaries on [the] Indian reservation. Upon [the] state’s motion for preliminary injunction, the district court held that: (1) [the] state demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success of their claim that Act of 1871 resulted in diminishment of [the] tribe’s reservation, and (2) other factors warranted granting preliminary injunction. Motion granted.”

This series documents various aspects of Clifton’s academic, publication, and research interests and activities. The rest of the collection documents his large research projects, particularly those regarding Native American court cases in MI and his Kansas University Potawatomi Survey research project.

Personal information on Clifton, aside from that found in his obituary, is not available in this collection.

2) Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) Court Case Materials, 1936-1998 (Scattered) (approximately 1.5 cubic ft.), which documents two court cases. The court case for which there is the most material is the BMIC vs. Western United Life Assurance Co., et al. Documenting this court case are copies of court records, correspondence and email, reference and supporting documentation, 1936-1937, 1974-1975, 1992, and, mostly, 1997-1998, collected and notated by Clifton, who worked for the MAG. The Peninsula Legal Services, P.C., served as the tribe’s legal counsel.

BMIC vs. Western began in 1996 as a land claims settlement case. The BMIC had a claim to over 100 acres of land in what is now Charlotte Beach (MI). The land was to be held in trust for ancestral bands of the BMIC by the Governor of MI. Eventually the land was sold for delinquent taxes, without BMIC’s knowledge or consent. The court case resulted in the severe decrease of the value of the Charlotte Beach property and the inability of the current owners to verify their deeds. The tribe desired the land back or an equitable settlement. The case continued with various compromises being offered and not accepted by the BMIC for ten years. Part of the continuance, documented by a smaller amount of copied material (three folders), is the BMIC vs. the State of MI, et al. court case, 1998.

The Judicial Update website of Morisset, Schlosser [who specializes in federal litigation, natural resource and Indian tribal property issues], Jozwiak and McGaw (, on Nov. 18, 2004, describes BMIC vs. Western United Life Assurance Co., no. 99-1036, (6th Cir. 2000) as follows: “Plaintiff Bay Mills Indian Community filed a complaint Asserting an interest I a parcel of property within the county [Charlotte Beach, MI]. Bay Mills alleged various federal constitutional and statutory violations in connection with the 1884 ouster from the property of its predecessors in interest, two aboriginal Chippewa bands, and sought either equitable title to the property or damages equal to its value and damages for the loss of the use and enjoyment of the land since 1884. The defendants, individuals and entities currently possessing various interests in the property, moved to dismiss the action under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 (b)(7) and 19 for failure to join an indispensable party,the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The district court granted the defendants’ motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint. Affirmed.”

In 2002 the US Senate proposed a bill to offer property in Sault Ste. Marie (MI) to the tribe, on which they could operate a casino. The committee on Indian Affairs heard the bill’s supporters and detractors and adjourned, declining the proposed bill. [Information from US. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs. BMIC Land Claims Settlement Act. Hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, US Senate, 1077th Congress, 2nd Session on S. 2986 Oct. 10, 2002, a e-copy of which is available in the Park Library.]

3) Canadian Potawatomi Research Materials, 1835-1975, and undated (Scattered) (7 folders). This small series includes copies of acts, treaties, and constitutions of the Prairie Potawatomi in Kansas, 1936; materials relating to the Caldwell Band of Point Pelee, Pelee Island, and Malden, Ontario, Canada; Potawatomi Agency Correspondence, 1837-1870-1878; and Potawatomi Study Correspondence, 1973-1975; and Correspondence to/from Clifton, and Reference materials.

4) Kansas Potawatomi Research Materials, 1880-1883, 1886 1932, 1940, 1948, 1952, 1962-1965, 1973-1974, mainly 1962-1965 (approximately 2 cubic ft.)

General Kansas Potawatomi materials, mostly copied reference materials, 1880-1883, 1886 1932, 1940, 1948, 1952, 1973-1974, (9 inches, or approximately .5 cubic foot), are open to researchers. This includes correspondence, miscellaneous notes, and genealogies (family trees), as well as a large amount of reference materials, including newspaper clippings, bibliographies, and copies of articles. Also included are instructions for coding field notes and research materials for the Kansas University Potawatomi Survey (KUPS) Clifton led.

Of particular note here are the KUPS materials, mostly 1962-1965. The KUPS materials include: field notes, cross reference notes to field notes, and other research or reference materials, such as citations and maps. These materials were accumulated and categorized by Clifton, his wife, Faye, and his research assistants, Bob Bee and Ann Searcy, during their interviews with and observations of Kansas Potawatomi, also called the Prairie Band of Potawatomi, from 1962 through 1965. Many of these Potawatomi lived in the Mayetta (Kan.) vicinity. Notes and reference materials were filed within an extensive, coded KUPS folder arrangement. Many of the folders were found to be empty during processing, so researchers will notice gaps in the numerical sequence of the KUPS folders.

The FIELD NOTES of the KUPS (approximately 1.5 cubic ft.) are CLOSED TO RESEARCHERS for 70 years until 2045 [1965+70], because of the personal information in the detailed field notes, including: medical and psychiatric patient case records, alcoholism, the use of peyote, criminal records, sexual orientation, marital status, perceptions of those who were thought to practice witchcraft, sexual or physical abuse some people in the study suffered or received, and the detailed information about their financial states, as well as governmental support received, the field notes are closed.

6) Keweenaw Bay Indian Community vs. the State of MI Court Case Materials, were collected and annotated by Clifton for the State of MAG, 1988-1989 (approximately 3 cubic ft.). The Reprints in this series include copies and typed transcripts of materials sent to the MAG, which are organized either chronologically by the date of the event documented in the information, or alphabetically by topic, and include materials from 1820 through 1946 (Scattered), 1957, 1960, 1965-1966, 1972, 1979, 1982, 1985, and 1992. Types of materials in this series include: copies of depositions, notes, evidence copies of newspapers, magazines, and academic articles, books, maps, land patents and deeds, government documents, and correspondence, usually between the COIA and various Indian Agents.

According to the Michigan Indian Gaming website’s section documenting newsworthy events of 1998 (url is, this court case is described as follows: “On Feb. 12, 1998 Judge David McKeague issued a decision stating that the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community statellite[sic] casino is operating illegally because the tribe did not adhere to IGRA [Indian Gaming Regulation Acts] in opening these facilities.” “On Aug. 21, 1998 the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Indians launched a media campaign to gather support to prevent the closing of its Turtle Creek Casino in Acme, MI. The United States Attorney General’s office filed for a preliminary injunction to shut down the tribes[sic] casino because it claims that the casino is operating illegally. This came after the U.S. 6th Circuit [Court] overturned a decision in Keweenaw vs. MI. The Court is expected to hold a hearing on the issue in November of this year.”

7) Michigan Tuition Waver Project materials, (8 folders), includes copies of materials compiled or created in 1996 by Clifton. This project resulted from the demands of MI tribes for free tuition at the University of MI, which they believe was granted to them in old MI treaties. Materials found here include: reference materials, notably several articles written and published by Alice Littlefield about Native American education and the US Indian Schools, 1989, 1993, and 1996; Mount Pleasant Indian School (Mount Pleasant, MI) documents, 1934-1996 (Scattered); some legislation, 1968; Clifton’s report, correspondence, and contract with the MAG, 1996; and the MAG’s conclusion, Dec. 1995. Clifton contracted with the MAG to collect materials to defend their side of the case.

The MI [Indian] Tuition Waver was adopted by the MI Legislature in 1976 as an entitlement descending from old federal treaty rights. The program had a long beginning, which will be briefly described here.

In 1934, the federal government dissolved the federal Indian school program, transferring the buildings, property, and care of Native American students to the state of MI. For thirty years thereafter the state of MI did not meet its obligations of providing equal treatment and education to Native American children. Student activism in the 1960s led a University of Michigan (UM) student, Paul Johnson, to sue the UM in 1971. He believed the UM should provide free tuition to Native Americans based on Article 16 of the Treaty of Fort Meigs, 1817. Ultimately, his suit failed. However, the students who worked on the lawsuit contacted members of the state legislature for support. Rep. Jackie Vaughn carefully constructed a bill based on MN’s existing tuition waiver program. In the summer of 1976, his bill, know as Public Act 174, 1976, created the MI Indian Tuition Waiver Program.

The Waver, which was amended in 1978, allows students to have their tuition paid if they are one-quarter North American Indian and have been a MI resident for at least one year. [This information is from the Clarke website (url is http://clarke.cmich. edu/ tretytuition.htm), on Dec. 3, 2004, and CMLife, p. 1 and 4A, Fri., Oct. 29, 2004.]

Ultimately, the tribes’ demands developed into the court case Children of the Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomy Tribes, et al., vs. Regents of the University of MI, a case which the tribe lost. However, the University of MI agreed to offer Native American students scholarships, which amounted to free tuition. (For further information on the case, see the Elmer White’s collection which is also housed at the Clarke. White acted as the attorney for the tribes.)

8) [Native American] Removal Documents, created or compiled in 1982-1983, and undated (2 cubic ft.).

The removal research project was funded by a grant from the NEH, and resulted in Clifton’s bibliography Old Northwest Indian removal, 1825-1855: a bibliography, a copy of which is found in Box 1 of this collection. A tiny part of this series includes three folders of materials relating to the grant, including: Illustrations…, undated; Notes and Correspondence, 1982; and NEH Microfilm Work reports of James McClurken to Clifton, 1982-1983.

The bulk of the series, however, consists of copies of published articles and historical Removal Documents, and some notes from Clifton, which were compiled by Clifton for reference purposes.

The published articles are in alphabetical order by author’s surnames.

The Removal Documents are in chronological order, 1807-1855, with a small amount of post-1855 materials, 1856-1980 (Scattered). Commonly found examples of historical Removal Documents in this series include: the Dept. of War, Office of Indian Affairs officials’ correspondence, journals, reports, disbursement accounts, and regulations regarding the removal of Native Americans; records of annuity payments; correspondence and other papers regulating the functions of the Superintendency, agencies, and sub-agencies; a journal of treaty negotiation, 1833; treaties and lists [sometimes censuses] of [members of] tribes or bands either remaining in their area or removed to west of the Mississippi [which have been noted specifically in the box and folder listing]; petitions of various Native Americans to the President of the US; maps; published journals of the US House and Senate; and personal correspondence.

Finally, there are a few topical Removal Document folders, which are in alphabetical order, 1839-1888 and undated [copies made in 1982 or 1983].

9) Reprints, a caption used by Clifton, (6.5 cubic ft.) is the largest series in this collection. It includes copies of general reference and/or research materials, 1820-1992 and undated, regarding various aspects of Native Americans, Africa and Africans, African-Americans, slavery, and other native peoples around the world, as well as anthropological articles. However, the majority of the series documents Native American history, including, but not limited to: Indian treaties, Indian agents, Indian removal policies, reservations, missions and missionaries, wars, captivity or travel accounts, as well as other topics. A sizable section of this series is various articles and documents from multiple issues of the WI Historical Collections. Types of materials in the series include: dissertation abstracts; parts of or complete academic or popular articles and books; reference articles, such as biographies from encyclopedias; reprints of academic articles; student papers; drafts of academic papers; papers for presentation at conferences; correspondence; notes; maps; statistics; and other materials. These materials were collected by Clifton during his academic career.

10) Saginaw Chippewa Tribe Court Case Materials, includes materials created or compiled, 1991-1992, (2.5 cubic ft.) by Clifton. Clifton was under contract with the MAG to collect materials to defend their side of the case.

Compiled materials include copies of historical documents and reference sources about the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, including: court records, reprints of articles, treaty journals, annual reports of the Mount Pleasant Indian School, Indian Claims Commission records, the amended Constitution and By-Laws of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, 1986, and other documentation, as well as Clifton’s correspondence, agreements, other information he exchanged with MAG and other associates,1797-1992 (Scattered).

Two court cases are documented in this series, mostly the US et al., vs. State of MI, et al., 1992 and, very minimally, the US vs. the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of MI, et al., 1990-1991, 1997.

The case for which there is the most material, that of the US et al., vs. State of MI, et al., dealt with tribal fishing rights. There is a long history of lawsuits in MI over Native American fishing rights. In brief, this particular lawsuit, which began in 1973 and was tried in 1978, was eventually settled out of court on March 29, 1985. In the case, the Native Americans attorney strongly argued three points. First, that the tribes involved had historically fished in the Great Lakes. Second, that they had retained the right to fish under treaties signed in 1820, 1836, and 1855. And, third, that they had actively participated in commercial fishing after those treaties and thus could logically assume that they should be allowed to continue to do so. In May 1979, the judge settled the case in favor of the tribes, however various issues remained that had to be agreed upon by both parties.

Finally in 1985 an agreement, called the Sault Ste. Marie agreement, was reached. As part of this agreement, the Great Lakes were divided into zones. The MI tribes were allowed to fish unrestrictedly to a defined maximum catch, mostly in the northern zones, and sports fishing was relegated mostly to the southern zones. The Bay Mills Chippewa community was unsatisfied with the agreement and vetoed it. After a brief trial, the agreement was put in place with the force of law until 2000. [This information is from the Clarke website (url is, on Dec. 3, 2004.]

11) WI vs. Baker Court Case Materials, includes copies of materials created or compiled in 1976 and 1978 (1.5 cubic ft.) by Clifton, who served as an expert witness for the tribe. Materials in this series include: records of related court cases, correspondence, Clifton’s expert testimony, and published articles, mostly about removal from the WI Historical Collections, date from 1830s-1934.

The State of WI vs. Baker, et al., was predated by the Voigt decision in WI. The Voigt Decision recognized the rights of the tribal hunting, fishing, and gathering activities of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa in WI as they were granted to the tribe in the treaties of 1837 and 1842.

In 1978, the Federal District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the state. In 1983 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court ruling. At that point, the State of WI petitioned, in vain, the US Supreme Court to review the case. Five other WI Chippewa Bands then joined the case, which continued in District Court. There were three phases: I: Declaratory; II Regulatory; and III: Damages. (A Guide to understanding Chippewa treaty rights: WI edition, 1994, pp.2-3, a copy of which is in the Clarke.)

The WI vs. Baker case was brought by the State of WI against the chairman (Ordie Baker) and all of the officers of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board. As documented here in the Opinion and Order [by Judge James Doyle], Sept. 20, 1978 (76-C-359), the state’s contention was that the tribe’s enforcement of its established codes for fishing on its reservation, which mandated that people who were not members of the tribe to purchase fishing licenses from the tribe, was illegal and interfered with the rights of the state’s citizens. The tribe’s interpretation of its treaty rights were that the tribe, as a sovereign nation, had the sole right to hunt and fish within the borders of its reservation. The state contended that this had not been the intent of the agents of the federal government who created the treaties which led to the creation of the reservation. Clifton and Judge Doyle, however, believed otherwise.

When Judge Doyle died in 1987, the case was assigned to Judge Barbara Crabb. After denying the state’s request to appeal Judge Doyle’s ruling, “she held that tribes held the authority to regulate their members and that effective tribal self-regulation precludes state regulation.” on Aug. 21, 1987 (ibid, p.3). Later, Judge Crabb decided that the tribes were self-regulating regarding the state’s walleye and muskellunge harvests held in October (1989), and in regards to the state’s deer population (1990). In 1991, Judge Crabb also ruled that while tribes did not have treaty rights to harvest timber commercially, they did have treaty rights to gather other forest products (ibid, p. 4).

12) Notecards. There are 19 card boxes (15 cubic ft.) of topical 5x7 inch handwritten notecards, documenting the removal of various Native American tribes, Clifton’s bibliography and biographical index, as well as related Native American topics. There are organized alphabetically by topic, and then either chronologically (if notes about removal documents) or alphabetically (if names or sources).

13) Oversized Materials, include an oversized folder of some Isabella County (MI) plat maps (copies), 1891; and an oversized volume of copies of various pages from multiple Tract Books of the General Land Office (Ionia, MI), 1800s.

Processing Notes: I have tried to observe Clifton’s topical and organizational scheme as much as possible. A number of items in many boxes were without folders and identifying information. These items have been placed in the most likely series or, when a topic and therefore a location was otherwise undeterminable or multiple, into the general Reprints series.

Items withdrawn from this collection include all published books, periodicals, maps, and court records, which were separately cataloged.

Also withdrawn were duplicates, illegible materials, blank sheets of papers, binders, photocopying instructions, forms for requesting copies (from many institutions), generic correspondence and post-it notes without informational value, cover sheets, and the “This article is not available.” notices from inter-library loan departments. All post-it notes with notes of substance were removed after they had been copied and a copy put in the folders.