Article written by Sarah Carter, U OF M Canada. The Oak River Dakota continued to protest the permit system throughout 1894. In May, the same three men who had visited Ottawa wrote to Hayter Reed saying that their problems continued, and asked to know when they could expect him to visit Oak River.  Reed replied that the Indian Agent and Farm Instructor were doing their duty, which was in the best interests of the Indians, and asked that they give the officials no more trouble.  Not satisfied with this answer, the Dakota forwarded a petition with forty-two signatures to Reed in November, 1894.  They once again voiced their displeasure with the permit system, claiming that they had no idea where the proceeds from their grain was going. The petition stated that the Dakota did not like Scott, as he did not speak their language and showed favour to a few whom they did not respect. The Indian Agent and Farm Instructor had chosen a chief whom they did not regard as their chief. The petition was written by Peter Hunter, a Dakota from the Bird Tail reserve, who had received some education in the United States and was associated with the Presbyterian Church.
The petition succeeded in persuading officials that the Dakota were earnest in their protest. In December, 1894, Inspector Wadsworth began an investigation into complaints at Oak River by interviewing farmers and merchants in Griswold on municipal election day.  All gave remarkably similar testimony, solemnly claiming that Farmer Scott was diligent in his duties, did not partake of alcohol, and that since his arrival Indians were not loitering about town. All declared that the permit system was decidedly in the interests of the Dakota. Wadsworth reported that he could find no one in town who was antagonistic to Scott.
Two days of meetings were then held at the school house on the Oak River reserve. Thirty-five male residents were present along with Inspector Wadsworth, Agent Markle and Antoine Flamant, an interpreter. Wadsworth claimed that the translated words of the Dakota were recorded verbatim by him.  The band was divided into two factions. The larger group of about twenty-five, represented by Harry Hotain, led the protest. The other ten supported Chief Pat who advocated compliance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Indian Affairs. Hotain restated the grievances contained in previous letters and petitions. He claimed that the reason why the Dakota did not care whether or not they raised a large crop was because they never knew what they got in return for it. Hotain had a number of complaints against Scott, particularly that he had prevented the Dakota from threshing at the proper time three years earlier. Hotain stated that they wanted a good man to replace Scott and if this was not possible they wanted to choose their own Farm Instructor.
Mahpiyska, also one of the three who had visited Ottawa, spoke in support of Hotain. Both brashly admitted that they sold their wheat without permits contrary to the rules of the Department. Mahpiyska defiantly stated that he relied on his own opinion when to sell, that he would sooner give his grain away for pig feed than be governed by the permit system, and that he was ashamed that Scott had paid his threshing bill for him. He stressed that he raised crops to make money. Others on the side of the protestors complained that Scott did not inform the owners of the wheat what their profits came to, and that he did not treat Indians with respect. A Dakota by the name of John Noel, declaring that he could support neither side, summed up the debate from his point of view: “Those on that side Harry’s are talking how to live, the other side are talking about being Chief.” 
Chief Pat’s testimony at the meeting suggests that the way to become Chief was to pledge allegiance to all rules of the Indian Department. He stated that Hotain and the others talked nonsense, that without the Agent and Farmer present on the reserve there would be alcohol and murders. Chief Pat claimed that Scott regularly visited the residents, could understand some of their language and did not partake of alcohol. The Chief stated that he did not approve of the petitions, letters and the visit to Ottawa as he knew that all complaints should go through the Agent. In closing, Chief Pat declared that he had always followed the rules of the Department and would continue to do so for “If I don’t follow the rules of the Department I have no where else to go.”  Others who spoke on the side of Chief Pat agreed that Hotain and his followers were lying and that without Scott’s help many would have been in jail because of their debts.
Inspector Wadsworth concluded on the basis of this inquiry that all the evidence was in favour of the permit system and Farmer Scott.  He believed that the Dakota were attributing their distressed condition to Scott and the permit system when their debt burden, series of poor crops and low prices were to blame. Once again outside agitators were seen at the root of the protest. It was believed that Peter Hunter, who had written a petition for the Dakota, was working in the interests of a man who was interested in Farmer Scott’s position.  This outsider, in Wadsworth’s opinion, gave the Dakota the idea they had “the right to dictate to the Department.”  Wadsworth also believed that the Dakota were lazy and that this was at the heart of the matter; they would sooner “trust to luck” than work if they could get out of it. 
Agent Markle was instructed to read a letter to the residents of Oak River from Hayter Reed informing them that the permit system was in their best interests, and that if the Department did not control their business affairs these would only get worse.  Reed wanted the Dakota to know that the system of purchase on credit of farm machinery had widely and ruinously affected white settlers to the extent that laws were being considered to control sales on credit by implement dealers. Reed expressed strong disapproval of Hotain’s party, for trying to find fault in their Instructor and for refusing obedience to lawful instruction. He asked the agitators to emulate the example set by Chief Pat whose conduct was approved by the Department. Agent Markle reported that Harry Hotain made no comment when the letter was read but later informed him that he was resolved to give up the fight. Download Attachment
Download AttachmentDownload AttachmentThis is from the book "Regina Indian industrial school 1891-1910, Douglas Stewart. but you can find his marriage on vital stats Manitoba. so if there is a hunter family in forpeck that would know a john hunter that went down there in the 1920s or 30s. maybe help me answer some questions my family has. pida miya dau. the birtle residential school archives are at Brandon university. George hunter attended the Regina Indian industrial school and graduated there with his first cousin john b hunter. he went to the 2nd boer war with the strath cona horse regiment. he got a land grant after he got home. George died young also . i dont know how yet. waiting on records. think he moved to fort peck afterward, married a nellie and they had kids. But thats where i lost them. i found a census of them at fort peck.i forget the year, 1920s-30s.
I hope we can find out more about Oyemakasan. Is the drawing a historic portrait?
I´m sure you know that he second picture was painted by Karl Bodmer.
More like a drawing undercover. ohiyesa couldn't come out and say his uncle was a true Dakota warrior. they would have never published his stuff. he wrote how he had to write. He wrote something much more, A bible for the exiled Dakota that we could understand.