Known also as Bichiki, Kechewaishke was born circa 1759 at La Pointe, on Madeline Island on Lake Superior (now in northern Wisconsin). He grew up near modern-day Buffalo, New York, and on Mackinaw Island in modern-Michigan. For nearly 50 years, he was principal chief of the Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) and an eloquent speaker in dealings with British & American governments. Chief Buffalo signed the treaties of 1825, 1826, 1837, 1842, and 1847, which ceded land that would later become the states of Wisconsin & Minnesota. In 1852, due to misunderstandings in the earlier treaties, Buffalo and others journeyed to Washington, D.C. and met with President Fillmore to protest efforts by Minnesota territorial officials to remove the Ojibwe from Wisconsin into Minnesota. In part through Buffalo’s actions, the Treaty of 1854 created 3 permanent reservations in the region. After his death, Chief Buffalo was honored by being buried in a tomb constructed at government expense at La Pointe.

  “Chief Buffalo,” Onigamiinsing Dibaajimowinan - Duluth's Stories.  Retrieved 3/10/2022, Onigamiinsing Dibaajimowinan - Duluth's Stories (
Painting:  Benjamin Armstrong and Thos. Wentworth, 1891. Chippewa Delegation to Washington 1852. Kechewaishke seated at far right [cropped]. Public Domain. 

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