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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

[Idaho],   pp. 284-286 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 284

284     REPORT    OF   THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS. 
pendent of the Government charities; and the question rests with the Government
to decide 
if these Indians shall be encouraged to realize their purpose. I cannot but
hope they may, 
and more heartily in future. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
G. W. INGALLS, 
United States Indian Agent. 
HiOD. EDW. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 
FORT HALL AGENCY, IDAHO, September 9, 1874. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following as my annual report of this
agency for the 
year ending August 31, 1874. 
We have reason to be grateful that this year has been in almost every respect
a pleasant 
and prosperous one. The Indians of this agency have enjoyed generally very
good health, 
one only of our prominent men, Otter Beard, a Bannock chief, having, after
a lingering 
sickness last winter, patsed away. There may have been some two or three
Indians killed 
among themselves, on account of personal difficulty or family feuds; otherwise
there have 
been none killed during the year that we know of. The general health has
been quite as 
good as could be expected with the same number of persons in any part of
the country, and 
much better than would be expected considering their exposures. 
Our farming interests have succeeded probably better than any previous year.
The crick- 
ets, which troubled us greatly last year, have not made their appearance
this. We have, as 
stated in the statistics, raised a very fair crop of wheat, say, about two
thousand bushels, as 
estimated. Our oats and barley were good, though not extensive; our potatoes
promise to 
yield at least a couple thousand bushels, and turnips are also promising
fair. 
The supervision of the labor of the farm, including hauling of wood and a
variety of 
other matters, devolving on only a couple of white men, who have from twenty
to thirty 
Indians at all kinds of farm-work, as well as herding cattle and other labor
to be done by 
them, is more than they can supervise to the best advantage. I doubt if any
agency ever 
had more efficient white employis than this agency has, yet with an additional
force of some 
two or three I am sure the Indians at work would learn faster and the work
be done better 
than now. 
The mechanics have been very busy, and the accompanying report of buildings
and 
improvements will indicate what is being done. 
Our school is now in a fair way to be commenced. We have on hand now several
essen- 
tials of a good school. WAe have first a very nice, comfortable school-room
some 20 by 22 
feet in size; then we have, we think, a very competent teacher in the person
of Peter 0. 
Mathews, an educated Indian; we have also any number of children who ought
to be 
taught, yet after all it will be but an experiment till such time as we are
prepared to take a 
number of children and keep steadily in a suitable family. We expect to commence
next 
week, the 15th instant, and see what, by earnest effort, can be done. 
As to farming here, I am still of the opinion that raising grain extensively
will hardly pay, 
while a suitable herd of cattle and sheep could be kept with but little expense,
and soon be 
a source of revenue sufficient to subsist these Indians. With proper herds,
and the land cul- 
tivated by Indians themselves, for themselves, under proper instructions,
and suitable me- 
chanics to teach them to manufacture their own apparel, especially cloth
and shoes, I am 
sure with their industry and natural tact, they could, in a few years, be
fully competent to 
take care of themselves. 
As to laws and regulations, we don't know of any to speak of that affect
us for any good 
purpose, except the few regulations of the Indian Department. The Indians
here don't seem 
to have any laws, rules, or regulations, or public opinion, or even chiefs
of any influence to 
restrain them from wrong, and yet it is surprising how little wrong-doing
is manifest among 
them. 
I am sorry Congress could not get time, or see fit, to ratify the change
in the treaty pre- 
pared by the commissioners a year ago and signed by the Indians here, as
they seem to 
think that such treaties amount to nothing, and they now hardly know what
obligations 
they are under, what privileges they have, or duties they owe. 
We are pleased to say that some four or five principal men have taken an
interest in farm- 
ing for themselves. It is true it has cost a good deal of time to teach and
help them, but it 
can be seen that they think more of themselves for the effort and results.
Though we have no appropriation for the purpose, yet we are putting up a
couple of small, 
comfortable houses for two of the head-men, with the understanding that they
are to occupy 
them and attend to farming. I have no doubt but twenty men would another
season com- 
mence farming and occupy houses cheerfully were we prepared to accommodate
them. 
As to the Indians ordered to come here from Lemhi and Weiser, while I made
all neces- 
sary preparations to receive them, and while I have no doubt, had they come
but for a short 
time, long enough to see the advantage of a home here, they could hardly
be induced to 


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