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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1884
([1884])

Reports of agents in Washington territory,   pp. 158-177 PDF (9.5 MB)


Page 158

158      REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        WASHINGTON TERRITORY. 
HABITS AND CONDITION. 
These Indians cannot be classed with the so-called civilized tribes. For
the most 
part they live in " wickeups." Several houses have been built for
them, but they 
are soon abandoned and used only as granaries or storehouses Most of them
dress 
in blankets and leggins. Their children are brought up in squalor and filth;
very 
little attention being paid to the boys, none to the girls. Whenever dirt
and rubbish 
accumulates in such quantities as to make ingress and egress difficult, they
seek 
other places to pitch their tents. The above is true of the majority of these
Indians, 
though it cannot be said of all. They are honest and virtuous in their social
rela- 
tions. There are not over half a dozen mixed bloods in the tribe. They are
fond of 
gambling and horse-racing. It is always possible to find some gambling whenever
there is any money among them. 
MISSIONARY WORK AND RELIGION. 
No missionary work has been done during the year. We have no churches, no
preachers, and no Sabbath-schools. The only training of this kind the Indians
have 
is what they get in the school. 
Most of these Indians are Mormons. Nothing else could be expected, surrounded
as they are on all sides by the "latter.day saints." I am told
they find hearty 
sympathizers in the Mormons in all their little troubles with Gentiles. The
Indians apparently accept the Mormon religion, not because they have any
profound 
religious convictions, but because the polygamy of the Mormons suits their
tastes. 
I will say this, that the influence of the Mormons in encouraging the Indians
in agri- 
culture has always been good. 
"Medicine men" still retain a strong hold upon most of the Indians,
though it 
is evident that their power is waning. A few years ago no white man was permitted
to attend the burial of an Indian ; they are now frequently invited to be
present at 
the funeral. The practice still obtains among them of killing ponies, burying
blankets, robes, and presents with their dead. They used to destroy all the
prop- 
erty of the deceased; much of it is preserved now. Our only hope is in educating
the young; the old men will never outgrow these superstitions. 
SANITARY. 
These Indians are strong and healthy. Little or no constitutional disease
exists 
among them. They are learning to have great confidence in white men's medicine,
and patronize the agency physician more than ever. 
In conclusion, the chiefs of these two tribes, having confidence in the Department,
have worked in harmony with the agent to carry out your instructions. The
Indians 
must depend upon the courtesy of the Government for several years to come,
but 
they are on the right road to become independent. The reservation is ample
for all 
their present needs; it affords abundant facilities for farming, grazing,
hunting, 
and fishing. The Indians only require encouragement to develop its resources.
Respectfully submitted, 
ELISHA W. DAVIS, 
Indian Agent. 
Per FRANK PIERCE, 
Clerk in charge. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
COLVILLE INDIAN AGENCY, WASHINGTON TERRITORY, 
August 12, 1884. 
RESPECTED SIR: I have the honor to submit this my first annual report on
the con- 
dition of the Indians intrusted to my care. There are three reservations,
the Colville, 
addition to the Colville (Spokan), and Cceur d'Al6ne, on which and the adjacent
country 
are located the Colvilles, Lakes, Okanagans, Methows, Nespilums, San Puells,
Spokans, 
Calispels, and Cmeur d'Aldnes, in all making nearly 4,000 Indians. 
I assumed charge of affairs October 23, 1883, relieving John A. Simms, a
faithful 
officer who has done'much for these Indians. I found the employd force so
much re- 
duced in numbers as to render the service nearly ineffective, no interpreter
even being 
allowed, and how an agent could get along here without one is more than I
could con- 
ceive. But, thanks to the Department, an interpreter was allowed in March,
for with 
the continued press of land business nothing could be done without one. 


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