University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864

Dakota superintendency,   pp. 259-293 PDF (15.0 MB)

Page 259

No. 115. "' 
Yankton, September 20, 1864. 
SIR:In compliance with the usage of the Indian department, and in 
obedience to your letter of the 23d May last on the subject, I have the honor
present my first annual report, showing the present condition of Indian affairs
in this superintendency, so far as I have advices on the subject. 
It is as well known to the Indian department as to the undersigned that a
war exists, and has for the past two years, between certain Indian tribes
in this 
Territory and the government, originating in the State of Minnesota, and
soon there'after extending into this Territory, to which latter place it
has been 
mainly confined until a very recent date, in which it has seemed to acquire
fresh vigor and force, and now prevails to an alarming and destructive extent
in our neighboring Territory, Nebraska, and even appears to be extending
into the State of Kansas. 
The causes whch have led the Indians into acts of open war at this important
crisis in our country's history, after so many years of peaceful intercourse
the whites, I do not propose to discuss, feeling, as I do, that I am not
familiar vyith the subject to do it justice. I hope, however, to be excused
in the 
expression of the opinion that it is in a great measure, if not wholly, attributable
to the influence of disloyal persons, or rebels, who are so generously permitted
by the government to have intercourse with them, and the practice which pre-
vails to an alarming extent, doubtless much beyond the belief or even conception
of the department, of allowing such persons to carry whiskey into the Indian
country, where it is sold to the Indians or exchanged for peltries, in such
quantities as at times to make a whole camp drunk and unmanageable. I 
cannot but regard these two matters as an evil over which the department
full and complete control; and that attention needs only to be called to
subject, and sufflicient proof furnished to establish the fact beyond a reasonable
doubt, to cause these disloyal parties to b4' at once stripped of their privileges
for frequent and flagrant violations of their important trusts, and prohibited
entering the Indian country under any pretext whatever.  Indians become 
.desperate and bloodthirsty and ready to dare any danger when made -drunk,
or commit any conceivable outrage at the instigation of designing men when
such a state. The progress of the Indian war and its effects uponThe people
of this Territory in retarding or preventing immigration, the policy to be
pursued to secure a permanent and lasting peace, and the necessity of extending
aid in the way of subsistence to the treaty Indians, constitute the principal
topics of interest in this superintendency at the present time. 
Since the breaking out of the Indian war in Minnesota, two years ago last
August, but little progress has, in my opinion, been made towards its extinguish-
ment. I believe this fact to be owing to the extent of country over which
these hostile Indians roam, rather than a want of appreciation on the part
officers placed in charge of the various expeditions; of the magnitude and
extent of the disaffection, and the seeming necessity of vigorous measures
their part t) thoroughly subdue them, in order to accomplish the desired
Of the two campaigns made agaiist the Indians last summer, one under General
Sibley of Minnesota, and one under General Sully, up this river, starting
Sioux City, Iowa, I am fully convined that little, if anything, was accomplished

Go up to Top of Page