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

[Iowa],   p. 199 PDF (495.9 KB)


Page 199

REPORT     OF  THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     199 
AGENCY OF THE SAC AND Fox INDIANS IN IOWA, 
Toledo, Iowa, September 19, 1874. 
SIR: In obedience to the requirements of the Indian Department at Washington,
I 
have the honor to submit herewith my second annual report of the condition
of the Indian 
agency under my care. I have no very important changes to note in regard
to the In- 
dians in my charge since my last report. This part of the tribe of the Sac
and Fox Indians 
of the Mississippi, embracing almost one-half of the whole remaining tribe,
reside on 
lands in Tama County, Iowa, which they purchased from individuals, and the
settlement 
was made by permission of the legislature of Iowa. This tract of land, which
is not very 
valuable, is situated along the Iowa River, and embraces an area of 419 acres.
About 110 
acres of this land are under cultivation ; the balance is used for pasturage
for the ponies. 
Nearly all is inclosed with a substantial fence. Most of the Indians have
been located this 
summer as last summer on from three to ten acres per family, and have cultivated,
under the 
direction of the farmer, well, what was assigned to them. The number of Indians
is about 
the same as reported last year, an increase of three. The number at this
time is as follows: 
men, 103; women, 86; boys, 78; girls, 71; total, 338. Several old Indians
and a number 
of children have died during the past year. The health of the tribe, as a
general thing, is 
good; they have had no epidemic diseases among them, and very little scrofula
or venereal 
disease, that prevail to such an alarming extent among some tribes of Indians.
They have 
had plenty of good food and clothing during the past year. In this respect
there has been 
a manifest improvement lately. 
With few exceptions I am not able to report any very great progress in the
way of civil- 
ization during the past year. These Indians cling with great tenacity to
their old ideas. 
They follow their natural instincts, and regard these instincts as the voice
of the "Great 
Spirit" to them. They are an intensely religious people in their way;
they observe the 
ceremonies of their system of religion with the greatest punctuality and
fervor. Only a few 
have or seem to have a disposition to adopt the "white man's way of
living." If they are 
to be civilized they must be educated, and this cannot be done as long as
they roam about 
more than half of the year, engaged in hunting and trapping. I am of the
opinion that 
there should be a system of compulsory education inaugurated in the case
of this tribe, if 
they are to remain in Iowa. I contemplate asking the legislature of Iowa
for some legisla- 
tion on this point. It is of the highest importance that something be done
that these Indians 
be put into a condition that they can be reached by missionaries. A4 long
as they persist 
in roaming over the country at their pleasure it is utterly impossible to
accomplish much 
in the way of their civilization and Christianization. To-day you may be
able to induce 
them to send their children to school, but the next day, in order to prevent
their children 
from attending school, they are off on a hunting expedition with their squaws
and children. 
About the usual number labored faithfully during last harvest for the neighboring
farmers, binding wheat and making hay. The statistical returns of farming
for the year 
ending August 31, 1874, (which I herewith transmit,) show the individual
wealth of this 
tribe to be nearly $13,000, not including their lands. They have too many
ponies. They 
are a detriment to them. I have been trying to induce them to exchange some
of their 
ponies for cows; I trust I will succeed by and by. 
In conclusion I have only to say that such is the unsettled condition of
these Indians at 
present, owing to the almost constant agitation of their removal to the Indian
Territory, that 
but little can be done to civilize and Christianize them under these circumstances.
It is a 
matter, therefore, of great importance that the questiOn whether they shall
be allowed to 
remain in Iowa or go to the Indian Territory should be speedily disposed
of one way or 
the other. If they are permitted to remain where they now are, the buildings
necessary for 
educational and missionary purposes should at once be erected. If they must
go, the fact 
should be communicated to them distinctly, and measures taken to accomplish
the end with- 
out delay. 
Yours, respectfully, 
A. R. HOWBERT, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 
NORTHERN SUPERINTEtDENCY, 
OFFICE SUPERINTENDENT INDIAN AFFAIRS, 
Omaha, Nebr., Ninthmonth 23,1874. 
RESPECTED FRIEND: The Indians of the Northern Superintendency have, during
the 
past year, been orderly, peaceful, and in most of the tribes inclined to
industry. No Indian 
belonging to the superintendency has been charged with the murder of a white
person. 
Crime has been rare, and, with one exception, confined to the lesser grades.
The Indians 
have been generally free from the use of intoxicating drinks. 
More attention has been given to agriculture than in previous years, and
the crops were 


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