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

[Dakota],   pp. 238-259 PDF (10.7 MB)


Page 238

238  REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
and eighth months there was no rain, and the intense heat and dry weather
cut off the corn 
and other crops that were then maturing. The hot dry south winds, with the
mercury stand- 
ing at 1100 in the shade, in a few days changed the appearance of the corn-fields
from a fine 
healthy green to a brown or scorched-looking color, and the corn wilted and
dried up. Last 
year the crops were also cut short by dry weather, and two successive seasons
in which the 
crops have fallen short, and in many cases being an entire failure, have
disappointed us in 
our expectation of having home-raised supplies, by which the Indians of the
Wichita agency 
would be supplied with subsistence nearly sufficient for their use, by which
the Government 
would be partly relieved from providing for them. 
The school continued in a prosperous condition throughout the year. When
the winter- 
session opened at the beginning of the Ninthmonth, 1873, the Wichita children
who had at- 
tended the day-school the previous session were admitted into the manual-labor
and boarding 
school, at the request of the Indians, and the day-school was abandoned.
At first there was 
some difficulty in keeping the children regularly in school; they would run
away to their 
camps, and sometimes they would remain there for several days together. But
after this 
state of things had existed for two or three months it was made the business
of one of the 
teachers to follow them as soon as it was ascertained that they had left
the school, and either 
bring them back or have their people to do so at once. In a short time all
difficulty disap- 
peared, and the children soon became attached to the school and to those
in whose charge 
they were placed. For a detailed account of the condition of the school,
the branches taught, 
the number of scholars and their progress, I hereby refer to the teachers'
report, herewith. 
Instructions having been received from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs
to enroll all 
Indians capable of bearing arms, it was accordingly done, and the Indians
were instructed 
to remain netr to the agency, and not to leave it without special permission.
In the Eighth. 
month, soon after this enrollment was made, several Kiowa chiefs came from
their own 
agency, where they had been enrolled, and camped on the Washita River near
to the camps 
of the Wichitas. Two Comanche chiefs who had not been enrolled encamped with
their 
bands also near to the Washita, and not far from the building where the Indian
supplies are 
kept. The general in command at Fort Sill having been informed that these
Indians were 
at the Wichita agency, contrary to orders, he proceeded there with four companies
of cavalry 
for the purpose of arresting the Comanche chiefs, and in making the arrest
he was fired 
upon by some Kiowas, from behind the above-named building. This brought on
an engage- 
ment which lasted several hours, during which time several white persons
were killed by 
the Indians and more or less damage was done to property. From this sad occurrence
the 
Indians of the Wichita agency, who are peaceable and loyal, suffered much
loss in the de- 
struction of their property. This disaster, together with what they have
suffered from loss 
of crops by dry weather, leaves them in a destitute condition, and they will
require generous 
assistance from the Government. 
The Indians of this agency are still very much disturbed by lawless white
men who bring 
whisky into the country, and trade it to them for ponies or other property.
These lawless 
depredators steal their horses in large numbers, and are a great hindrance
to their advance- 
ment in civilization. The great difficulty attending the prosecution of these
marauders, even 
after being arrested, emboldens them to deeds of wickedness, which, with
proper means of 
having them tried, and, when tried and convicted, properly punished, would
remove in a 
great measure this great evil which now interferes so greatly with our labors.
The difficulty 
does not so much lay in want of means for arresting these desperadoes, as
in a prompt and 
efficient disposal of such cases after arrest. The parties have to be carried
into the State 
of Arkansas, where it is almost impossible to get witnesses to go to testify
against them. If 
the Government could pass an act that would remedy this evil, it is my conviction
that the 
difficulties with the wild tribes that give us so much trouble would be greatly
lessened, 
and the more civilized bands would advance much more rapidly. 
In conclusion, I would express my appreciation of the prompt and valuable
aid I have 
received from the employds of the agency, and their efficient services in
the different divisions 
of labor. Upon these depend, in a great measure, the success of the work,
and none should 
be employed but those of confirmed moral habits, who can unitedly labor upon
the principle 
upon which the work was undertaken. With such helpers and a confiding trust
in the pro- 
tecting care of an overruling Providence, notwithstanding difficulties and
discouragements 
will be met with, I trust the work which has been carried forward thus far
will be continued 
to a successful conclusion, arid the Indians will continue to improve their
condition, and 
finally become an enlightened people. 
Very respectfully, 
JONA. RICHIARDS, 
United States Indian Agent. 
DEVIL'S LAKE RESERVATION, DAK, 
Fort Ihtten Agency, September 1, 1874. 
SiRa- In accordance with my duty, I have the houor to make this my fourth
annual report 
of the condition of the bands of Indians under my charge. 
The manual-labor school-house. comuenced 1ast year, is now finished and r
eady for occu- 


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