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

[Montana],   pp. 259-270 PDF (6.0 MB)


Page 259

REPORT     OF THE    COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     259 
agency can be done by the half-breed and Indian mechanics, under one good
white superin- 
tendent. Besides the above apprentices, I have also started a weaving-room,
where I con- 
stantly employ from six to eight Indian women in weaving. The cloth made
is of a very 
good quality, and will serve the Indians much better than what is bought
for them. As 
these Indians have now a flock of sovae 800 sheep, it will not be long ere
the clothing for 
the nation can be produced and manufactured at home.  I would recommend that
this 
pursuit be encouraged as much as possible, even though at first the cloth
could be purchased 
at a less price, as it will in time prove of great importance, and for the
time being is a civil- 
izing power of no small merit. 
BASKET-MAKING. 
As there is on this reserve a great abundance of good willow fit for basket-making,
I have 
employed a practical manufacturer as an instructor in this useful branch
of labor. We are 
now making a very good plain basket, and shall ere long be able to make all
kinds of wil- 
low baskets. This is an employment which I endeavor to introduce among the
old men, as 
it s not a very hard work, and can be carried on at their houses. Besides
these apprentices, 
I have also a number of young Indians employed as farm-laborers. As these
continue stead- 
ily to labor year after year, some of them having now continued in the employ
of the Gov- 
ernment for the last six or seven years, they become more and more skillful.
I can now in- 
trust to these men my breaking-teams, stirring-plows, mowers, and hay-rakes.
They are 
now capable farm-hands, and, with the superintendent-farmer, are able to
conduct the entire 
farm-work of the agency. 
SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES. 
There are now upon this agency seven schools and six churches. Of these,
two are Pres 
byterian and under the care of the Rev. John Williamson, and the rest Episcopal,
under 
the charge of the Right Rev. Bishop Hare. Great improvements have been wrought
at this 
agency during the last year by Bishop Hare. A large stone structure for a
boys' boarding- 
school and residence for the Bishop and co-laborers has been erected, besides
other substan- 
tial structures in connection with the work of the mission. The efforts now
made by the 
Episcopal church, as well as the Presbyterian, I trust will result in much
good to the Yane- 
tons. It is a slow, hard work, requiring great patience and wisdom. We see
improvement 
in many ways, but not in proportion to the work devoted to them and the means
expended 
upon them. The boarding-school system has been introduced by Bishop Hare,
and so far 
promises to be much more successful than the day school. In this connection
I would recom- 
mend that a manual-labor school be given to these people as soon as practicable.
Our great 
hope must be with the young people; we must rescue these from their habits
of indolence 
and filth, and make them see the value of labor and cleanliness. 
In conclusion, it gives me pleasure to be able to commend these people for
their quiet and 
peaceable conduct. We have no jail, nor law except the treaty and the agent's
word; yet 
we have no quarrels, no fighting, and, with one or two exceptions, there
has not been a single 
case of drunkenness during the year. This I consider quite remarkable when
we take into 
consideration the fact that the reservation is surrounded by ranches where
liquors of all. 
kinds can be obtained. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JOHN G. GASMA&N, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
BLACKFEET AGENCY, M. T., September 10, 1874. 
SIR: In compliance with requirements of circular letter of August 7, 1874,
1 submit my 
first annual report. 
On the 13th day of January last I relieved my immediate predecessor, D. W.
Buck, and 
assumed charge of this agency. The tribes entitled to report and draw rations
at the 
agency are the Blackfeet, Bloods, and Piegans. For several years the two
former have 
ranged across the line; none of the Blackfeet coming here, occasionally a'few
of the 
Bloods. The condition of the Blackfeet and Bloods, as I hear, is deplorable;
especially is 
this the case with the Blackfeet. They are living in a country where there
is no law, except 
that which is administered by bloodthirsty " wolfers " and whisky-sellers.
Both of these 
tribes, I am convinced, could easily be induced to occupy in part this reserve
and come to 
the agency if the appropriations were large enough to offer them greater
inducements. 
The Piegans are in frequent intercourse with the agency, and their uniform
good conduct 
shows.th at the effort of the Government to benefit and civilize them has
had its good effect. 
I do not know of a single depredation having been committed by them upon
the whites 
since I have been with them. 
In A4pril last a young Piegan was compelled to shoot and kill two white whisky-traders


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