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 1902
Part I ([1902])

Reports concerning Indians in Oklahoma,   pp. 276-306 PDF (15.8 MB)


Page 277

REPORTS-CONCERNING INDIANS IN OKLAHOMA. 
under this office by quoting from the reports of Agent Lee Patrick and Agent
Martin 
J. Bentley for the year 1901, which reports would show the following number
of 
Indians now under this office: 
Absentee Shawnee   ------------------------------------687 
White Turkey Band- 
Males over 18 years of age --------------------155 
Females over 14 years of age -------------------- 184 
Children between 6 and 16 years ----------------- 150 
-Big Jim Band (as per Bentley report) --------------- 184 
Citizen Potawatomi ------------------------------------------- 1,686 
Males over 18 ------------------------------------ 641 
Females over 14 ----------------------------------- 658 
Children between 6 and 16 years ------------------  423 
Mexican Kickapoo, including Kicking Band --------------   247 
Total population  -------------------------------2,620 
The White Turkey Band of Absentee Shawnee Indians are for the most part,
intel- 
ligent and susceptive of a fair degree of education. The act of Congress
authorizing 
them to sell a part (or in case of nonresidence all) of their allotments,
together with 
the leasing of their land, has, however, brought them to a worse condition
at the 
present time than they were in before the allotments were made. Prior to
the 
allotment of their lands almost every head of a family owned a good herd
of horses 
and cattle and some hogs, and cultivated a field, while generally small,
yet large 
enough to supply the needs of their families and their stock. They earned
every 
cent they received and were in a prosperous condition generally, the drinking
habit 
being almost unknown to them. The advent of leasing their lands and consequent
"getting something for nothing," as they put it, and the subsequent
act of Congress 
authorizing them to sell their land, has placed them in a very bad condition.
The act 
provides that they must retain 80 acres of their original allotment unless
they be 
nonresidents of Oklahoma Territory, and it is the last clause of this sentence
(unless 
they be nonresidents of Oklahoma Territory), which was purposely designed
by the 
politicians securing the enactment of the law, that is making paupers of
these Indians 
as fast as they are able to become nonresidents and "lawfully "
dispose of all of their 
allotment. 
Perhaps one-tenth of the Indians selling their lands use their money derived
from 
such sale partially as was intended and hoped by the Department when the
law was 
passed; but there can be no question but that the other nine-tenths drink
and gamble 
an equal percentage of their money away, and where it was intended and hoped
by 
the Department to build up 10 comfortable Indian homes by the sale of this
land, 
9 fairly comfortable homes have been broken up and ruined by the use of this
deed 
money in gambling and drinking whisky. If this land must be sold, the disposition
of the money derived from such sale should be regulated by the Department,
and I 
urge the matter for your investigation. 
The Big Jim Band of Absentee Shawnee Indians still refuse to accept their
allot- 
ments, and are instilled with the idea of going to Mexico,where, as they
are informed by 
interested parties, they can live as Indians in the full sense of the word,
and not be 
bothered by sending their children to school or contenting themselves to
live on a 
small tract of land, and where they can drink whisky as they please without
being 
followed and watched by United States officers. This Mexico idea among these
Indians, as well as the Kickapoo, is backed locally by ex-Assistant Special
Indian 
Agent Martin J. Bentley, who has shown much activity in his efforts to make
my 
administration of the affairs of this office a failure. The idea has the
support of 
other people also, all of whom, in my estimation, are actively interested
wholly for 
selfish ends. The land they would leave here is rich, well located, aid valuable.
I 
have visited the place in Mexico where they expect to locate and know it
to be a 
barren, dry, hot country, covered for most part with cactus and mesquite
brush, and 
very sparcely inhabited by human beings, for the simple reason that they
can not 
maintain a livelihood there. 
The Citizen Band of Potawatomi Indians are scattered through nearly every
State 
in the Union, only about one-half of the whole number residing upon their
allotments 
in this Territory. They are intermarried with the whites until many of them
appear 
as white people. The same conditions prevail among members of this tribe
having 
a predominating amount of Indian blood as do among the Shawnee with reference
to the leasing and sale of their allotments. There is quite a number who
are largely 
white, and should be given full title to their land and become full-fledged
citizens. 
277 


Go up to Top of Page