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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1905
Part I ([1905])

Reports concerning Indians in Idaho,   pp. 196-202 PDF (3.3 MB)


Page 198

198      REPORTS OF THE        DEPARTMENT       OF THE    INTERIOR. 
observation; complications and sequelm supervening, the unfortunate presents
himself 
for treatment not, however, until after he has shared his ailment most liberally
with his 
intimates. Three cases of insanity developing on this reseriation during
the past year 
were directly traceable to previous syphilitic infection which may have been
either con- 
genital or acquired. 
The various eye and skin diseases continue prevalent, and tuberculosis claims
its usual 
quota of victims. 
The eye trouble is trachoma in the majority of instances, and one can see
many cases 
of its every known complication, from the slightest interference with vision
to total blind- 
ness. The prevalence of this affection is due to its contagious nature and
the habitual 
carelessness and neglect in early treatment of the infected persons. 
The skin diseases are largely those quite apt to prevail where filth of person
and envi- 
ronment are prominent features. 
The influence of the native medicine men is still in evidence and will doubtless
continue 
an obstacle to the introduction of rational medicine among the older inhabitants;
how- 
ever, the more civilized ones take very kindly to the efforts of the agency
physician and 
their demands upon the dispensary are increasing. 
The health of the Fort Hall Training School was below that standard the enrollment
of 
only healthy pupils led me to hope for. Pneumonia was epidemic during March
and 
April, but no deaths occurred among the fourteen cases which developed. 
The water supply of the school is good and abundant for all purposes, and
the food is 
wholesome, well prepared and served. Ventilation is sufficient in all respects
except the 
basement rooms in the school and dormitory buildings, which are without means
of 
proper ventilation. This deficiency could be met by connecting these rooms
with the gen- 
eral ventilating system of the building in which located and thus secure
to the occupants 
badly needed wholesome air. 
The question of overcrowding is a serious one and should in my opinion be
perma- 
nently done away with. In estimating the capacity of a school the dormitory
space 
should be made the basis for calculating the number admitted to enrollment
and that 
number should never exceed that authorized in paragraph 307, Rules for the
Indian 
School Service. 
There is no single factor so universally potent in the causation of disease
as over- 
crowding in dwellings. This is especially true of Indian schools, the pupils
of which are 
born and live in the open air until of school age and consequently require
even a greater 
degree of purity in the atmospheric air of houses than do children reared
according to civil- 
ized standards. It is relevant here to speak of the many cases furloughed
from school 
during the term on account of actual or impending disease whose restoration
to health 
Is quite uniformly accomplished after a short residence in the open-air homes
of their 
parents where all else but the air is foul. 
It is my belief, and the matter is not without substantial proof, that the
scrofulous 
manifestations so a bundantly seen in school children in schools where insanitary
environ- 
ment is a notorious feature, form the ground work upon which is built the
pulmonary 
tuberculosis so commonly encountered in young adults with a school history.
It follows, 
therefore, that the actual mortality of a given school is no real index to
its hygienic 
status. Children are very susceptible to tubercular infection, and insanitary
environment 
quite naturally increases that susceptibility and makes for the ubiquitous
tubercle bacillus 
a happy home in the persons of such children. While pulmonary tuberculosis
is infre- 
quent in children, tubercular glands, intestinal tuberculosis, and tubercular
joint affec- 
tions are exceedingly common. The child may, and indeed usually does. survive
these 
lesions albeit often with facial or bodily disfigurement only to succumb
during adoles- 
cence to a lung invasion due directly to these early infections. 
Liquor.-This tribe as a whole has been sober and for the most part industri-
ous, only one case of intoxication coming to my notice. Attempt was made
to prosecute the offending "boot legger," but sufficient evidence
could not be 
secured for his conviction. 
Rations.-As stated in my annual report for 1904, rations are only issued
to the old and indigent Indians of the reservation. Many of the Indians who
draw their pittance every two weeks are almost entirely dependent upon what
they receive for their subsistence. These Indians are to be pitied, for in
many 
cases they alone are the only ones left of once a large family and appreciate
very much the gratuitous issue of rations to them. 
Irrigation.-The same conditions prevail now as existed last year, although
more water has been used from the streams on the reservation proper and 
brought into the ditches made by the Indians themselves. I had hoped that
relief would be had from the courts in this regard, yet I have been unable
to obtain much relief except by new ditches made by Indians who have never
be- 
fore attempted to farm. The sum of $4,974.69 was expended during the year
for day labor by Indians in making ditches for their farms. This amount is
an increase of $1,059.70 over the amount expended last year, and this I attribute
to the fact, as before stated, that weekly payments were made to them in
lieu 
of monthly payments, as heretofore. They quickly saw the results of their
daily 
toil and were much pleased to find their money waiting for them at the close
of 
the week in which their work was done. 
General conditions.-The year just past has given me much encouragement 
in regard to the progress of the Bannock and Shoshone Indians. Much improve-
ment has been made in their willingness to accept advice and help looking
to- 
ward the permanent improvement of their homes; looking toward the future
when the time for their allotment comes. Valleys where once only sagebrush
grew have been converted into meadows, farms where grain and vegetables 
grow, and large tracts of alfalfa; and herds of cattle now roam the once
large 


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