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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 200

200     REPORTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. 
of so many able-bodied Nez Perc' Indians, and that is to chop off their leasing.
When rations were cut off, the Indians went to work; now try the leasing
proposition in the same manner. These Indians have leased their lands until
it 
is broken up and sufficiently improved so as to allow them to move right
on 
and go to work. If the renters can make themselves independent by doing all
labor and paying from $1.50 to $3 per acre to the owner, the Indian can do
better; and not only will he do better financially, but he will be kept busy
and 
will not have the time to run around the country visiting friends who are
inclined to work for themselves. 
Leases.-There is a constant increase in the demand for Indian lands. Last
year there were 304 leases of Indian land approved by the Secretary of the
Interior. This year 500 have been submitted for approval, 98 per cent of
which 
were farming leases, the balance being for the grazing of stock or business
leases for the purpose of trading with the Indians. All leases will average
$1.75 
per acre per annum. 
Public highways.-Roads are being constructed so that travel is possible 
through any portion of the reservation. The Indians realize the importance
of 
good roads, and while a few oppose, the most of them are very good to do
their 
part. Formerly the opinion of an Indian was that any trail was good enough,
but of late quite a number turn out with their teams and contribute very
mate- 
rially to road improvement. 
Stock.-This being a strictly agricultural country, very little stock is raised.
They have in the neighborhood of 3,000 cattle and about the same number of
borses and ponies. They own but few of the -so-called " cayuses,"
but have 
good heavy work horses and some real good brood mares. They take very good
care of the latter, as a rule. Their ponies, however, are neglected to such
an 
extent that they have become scabby, and by allowing the diseased ones to
run 
at large the county authorities have been obliged to take up and destroy
nearly 
100 head. The owners were advised a year ago to take up these ponies and
dip 
them, but no attention was paid to it. Cattle raising is not a paying business
in 
this country. The local market is not good and shipping at a profit is almost
out of the question. 
Education.-The scholastic population for this tribe is 321. Out of this num-
ber 25 are married women. The Government boarding school enrolled 117; 57
were enrolled at the St. Joseph's mission school; 40 were enrolled at public
schools, and 5 were enrolled at nonreservation schools; total attending some
school, 244, leaving a balance of 127 which were nonattendant. Of this latter
number I am fully convinced that 75 per cent are so afflicted by disease
that they are incapacitated, so far as schooling is concerned. I am told,
and 
the records bear out the statement that formerly these Indians were very
friendly to this school, and there was no disinclination on the part of the
par- 
ents to keep their children from it. At the present time the Christian and
pro- 
gressive element are anxious to educate their children, but fully one-half
of the 
tribe try by every means within their power to keep them at home, thereby
hampering our best efforts to secure an attendance to the full capacity of
our 
plant. 
I am of the opinion that a better attendance might be obtained if the school
term was shortened, and not begin the term before October 1 instead of Sep-
tember 1. During the hot summer months a great many of the Indians go to
the mountains and do not return before cool weather sets in, or about October
1. 
School building*.-These buildings are in fair condition, but being old con-
stant work is necessary to keep them in repair. Considerable lumber will
be 
necessary for the coming year for the construction of additional walks and
re- 
flooring some of the buildings. 
Public schools.-There are, within the limits of this reservation, 52 public
schools, which not only afford schooling to the whites but also to about
40 
Indian children. At the beginning some of the trustees drew the color line
after having enumerated all the Indian children in their respective districts
and drawing State apportionment for them. The diffl(ulty was, however, over-
come and the Indians attended " all same white man." 
Missionary work.-Two missions are in active operation among these people,
one conducted by Miss Kate McBeth, assisted by her able coworker, Miss Mazie
Crawford. These two ladies give their whole time and attention to this work.
and their influence is manifestly for the good. They represent the Presbyterian
Board of Home Missions. The other is conducted by the Reverend Father Ca-
taldo of the Roman Catholic Church, and is being carried on by a large force
of 
workers numbering 21-7 males and 14 females. A regular mission school is
supported, and nearly all members of this faith send their children to this


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