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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 Nebraska,   pp. 248-254 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 249

REPORTS CONCERNING INDIANS IN         NEBRASKA.          249 
it is impossible to effect a thorough reform in this direction. Through such
efforts as it was possible to make during the time I have been in charge
the 
number of approved leases has been doubled, but as shown by above statement
there is still room for vast improvement. 
The policy of compelling all lessees to pay through the agency office is
not 
for the best interests of such of the Indians as are capable of attending
to such 
business for themselves. It would be a better plan to confine this method
of 
collecting rent to those who, through ignorance, imbecility, or other disquali-
fying causes, are incapable of looking after their interests, and allow those
who are competent to attend to their own collections. Many of the Omaha 
Indians are intelligent enough to perform such duty for themselves and 
should not be subjected to humiliation and deprived of the opportunity of
exercising their business capacity by drawing their lease moneys through
the 
office. 
Sales of inherited lands.-Since July 1, 1904, 50 tracts, aggregating 3,126.45
acres of inherited land, have been sold, realizing $80,263.20, an average
of 
$25.67 per acre. This average may be lower than of some other reservations,
and if so, is due to the fact that the Omaha restrict their sales to the
poorer 
grades of land, knowing that it is more profitable to retain the best lands
for 
rental purposes. Many make commendable use of the money received in the 
erection of neat, substantial dwelling houses and other improvements on their
allotments. 
The amendment to the rules of September 16, 1904, requiring that the pro-
ceeds of sales of inherited Indian land be deposited subject to checks of
not 
more than $10 per month, has greatly reduced the sales of land on this reser-
vation, not more than one-fourth of the land being sold here during the past
year that would have been disposed of under the former method of payment.
Liquor traffic.-The difficulties of protecting the Indians from the harpies
who ply this nefarious trade among them have been greatly increased as a
result of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case
of Albert Heff. To the credit of the towns bordering the reservation it may
be 
said that many of them have made commendable efforts to offset this unfor-
tunate decision by, in some cases, refusing to license saloons within their
limits, and in others to grant licenses only on condition that no liquor
be sold 
to Indians. But notwithstanding, more drunkenness than ever now prevails
among the Indians, chiefly due to the fact that boot leggers have encamped
on the bank of the Missouri River in Iowa, and the Indians cross in boats
to 
purchase liquor from them. As these parties have cothplied with all the 
requirements of law in respect to revenue and local licenses, there is no
legal 
recourse against them. 
Moral and social progress.-While these Indians are within four years of the
close of their trust period, when they take upon themselves all the responsibili-
ties of full-fledged citizens, they are still strongly inclined to the primitive
customs and ideas of savagery. While always ready to assert their rights
as 
" citizens " whenever such claim is in line of their desires, they
are still 
addicted to their tribal ways. They are "citizens" or " Indians"
as suited to 
the purposes of each occasion whereby they may shirk obligations or enjoy
the 
apparent benefits, according to the r~le assumed. The younger generation,
brought up in contact with civilization and educated in the best schools,
are but 
little advanced beyond their elders who were reared in savagery. The laxity
in 
regard to marriage is one deplorable result, and as the State laws, by which
this should be regulated, are not enforced by the local authorities, the
evil is on 
the increase among the younger members of the tribe. Dancing, disfiguring
the faces of children by tattoo, Indian marriages, "lodge" meetings
at which 
their primeval religious customs are observed, and a general prejudice against
any progressive member who exhibits a predeliction to white man's ways, all
go 
to show that fifty years of Government tutelage has produced but a thin veneer
of civilization, manifested mainly by the adoption of the civilized man's
dress 
and dwelling, while the inherent propensities of savagery remain unchanged.
Schools.-The inclosed report of the principal teacher of the Omaha training
school gives detailed information as to attendance and general progress of
the 
only Government school on this reservation. Several of the district schools
located at various points on the reservation have received Indian pupils
under 
contract with the Government. This plan of education is preferred by the
Indians and, when their children are required to attend regularly, is productive
of better results than are derived from attendance at the Government boarding
school. 


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