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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 North Dakota,   pp. 278-291 PDF (7.0 MB)


Page 279

REPORTS CONCERNING INDIANS IN NORTH DAKOTA. 
279 
No immediate deaths resulted, but in a few cases, where sickness of a serious
iature followed, the pupils were allowed to be taken home, where a few cases
resulted fatally. The measles were followed by a few cases of pneumonia,
and 
later by a severe epidemic of influenza. But with all this sickness the general
interest of the school was quite well maintained, and the friendly relations
with the parents seemed to improve instead of decline under the afflictions.
The general repairs to the buildings of both plants have been prosecuted
throughout the year, until at the close the plants were in better condition
than 
at the beginning. The improvements of greatest note undertaken for the year
were a new boiler and some new pumps and other equipment for the heating
nd lighting plants for the school at the old post, and the laying of a new
4-inch cast-iron water main from that school to the Grey Nuns' department.
This work has been executed under the direction of the school force, employing
such additional labor as needed. During the spring and early summer a new
granary with a capacity of abofut 5,000 bushels was erected, the material
being 
purchased with funds received from sale of surplus farm products. 
The spring and summer have been noted for excessive rainfall. The crops,
low being harvested, promise well, but unless the rains cease soon much injury
and loss will be inevitable. The meadows are mostly full of water and hay
can 
not be cut. The gardens usually are producing well, but it has been impossible
to keep the weeds and grass down, so that many of the vegetables are hidden
by a wilderness of foul growths. 
The Devils Lake Sioux.-The census of the Devils Lake Sioux for June 30, 
1905, showed 1,006 persons alive on that date, and 202 children between the
ages 
of 6 and 16. This is a decrease of 7 persons as compared with the census
of 
the previous year. This decrease is the result of measles which prevailed
through the tribe in January and February, carrying off many children. Other
forms of sickness were more prevalent than usual, and the death rate would
show still further loss as compared with the birth rate, as the census was
increased by a few members who had been dropped through long absence. 
The reservation for this tribe was opened to settlement of the surplus lands
in October through the operation of the treaty made with this tribe in Novem-
ber, 1901, and as amended and approved-by act of April 27, 1904. While the
amendments to this treaty were not wholly satisfactory to the tribe no general
dissatisfaction or protest resulted. The opening was conducted in a very
orderly manner, the Indians manifesting a'very keen interest, and many mem-
bers taking an aetive part in securing settlers and finding suitable locations
for them. The land proved disappointing to a large number, however, and 
there was less taken than had been expected. 
The opening of the reservation and the anticipation of cash annuities from
the sale of the lands did not have the retarding effect on the agricultural
efforts of the tribe that might have been expected. In fact, the general
effect 
seemed to be stimulating rather than retarding, and the acreage seeded this
year was larger than before. 
During the fiscal year of 1905 several thousand dollars received from sale
of 
inherited Indian lands were paid the members of this tribe, prior to receipt
of 
the order to deposit these funds in banks, the checks to be approved by the
agent. Little can be said as to proper use of such funds except that the
debts 
were quite generally paid and the families supplied themselves with teams,
wagons, and needed farm implements. In a few cases the money went for 
riotous living, but generally that disposition proved subject to reasonable
control. After the order to deposit the funds went into effect the money
was 
almost entirely expended to useful ends. A system of giving written orders
for all authorized purchases under this plan of expending their funds was
instituted. These orders were limited to the articles authorized, and soon
were accepted by the business community without question and at their face
value. It was found that the beneficial effects of these orders went far
beyond 
the immediate purpose for which they were issued, which was to carry out
the 
spirit of the order from the Department and insure that the Indian got what
was authorized. The business community soon welcomed the system, sold to
the Indian on such order at regular cash rates, and in fact fully cooperated
with the spirit and intent of the Departmental order. 
In fact, the system of giving these orders was so fully accepted by the Indians
and the business community that it has tended in very large degree to bring
the 
business transactions of the several members down to a cash basis. When it
came time to make the first annuity payment this spring, sales to Indians
in 
anticipation of such payment were unusually small, notwithstanding that such


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