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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

[Central superintendency],   pp. 68-118 PDF (20.8 MB)


Page 76

REPORT OF THE 
those of the other party; and were his party to receive any portion of 
the government presents, on their return to the village, in all proba- 
bility, themselves and horses would all be killed. After remaining 
here five days they started back to their villages, saying that they 
would do all in their power to induce at least one half of their people 
to accept the annuities, and as soon as they heard of my return would 
come and see me. From all I can learn their efforts to effect a change 
in their people have been successful. These two bands are now en- 
camped about 100 miles, or two days' travel, from this fort; I have sent
an express to them to come in immediately, and have no doubt they 
will arrive in four or five days. I feel confident that after holding 
council with them I shall be able to make a radical change in their 
deportment for the future. 
One hundred lodges of the Upper Yanctonais band are encamped 
within four days' march of this; I have sent an express to them to 
come in. Some of the principal men had been here previous to my 
arrival, and I learn that they are extremely anxious to get their por- 
tion of the annuities, and say that they will strictly adhere to the 
advice and counsel I will give them. 
In the foregoing I have embraced everything that has come under 
my observation and knowledge of the different tribes in my agency, 
many of the circumstances you are already aware of, having witnessed 
the same. I have, however, learned that the appearance of the troops 
at Fort Pierre has wrought a very great change in the conduct of the 
Onk-pa-pas and Blackfeet bands, also the Yanctonais; and I must 
again repeat that as the troops are-now in the country, if a formida- 
ble number would show themselves at the villages of these Indians, 
murders, robberies, and horse stealing would no longer be heard of. 
I give this with all due deference as my opinion, and shall be glad to 
hear that you and the department take the same view of it. An 
excursion of this kind in the prairies would give the officers a know- 
ledge of the country, which would be advantageous to the government. 
Respecting the resources and future settlement of this country, I 
have expressed an opinion in a former report, and after still further 
investigation I have no cause to change it. 
If the value of a portion of the country depends in any respoct on 
the value of the whole, then this country for a white man is 
worthless. It is true a few fertile spots are seen in the bottoms, but 
they are so subject to be overflowed by the rise in the river as renders
their occupation very precarious. The fertile spots in this country 
are like the oases in the desert, around is desolation and gloom. I 
am well aware that most new countries have been evilly reported upon 
from the time of Moses, when he sent the twelve messengers to spy 
out the promised land. They returned, ten of the twelve gave an 
evil report of the country; for which, we are told, they were punished 
by detention in the wilderness for forty years, they having reported 
thcere was no soil, no timber, no water. This country fully answers 
their report. And, in fact, it will apply to the greater part of the 
Upper Missouri, or that portion of it inhabited by the eight bands of 
Sioux embraced in this report, numbering (16,000) sixteen thousand 
souls, which number I am satisfied is correct; for my information is 
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