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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 82

REPORT OF THE 
designated by the Hon. the Commissioner of Indian affairs, in conse- 
quence of the Sioux difficulties. 
On my arrival ai  this post, on the 10th August last, I found the 
whole Indian country in a state of feverish excitement and alarm, 
caused by the near approach of the Sioux expedition under the com- 
mand of General Harney, and the uncertainty existing as to his in- 
structions, or the measures that would be adopted in order to obtain 
a solution of the Sioux difficulties. 
To all inquiries addressed to me I gave but this one answer, 
"There is a Sioux war." 
It was difficult and almost impossible for me to obtain any in- 
formation or facts that gave the true state of affairs, or the disposition
and feelings of the Sioux Indians on the question of war or peace, 
either from the few whites, residents and traders, or from the Indians 
themselves. I was fortunate in securing for my Sioux interpreter 
the services of Antoine Jannis, who had been a trader with the 
Ogalallah and Brul bands of Sioux for twelve years, had resided in 
their villages, and was personally acquainted with the principal men 
of both bands. 
From him I obtained important information as to what had been 
the true state of the Indian feeling and conduct, in relation to the 
unfortunate affairs of last year, resulting in the massacre of Lieu- 
tenant Grattan and his detaehment of United States troops, and the 
murder of the mail party. From the evidence before me, it was 
plain that a great proportion of the two bands of Sioux, the 
Ogalallahs and Brules, disavowed these acts, and were not parties 
that had any share in them, and had separated themselves from the 
guilty parties of those two bands, and were anxious to remain at 
peace with the United States. I immediately adopted measures as 
to war and peace parties, and carried them into effect, as stated in my 
dispatch of the 1st instant. 
The Indian annuity goods have not been distributed either to the 
Sioux bands or to the Arapahoes. The greater part of the Cheyenne 
band were near this post on my arrival, and as there were no com- 
plaints made against them as being concerned in acts of hostility, or 
of depredations on property of whites, I gave them their goods. 
There are heavy charges against the Arapahoes for killing cattle 
and sheep during the present year. The owners of this stock have 
not yet proved their claims before me, except one, for 48 head of cat- 
tle. The whole amount claimed will be nearly $15,000, and will stop 
the annuity of this band for some years. The Arapahoes, in council 
with me, admitted that they were greatly in fault, but excused them- 
selves by saying they were starving; that the smallpox was raging in 
their lodges, and prevented them from going out to hunt the buffalo. 
They said they were willing to have their annuity stopped until the 
owners of this stock were fully paid. 
The Arapahoes and Cheyennes have applied to me to be supplied 
with a farmer and blacksmith. I would recommend to the department 
that this request be granted, and that Saint Vrain's fort, on the 
South Platte, be selected as the most suitable point for a farm and an 
agency for the Arapahoes and Cheyennes of the South Platte and 
82 


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