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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1863
([1863])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. [5]-40 PDF (14.2 MB)


Page 9

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
9 
many of them during the past year have built good houses; with no other assist-
ance from the agent than the furnishing of nails. They have also opened and
fenced numerous small fields, which are cultivated mainly by their own labor.
The majority othe Indians are, however, very unsettled in their habits, and
but little disposed to engage in agricultural or mechanical pursuits. This
dis- 
position to idleness and to adhere to their old customs is mainly attributable
to 
the uncertainty in their relations to the government. In 1855 a treaty was
negotiated with these Indians, and some five or six hundred others, who have
since abandoned the agency, and are living with other tribes, by which all
the 
territory between the coast mountains on the east, and the Pacific on the
west, 
and extending from the Columbia river on the north to the southern boundary
of Oregon, was ceded to the United States. The territory thus ceded includes
many of the most thriving settlements and towns in the State. This treaty
was laid before the Senate, but, for some reason to me unknown, has hitherto
failed to receive the assent of that body,; consequently its provisions have
never 
been carried into effect, and such assistance as has been rendered to the
Indians 
has been derived mainly from the annual appropriation for removal and subsist-
ence of Indians not under treaty stipulations. The Indians, relying upon
the 
promises made by the former superintendent, Palmer, by whom the treaty was
negotiated, promptly removed to the stipulated reservation, without awaiting
the 
ratification of the treaty. They now complain, and justly, that they have
sold 
all their former possessions, which have been taken possession of by the
whites, 
and that they have realized none of the benefits which they were assured
would 
result from the treaty. This, as already intimated, is a source of much dissatis-
faction among the Indians, many of whom have abandoned the reservation. It
is also embarrassing to the agents and other employes in charge of the agency,
since there is no provision upon wlich they can rely in adopting a policy
for the 
-improvement of the Indians, which, to be effectual, must be continued through
a 
series of years. Whether we consider the value of the territory ceded, the
re- 
quirements of good faith to the Indians, the improvements which, from their
known character and disposition, may reasonably be anticipated from a suitable
and permanent provision for their welfare, the numbers of the Indians to
be 
benefited, or the advantage to be derived by ourselves in the concentration
of 
so many Indians who will otherwise scatter and become exceedingly annoying,
each and every consideration, in my judgment, requires that their treaty
should 
be ratified, and its provisions carried into effect. I trust that this subject
may 
be commended to the favorable consideration of the Senate, and that, in case
it 
shall be found that the treaty now negotiated is objectionable in its provisions,
the necessary measures may be adopted authorizing further negotiations having
for their object the permanent settlement and adjustment of our relations
with 
these Indians. 
The Alsea sub-agency is located about eight miles below the mouth of the
Alsea bay, and is completely shut in on the one hand by the Pacific, and
by 
mountains and sand-hills on the other. At this agency are five hundred and


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