University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864
([1864])

Dakota superintendency,   pp. 259-293 PDF (15.0 MB)


Page 260

260                  DAKOTA SUPERINTENDENCY. 
towards the subjugation of the Indians.. These two expeditions were imnensely
expensive to the government, and ought, in my opinion, to have brought about
uraore decided results. I am not prepared to say why they were failfres;
I leave 
this subject where it properly belongs, to the War Department, to make the
inquiry; of the fact, however, I have not the least doubt. 
ITS EFFECTS UPON THE PEOPLE OF THIS TERRITORY. 
The effect of the continuance of this war upon the prosperity of this Terri-
tory has been most damaging and deleterious. It has retarded its settlement
and development to an extent unprecedented in the history of the early settle-
ment of any of our northwest. Territories. It has confined our settlers to
narrow limits bordering on the Missouri river, and those of necessity have
bad 
to confine their operations, for mutual safety and protection, to little
towns at 
intervals of twenty or thirty miles, in order to retain the country at all,
it not 
being safe at any time for the past two years to reside at a distance from
the 
towns, by reason of the prevalence of roving bands of hostile Indians, who
seem ever present and ready to steal the horses and stock of the settlers,
and 
kill the owners in cases where resistance is made. Our settlements can but
be 
looked upon as a picket-guard to hold this country until such times as peace
can 
be restored between the government and these Indians. This, in my opinion,
can only be brought about by permitting such persons to visit the Indian
country, 
and have int rcourse with them, as will scrupulously regard their oaths,
the 
laws of Congress, and the regulations of the Indian department, in their
dealings 
with them. This, I believe, necessarily is the first step to be taken towards
bringing about a permanent and lasting peace.  Men who knowingly and 
wilfully violate the laws of Congress and the regulations of the department
in 
their dealings with Indians should be prevented from visiting the Indian
country.  If men will not regard the obligations resting upon them in this
respect, in my opinion they will not be found scrupulously honest or exact
in 
their dealings with the Indians, and will not hesitate to pamper their appetites,
especially when in doing so they are enabled to make better profits out of
them. 
That the laws of Congress are totally disregarded by large numbers of persons
in the Indian country as soon as they get above the settlements, I am perfectly
convince'd is true; indeed, I have the information from such a variety of
sources, 
as leaves me no ground to doubt. Then, again, the Indian country is overrun
with men from the border States (Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Kansas)
who are either rank secessionists or in sympathy with traitors, and they
take 
delight in stirring up sedition among the Indians and inciting them to open
acts 
of hostility against the government, in the -hope that their friends in the
south 
may be partially relieved in the diversion of troops thus created for their
benefit. 
That there are many true and loyal men in the States named above I do not
doubt; indeed, abundance of proof is at hand to establish this fact beyond
a 
doubt; but that any considerable portion of the persons found in the Indian
country from these States are loyal to the government I very much doubt;
indeed, proof is not wanting that a large majority are at least in sympathy
with 
the rebels, and many of them are outspoken secessionists, and in some cases
bushwhackers, who dare not be seen at this time in Missouri, or the other
States named, where our troops hold the country. 
Owing to the severe drought which has prevailed in this Territory for the
past two seasons, which has utterly neutralized the expenditures on account
of agriculture made at the different agencies in this superintendency, all
the 
efforts and labor of agents and the Indians have been from this cause a total
loss; worse than a loss, in fact, because of the discouraging effect, from
this 
cause, upon such Indians as have acquired habits of industry. 
Every possible effort has been made by the superintendent and agents to 


Go up to Top of Page