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

Montana superintendency,   pp. 293-303 PDF (4.8 MB)


Page 300

300 
MONTANA. S UPERINTENDENCY. 
tented. From an aetual count in person I find they have three hundred and
eighty lodges present; I learn there are some twenty lodges with the north
Piegans that were not here, and, I am informed, seldom favor this place with
their presence. These would make the total number of lodges four hundred,
which I am inclined to think comprises the whole Piegan tribe. I estimate
them 
at seven to the lodge, making a total of twenty-eight hundred, including
women 
and children. There are a large number of chiefs in this tribe, but the only
one 
that wields any influence worthy of note over them is the Little Dog. He
is 
their head chief and has a strong hold upon them, but he fails to control
the 
young men fully; still he prevents them from committing depredations in a
great many instances ; he is a firm and unwavering friend to the whites,
and in 
most cases I have found him reliable and trustworthy. The rest of the chiefs
are mostly talkers and advisers. This is the most numerous tribe in the nation;
their home is in close proximity to Fort Benton, and they visit it often;
they 
seldom molest the whites, and are rather disposed to live in peace with the
neigh. 
boring tribes. I do not regard them a difficult tribe to get along with.
The Blood and Blackfeet Indians came in on the 24th, and I distributed to
them, the former on the 26th and the latter on the 27th. The Bloods had two
hundred and seventy lodges present, and they claimed that this was all of
that 
tribe. I estimate them at seven to the lodg, making a total of eighteen hun-
dred and ninety. These Indians came a long distance to receive their annui-
ties, and were grievously disappointed when they learned that the goods at
Fort 
Union had not arrived here; but after full explanations they became satisfied
apparently and went away in as pleasant a-mood as could be expected under
the circumstances. This tribe live mostly on the other side of the line in
the 
British possessions ; they roam from the Missouri river to the Saskatchawan,
and it is questionable whether they can properly be called subjects of the
United 
States. 
The Blackfeet Indians present numbered one hundred lodges. These are the
most impudent and insulting Indians I have yet met. The whole tribe, from
the most reliable information I can get, numbers full three hundred and fifty
lodges; they live entirely in the British possessions and never come this
way 
except to trade, get their annuities, or commit some depredation, such as
pilfer- 
ing emigrant trains, stealing horses, or fighting with other tribes, and
then run 
back to their northern home with their booty, defying pursuit. They were
in- 
dignant because their annuities were so small, and on leaving showed their
re, 
sentment by killing and leaving on the prairie, some four miles from here,
an 
ox and a cow that were quietly grazing as they passed. I look upon this tribe
as being one of the worst in or near this agency, and were it not that the
treaty 
expires next year, would recommend that their next annuity be paid them in
powder and ball from the mouth of a six-pounder, but as it is, I recommend
that when the present treaty expires they be turned over to the tender mercies
of the British crown, whose subjects they undoubtedly are. 
The general condition of the Indians in this agency is as favorable as could
be expected.from such wild and savage beings. The great number of whites,
together with the expedition of General Sully, that have shown themselves
in 
this country, has had a beneficial influence upon them, and some have foresight
enough to perceive that their power over the whites is fast passing away
to re- 
turn no more forever. 
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, 
GAD. E. UPSON, 
United States Indian Agent, Mantana Territory. 
Hon. WILLIAM P. DOLE, 
Commissioner Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 


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