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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1879
([1879])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. [unnumbered]-XLIX PDF (19.0 MB)


Page V

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
The patenting of lands in severaltycreates separate and individual "iter-
ests, which are necessary in order to tach an Indian the benefits of lahor
.4 to induce him to follow civilized pursuits 
In this connection I desire to call attention to House bill 352, {6th 
Congress, 1st session, which confirms certains entries of lands made by 
Chippewa Indians in Michigan, and also to House bill 355, introduced 
during the same session, amending the deficiency act of March 3, 1875. 
This latter bill extends -the limitation placed upon the conveyance of 
lands taken by Indians under the homestead law to twenty-five years 
from date of patent instead of five years. it also includes other limita-
tions embraced in House bill 354 referred to above. Under the provis- 
ions of this act a large number of Indians in Oregon, Washington Ter- 
ritory, and other portions of the Northwest, who are not on reservations,
could be readily and advantageously settled. 
PENAL SETTLEMENTS. 
In former years when Indians committed serious crimes it was eus- 
tomary to inflict punishment therefor by sending them to Saint Augas- 
tine, Fla., to be kept in close confinement at Fort Marion. Theywere thus
deprived of their liberty until they were believed to be in a fit frame of
mind to be permitted to go back to their tribes, with a reasonable pros-
pect of their remaining quiet in the future. Of late years the military,
who have acted a custodians of these captive Indians, have objected to 
keeping them, on account of the expense of feeding them from the Army 
appropriation, and for the last two years it has been a difficult mater 
to cause Indian criminals to be held in custody beyond a very brief pe- 
riod of time, although the Army appropriation bill makes special pro- 
vision for the support of Indian prisoners. 
A penal settiement for the confinement and reformation of the mxenr 
turbulent and troublesome individua-ls among the various Indian trihas 
i4 -a pressing want, and immediaU action should be taken for the estab- 
lishment of such a settlemeA. For the worst class of refractory Indians,
one s ettlement should he in Florida, which is far enough awayfrom I Wdian
resexvations to make any attempt at escape hopeless. Another settle- 
ment s.hould be established in the Northwest, at some point where a con-
.sidera4le quantity of arable laud can be found, so that Indians who  ae
thus restricted in their liberty may be taught to work for their suppq. 
It is impossible to properly govern a barbarous people like our i!'ir 
Indians without being able to inflict some punishment for wrong-doing 
that shall be a real punishment to the offender. At the present time 
the military are called upon to suppress insurrections, and to chastisea,
by the penalties and losses of war, those who rebel against the govern- 
ment. Tlhese are temporary evils to the Indians, and unless the punish- 
ment inflicted is unusually severe the lesson is soon forgotten. 1More -
over, in such cases chastisement often falls heavily on in-nocent parties
inste'ad of the guilty. If the Indian Office had a penal settlement where


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