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

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

Page XI

portation to Indians, and to make them useful in every capacity in which
Indian labor can be employed. 
For several years past the experiment of furnishing Indians with cat- 
tle for stock-raising has been made from time to time, and it has been 
found that the Indians have almost invariably herded their cattle well, 
and have raised young stock in considerable numbers. During the cur- 
rent year, as the following figures will show, very much more has been 
done in the distribution of stock among the Indians than at any time 
heretofore. The government has contracted for 11,311 head of stock 
cattle, which have been delivered in part; the remainder of the deliv- 
eries will be made as soon as spring is fairly opened. These cattle are 
distributed as follows: 1,100 to the San Carlos Agency, 100 to Siletz, 
1,522 to Pine Ridgel 1,622 to Rosebud, 900 to Cheyenne and Arapaho, 
600 to Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita; 817 to Osage, 400 to Pawnee, 
850 to the Shoshone and Bannack; 100 each to the Sac and Fox, and 
Kaw Agencies; 200 each to the Western Shoshone, Flathead, and Fort 
Hall Agencies; 300 each to Crow Creek, and Ponca; and 500 each to 
Yaiakton, Standing Rock, Lower Brule, and Blackfeet Agencies. These 
cattle have been and will be distributed only to such Indians as, in the
opinion of the respective agents, will take the best care of them. Prop-
erly cared for, the increase of this stock, in four years, will, with the
original herd, amount to nearly 50,000 head, from which it will be seen 
that the success of the Indians in stock-raising and their ability to profit
by it can be demonstrated in a very brief time. These advantages, 
taken in connection with the issue of agricultural implements and wagons
in number to correspond with the issue of cattle, will require but one 
more act on the part of the government to complete the conditions neces-
sary for Indian self-support. The only thing needful is to provide them 
with an absolute title to lands in severalty, covered by a patent from 
the government, with protection against taxation and alienation. 
Indians in their natural state are exceedingly improvident, and while 
for one year, if left to themselves, they might procure seed and raise a
large crop, the probability is that before the next planting season their
supply of seed would be entirely exhausted. It is necessary, therefore, 
to exercise some forethought in their behalf, and during the current year
the office has directed agents to construct granaries and root houses, 
and to call upon each Indian who has been engaged in farming to 
deliver at the agency a sufficient amount of seed for the next crop. In 
return, the agent gives a receipt for its safe-keeping. This of course 
renders it necessary for the agent to'have a place of storage where the 
seeds or roots will be safe from destruction or frost. 
It is not unusual for Indian traders to give Indians credit to an amount

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