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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 XV

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIORER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.         XV 
By the provisions of the above bill it will be seen that everything has 
been done for the Poncas, so far as this department can act. Their 
lands were ceded to the Sioux by act of Congress, and proper reparation 
can only be made by the same authority. 
CHIEF MOSES AND HIS PEOPLE. 
During the summer of 1878 the settlers in Washington Territory were 
painfully excited by the restless condition of the Indians in their midst,
owing to the outbreak of the Snakes and Bannacks in the adjoining 
Territory of Idaho, and organized measures for self-protection against 
roving bands were considered necessary. Chief Moses and his band, 
who at that time were not on any reservation, were suspected by the 
settlers of being in sympathy with the hostile Indians, and also of hav-
ing been accomplices in the murder of a man and his wife, named Perkins,
who had been killed by a roving band of Columbia River Indians, under 
the influence of the notorious -'dreamer" Smohallie. Inthe fall of 1878,
Agent Wilbur was directed to use his best endeavors to induce Moses 
and his band to go upon the Yakama Reservation. He accordingly 
sent for Moses, who, on the plea that a separate reservation was to be 
assigned him, declined to go to Yakama until the decision of the gov- 
ernment in the matter could be had. He denied all personal knowledge 
of the Perkins murder, and offered to furnish guides to assist in the 
arrest of the guilty parties, who were then located about 40 miles distant
from his camp. 
A party of fifteen agency Indians and thirty white volunteers from 
Yakama City was formed, and it was arranged that Moses and his men 
should have one day's start of the party in order to make arrangements 
for crossing the Columbia River. On arriving with his men at the ap- 
pointed place he found that the volunteers had proceeded to a point 
twelve miles below. This fact, coupled with reports which had reached 
him in the mean time that the whites had planned to waylay and kill 
him on the way home, and that the police and volunteers intended to 
arrest him and confine him in jail at Yakama, aroused his suspicions, 
and he failed to furnish the guides as agreed, and confronted the volun-
teer party in an apparently hostile attitude with about sixty armed men.
After a parley, which resulted in both sides withdrawing without col- 
lision, Moses returned to his camp, but three days later started with 
nine of his men (as he states) to join the party in the capture of the mur-
derers. Before reaching them he encamped for the night, and the vol- 
unteers who were in that vicinity, mistaking their camp fires for those of
the murderers, surrounded the camp and took Moses and his nine men 
prisoners. All were disarmed; five went after the murderers and 
arrested one, the other having killed himself to avoid arrest, and Moses
and the remaining four men were taken to Yakama City and confined 
in jail without any formal examination. A week later Agent Wilbur 
persuaded the citizens to allow him to take them in charge, and, under 


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