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

Reports of agents in Indian territory,   pp. 57-80 PDF (12.8 MB)


Page 80

80      REPORTS OF AGENTS IN INDIAN TERRITORY 
100 in Mexico. Those of them who are at present on the Kickapoo Reserve,
35 miles 
southwest of this agency, are progressing very favorably in the cultivation
of the soil, 
rearing stock, hogs, &c., &c. One of their chiefs, named Mesh-ket-toe,
a man of very 
advanced ideas, and favorable to educationy called on me the 26th of December,
1878, 
to have an interview, with the view of stating some grievances and making
the wants 
of his people known. The substance of the complaint was that they had a great
de- 
sire to engage in agricultural pursuits, but they needed the assistance of
the Father in 
Washington to provide them with agricultural implements, cows and calves,
&c., and 
that they had made repeated application to the late agent, but no notice
had been 
taken of their wants. On my visit to the Office of Indian Affairs in January
last, I 
opened my memorandum book and showed to the honorable Commissioner the rea-
sonable demands of these poor people. I am pleased to say the honorable Secretary
of the 
Interior gave them a humane consideration, and allowed the purchase of all
the arti- 
cles enumerated, viz, plows, wagons, harness, mowing-machine, seeds, cows
and calves, 
and all necessary farming implements, most of which they now possess. 
The reservation on which these Indians are located is adjoining the lands
of the 
Shawnees, who hold friendly intercourse with them, and a spirit of agricultural
enter- 
prise is manifest in both tribes. The soil being a rich alluvial deposit,
or what is 
termed bottom-land, is very easily cultivated, yielding good and abundant
crops. 
This season being an unusually warm and dry one, the corn crop will be/ very
short, 
and it is feared that the hay season will also fail in both reservations.
The neighborhood of those two reservations is infested with a gang of outlaws
who 
locate between" the Pottawatomie Reserve and Kickapoo, committing murder
androb- 
bery on defenseless citizens of both places; they run off the stock of farmers,
and when 
not engaged in this, they are selling whisky, which is brought in by them
and traded 
to the Indians for ponies, &c., which has a very demoralizing influence.
The band 
comprise some of the worst characters that can be found; many of them are
fugitives 
from justice, and find the Indian country a safe refuige from the officers
of the law. 
There are over 100 of these lawless characters, well armed with Spencer and
Winches- 
ter rifles, besides Colt revolvers, and are a terror to the law-abiding people
of the sur- 
rounding country. It is hoped that the authorities will deal with these creatures
as 
they deserve. 
- INDIAN POLICE. 
The policy lately introduced by the Office of Indian Affairs in organizing
a corps of 
young Indians as policemen has been attended with good results. The pay,
rations, 
and clothing furnished to them is an evidence of eneouragement, and affords
them a 
hope of reliance on their own efforts towards civilization and self-government.
I 
would respectfully recommend that those of their corps who have horses may
be al- 
lowed additional compensation for the use of them when specially detailed
to go a 
distance of miles from the agency, and to be furnished with arms. 
PEDDLERS. 
I respectfully call the attention of the department to the fact that a number
of this 
class of people make a regular business of bringing bacon, flour, chickens,
and other 
produce to this and other agencies and trading or selling them for ponies,
cattle, &c., 
to the Indians. This would seem to be legitimate, but it is known that their
ostensible 
object is the sale of whisky, which they conceal before they come to the
agency, and 
sell it to the Indians in the night-time. Section '2133 of the United States
Statutes 
provides that "any person, other than an Indian, who shall attempt to
reside in the 
Indian country as a trader or to introduce goods, or to trade therein, without
such 
license, shall forfeit all merchandise offered for sale to the Indians or
found in his pos- 
session, and, moreover, shall be liable to a penalty of five hundred dollars."
If a cir- 
cular letter was issued to prohibit this class of people from trading at
agencies, it 
would be a source of benefit to the Indians. 
SANITARY. 
*         The health of the Sac and Fox and others of this agency has been
very good, al- 
though the extreme heat has had a depressing influence.- This was counterbalanced
in 
a measurd by cool and refreshing breezes night and morning, and the several
wells in 
and around the agency having afforded a bountiful supply of excellent water,
there has 
been less mortality than in previous years. 
Inclosed I respectfully submit the statistical information called for in
your letter of 
June 18th, 1879. 
Very respectfully, 
J. HERTFORD, 
Acting Agent. 
The COM ISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 


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