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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 agent in Michigan,   pp. 84-86 ff. PDF (1.5 MB)


Page 86

86 
REPORT OF AGENT IN MICHIGAN. 
they canrot obtain them in any other way, while the Indian becomes discouraged
and 
disheartened at this want of protection, for which he looks to the government,
sup- 
posing it to be his right to expect it. 
The religious and moral condition of the several tribes seems to fully keep
pace with 
their progress in civilization. Those neighborhoods where the Roman Catholic
Church 
first planted the-" true faith" more than two centuries ago do
not seem to have made 
much progress further than to hold the people firmly to their belief, while
most of their 
church edifices seem to be going to decay, and the priests, becoming imbued
with the 
love of mammon, seem in some instances to be coming into posiession of large
quan- 
tities of the Indian's lands, as some complain, by driving sharp bargains.
The Methodist Church is doing much in various neighborhoods in the way of
build- 
ing up their belief, and wherever they gain a foothold it seems to be to
the decided 
advantage of the people, as shown in their lives and conduct. There have
been this 
year, at various points within the agency, eight camp-meetings of this denomina-
tion, and all, so far as I have heard, were in every respect peaceable and
orderly, and 
no doubt seasons of much improvement to those attending this mode of worship,
being 
one very congenial to the natural impulses of the Indian character. A very
large per- 
centage of the adult Indians at this agency are members of some church. I
think about 
one-third of these are Catholics, and a large proportion of the rest Methodist,
with a 
few Presbyterians in the vicinity where this church formerly had missions,
of which 
there were many at one time, all of which I think are abandoned now, the
Methodist 
Episcopal Church alone endeavoring to keep up churches among them, which
probably 
accounts for their greater success. 
The industrial condition is shown by the following items from the accompanying
statistical report of the several tribes of the agency. Nearly all are carefully
compiled 
from the most authentic information I could obtain after diligent inquiry
in the vari- 
ous localities. Yet many items are only estimates, as the exact amounts or
numbers 
are extremely difficult to obtain, even where parties are seen. 
Number of acres under cultivation in all parts of the agency----------------.7,900
Acres under fence...................................................  9,200
Bushels of wheat produced------------------------------------------13,374
B ushels  of  corn  produced.... ......... .. .......... ........... ......
20, 900 
Bushels of oats produced---------------------------------------------3,240
Bushels of potatoes produced..............................................44,500
Tons of hay cut...................................................1,600 
Cords of wood cut...   ..............................................42,500
Horses  owned .............................................................
 800 
Cattle owned-----------------------------------------------       -     765
Swine owned.     .      .     .     .     .     .      ..------------------------------------------------------1,325
Feet of lumber  sawed .....................................................
 425,000 
Pounds of maple sugar manufactured-----------------------------------2,000
V alue  of  berries  pick ed ...  _.... ... .. ...... ......... ...... ...
.... . $2,  000 
V alue  of  furs  sold............................................ .... .
$4,700 
Log  houses  occupied...... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ... --------------813
Frame houses occupied ....................................................
 155 
The houses are undoubtedly far below the number actually occupied by them,
as 
they are in many instances so small and inferior that they do not think them
of any 
account. The foregoing statistics are not intended to include the product
of their 
labor when employed to work for wages for others, which embraces by far the
greatest 
portion of their time, and of course would show a large addition to their
production. 
I think there is every reason to take courage and hope that by fair and honorable
dealings with them their condition will improve year by year, and that ere
long they 
will become fully identified as a part of our citizenship and body politic.
I ,think we 
have no cause to be discouraged or relax our endeavors to sustain and encourage
the 
schools, and use every inducement to lead them to improve their lands and
become 
more thoroughly self-supporting. 
I have some fears that-considerable suffering may attend the winter with
the Chip- 
pewas of Lake Superior, as on the night of the 15th of August last a  evere
frost de- 
stroyed all their corn and potatoes, which, I am told, has not happened before
for nearly 
twenty years. The loss of these crops isvery severe upon them, particularly
the pota- 
toes, on which they largely depend for their winter sustenance. 
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, GEG. W. LEE, 
United State8 Indian JAent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 


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