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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 Minnesota],   pp. [unnumbered]-89 PDF (2.2 MB)


Page 87

REPORT OF AGENT IN MINNESOTA. 
87- 
WHITE EARTH AGENCY, 
While Earth, Mien., August 27, 1879. 
SIR: Herewith I have the honor to transmit the annual report of this agency
for the 
current year. 
Since the consolidation of the Red Lake and Leech Lake Agencies with this,
in April 
last, there has existed entire harmony among all the Indians and employes.
No in- 
subordination or disposition to create disturbances has been manifested.
There are 
about 6,200 Indians within this agency, one-fourth of whom  are located upon
the 
White Earth Reservation; the remainder are scattered upon the different reservations.
(See Exhibit A.) 
The health of the Indians under my charge has been generally good. No epidemic
or acute diseases have prevailed, and the condition of those suffering from
chronic and 
syphilitic affections has been greatly ameliorated under the skillful and
efficient 
treatment rendered by Dr. Rosser, the resident physician, and whose services
were in- 
valuable. A few families of different bands suffered from exposure and want
of suita- 
ble food during the winter, but these instances were rare, and mostly chargeable
to the 
improvidence of the parties -khemselves. The total mortality has been less
than that of 
last year. 
No crimes of magnitude among the Indians have come to my knowledge; but few
petty 
offenses have been committed, and these have been summarily dealt with. Person
and 
property are as secure within this agency as anywhere in the United States;
no other 
community of 6,000 persons within my knowledge can present so small a calendar
of 
crime. 
Superstition, with its attendant evils, is fast disappearing and more enlightened
ideas 
are being adopted. The Indians seem eager for practical information, which
will ena- 
ble them to help themselves in a material way. They are fast acquiring a
disposition 
to accumulate property, and are thus incited to habits of industry. Whenever
lo- 
cated upon lands of their own they soon become interested in its improvement,
and 
give little time to their old habits and ways. (For list of crimes and arrests,
see Ex- 
hibit B.) 
The farming of the Indians has been attended with good success the past year;
an 
abundant crop has been secured by those who were engaged in the cultivation
of the 
soil. Upon the reservation there have been grown 25,000 bushels of wheat;
8,975 bush- 
els of oats; 2,726 bushels of corn; 20,000 bushels of potatoes; 971 bushels
of barley ; 
with other grains and vegetables in proportion. (For full statement of the
products 
of this and the other reservations under my charge, see Exhibit C.) The manual
labor 
has been wholly performed by the Indians and mixed-bloods, and to my entire
satisfac- 
tion. The cultivated area has been increased this year at White Earth Reservation,
1,017 acres; Red Lake Reservation, 15 acres; Leech Lake Reservation, 18-
acres; twen- 
ty-five acres of sorghum, planted as an experiment, has made an aver!age
growth of 
ten feet, and is now in nice condition for manufacturing into sirup. I am
of the opin- 
ion that it can be successfully cultivated here. 
The White Earth Reservation is naturally adapted to agricultural settlement;
the 
soil is most fertile and produces in abundance all cereals and vegetables
grown in tem- 
perate climates. The distribution of timber, prairie, and water is most advantageous
to the husbandman. A variety of nutritious grasses indigenous here grow in
such 
rich profusion, affording ample forage for all animals. The climate is most
salubri- 
ous, entirely free from all malarial or miasmatic influences. The resources
of the 
territory included in this reservation are ample for the support and maintenance
of 
all the Indians under my charge. The benefit to the Indian from his removal
from his 
wild haunts and wandering life to a permanent home could be no better demon-
strated than by comparing the condition of those now upon this reservation
with that 
of those who still retain their nomadic habits. The former is clearly provided
with 
abundance, and contented in his home, the latter restless and discontented.
I believe immediate steps should be taken to remove the Indians now located
at 
White Oak Point, Sandy Lake, and Gull Lake to this reservation. The removal
can 
be effected without difficulty and at little expense, and with assistance
from the gov- 
ernment for a few years, they would then become self-sustaining. Those residing
at 
Mille Lacs also should be removed as speedily as possible without an infralction
of 
existing treaties. Many of the Leech Lake and Red Lake Indians would voluntarily
come to this reservation if they could receive the necessary aid in the form
of horses, 
cattle, breaking of lands, seed, &c., so as to enable them to begin their
new life. When 
this is done the remaining Indians will soon follow. 
The lands now occupied by the Indians whose removal is herein suggested are
not generally adapted for agricultural purposes, and are chiefly valuable
for pine tim- 
ber growing thereon. Should the Indian title be extinguished, a ready sale
could be 
made of the.timber and a fund so created ample to meet the expenses incident
to 
their removal and their establishment in comfortable houses upon this reservation.
Much good would result from a concentration of these Indians upon my reservation,


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