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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 Montana,   pp. 89-100 PDF (5.6 MB)


Page 90

90 
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN MONTANA. 
their ponies became so much weakened as to travel with difficulty. One squaw
and 
one child were frozen to death, and the whole band had a narrow escape from
destruc- 
tion, finally returning to the agency in a deplorable condition. The experience
of the 
winter has convinced their best men that the time has come for making such
change in 
their manner of life as the failure of buffalo renders imperative. One said,
"The timer 
is close when the tail of the last buffalo will be seen disappearing from
the prairie.". 
REMOVAL OF TILE AGENCY. 
Under the authority given by the department for the removal of the agency
buildings 
to a better location, work was promptly commenced, and such of the employis
as could 
be spared were sent to camp at the new location, and all winter were occupied
in cut- 
ting logs for use in spring when required, and in forwarding such other work
as was 
possible. The removal was commenced as early as the backward season permitted,
and 
was carried on uninterruptedly, until now there are good buildings in a suitable
loca- 
tion. In effecting this change the Indians have not been mere lookers on,
but have 
given efficient help in digging cellars, hauling stone, mixing mortar, hauling
poles for 
fencing, helping to erect the fences, and other work. It was owing to the
labor per- 
formed by the Indians that the removal was effected at small cost, and without
any 
special appropriation for the purpose, which otherwise would have been absolutely
nccessary. 
AGRICULTURE. 
Notwithstanding the heavy extra labor involved- in the removal of the agency,
our 
farming operations were not neglected. New ground has been broken up aud
planted 
an excellent irrigating ditch made, and our crops'of potatoes, oats,barley,
turnips, pease, 
&c., are now maturing, and look as if there would be an abundant yield.
In all these 
operations the Indians have given ready and efficient help, in planting,
hoeing our 
growing crops, &c. 
Quite a number of these Indians have also selected locations near the agency,
eiected 
cabins, plowed, planted, and fenced patches of ground, and are turning their
attention 
to the care of cattle. In all these operations the employtis have, in addition
to their 
other duties, given help and instruction, laying out their irrigating ditches,
&c. One 
of the Indian farms, that of "Running Crane," has nine acres of
potatoes and turnips 
now presenting a most promising appearance. Other Indian farms have nearly
as 
much land under cultivation, and will produce good crops. 
The following are the statistics regarding agriculture, as nearly as can
be estimated 
Land under cultivation this year, about......... .........      75 acres.
New land broken this year, about.................................50 acres.
Increase acres of Indian farms, about-................................ 40
acres. 
Wheat .........................................................  60 bushels.
Ohat--and-barley -----------------------------------------------280 -bushels.
Oats and  barley  ....... ...   ...  ..  . .....    ...  ..     380  bushels:
Potatoes.   .................................................12,600 bushels.
Turnips ...    .................................................1,000 bushels.
Carrots-......................................................100 bushels.
Peas .................-.......................................100 bushels.
Hay   .........................................................250 tons.
No wheat or grain of any kind has been sown by Indians, for the reason that
there is 
no flouring-mill in operation within hundreds of miles of this place. Their
farming 
operations are principally devoted to the raising of potatoes and other root
crops, of 
which they are exceedingly fond. 
EDUCATION. 
The day-school has been well attended, and while the great camp was near,
the room 
was uncomfortably crowded. The progress has been marked and satisfactory;
the in- 
telligtrce aid dccility ot the children was pleasing to see. I do not think
the same 
large number of white children could be so easily controlled or kept in order
by two 
teacheis. The boarding-school or "home" for Indian children, which
is to be pro- 
vided for in the buildings at this new agency, will enable me to provide
for several 
b oys who are to be apprenticed to the blacksmith, carpenter, and farmer,
and will also 
secure the constant attendance at the daily sessions of the school of many
bright schol- 
ars, whose presence could not otherwise be secured, owing to the nomadic
habits of 
their partnts. 
MISSIONARY. 
The favorable field these Indians present for missionary work is yet unccupied,
al- 
'though appeals to the proper quarter have not been wanting. I often fe~l
my etlbrta 


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