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

Reports of agents in Montana,   pp. 89-100 PDF (5.6 MB)

Page 91

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN MONTANA.                            91 
for the civilization of these savages cramped by the want of a religious
teacher or mis- 
sionary. My mere order will not do away with the few objectionable superstitious
servances they practice; their judgments must be convinced and better views
them; for example, their faith in their medicine-men as doctors. One of our
chiefs had 
long been afflicted with asthma; the agency physician had done what he could
for him, 
but the chief was easily, persuaded, when away from the lagency, to try the
practice, which was, to bore a hole in his chest, and another in his back,
and by blow- 
ing in at the one, force the evil spirit out at the other. 7f course I only
knew of this, 
when it was over, and when all I could do was to bury the victim of this
The example of the few who had built cabins and given up their wandering
mode of 
life has this year been followed by larger numbers, and applications for
location and 
help ar% frequent, receiving such attention as I can give. The inclination
to wear civ- 
ilized costume is also on the increase; labor is held in better estimation
by the men, 
more are willing to take part in it, and the number of men and women who
work reg- 
ularly, and not by fits and starts, is increasing. 
When it is remembered that until two years ago no civilized labor of any
kind had 
been performed by any of the Indians at this agency, and that any kind of
labor except 
that of the hunt was held to be degrading and despicable by the men, the
altered state 
of feeling in this regard is very remarkable. Now some of their most influential
set an example to the rest by going into the field and working themselves,
instead of 
simply standing by and seeing their squaws work. The growing scarcity of
and other game, the success of the few Indian farms first started, and, principally,
ing the Indians perform labor for most of the supplies issued to them, has
brought about 
this rapid and commendable change of disposition and habit, which only needs
to be 
wisely and patiently fostered in order to make these Indians self-supporting
in a very 
few years. To bring this about, much yet remains to be done in helping these
to help themselves. 
The health has been good; only such diseanes prevailed as colds, sore throat,
yielding easily to the proper remedies. A few cases of lung disease made
the want of 
an hospital felt, as without one there is no certainty of the physicians
being followed, and opportunities are offered for the native " medicine-men"
to undo 
or ruin all. I trust soon to have a suitable hospital erected. 
The establishment of our police force has been of great service; their authority
respected, aud in the few cases where they have been called upon to act,
the men 
have shown a disposition to perform faithfully their duty. Good order is
everywhere, and turbulent or unruly spirits are rare. 
Looking back on the year's events, there is much of encouragement for the
The increased willingness to work, the prompt following of the farming example,
obedience to their laws and the decrease of crime, their general docility
and universal 
friendliness to the whites, all point to the better condition of these Indians,
which it 
is to be hoped nothing will occur to frastrate. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Unitcd States Indian Agent. 
July 29, 1879 
Sn: I have the honor to submit herewith my first annual report of Crow Agency,
accordance with your circular letter of instruction, dated June 18. 
The Indians under my charge are the Mountain Grows and the iRirfr Crows,
separate tribal organizatious speaL'ing one language, and whose traditions,

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