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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 93

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN MONTANA.                            93 
which furnish shelter during storms, so that the country seems in every respect
pecu- 
liarly adapted to pastoral pursuits. Notwithstanding the many adverse criticisms,
I 
believe the location of the 
AGENCY 
to be the best that could have been selected. It is located on a bench near
the Rose 
Bud Creek, and about 15 miles distant from the Yellowstone. A ditch, tapping
the 
former about a mile above the agency buildings, conveys a stream of pure,
cold water 
through the stockade, corral, and slaughter-house. The snow-fall is much
lighter here 
than upon the Yellowstone, or upon either side of us; the scenery is grand,
and the 
location not only healthy but exceedingly pleasant, with a goood wagon road
out in 
almost any direction. There is an excellent farm-and garden adjacent to the
agency. 
FARM- WORK. 
I found by actual measurement that there were just 27 acrcs of ground broken,
which, 
after giving thorough preparation, was planted, five acres to oats, half
as much to field 
pease, and ihe remainder to corn, potatoes, and garden vegetables. In addition
to the 
above I have broken 10 acres of prairie, which is now sown to turnips. The
Indians 
were given such portion as they could be induced to plant, and instructed
in the man- 
ner of preparing the ground, planting and tilling the crop. All the crops
promise a 
flattering yield, and I trust the result will not only induce these individuals
to plant 
more largely next year, but induce others to engage in the work. We have
hauled poles 
and partially inclosed an additional 100 acres for pasture. 
NEW MILL. 
We have most of the logs upon the ground for the construction of the new
mill, the 
machinery for which I found here upon taking charge of the agency. We have
a pat- 
ent turbin'e wheel with 22 feet fall, and as much water as we can utilize.
We expect 
to get the mill into operation this fall. 
SCHOOL 
The school must necessarily be one of the great auxiliaries in the important
work of 
civilizing this people. One of the chief difficulties to be overcomei s to
induce chil- 
dren who have lived entirely without restraint to submit to the confinement
of the 
school-room, and the irksome duty of preparing lessons, as well as the discipline
neces- 
sary to success. Yet I believe our school compares favorably with the frontier
schools 
of white children. A number of new scholars have been added, and good progress
has 
been made. We have encouraging prospects for an increased attendance next
term. 
THE HOME 
has been reorganized and placed in charge of a comjetent and experienced
matron, 
who endeavors by kind words and patient effort to make it cheerful and pleasant
for 
the children. Our facilities are too limited to expect to accomplish much
in this direc- 
tion, as we cannot accommodate more than from 15 to 20 children. Those now
in the 
home are polite and respectful at table, and strive to be clean and neat,
especially on 
the Sabbath day. The girls are taught to make bread, cook, and to cut and
sew gar- 
ments. The boys are taught the work of the farm, the care and management
of stock; 
a n short, self-support. 
PROGRESS. 
It has previously been the custom, at the issue of the annuities to Indians,
to find 
the camp filled with white men who took every advantage of the Indians' ignorance
of the value of clothing to cheat and rob him of the same. Some two weeks
before 
the last issue, I posted notices about the agency that any one found engaged
in this 
work would be punshed to the full extent of the law. No trading was done,
and the 
Indians gladly wear the goods furnished them. 
Drunkenness has almost entirely disappeared with these people, at least while
on 
the reservation, except around military posts. They realize that they are
in a transi- 
tion state, and that new modes of life must soon be adopted; they know that
the 
chase must soon cease as a means of livelihood, but with a full knowledge
of this 
change confronting them they love the old life as dearly as ever, and only
by kindness, 
patience, and perseverance will these people be induced to adopt the habits
and cus- 
toms of civilized pursuits. 


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