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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 97

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN MONTANA.                          97 
soon as onoeet of bands have learned to farm, to assign them land of their
own to cul- 
tivate and care for themselves, and then take up another set of hands, and
so on; and 
in this manner in a few years a large number of them can be taught farming
and be- 
self-suppplt. ng. 
I fnd some di'icaulty in getting apprentices, for the reason that a young
man who 
commences to work has to stand the jeers of all the other young men in the
tribe, 
and it is hard to find any with enough of courage to do so; at present I
have a car- 
penter and blacksmith apprentice, one each. 
One great drawback at present to farming is the fact that government does
not fur- 
nish them more thon half enough to subsist on, and it is necessary that they
should go 
and hunt buffalo for a part of their subsistence, and the season for hunting
is just the 
t'pe -when they should he w'orking their -crops. A large part of the Yanktonais
have been hunting forty miles south of the agency, on their reservation,
for a month, 
and will probably be out till the last of September, small parties of them
travel- 
ing between their camp and the agency, bringing in buffalo meat and taking
back 
flour. They report buffalo as being plenty, but they have scarcely any ammunition
to 
kill them with, and have to shoot' them down with arrows and kill them after
they are 
down with stones (or, in the language of one of the chiefs a fews days ago,
"beat their 
brains out with stones"), and they are dissatisfied because governuent
compels them to 
geta large part of their living by hunting and will not issne them ammunition.
I esti- 
mate that government furnishes them rations enough for five months, the crops
they 
will raise this year two months; that will make five months they must get
their living 
by hunting and root digging or go hungry. 
The Indians are all i their reservation this summer either at Poplar River,
Wolf 
Point, or the hunting camp, except Many Horn, who has 40 lodges with him.
He started 
north from here, as I understand, about the 1st of July-on a root-digging
expedition, 
as there was scarcely any provision here at that time. It being the desire
of General 
Miles, commander of the expedition in the field, that these Indians should
return to the 
agency, on the 28th of July I sent a scout after Many Horn, requesting him
to return 
to the agency. The scout came back and reported that he could not find them,
but 
saw what he supposed was his trail going in a northeastery direction. Since
then I 
have learned that he is camped near the northeast corner of the reservation
at a large 
lake, hunting and -fishing. I understand that Many Horn and his lodges were
off on 
such au expedition last fall when the enumeration was taken and that they
have never 
been enumerated. 
Small bands of Crow Indians have been seen on the south side of the Missouri
River this 
summer, and a good many horses have been stolen from the wood-yards)which
are mostly 
on that side of the river; and on the 20th of July Joseph Lambert, the interpreter
of the 
Assinaboines at Wolf Point, with his wife and two children, two other Indian
women 
and one of their children, were murdered, also one of his children and a
child belonging 
to one of the Indian women were badly %xounded at the same time; the scene
of the 
murder was on the south side of the Missouri River, about three miles from
their homes. 
There is no positive clue yetas to what Indians committed the murder. It
was thought 
at one time it was done by a party of I dians under Short Bull, that left
the Rosetud 
Agency about the 6th of July for Sitting Bull's camp, but this party was
captured here 
by General Whistler August 10. Short Bull's baud, nuinbring 52, came into
the Yank- 
tonai camp, 40 miles south of here, about the 1st of August. Genera Miles
had written 
me to have my Indians capture them, and they aid they would if they were
furnished 
amniunition, but, having none, they in some manner persuaded Short Bull to
comelo the 
agency with his Indians, giving me notice of the time they would be here,
and I had 
arranged so that when they crossed the river here Colonel Whistler's command
ar- 
reste d and disai med them. They had no permit granting them authority to
leave their 
reserve; said they were going to Sitting Bull's camp to visit friends they
had in it. 
As they came front the south into the Yankto nai camp, it lifts suspicion
from them as 
to this murder. Lambert's little boy that wai wounded tays the Indians that
shot him 
spoke the same language ashis mother, and she was a Crow Indian. Whatever
In- 
dians did it, if they can be found, , ill be turned over to the civil authorities
for trial and 
punishment. This murder so near to th agency caused a general fear among
the In- 
dians, and especially the Assinaboines, whom it has deterred from going out
on their 
buffalo hunt and laying in a supply of meat. 
Since my arrival here I have not had time to travel over and examine any
part of 
the reservation except that lying between the lower farm and Wolf Point,
a distance 
of 30 miles long -the Missouri River, which is fertile and beautiful lying
land, and I 
th.tnk with proper cultivation will produce abundantly all such crops as
are grown in 
a latitude as far north as this. Root vegetables of nearly al kinds grow
vell here, 
also the'small Ree corn, wh~ich is about the only kind that will mature.
From the 
indications, I feel satisfied that wheat and oats will produce very abundantly,
and I 
will endeavor to test the matter next season, and trust that by the time
another year 
rolls round, I will be able, from a larger experience and better acquaintanceship
with 
7 IN 


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