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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

[Minnesota superintendency],   pp. 48-68 PDF (8.7 MB)


Page 65

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
asked to have fields ploughed separate from their common field. His 
Excellency Governor Gorman, superintendent of Indian affairs or- 
dered that the Indians should be encouraged in making separate 
farms, a good and the first step towards civilization, and which will 
secure to the industrious the fruits of his labor. 
Thefarm for the agency is 40 acres, ploughed last spring; the potatoes 
are good and large and will yield about 500 bushels; 8 acres of oats 
will yield about 30 bushels to the acre; the corn and beans are not 
worth gathering, owing to the drought and hail storms that cut the 
beans to pieces; 20 acres were sowed in turnips but the seed was old 
and did not come up well, so there will be a small crop. 
There have been 12 log houses put up for the employees and chiefs 
but we have no lumber as yet to finish them; the farmers and laborers 
have been employed in builderaet inis t g hay, hauling supplies, 
ploughing, fencing, and various other duties connected with farming. 
The saw-mill for the lower Sioux is raised and waiting for the 
Indians which have not arrived, also the frame for the flouring-mill 
is now ready to raise; these mills will be of great benefit to the 
Indians, and advance the business to a speedy completion. 
The blacksmiths have been employed in making and repairing such 
articles as are wanted for farming and hunting; one smith is without 
a striker; provisions and clothing are so high in this country that 
the strikers cannot support themselves on a salary of $240 per 
annum. 
The poor Indian is on many a tongue, from north to south and 
from east to west. I would ask what makes their poverty? Is it de- 
bility of body or mind? I should say the latter, for the Indian is 
robust and strong and healthy, and he can chop and plough andiplant 
and hoe corn, if he is so inclined. The women are hardy and strong; 
they chop wood and carry it half a mile ontheir backs to warm their 
children and lazy husbands; the women hoe corn and do all theiwork 
about the house or lodge, and yet they are poor, yet not so pooras 
many white people in the United States. The great trouble with the 
Indian is in the intellect, which is but a little above that of the dumb
brute, and until the mind is improved the Indian will be poor 
throughout all time, and at whose door will the fault lie? The mind 
of the Indian must be cultivated as well as the body, or else morality, 
the great forerunner of civilization, is lost sight of, and all kinds of
debauchery remain with the Indians, and often civilization to an Indian 
is an injury instead of blessing. 
I have the honor to be your most obedient servant, 
P. PRESCOTT. 
Superintendent of farmingfor 'oux. 
R. G. MURnt, 
United States agent, Sioux agency. 
m 
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