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

[Central superintendency],   pp. 68-118 PDF (20.8 MB)


Page 69

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
who suffered severely from smallpox, and the Kickapoos, who had 
some few deaths by cholera. 
The present year does not afford a safe criterion whereby to judge 
of the future of our frontier tribes; it has been with many of them a 
year of transition. Under the treaties made last year, nearly all 
the tribes parties thereto have been removed to their respective reser- 
vations, and, as a matter of course, had to encounter the inconveni- 
ences incident to new settlers; these inconveniences are fast disap- 
pearing, and it is believed that the next year's reports will exhibit 
them in a greatly improved condition, both morally and physically. 
To effect this, however, it is necessary that the agents should have 
suitable buildings erected for their residences on the reserves, and as 
near the tribes as practicable. A few practical farmers might be em- 
ployed with great advantage to teach the Indians the proper method 
of putting in, tending and harvesting their crops. The presence of 
the agent, his occasional advice, and the example of the farmers could 
hardly fail in time to exercise a favorable influence over these poor 
people. If to these means be added good missionary and manual labor 
schools, where the youth may be early trained to habits of morality, 
industry and self-reliance for their support, we shall have all the ele-
ments necessary to render them comfortable. A few such schools are 
at present in successful operation among the Shawnees, Pottawato- 
Mies, Weas, Piankeshaws, &c., loways and Sacs of Missouri. The 
residence of the agent near the tribes, and the influence he could ac- 
quire by a kind, conciliatory course with the chiefs and principal men, 
would enable him in a great degree to repress intoxication, by con- 
certing measures with the chiefs to prevent the introduction of spirit- 
uous liquors. 
The provision inserted in the treaties of last 'year, which empowers 
the President to apply the annuities of the tribes in such manner as 
will best promote their interests, will, no doubt, be found hereafter 
to work beneficially. The large money annuities that several of the 
tribes receive under former treaties, instead of advancing them in 
civilization actually retard their progress; whereas those with small 
annuities, having to rely more upon their own exertions, greatly sur- 
pass the former in all the comforts of life. The plan adopted this 
year, of dividing the large annuities, so as to have a fall and spring 
payment, is but a return to the former practice of the department in 
this superintendency; and however repugnant it may be to a few of 
the tribes-operated upon, it is feared, by interested individuals- 
must, in the opinion of every disinterested, right thinking man, in 
the least acquainted with Indian improvidence, be viewed as a mea- 
sure necessary and important for those tribes; and I am gratified to 
find, by a recent report forwarded to your office, that it meets the ap-
proval of one of the oldest and most experienced of the agents. 
You are aware, from the reports forwarded by the agent through 
this office, that the Omahas, after having removed to the reserve 
selected for them, near the "Blackbird Hills," (a place having
for 
them many traditional recollections, in consequence of being the burial 
place of their great chief "Waw-zin-ga-subi," or "Blackbird,")
fled 
from thence in a panic, occasioned by a band of marauding Sioux, 
69 


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