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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 83

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.               83 
Arkansas. There is not, in the whole Indian country, a more favora- 
ble location for a farm for grazing stock and for game than the South 
Platte. In a very short period of time the Arapahoes and Cheyennes 
would become fixed and settled, and a part of each tribe, the old men 
and 'women, would become agriculturists, rude it is true, yet suffi- 
ciently skillful to raise corn, potatoes, and beans, and dwell in cabins
or fixed habitations. 
The Sioux bands have also made a similar application; but as only 
a part of these was represented, I deem it proper to postpone recom- 
mending any action until after a peace with the whole Sioux nation. 
It is evident to me, from my short experience, that the bands of 
Indians on the plains suffer greatly, at particular seasons, by cold and
hunger. The buffalo is becoming scarce, and it is more difficult from 
year to year for the Indians to kill a sufficient number to supply them 
with food and clothing. The old and the very young Indians are the 
greatest sufferers, for they are less able to bear the intense cold of 
winter and privation of food. Thousands die annually from these 
causes alone; and the certain gradual disappearance of the buffalo is 
followed by the rapid, quick disappearance of the Indians. I would 
recommend to the department an increase, if possible, of the annuity 
to the tribes of this agency for the next year. There will be a greater 
degree of suffering than at any former period. 
The Indian trade is entirely stopped, and has been for some time 
past, consequently the Indian is deprived of all supplies from Indian 
traders. He will not make robes, waiting for a market; as a matter 
of course, it will be some time after peace is restored, and the trade 
re-opened, before the Indians will have any article for trade or barter.
It is, therefore, a matter of great moment that there should be some 
source of supply to the Indians. I am not prepared to propose any 
better plan than the one above named; that is, to increase the annu- 
ity, and apply this additional amount to the purchase of corn and 
provisions. 
In recommending an agency for the Arapahoes and Ciheyennes on 
the South Platte, and one for the Sioux of the North Platte on the 
L'Eau qui Court, or at some point at a distance from this post, it 
should not be inferred that I propose to divide the agency. I simply 
propose to consolidate the tribes of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes into 
one family, and the Sioux by themselves separately. At the present 
time these bands are scattered over a great extent of country. They 
are found all along the trail from the head of Sweet Water, in the 
Crow country, in the Utah country, among the Comanches and Kio- 
ways, and even as far east as the Pawnees, against whom they send 
war parties, and also against the Utahs. Their habits are roving, 
and, consequently, predatory; and the sooner the government shall 
take steps to break these habits the better will it be for the Indians. 
It will be observed thaT I recommended the farms and the agency 
be established far distant from any military post. I would protest, in 
the strongest terms, against the practice, but too common in the con 
duct of our Indian affairs, of permitting large bands of Indians, or 
even small parties, to come into our military posts or encamping near 
them, to transact business with the Indian agents, or for any other 


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