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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 86

Their corn, &c., they cache by digging a hole in the ground in the 
shape of a tunnel, little end up, in which they store hundreds of 
bushels; but during their absence straggling bands of other tribes 
sometimes find the caches and rob them, taking the whole contents; 
this, however, seldom occurs, for these holes of deposit are extremely 
difficult to discover. Should the Pawnees be driven from the plains, 
killing no buffalo, and on returning find their corn stolen, much suf- 
fering will ensue by way of hunger. They number about four thou- 
sand and have three villages on the Platte river, on government land. 
Sometimes they meet with loss on the plains during battle, by way of 
the enemy taking their ponies; this, however, can easily be repaired, 
for it is no trick for fifteen or twenty Pawnees to go and steal more 
of the Camanches or any other tribe, say five hundred or more miles 
distant. In fact, I am inclined to the opinion that they get all their 
horses in this way. They do not steal much from the whites because 
of fear; they are lewd and dirty, yet disposed to be industrious and 
obedient to the will of the government-could be induced, perhaps, 
to give some attention to education and learn to work, with less trouble
than the other tribes of this agency. Government should purchase 
their lands, at least see that they have a good reserve or home some 
place, and give them a fair trial. 
The Sioux have only twice this season undertaken to exterminate 
the Pawnees, at both times it was a drawn battle, perhaps not more 
than ten or twelve killed on each side. On the last occasion the Sioux 
killed twenty or thirty Pawnee horses. 
This tribe has no means of sending their children to school and 
which I hope shortly to see provided for, government doing nothing 
more than furnishing them with a smith shop and blacksmith. 
The Ottoe and Missouria tribe of Indians are living on their reserve 
on the Big Blue river, near the line dividing Kansas and Nebraska 
Territories; they raised but a small portion of corn during the last 
summer, are now on their winter' s hunt, and will, in all probability, 
not kill much game, soon return, and depend on government to fur- 
rish them with provisions. They, the men, seem to have great aver- 
sion to labor, will drink liquor when it can be had, and make fair 
promises of what they are going to do on their farm next season. As 
yet we have been able to do but little in the way of farming for this 
tribe, owing to the time they were removed, which was in July last; 
but one hundred acres of prairie are yet broken, one dwelling-house 
and smith shop erected, and one hundred tons of hay well put up. 
They number about six hundred, in my opinion, though the pay-roll 
shows more. It is extremely difficult to get the true number-council 
and turn out one at a time is the only chance. This tribe by nature 
seems to be more intelligent than the others of this agency, and in 
practice most insolent, but less disposed to labor and to favor edu- 
cation. 
The Omaha tribe of Indians, since the death of their principal chief, 
Logan Fontenelle, in July last, who was killed and scalped on the 
Loup Fork, seem to be frantic with fear; they are afraid to do any- 
thing. They are now on a little tour hunting; will remain near the 
mouth of the Horn during the winter; number about eight hundred; 
I 
REPORT OF THE 
86 


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