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

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

Page 100

policy adopted by the government. Better by far for the Indians 
were they to receive all their improvement fund in telescopes and all 
the variety of geometrical and astronomical instruments, never to be 
used or understood, than that this fund be paid them in money at 
annual payments. So long as the people depend on the annuities an4 
their " Ihunts" for their scanty support, just so long will they
poor and degraded. I am satisfied that there are not agricultural 
implements among those people to meet their real wants, and before 
they will expend their money for ploughs they will submit to many 
sacrifices; but large sums are expended at the trading posts, at extrav-
agant prices, for hoes, axes, and other small implements. These 
articles should be furnished them out of the "improvement fund,"
and the money, in some cases at least, would go for sugar, coffee, and 
other comforts of civilized life. 
Situated as the Pottowatomie reserve is, isolated in the central por- 
tion of Kansas Territory, this tract made the common thoroughfare 
of travel and trade, from the eastern to the western port, the agent 
has many difficulties to encounter in the performance of his duties. 
The intercourse law and the regulations have seldom ever been en- 
forced, and at the present time, when the country is overrun with 
squatters, it is still more difficult to enforce these salutary measures.
Citizens of the United States claim, and I do not question their right, 
to pass through the country with their property. In doing so, many 
carry ardent spirits which they vend to the Indians. When the facts 
are brought to my notice, the offenders have passed through the coun- 
try and they cannot be found. They have frequent disputes with the 
Indians about the right of property; the whites generally take the 
law into their own hands and decide the matter agreeably to their own 
interests and feelings. There seems to be entertained an utter con- 
tempt for all law by a portion of the citizens of the territory, who do 
not recognise the boundary lines of reserves. Election precincts have 
been established in the Pottawatomie reserve, and Indians are invited 
to vote, regardless of their relationship to the territory. Appoint- 
ments have been made for the discussion of political questions that 
concern alone the people of the territory. When they are told that 
the organic act, in distinct terms, excepts the Indian reservations from
its operation, they persist in annihilating that distinction, and many of
them reply that the act is unconstitutional and adverse to public senti-
ment, and insist that the whole territory is open to freedom's course. 
It is due, however, to the legislative assembly to state that the pre- 
cincts were not established by that body, nor is the course thus depre- 
cated pursued by that portion of the people who are upholding that 
body. They were first established by ex-Governor Reeder, and this 
unlawful proceeding was attempted by the people under his lead-the 
"higher law" party, who have repudiated the territorial govern-
ment. I deemed it to be my duty to maintain the inviolability of the 
Pottawatomie reserve, and I prevented the delivery of the incendiary 
speeches, and I forbid the holding of elections at the two precincts on 
the reserve. 
Last spring the steamer "Hartford" passed up the Kansas river to
the mouth of Blue, and on her return trip she grounded within the 

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