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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 111

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
They look to him as children to an affectionate father. He is now 
warning them daily of the great changes which are soon to take place 
with them, and the nature of the elements with which they are soon 
to be surrounded, and the consequent necessity of industry and sobri- 
ety to counteract the dangerous influences to which they will be ex- 
posed. 
He is prevailing on the Indians, both Weas and Miamies, to sign a 
pledge of total abstinence, but admonishes them not to do so unless 
they are determined to keep their promise. In short, he exhorts the 
inebriate to temperance, the indolent to industry, and extends the 
hand of charity to the needy. 
The Miamies are located at some distance from him, and have, 
therefore, not so much the benefit of his counsel and example, and are 
more exposed to the dangers and designs of the pale faces. Intemper- 
ance, therefore, prevails to a greater extent amongst those Indians 
than it does amongst their neighbors, the Weas, Kaskaskias, &c. 
It was quite common a short time since, on going to the Miami vil- 
lage, to find drunken Indians lying about the fences in almost any 
direction; but at this time the matter is somewhat changed; the great 
majority, including the leading men of the tribe, are members of the 
temperance society, and are exerting their influence for the promotion 
of the cause. Even Big Legs, the principal chief, who is an habitual 
drinker, is now lecturing on temperance to some purpose; he holds 
forth to the young men the many evils growing out of the practice, 
and admonishes them against the use of intoxicating drinks. He tells 
them he is old now and cannot easily abstain, but how much better 
it would have been for him if he had never contracted the habit. 
There are a few French Miamies, or half-breeds, who are now en- 
gaged in the cause of temperance amongst these Indians, which prom- 
ises a good result. 
The mill built for the Miamies some four or five years ago, at an 
expense of near $2,000, is now entirely useless, in truth it never has 
been any advantage to the Indians. In the first place, its location 
is most extraordinary; it is about two miles from the village, and if 
inconvenience and inaccessibility had been the ruling consideration, 
the spot which was selected could not have been excelled. It is located 
amongst rocks and deep impassable ravines, so that it would cost 
about as much to make a wagon road to it as the mill cost at first. 
Why this property was located where it is I am not advised, any 
place in or near the village, amidst the inhabitants, affords a good 
seat for a horse-mill. It is very evident that those who built the mill 
never intended that it should be of service to any person. It is not 
only inaccessibly located, but its construction is of the most temporary
and fragile kind. 
The saw-mill, which was erected at a very considerable expense, 
never could be put in motion. It was a most consummate piece of 
imposition. The grist-mill is but little better, though it has been run 
some. The mill-house of the grist-mill is a fine building, it measures 
about 36 by 40 feet, and is about 2 stories high, and is well weather- 
boarded. The roof, however, is put on in such a way that it will 
throw the building down if a remedy is not applied immediately. 
III 


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