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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1861
([1861])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, November 27, 1861,   pp. [7]-30 PDF (10.3 MB)


Page 15

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
15 
Indian population is numerous and powerful. Some of the tribes have from
time immemorial sustained hostile relations wilh each other, and though no
longer at open strife, occasionally manifest their rng continued animosity.
The 
tribes along the northern frontier traffic largely with British traders,
and are con- 
sequently subject to powerful influences, which it is feared are not always
favor- 
able to the development of our Indian policy. 
Provision was made in the treaty with the Winnebagoes concluded April 15,
1859, for the assignment in severalty to each individual member of the tribe
of 
the lands composing the eastern portion of their entire reservation, as follows,
viz: eighty acres to each head of a family and forty acres to each male person
eighteen years of age and upwards, and for the disposition of the remaining
land by the direction of the Secretary of the Interior. In pursuance thereof
Messrs. Walcott, of Illinois, Sample, of Indiana, and Baker, of Minnesota,
were 
appointed to the duty of taking a census and making the several allotments.
Owing to obstructions thrown in the way of the prosecution of this work by
designing white men, and the obstinacy of some of the Indians themselves,
the 
commissioners experienced great difficulty in the execution of the duties
assigned 
them. But through the exercise of patience and perseverance worthy of com-
mendation, they eventually overcame the many obstacles in their way and have
substantially accomplished the object. The commissioners were further in-
structed to appraise the residue of the lands preparatory to bringing them
into 
market, but in view of the disturbed state of the country and the resulting
financial derangements, it has been deemed proper to suspend their action
and 
await an epoch more favorable to the interests of the Indians for whose benefit
the sales are to be made. 
In the year 1851 a treaty was negotiated with the Se-see-toan and Wah-pay-
toan bands of Sioux, whereby their title to a large tract of country in the
then 
Territory and present State of Minnesota was extinguished. Since that time
the Yanctonnais band of the Sioux, (with whom we have no treaties, other
than those of amity and good neighborhood,) have persistently claimed that
they too have rights in the territory then ceded; but notwithstanding repeated
and earnest efforts on the part of this department to ascertain the nature
and 
extent of their claims, with a view to their satisfaction, they have until
recently 
refused to treat, repelled our proffers to that end, and received the offers
of nego- 
tiation, made by a direct mission from the government, with little less than
inso- 
lence and contempt. Hitherto they have been a wild and intractable band,
manifesting no disposition to abandon in the least their savage mode of life,
and 
have exercised a powerful and pernicious influence upon their neighboring
tribes, 
who are less wild, and are disposed to cultivate more intimate relations
with the 
whites. Recent advices, however, show that at length the Indians of this
band 
are beginning to surrender their prejudices, and are disposed to arrive at
a better 
understanding with the government, they having made overtures to that effect.
I am, therefore, of opinion that a council should be held with them without
delay, and if possible a treaty negotiated; and it would be well if, upon
negoti- 
ating a treaty with the Yanctonnais, one were also made with the Chippewas
of Red Lake, for which the necessity, is urgent. Some of the Sioux who are
located upon reservations have made a fair beginning in the customs of civilized
life. They have adopted the costume of the whites, and rely for a living
upon 
the arts of husbandry. This class is known as "Farmer Indians,"
a term which 
distinguishes them from the other class known as "Blanket Indians."
 The 
Farmer Indians are met at each step in their endeavors to attain the arts
of civili- 
zation by the constant opposition of the "Blanket Indians," who
regard them 
as innovators upon their ancient customs, wanting in manliness, a discredit
to 
their race, and (to use a hackneyed expression) "degenerate sons of
noble sires." 
So great is this opposition that it requires on the part of the "Farmers"
the ex- 
ercise of great moral courage, as well as the countenance and support of
the 


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