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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 18

18                         REPORT OF THE 
about 700 souls of the Pah-Ute tribe, under the headship of Oderkerno. They
appeared well pleased with the purposes of the government towards them, and
accepted their presents with promises, apparently quite sincere, to continue
on 
peaceable terms with the white settlers. On a subsequent day a similar talk
was held with the Pah-Ute Indians of the reservation on Truckee river, under
the head chief Wuna-mucka, a man of much native sagacity, and well disposed
towards the whites. They number about 500 souls, are a better description
of 
people than the other Pah-Utes, and are situated on a reservation of a desirable
character. Wuna-mucka made satisfactory declarations of his purpose to pre-
vent all interference on the part of his people with the overland stage and
the 
telegraph, which passes through their country between the Atlantic and the
Pacific States. Care has been taken to remove white trespassers from these
and all the other reservations in Nevada. 
The Washoe tribe present a painful contrast to the other Indians, even of
this 
region. They are a poor and degraded Set of creatures, living on insects
and 
spontaneous products, and can do but little harm to anybody. No reservation
has yet been assigned to them, and Governor Nye strongly discourages their
location on the Pyramid Lake reservation. 
In the opinion of the same officer, the Pah-Utes should be placed on the
road 
to a higher civilization without further delay, by a judicious supply of
farming 
implements and cattle, and articles of domestic utility. Schools should be
established on the reservations as in other superintendencies. 
Indian affairs in Dakota for the year past have been satisfactory. In the
Upper Missouri agency, where the tribes have no treaties with the United
States 
which confer annuities upon them, but only treaties of amity from which they
derive but a few goods annually, the security for continued peace is not
strong. 
It would be good policy to locate these Indians within -reservations at an
early 
day. The numerous rumors of alleged hostilities by the Indians on the settle-
ments to the northwest of Dakota are untrue, or at least gross exaggerations.
In northwestern Iowa it is known that for several years past Indian incursions
have been frequent, but their depredations during the past year have been
com- 
paratively unimportant, which is mainly due to the vicinity of two Indian
reservations, (the Yancton and Ponca,) which operate as a protection to the
white 
settlements not easily appreciated by those who have never resided upon the
Indian frontier. A few bands of Santees, who do not participate in the distri-
bution of annuities to Indians residing on the Minnesota river, are the only
actively hostile Indians in that region. A boat containing annuity goods
was, 
with its contents, accidentally destroyed by fire, and communication with
Fort 
Benton thereby suspended, and consequently no report has been received from
the agent in that quarter. I was so fortunate, however, as to be able to
replace 
the goods that were lost by this accident through the courtesy of Messrs.
Chou- 
teau & Co., of St. Louis, who have a large stock in that country, to
which they 
allowed me to resort, upon condition that goods similar in quality and quantity
to those necessarily used shall be supplied to them upon the resumption of
navi- 
gation in the spring, so that by this arrangement no trouble with the Indians
of 
that vicinity need be apprehended. The Poncas have but recently gone upon
their reservation. They have already some three or four hundred acres of
land 
ploughed, and there is reason to believe that in the course of another year
their 
condition will be materially improved. The Yancton Sioux are doing well;
they have about eight hundred acres of land under cultivation, and it is
believed 
that the whole tribe, of which a few bands have hitherto been refractory,
will 
very shortly settle upon their reservation. A portion of the goods intended
for 
this tribe, estimated at from four to six thousand dollars in value, was
acci- 
dentally destroyed by the sinking of a boat, and some trouble with the Indians
was anticipated in consequence of the loss, but by the prompt action of their
agent the danger has been averted. Some apprehensions of an outbreak among


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