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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864
([1864])

Dakota superintendency,   pp. 259-293 PDF (15.0 MB)


Page 261

DAKOTA SUPERINTENDENCY. 
261 
keep the Indians out on their fall hunt as long as possible, in order that
tbey 
may come home in the best possible state of preparation for sustaining them-
selves through the coming winter; and, notwithstanding all these efforts,
I see 
no other way than that the government must necessarily be called upon for
considerable sums of money before next spring to prevent many of them from
starving. 
If provision is not made for these treaty Indians, sufficient to satisfy
their 
absolute necessities, I can but anticipate that long before next spring we
may 
count upon having these tribes also to contend with, though they have hereto-
fore not only remained loyal and friendly, but have (so far as the Yankton
Sioux are concerned) aided vastly in protecting our exposed frontier settlers
from the incursions of roving bands of hostile Indians. 
General Sully, last June, when on his way up this river, in command of the
present expedition, (now in the Indian country,) saw fit to organize fifty
of the 
Yankton Sioux into a company of scouts or police, who were placed under the
command of Dr. W. A. Burleigh, their agent, and directed to scour the country
back of our settlements, and make war upon all parties of Indians with whom
they might come in contact. These scouts have faithfully executed the trusts
committed to them, and I fully believe that it is to this cause alone that
we 
may attribute our immunity from molestation the present season. The only
cost to the government has been the issue of fifty suits of condemned artillery
uniforms, arms, and rations in part, to the scouts themselves. I fully believe
this Indian patrol to be more effective than twice the number of white soldiers
for the kind of service they have been called upon to perform. They have,
during the season, met and killed several hostile Indians, and the result
is that 
our settlers, since this arrangement was consummated, have met with no losses
from roving bands of hostile Indians. 
I believe this force might be properly increased, not only amongst the Yank-
ton Sioux, but also the Poncas, particularly this winter, and corresponding
benefits derived from such increase. 
I would, therefore, recommend that the force be increased in the Yankton
tribe to one hundred scouts, and that a force of the same kind, of fifty
of the 
best Poncas, be organized, armed, uniformed, and provisioned, for the protec-
tion of that agency and the adjoining country. They mount themselves at their
own expense. Much credit is due to Agent W. A. Burleigh, of the Yank- 
ton Sioux agency, for the efficiency that has been manifested by the Yankton
scouts. In expressing this opinion, I but echo the sentiments of our citizens
generally. 
I beg leave to suggest that, in my opinion, the best and cheapest way to
ob- 
tain the necessary provisions for these Indians would be to make the purchases
at some point in Iowa, where grain is cheapest, and send parties of the Indians,
in charge of white men, with iheir ponies to pack it to their agencies. 
In this way at least one-half of the cost of the raw material will be saved
to 
them, and they may better be employed at this business than left on the reser-
vations to do nothing. 
The Yanktons and Poncas transported in this manner several hundred 
bushels of corh from the Pawnee reservation last spriug. Wheat can now be
purchased in Iowa, within less than one hundred miles of Sioux City, at ninety
cents per bushel, and corn bears about the same price in the same locality;
but 
corn will, I think, be lower after the new crop is harvested. 
Owing to the prevalence of the Indian war in the upper country, and the 
proximity of the hostile Sioux to tribes that are inclined to be friendly
to tfe 
government, I beg leave, most respectfully to recommend that steps be early
taken on the part of the government to settle the friendly tribes on reservations,
deeming this course but a matter of justice to the peaceably-disposed Indians,
and believing, as I do, that this course will soonest settle our existing
difi- 


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