University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

[Nebraska],   pp. 199-211 PDF (6.1 MB)


Page 207

REPORT     OF  THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     207 
that time. Their progress in the ordinary branches taught in the public school-orthogra-
phy, reading, writing, and arithmetic-was in every way, in most instances,
satisfactory. 
The school continued regularly in session, excepting a few days occasionally
when circum- 
stances required a vacation, until the 1st of Seventhmonth ; then we vacated
during the 
warm weather, and commenced again Ninthmonth 1st. 
The whole number of names enrolled is 71-41 boys, 30 girls; total average
attendance, 25. 
Respectfully, 
S. E. GRIEST, 
Teacher. 
EDW. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
PAWNEE INDIAN AGENCY, Ninthrmonth 10, 1874. 
RESPECTED FRIEND: The operations of this agency for the past year have been
some- 
what varied. The condition of the schools and of the farin may be seen by
the accompany- 
ing reports from the heads of those departments. One day-school is vacant
at present, and 
the village matron also recently resigned ; but I hope that both positions
may soon be filled 
by competent persons. From the school.reports it will be seen that the manual-labor
school was filled by new recruits from the Indian villages, and the numbers
increased to 
their full capacity, though it requires great effort to keep the attendance
regular and the 
numbers full. In all of the schools there has been a perceptible advance
made among the 
children in acquiring the rudimentary branches, and some of them show a marked
improve- 
ment. 
The clothing for the children of the two day-schools has been furnished as
usual by the 
Society of Friends, a portion of the garments being sent ready-made and some
in material, 
which the teachers, by the aid of their sewing-machines, have made into clothing,
and all, 
while in attendance, have been comfortably clad. Much aid has been distributed
from time 
to time to the sick and needy by the village matron, in addition to her regular
labors, from 
stcres furnished by the private contributions of Friends, as well as those
occasionally pro- 
vided by the agent. 
To make up partially for the loss sustained by the Pawnees from the murderous
raid upon 
them last summer while on a buffalo-hunt, the sum of $9,000 was placed at
my disposal, to 
procure subsistence, with which I bought meat, cattle, flour, and other articles,
and this 
very materially aided the tribe to keep comfortable during the winter. 
In the spring the chiefs in council agreed to take $10,000 of their annuity
in goods to 
apply to agricultural improvements and a fund for the payment of labor. This
plan being 
approved by the Department, we employed a number of Indian teams to assist
in the spring 
plowing for wheat, oats, corn, and potatoes, and also a number of day-laborer,
sat a reason. 
able compensation. to aid in planting and the tillage of the crops, which,
in the early part of 
the season, all looked well and promised an abundant yield. The Indian horses
riot being 
able to break prairie-sod, I had to hire the work done, and succeeded in
breaking about 350 
acres of excellent farm-land. One chief bought a good team, and by himself
or one of his 
men worked said team during the breaking season. With the aid of our mechanics
we built 
a substantial bridge over the Beaver Creek, which runs between the agency
buildings and 
the Indian villages, drawing all the heavy timbers from the island in the
Loupe. 
A siege of dry weather set in before harvest, which materially checked all
vegetation and 
injured our crops. The Colorado bug, which had infested our potatoes the
previous year, 
again made their appearance, but we succeeded in checking their ravages.
Besides about 
300 bushels of potatoes furnished the Indians to plant and cultivate among
themselves, we 
planted about 22 acres for their use, and these had all the early promise
of a heavy crop; but 
the grasshopper pest in this region, during the harvest season, in a few
days laid waste 
nearly all the labors of the spring and the prospect of a crop on which we
hoped to subsist 
the Indians. 
On the school-farm more acres than usual were cropped with potatoes, beans,
peas, 
squashes, pumpkins, melons, corn, tomatoes, sweet-potatoes, and a variety
of other vegeta- 
bles. Some vines were partially saved, and the beets and the broom-corn were
not much 
injured. The Indian fields and patches were also laid waste, and the beans
and corn which 
have heretofore constituted such a large portion of their food are entirely
cut off. Under 
these trying circumstances, with the crops destroyed and no prospect of realizing
either 
food, hides, or sinews from the hunt, they feel that the world around them
has changed, and 
they are much discouraged. A serious question of startling significance looms
up before 
them as they inquire how they are to be subsisted the coming season, 
A portion of the tribe has for some time been looking toward a removal to
Indian Territory, 
and as the fever has become quite general among them, at this juncture many
of them 
think they can live here no longer and must remove immediately, even before
we can regu- 
larly ask permission, and, even if their request could be granted, befoie
the Government can 
wake suitable arrangements for their future home. This feeling has been increased
among 


Go up to Top of Page