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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1879
([1879])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. [unnumbered]-XLIX PDF (19.0 MB)


Page VI

vI   REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
turbulent individuals among the tribes could be placed, they could be 
taken from their homes to the place of punishment without disturbing 
the general peace, and the prompt infliction of a punishment of this kind
would tend to curb the evil-disposed and prevent them from stirring up 
outbreaks. In fact there is nothing the Indian would dread more than 
to be deprived of his liberty. 
Such a settlement should be guarded by a sufficient force to exercise 
perfect discipline, and such prisoners should be taught trades as well as
agriculture. A school of correction of this kind would be of inestimable
value to the Indian service, and it would exercise a reformatory influ- 
ence that could not be obtained by simple confinement. Useful occu- 
pation provided for the captives, with some encouragement to industry, 
would in most cases enable them to be returned to their homes in an 
advanced condition of civilization. 
SALE OF ARMS TO INDIANS. 
During the last two years the sale of arms and ammunition by In- 
dian traders has been strictly forbidden and no case is known where 
the prohibition has been violated. Such vigilance has been exercised 
by the Indian Office in this matter that trader's licenses have been re-
voked whenever there was the slightest suspicion of the existence of 
this contraband trade. Nevertheless, outside of Indian reservations, 
men are everywhere found driving a thrifty business in selling breech- 
loading arms and fixed ammunition to non-civilized Indians, and the 
sales thus made are limited in amount only by the ability of the Indians
to purchase. 
Previous to the late Ute outbreak the Indians were amply supplied 
with Winchester and Spencer rifles and fixed ammunition obtained 
from traders outside of their reservation. Game was abundant on or 
near their reserve, and for some time the Utes had been making sales of 
peltries to a large amount, and were thus enabled to provide themselves 
with such arms and ammunition as they desired. Their largely increased 
purchases of arms just before the outbreak might have served as a 
notice to these unscrupulous traders that an outbreak was impending 
in which the lives of innocent people would be sacrificed. There is no 
offense againstthe commonwealth showing greater moral turpitude than 
the crime of those persbns who recklessly place in the hands of savages 
all the improved patterns of arms, which they know will be used to de- 
stroy the lives of innocent white citizens. 
There is no statute against this crime, and the only semblance of pro- 
hibition is contained in the following joint resolution and proclamation,
viz: 
EXECUTIVE MANSION, 
November 23, 1876. 
A joint resolution adopted by Congress August 5,1876, declares that- 
Whereas it is ascertained that the hostile Indians of the Northwest are largely
equipped with arms 
which require special metallic cartridges, and that such special ammunition
is in large part supplied to 
such hostile Indians, directly or indirectly, through traders and others
in the Indian country: Therefore, 


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