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 1883
([1883])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. III-LXXI ff. PDF (28.2 MB)


Page XV

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIR&           XV 
in accordance with instructions contained in your letter of December 2 
last. These rules prohibit the sun-dance, scalp-dance and war-dance, 
polygamy, theft, &c., and provide for the organization at each agency
of a tribunal composed of Indians empowered to try all cases of infrac- 
tion of the rules. Printed copies of the rules have been sent to the vari-
ous United States Indian agencies (except the agency for the five civ- 
ilized tribes), with instructions to agents to nominate the judges pro- 
vided for therein. Many of the agents have as yet been unable to or- 
ganize the court; some asking for further time, others reporting their 
inability to secure the services of proper men to fill the positions, the
larger proportion, however, assigning as a reason for the delay that their
Indians positively refuse to accept a position as judge unless their serv-
ices in that capacity are paid for by the Government. If this latter ob-
jection were removed, and an appropriation made for the payment of a 
stated salary for the judges, say $20 per month, I am of the opinion that
the "court of Indian offenses," with some few modifications, could
be 
placed in successful operation at the various agencies, and thereby 
many of the barbarous customs now existing among the Indians would 
be entirely abolished. 
There is no good reason why an Indian should be permitted to indulge 
in practices which are alike repugnant to common decency and morality; 
and the preservation of good order on the reservations demands that 
some active measures should be taken to discourage and, if possible, 
put a stop to the demoralizing influence of heathenish rites.  With 
this end in view the several courts are to be organized; but if it is de-
sired to carry this plan into successful operation, it is absolutely necessary
that some arrangement be made to pay a reasonable compensation to 
those who are to be called upon to l~reside as judges. I therefore recom-
mend that the matter be submitted toCongress askihg an appropria- 
tion of $50,000 to be used in paying the salaries of the judges, at the 
rate of $20 each per month, the surplus to be used in paying other 
expenses incident to the organization of the court and the employment 
of such officers as may be found necessary to carry out and execute the 
various orders and decrees of the court. 
In my opinion the appropriation for this purpose would be in the line 
of economy, in that it would avoid much of the expense heretofore in- 
curred by the Government in its efforts to suppress offenses which now 
come under the rules referred to. 
ALLOT3ENT OF LANDS IN SEVERALTY, AND PATENTS. 
During the year fifty-one certificates of allotments have been issued 
to the Pawnees, under the provisions of the fifth section of the act of 
April 10, 1876 (19 Stat., 30), and nineteen to the Chippewas of the Mis-
sissippi, on the White Earth Reservation, under the provisions of the 
seventh article of the treaty of March 10, 1867 (16 Stat., 721). Patents
have been issued as follows: To the Chippewas of Lake Superioi 


Go up to Top of Page