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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1851

[Report of treaty with prairie tribes at Fort Laramie],   pp. 27-29 PDF (1.2 MB)

Page 27

WITH PRAIRIE TRIBES AT FORT LARAMIE.              27       2 
those acquainted with the valley, fully sustains this description. No finer
country exists any where in the Union, and few capable of subsisting a 
denser population. All the cereal grains and vegetables are produced in 
abundance, and for grazing purposes it is nearly unrivalled in its advan-
But though the quality of the country 's thus favorable as could be 
wished, its remoteness from the ordinary'track of emigration would long 
have postponed its purchase, had not a powerful reason for its acquisition
existed in the necessity for giving the large and rapidly increasing half-
breed population of that distant region, the opportunity they crave, of ob-
taining a fee simple title to the lands they live upon, and of abandoning
the hunter life entirely and becoming tillers of the soil. 
Ever since the organization of this territory, and my residence in it, the
people, by frequent petitions, and by special committees, despatched hun-
dreds of miles to represent their condition, have earnestly urged upon Gov-
ernment to give them the opportunity of making homes for themselves in 
their own lands, to grant them the protection of our laws, and furnish 
them with the facilities for the administration of justice amongst them.
Made by our statutes citizens, represented in the territorial legislature,
complain that they have been uncared for by Government, treated with 
less attention than even the Indians, standing in the false attitude of ten-
ants at will, as trespassers upon the soil they often defended with their
blood from savage foes. It is, I earnestly urge, the duty of Government 
to do something for this interesting and peculiar people; and, as a beginning,
to throw the country open to their enterprise and industry, by confirming
the present treaty. 
Their peculiar situation demands even further favor from Government, 
situated as they are on a remote frontier, which they may be said to guard,
and invaluable in a military point of view, should a certain exigency ever
occur. Themselves, and the region they live in, present a case similar to
that of Oregon Territory, in which the free gift of a quarter section of
to each person would be a judicious policy, and I respectfully recommend
its adoption to the consideration of the President and Congress. 
All of which is respectfully submitted. 
St. Louis, Nov. 11, 1851. 
Hon. L. LEA, Commissioner Indian Affairs. 
SIR: I have the honor herewith to transmit a treaty concluded at Fort 
Laramie, between myself and Agent Fitzpatrick, commissioners on the part
of the United States, and the following tribes or nations of the Prairie
Mountain Indians, viz: Sioux, or Dahcotas, Assenaboins, Arickeras, 
Gros Ventres, Crows, Cheyennes, and Arrapahoes. 
In order to assemble the various and widely scattered tribes at some suit-
able point, I despatched expresses up the Missouri, Arkansas, and Platte
rivers early in the spring, with such letters and instructions as I deemed
calculated to insure the attendance of the Indians. The point designated
by me for holding time council was Fort Laramie, and the time fixed for the
first of September. 

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