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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page [3]

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER             OF  INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, 
Office Indian Affairs, November 22, 1856. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit for your consideration, the usual 
annual report from this office, and for minute details of the opera- 
tions of the service, with the condition of the Indian tribes, refer you
to the various accompanying reports and other papers. 
The improvement in the condition of the New York Indians, though 
gradual, is very perceptible. The farms, buildings, crops and stock, 
and the substantial comforts surrounding the homes of many of the 
Oneidas, Onondagas, Tuscaroras, and the Tonawanda, Cattaiaugus and 
Alleghany Senecas, evidence in them, a uniform advancement. The re- 
liance of the Alleghany Senecas upon their timber and lumber, has not 
made it necessary for them to turn their attention wholly to agricul- 
ture ; and while this resource has furnished them temporary aid., the 
timber and lumber trade in which they are engaged may be regarded 
as a hindrance to their permanent improvement. 
Churches and religious influences, and schools, are well sustained 
among these Indians, and all seem to be impressed with a desire to 
educate their children. The State of New York, and the American 
Board of Missions, continue to make liberal appropriations for educa- 
tion among them. The Thomas Asylum, on the Cattaraugus reser- 
vation, is completed, and is now rapidly filling with orphan and desti- 
tute children. The Indians on this last reservation have had the kind 
offices and 4id of the Society of Friends, and the patronage of the 
department has been extended to them. 
The Ottowas and Chippewas, and the Chippewas of Saginaw and 
Swan creek and Black river, all within the State of Michigan, continue 
gradually to increase in numbers as well as to advance in the arts 
of peace; and under the liberal provisions of the treaties of 1855, by 
which every family is to receive a homestead from the public domain, 
and the friendly feelings manifested towards them by the people of 
the State, present indications would seem to justify the hope that 
they will attain a much higher state of civilization, and possess more 
of the comforts of life, than they have heretofore done. They are 
beginning to locate on the lands assigned them, and apparently highly 
appreciate the separate homes to which they are entitled. 
The Chippewas of Lake Superior, who inhabit reservations in the_ 
northern peninsula of Michigan, the northern part of Wisconsin and 
that portion of Minnesota between the St. Louis river and the British 
line, have been furnished with a liberal supply of farming implements, 
carpenters' tools, household furniture, and cooking utensils ; and every


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