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 1873

[Red Lake agency],   pp. 183-184 PDF (959.1 KB)

Page 183

lation from the Great Spirit, telling them "that the men must not work
any more, but 
they must hunt, trap, and fish and the squaws must do the work, as in the
days of their 
fathers ;" and in spite of all I could say or do, the greater part of
them removed their 
wigwams over the river into their village, and soon started on a deer-hunt
into the 
northwestern part of Iowa and into Nebraska. I have learned that the medicine-men
are in the habit of pretending to receive revelations from the Great Spirit,
that they 
may the more successmflly carry out their nefarious purposes. Regarding it
as proper, 
the agent has issued an order prohibiting the proclamation of any of these
revelations in future that would interfere with the industry and good order
of the In- 
dians under my care. Some few, and especially several of the young men, have
under the direction of the farmer during the spring and summer with zeal
and a good 
degree of regularity. Several hundred panels of post-and-rail fence have
been put up 
during the spring and summer. We design having all their lands here put under
by the expiration of another year. 
Quite a goodly number worked in the harvest-fields of their white neighbors
both hay and wheat harvest, rendering satisfactory service. They altogether
about $1,000 during the last harvest. This to me seems hopeful. The statistical'returns
of farming for the year ending August 31, 1873, which I herewith transmit,
show the 
wealth of these Indians in individual property to be over $12,000, not including
They have over three hundred ponies at this time. Too many of these ponies
are a 
detriment to the Indians. I am urging them to sell off some of their ponies
and buy 
cattle and sheep. 
With regard to their civilization and christianization, I think some perceptible
ress has been made during the past year. The younger ones are gradually adopting
the habits of the whites. A few have received regular instruction in reading
and writ- 
ing during the part of the year that they have been at home, and they have
made com- 
mendable progress. The farmer has assisted when at leisure. 
I have held out-door religious services for their benefit on the Lord's day,
but what 
religious impressions are being made we must leave to future development
to unfold. 
We greatly need a suitable building for school and religious purposes. I
may here say 
that I am more than ever convinced that but little can be done in the way
of educat- 
ing and christianizing these Indians without a suitable building in which
to collect 
them daily in order to impart instruction to them. If an appropriation sufficient
erect a suitable building could be secured, I have the means at command to
forward missionary labors without any further cost to the Government. 
The farmer erected a small board house during the summer, that answers the
fold purpose of a tool-house, shop, %nd office. This is the only house now
on the Indian 
lands here. 
I recently visited the Pottawatomie Indians residing at Steam-Boat Rock,
County, Iowa. They are only a small band, numbering about 30 souls. They
are farm- 
ing lands, I believe, successfully, which they have rented of their white
neighbors. They 
desire to locate on lands adjacent to the Indians under my care, that they
may enjoy 
the benefits of our mission here. There are severalbands of Winnebago Indians
ing around, who are almost a constant annoyance to my Indians, committing
tions on their property and stealing their ponies whenever opportunity affords.
have, therefore, thought it best to forbid them mingling with the Indians
under my 
care in future. 
In conclusion, allow me to say that although the results of my labors are
not what I 
desired they should be, yet I am safe in saying that at least something has
been done 
during the past year in the way of civilizing and christianizing the Indians
under my 
care. God bless the efforts! 
Yours, respectfully, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 
Red Lake, Yinn., December 2, 1873. 
SIR: In compliance with your circular letter received two days since, I herewith
transmit my report. 
Upon my arrival at this place, August 13,1873, I found things in rather a
state, with accounts unsettled for several months, and it required a vast
amount of 
labor to get them into good working order, but, have succeeded in making
good prog- 
ress with the new buildings, although nearly all the lumber was boards, and
saw-mill was out of repair and few logs in the mill-yard; but by considerable
tion we have made the mill do good service, so that now we have three dwelling-

Go up to Top of Page