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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1873
([1873])

[Otoe agency],   pp. 196-198 PDF (1.5 MB)


Page 196

196       REPORT OF COMMISSIONER          OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS. 
and delay in the sale of their lands, and consequent delay in their removal,
must con- 
tinue them in an unsettled and unsatisfactory condition. 
With respect, thy friend, 
THOS. LIGHTFOOT, 
United States Indian Agent. 
BARCLAY WHITE, 
Seperintendent of Indian Affairs, Omaha, Nebr. 
13. 
OTOE AGENCY, Ninthmonth 4, 1873. 
ESTEEMED FRIEND: In submitting this, my first annual report of the condition
of 
Indian affairs on the Ottoe reserve, I shallnot be able to make it as full
and compre- 
sive of the work being done within the past year as might be desired, from
the fact 
that my connection with the agency bega, in nly with the second quarter of
the present 
calendar year, and hence can but commence with the condition in which I received
it 
at that time. 
After reporting at thy office, on the 19th of Fourthmonth last, I came directly
to 
this place, and received from former agent A. L. Green all the books, papers
and 
other articles of property then shown as belonging to this office. the reception
of 
which was duly acknowledged. On the '23d instant was held a formal council
with 
the Indians, in which I was presented to the leading characters of the tribe,
and at the 
same time witnessed the closing ceremonies of my predecessor in office, taking
leave 
of his charge. 
At the time of my coming among them I found a considerable portion of the
Indians 
in a state of perfect apathy as relates to any idea of improvement, and at
the first 
regklar council I held with them the burden of their desire, as expressed,
was to sell 
out their entire reservation and "seek a new home." J listened
to their earnest ex- 
pressions with interest, but without giving an opinion, told them I had heard
what 
they had said, would give the subject due consideration, and help them do
what I 
thought would be to their best interest. Upon subsequent investigation I
was satis- 
fied, however, that the desire to remove was by no means a universal one;
that it was 
entertained principally by a class who wanted a wider range of country, not
circum- 
scribed by whitV settlements, in which to continue the pursuit of their old
Indian cus- 
toms, and that it simply meant opposition to civilization. 
These being ruling members in the tribe, others feared the loss of popularity
by ex- 
pressions, or even actions toward improvement, that showed a contrary sentiment.
Hence 
they were, and, as I was assured, had been for some time, in an unsettled
and dissatisfied 
condition, tending rather toward retrogression than advancement, and that
this feeling 
was being continually fomented by a class of scheming white men, who were
desirous 
of getting possession of the Indians' lands. I also became satisfied that
the sentiment 
of the tribe, if numerically expressed, would be largely in favor of remaining
where 
they are, and which sentiment has since been gaining strength to a very noticeable
extent. 
At a second regular council, held the 25th of Fifthmonth, I brought the subject
of their situation fairly before them, and pointed out what I thought their
best plan 
to adopt, telling them that they could not long remain as they now are, that
they must 
do something, and that if the present officials of the tribe could not act
so as to do 
business, we would have to have those that could. A time was given them to
delib- 
erate upon it among themselves, when the unanimous expression was to accept
the 
provisions of an act of Congress approved June 10, 1872, providing for the
sale of a 
portion of their land, and the proceeds to be applied to the improvement
of their con- 
dition. The council closed under strong manifestations of the best of feeling,
and I 
am gratified that truth permits me to state the same has continued to this
writing. 
What had formerly been fenced and cultivated as the agency farm I found neglected
and the fence entirely destroyed. Owing to the lateness of the season, the
unsettled 
condition of the tribe, the absence of agricultural appliances, and the need
of funds 
applicable thereto, I did not deem it advisable to attempt refencing for
cultivation 
this year, but urged the Indians to use what means they had and cultivate
all they 
could, in order to provide as far as possible a, winter's subsistence. They
nearly all 
planted more or less of corn, beans, potatoes, and pumpkins, an aggregate
of probably 
200 acres, mostly in the creek bends, where they could easily protect their
patches from 
the depredations of ponies and cattle. They are now about preparing their
corn for 
future use. Many of them will have plenty of that kind of food, but owing
to the un- 
favorableness of the season their crops, as a whole, are not good, and they
must know 
a great scarcity before the return of another season. 
They did not go on their summer hunt, as has heretofore been their custom,
which I 
regard as a step gained in the right direction, that will result to their
advantage ; for 
although the hunt may have gained for them a temporary supply of meat, yet
this 


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