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

[Creek agency],   pp. 209-211 PDF (1.5 MB)

Page 209

tractors with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company have been cutting
ties and timber and shipping them out of the Territory without any authority
license from the nation. Individuals of the nation would claim to own a certain
of timber land, and sell the timber to these contractors which really belonged
to the 
nation. A few individuals would thus receive the pay that should have gone
into the 
treasury of the nation. The railroad company claims that it has, by its charter
the treaty of 1866, the right to purchase and use ties and timber necessary
to build its 
road; and as the Choctaw Nation did not provide a way to purchase the same,
fore the railroad company purchased, as best it could, of individuals of
the nation. 
Although such matters create dissatisfaction with the majority of the nation,
yet they 
peaceably await the action of the railroad company to settle any claims for
ties or 
timber which by mutual consent were not claimed by or paid to individuals,
which I expect the railroad company will soon settle. 
The peaceable character and law abiding disposition of these people I think
must ex- 
cel that of most Indian tribes. They seem as ready to have their private
adjusted by their courts as do the white people, and they treat with the
utmost res- 
pect all the wishes and commands of the United States Government. Their laws
few and not generally well executed, yet in most cases they respect each
other s rights. 
I have been very much pleased with the religious interest manifested by them,
especially by the Choctaws. They attend religious meetings, and seem anxious
know the truth, and many of them, members of churches, appear to be living
Some of the freedmen are improving farms and accumulating property. They
very well satisfied in all respects, except the uncertainty of their right
to vote and 
the want of any educational opportunities for them. The honorable Secretary
of the 
Interior decided that they clearly had a right to vote, but the disposition
of the Chick- 
asaws and Choctaws has been to oppose it, and the freedmen have therefore
not voted 
for fear of offending them. The freedmen seem very anxious to have school
and say they will furnish school buildings if by any means teachers and books
can be 
obtained for them. 
As I stated in my last monthly report, I hope so1ie provision will be made
to meet 
this want. I wish the Choctaw and Chickasaw people could see that it was
for their 
interest to educate these freedmen and thus prevent crime and secure the
welfare of society. 
The subject of surveying the lands of the Choctaw Nation, and having them
to members of the nation, has occupied their minds more than any other subject
since my arrival here. A large number of these people are in favor of this
I believe all the Chickasaws are in favor of it. Some of the Choctaw leaders
represented to the less enlightend part of the nation that they will lose
the title to 
their lands if they are surveyed and allotted. They also represent that there
be no protection given them against the occupation of their lands by the
whites when 
they are surveyed. They forget the assurances given them in the treaty of
1866, and 
remember only that they had to leave Mississippi against the wishes of some
of them. 
I think the number is increasing who favor dividing their lands; and I hope
it may be 
done very soon, and in accordance with some plan approved by themselves.
difficulties arise because the title is in the nation, but in a certain sense
claimed by 
individuals thereof, and (as in the matter of the ties hereinbefore mentioned)
the individ- 
ual takes advantage of any want of action by the nation. If the lands were
owned in 
severalty by the members of the nations, each would jealously guard his rights,
all would unite in protecting individual interests against intruding whites.
each would be stimulated by the other in increasing and making his property
and drawing from it all the profits he could. Thus the nations would be enriched
proportion as the members were thriving, and religious and educational advantages
would come to them through the means of their wealth. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Hon. EDWARD P. -SMITH,                           United States Indian Agent.
Commissioner Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
September 30, 1873. 
SIR: In compliance with the duty imposed upon me as United States agent for
Creek Indians, I have the honor to submit herewith my report of affairs at
the Creek 
agency for the year ending September 30, 1873. 
14I A 

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