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
([1873])

[Seminole agency],   pp. 211-213 PDF (1.5 MB)


Page 211

REPORT    OF COMMISSIONER        OF INDIAN    AFFAIRS.        211 
nual expense of nearly $10,000, are located in different parts of their country.
The 
school-buildings are simply log hovels, without proper or even passable sittings,
desks, 
or other furniture, and but few of them are furnished with maps, globes,
blackboards, 
or other aids found in the poorest schools outside the Territory among whites
or blacks. 
There is a manifest need of some system of books among these schools entirely
different 
from those now in use, and also of,. much superior class of teachers than
now employed. 
The majority of the adult Creeks cannot speak English, and their children,
with 
great difficulty, learn to read and write English, and even then without
comprehend- 
ing the meaning of it. Save a few hours in the school-room, all their association
and 
conversation is with those who cannot speak English, and is a fatal barrier
to progress 
in their studies. 
The amount of money now expended by the Creeks for these neighborhood schools
is 
simply a waste; and I would earnestly recommend that the Government insist
on a 
radical change in the entire system of education among these schools. Among
the most important changes made should be the establishment of a normal school
for the purpose of furnishing teachers thoroughly trained, and permitting
only 
the graduates of such an institution to teach in their schools.  In the mean
time, or 
until the normal school could furnish these teachers, the necessity should
be met by 
those who are intrusted with the management of the school-funds, by removing
the 
present incompetent teachers throughout the nation, and supplying their places
with 
efficient, capable teachers from the States. 
This subject, 1 conceive, should receive from the Government, in its capacity
as 
guardiant, the most careful consideration, as, in my judgment, advancement
in civiliza- 
tion by these people can be obtained only through the school-room. 
TERRITORIAL" GOVERNMENT. 
In view of the probable erection of a territorial government over this territory,
I 
deem it proper to give my views on this subject, and the light in which it
is looked at 
by the great majority of the Creek people. It is apparent to every intelligent
man 
that there is a need of some laws that will apply to all in the Territory.
The establish- 
ment of United States courts is an imperative necessity. The intercourse
laws should 
be overhauled and amended so as to meet present demands, and the question
of juris- 
diction clearly settled. 
As the signs of the times seem to indicate the erection of a territorial
government over 
this country, it is but right to say that the people of the nation are almost
unanimously 
opposed to the measure, because they look upon it as only the first move
to deprive 
them of their last resting-place; a move that will open upon their defenceless
heads 
a flood of evil that will only cease when the last of their race have disappeared;
a move 
that will fill their beautiful and fruitful country with white men who will
be too numer- 
ous to be removed, and then the Government will pay them for their lands
at the rate 
of thirty cents per acre. These are their fears and their reasons for opposing
the meas- 
ure, and no arguments or assurances can make them think differently. They
claim, also, 
the rights guaranteed to them by treaty where they are assured that no such
govern- 
ment shall be erected over them without their consent. 
If Congress does pass these laws making this country a Territory of the United
States, 
great care should be taken to throw around the Indian such safeguards and
protections 
as will prevent the disposal of their lands to.speculators, or the overrunning
of their 
country by white settlers, thus realizing their worst fears. But our Government,
with 
an almost illimitable supply of other lands, will not permit these to be
realized. 
With a stable government to protect them ; with United States courts among
them 
to deal out justice to all; with missionaries and schools working among them,
they 
will soon take their stand, dignified by labor, and enobled by learning,
among our free 
people, the peers of all. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
E. R. ROBERTS, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. EDWARD P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
19. 
SEMINOLE AGENCY, Septernber 1, 1873. 
SIR: Since my last annual report the Seminoles have uniformly sustained their
for- 
mer reputation for morality, steady and peaceable habits, industry, and success
in their 
agricultural operations. There is an evident improvement among them in everything
pertaining to a higher status of civilization; and with proper management
there seems 
to be no reason why they should not, in a few years, attain that condition
of civiliza- 


Go up to Top of Page