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

[Devil's Lake agency],   pp. 227-230 PDF (2.1 MB)


Page 227

REPORT OF COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
227 
Chieftainships are having a rapid downward tendency among us, and the whole
people 
are fast ripening for self-government, and, among other things, elective
franchises as 
among their highest privileges. Law and order are called for by a large majority
of 
these bands, and lest they should, in the absence of some good and wholesome
laws 
securing to them protection of life and property, fall a prey to the lawless
and lazy, a 
code of laws from the Department of the Interior is most earnestly recommended,
in 
accordance with the tenth article of the treaty of 1867. 
Old, frequent and protracted councils are now below par with our old and
wise 
men. Altogether we have reason for devout gratitude to God for the degree
of peace, 
tranquility and harmony that now characterize this people. All are now working
industriously, cutting and hauling their hay, repairing up their houses and
barns for 
the winter during the week and resting on the Sabbath, and the larger majority
regu- 
larly attending religious worship on the Sabbath-day, according to the Divine
com- 
niandment, and all of them, now, cheerfully conceding the right of every
one to worship 
God according to the dictates of his own, and not another's, conscience.
In view of 
this state of things at this agency, we may well exclaim, "Behold what
God hath 
wrought.." And here I have only to add that your late visit, and that
of the honorable 
Secretary, C. Delano, to this agency had much to do with bringing about this
favorable 
change in the state of affairs as herein reported. Such visits from the Department,
frequently made are recommended. 
With regard to my outpost at Flandreau, Dak., and the Santee Sioux in that
settlement, I have to report that the supply of clothing delivered to them
last Feb- 
ruary, and the oxen and wagons, plows, hoes, scythes, &c., delivered
in June last, 
were very gratefully received by that noble band of natives, who, through
faith, have 
escaped the pollutions and thralldom of tribal and annuity arrangements,
and are 
struggling against poverty and want with a heroism and zeal truly commendable.
The school taught there by Mr. Philander A. Vannice is in a flourishing condition,
and 
cannot fail to have a salutary effect among that people, so long as that
devoted, excel- 
lent young man has charge of it and gives his advice and instruction to that
people. 
I have to recommend that they receive aid again in the supply of oxen, wagons,
and 
plows for the femaining half of those who have settled in that region. Such
agricul- 
tural implements, with team s, willpromote their interests better than food
and clothing, 
and yet, for one or two years ut least, they might be aided to great advantage
to them 
and with honor to our great and good Government. 
Such illustrations of the power of the Gospel to save man, and such examples
of the 
influence of Christian civilization, are worth working for and looking after.
With thankfulness for the past and present evidences of the advancement of
this 
people, we enter anew upon the toils and cares incident to the work for the
new year 
before us, with the confident expectation that [only] with the continued
Divine presence 
and blessing we shall not live and labor among this people in vain for their
highest 
civilization and ultimate evangelization. 
Very respeefully, your obedient servant, 
M. N. ADAMS, 
Hon. EDWARD P. SMITH,                          United States Indian Agent.
Cotmnisioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
27. 
DEVIL'S LAKE RESERVATION, 
Fort Totten Agency, Dak., S pteinber 15, 1873. 
SIR: In compliance with the requirements of the Indian Department, I have
the 
honor to report the condition of the people under my charge. 
This year has been an eventful one for them, as the first step toward permanent
civ- 
ilization has been taken by the building of a manual-labor school-house,
with arrange- 
ments consummated to have it placed in charge of Rev. Sisters of Charity;
and 
the receipt of thirty ox-teams complete, which have been distributed among
the more 
industrious Indians, must tend to make their efforts in labor a success;
and the school 
will give the start toward a better state of things for the rising generation.
In con- 
nection with the school a mission will be established for religious instruction
on a more 
permanent basis than heretofore, and must dispel the darkness of their superstitution.
Although many adults have learned the necessity of labor and seem desirous
of estab- 
lishing farms, and in many instances their success has been remarkable, still
they are 
wedded to their traditions and are superstitiously afraid of innovations.
The "medi- 
cine dances" and "singing doctors" keep their superstition
alive through fear of sick- 
ness and death if disobedient, and the belief in the power of these medicine-men
to 
have punished backsliders from their teaching, [together] with the practice
of polyg- 


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