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

[Grand River agency],   pp. 230-231 PDF (1000.8 KB)


Page 230

230        REPORT OF COMMISSIONER          OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS. 
people February 19,1867. They are settled too close to each other, and it
is an evil already 
felt in regard to the future ownership of fields now cultivated. At first,
owing to the 
fear from incursions made by war-parties of Chippewas and Mandans, &c.,
they did so 
for mutual security. But as that dread no longer exists, and with their present
ad- 
vantages, they feel the necessity of enlarging their fields ; but unfortunately
all wish 
to possess the lion's share of what has been held in common. But if once
surveyed 
they would soon seek to take possession of the more desirable homesteads,
and the 
wish to raise stock, pigs, chickens, &c., would assist in requiring this
desirable separ- 
ation of interests to be made. 
In conclusion, I would also respectfully ask, at the request of the principal
men of 
the reservation, that they be allowed to visit their "Great Father"
in Washington. 
It was urged in council last fall, and also this spring before the commissioners,
at the 
time these people ceded certain lands to the United States, and they were
promised 
that an effort would be made. If the request would be granted, I think it
might be 
productive of much good. So many parties have been lately called there, that
they 
feel slighted, especially-as they have tried to improve their people, and
obey instruc- 
tions. 
I have the honor, sir, to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
WM. H. FORBES, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
28. 
GRAND RIVER INDIAN AGENCY, 
Standing Rock, Dakota, September 27, 1873. 
SIR: In compliance with the requirements of the Department, I have the honor
to 
submit the following as my annual report: 
On the 9th of June last, I relieved my predecessor, J. C. O'Connor, and entered
upon 
the discharge of my duties. I found all the warehouses to be in a dilapidated
condi- 
tion, and entirely unfit for the reception of supplies, and set about repairing
them; but, 
on receipt of a dispatch from the Department, stating that the agency was
to be 
removed to Standing Rock, I discontinued the repairs, and proceeded at once
to select 
a new site for the agency. I selected this place as in my opinion the best
adapted for 
an agency. It is situated on high table-land, about seventy-five miles above
Grand 
River, by water; the river is narrow and deep, and, with a good landing,
is accessible 
to steamboats at all stages of water. There is an abundance of cottonwood
timber, 
suitable for building purposes, both above and below the agency, and a fine
tract of 
land near by, sufficient to accommodate all the Indians for farming purposes.
On the 
18th of July all the property pertaining to the old agency was removed to
this place, with 
the exception of the buildings, which are old log structures and not worth
the cost of 
removal; they have, therefore, been left in charge of a watchman until such
time as 
some disposition can be made of them. 
The Indians under my charge consist of the following tribes and number, viz:
Upper 
Yanctonai Sioux, 1,386; Lower Yanctonai Sioux* ,534; Uncpapa Sioux, 1,512;
and 
Blackfeet Sioux, 847. These embrace the Cut-heads and Sans-Arc Sioux, formerly
reported. I am pleased to be able to state that they have behaved well, so
far, and I 
am not aware of any hostile act being committed by these Indians since my
oonnection 
with them. A great many were dissatisfied at the removal of the agency, and
ex- 
pressed their unwillingness to leave their old locations; but, on pointing
out the great 
disadvantages they would be under by pursuing that course, they nearly all
agreed to 
move to this place when the balance of their crops was gathered. 
The Indians have had about six hupdred and fifty acres of land under cultivation
during the present year. The plan heretofore adopted has been to break as
much 
ground as was supposed to meet the wants of the respective bands, or as time
and 
force would permit, issue seeds and hoes to the Indians, and leave the rest
to them. 
The Indians have then allotted the ground to families, each taking as much
as would 
be required for a small garden-spot by a white family, and marking the boundaries
of 
their respective possessions by rows of turf removed from their patches.
The work 
has been mostly done by the women, but some of the men are beginning to learn
that 
work is not dishonorable, and have labored on their farms with considerable
faithful- 
ness. Their manner of farming is very slovenly, but they are anxious to learn
to farm 
as the whites do. The land was planted by them in corn, pumpkins, squash,
and 
melons, but, receiving very little cultivation, was overrun by weeds, and,
as a conse- 
quence, the crops have amounted to little or nothing as a means of subsistence
beyond 


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