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

[Red Cloud agency],   pp. 243-244 PDF (976.8 KB)


Page 243

REPORT    OF COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.        243 
repairs and additions to agent's house and office. We have an Indian engaged
in making 
ox-yokes, ox-bows, and helves for axes and hatchets; an Indian carpenter,
who can put 
-p houses with doors, windows, &c.; put on locks, and glaze windows,
&c.; we have two 
drive-wells, made this summer, and now in operation. The greater part of
this has 
been doneby the increased labor force of August 9, ultimo. It is a pleasant
view 
where an Indian has his house, stable, and yard, with hay-stack adjoining;
and at the 
Point Village, (Niobrara,) the full-bloods excel the half-breeds in providing
for the win- 
ter, while the Hu-b-than Village has scarcely a house where the stable and
sometimes 
.a plow and wagon shed does not form part of the homestead. 
White Eagle, the head-chief of the full-blood Indians, lives at the Point
Village, 
-and was the last to "fall into line" on the labor scheme, but
has since guided a 
mower for grass and a reaper for hay. I have provided him with a large dinner-bell,
which he rings just after breakfast and dinner to go to work, and at the
quitting times. 
So much is won from barbarism. Eagle is a young man, not thirty years old,
but not 
physically strong, though broad-shouldered and of commanding presence. Latterly
his conduct dnd manner have been cordial, and have been shaped to aid, instead
of, as 
in the past, to hinder and perplex. 
The assets of the tribe, individual property, are about 40 wagons, and about
60 yoke of 
oxen, which will be increased by 15 other wagons, on the way now, thrasher,
2 drills, 
large and small, 27 cows, quite a number of cook-stoves and household furniture,
chiefly made on the agency. Four have clocks in their houses, beside the
usual agri- 
cultural tools, 40 hay-forks, 4 horse-rakes, several plows, harrows and drag,
hay and 
wood racks, shovels, spades, grubbing-hoes and garden-hoes, with several
ponies, and 
near twenty sets of harness; and I am very much gratified to be able to report
that 
many, nearly all, are very careful as to the condition and keeping of their
goods, and 
speak with pride of their possessions. The feeling is growing that an idle
man is as 
much to be scorned as the worker was, and the Poncas exclaim of a non-worker,
"no 
work-no flour;" and they have now ceased to threaten to break down the
doors to 
procure what the lazy man could not get, food without work. 
I am inclined to the belief that there is a very perceptible improvement
in the moral, 
social, and physical condition of the Poncas. They are learning habits of
obedience, 
and gaining confidence in the superior knowledge of their instructors; they
are often 
petulant, like spoiled children, and though not as easily rebuked, yet a
stern glance, 
or a sharply spoken word, generally quiets the most obstreperous. I think
it is right, 
and best for their interests, to gain daily, as much as safely may be, an
influence and 
authority, which can substitute new ideas for their old notions, and command
a confi- 
-dence which insures obedience, not from servile fear, but that their reasoning
powers 
are aroused to action, and can easily perceive the personal benefit to accrue
to them 
from the source of former favors, now estimated at a value, which to lose
would not 
be desirable. Regulations are made and kept, and the "morning rule"
of the "get- 
ready bell," rung '20 minutes before 8 o'clock a. in., arouses the village,
while the sharp 
sound of the "1labor-belly'1 gives a view of the hurrying Poncas at
the superintendent's. 
office, where each worker must be at roll-call to get his mark, and allotment
for labor, 
or return disconsolate, with a half day's loss and a short notch on his own
record. 
Respectfully submitted. 
CHARLES P. BIRKETT, 
United States Indian Agent, Poncas. 
Hon. EDW. P. SMITH, 
Comeissioner Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
34. 
RED CLOUD AGENCY,.WASHINGToN TERRITORY, 
August 18, 1873. 
SIR: In compliance with the requirements of the Department, I have the honor
to 
make the following report of the Indians at the Red Cloud agency the past
year: 
At the old agency on the Platte farming was not commenced, owing to the uncertain
time of their removal to the new place that was selected last season for
their home. 
The removal of these Sioux away from the Platte could not be effected last
season, 
owing to the opposition of Red Cloud and his particular friends, the "Bad
Faces." 
Red Cloud proved recreant to his promises made to the Government by opposing
the 
removal and all the chiefs that favored it. 
The agency was removed the first of this month, after much trouble with these
same 
" Bad Faces." It is now located on White River, about eighty miles
east of north, in 
a very pretty valley with good water and all the farming laud they will require
for the 
--"qqmmopp--                                                   ---m


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