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

[Neah Bay agency],   pp. 306-309 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 306

agency, viz, Lmnmi, Swinomish, Port Madison, and Muckelshoot, in order to
many little difficulties that many times exist between the Itidians and white
The Lummi Indians, having now Mr. John McGlinn at their head, are doing very
under his instructions; and since Mr. William DeShaw has undertaken to look
the interests of the Port Madison Indians everything seems to go on much
better than 
Of some of the numerous complaints made by a large number of Indians under
charge, I will just mention a few which seems to me to be both just and reasonable,
and are of such nature as might attract your attention and also that of the
The white settlers, who are increasing so rapidly in this country, and locating
selves around Indian reservations, are becoming more and more troublesome
to the In- 
dians, and I am very much of opinion that they will destroy the whole race
in a short 
time, if some efficient means be not speedily taken to put a stop to their
traffic in poisonous whisky. This is one of the chief causes of complaint
against the 
Government, for allowing whisky shops to be established so near the reservations.
It has been a very old custom among the Indians to set fire to the woods
in order to 
burn the underbrush and pronmote the growth of wild berries, which they gather,
and dispose of among themselves and white settlers. There are another class
of Indi- 
ans who live by the chase ar  are called Sunitees; these men destroy all
the game on 
the reservations and elsewi re, and, disposing of them, make money by doing
When I took charge of this gency I was requested by the Indians to allow
them to 
cut the timber and dispose c it to the saw-mills, as they thought it would
be better 
than have it destroyed by fir and 'that they could make more money this way
any other, as their land was  t adapted or in any way fit for agricultural
purposes. I 
considered their demand an  thought it very reasonable, and gave them all
the en- 
couragement I could, in order ) carry on the work. They were quite satisfied
to labor 
hard provided they got paid f4 r it, but when I told them they should pay
stumpage, as 
the timber they were cutting -, d disposing of was common property, and that
all the 
Indians who were parties-to tl, Point Elliott treaty were all equally entitled
to their 
share of the proceeds or the timber, they then got quite discouraged and
said they 
were not disposed to work and earn money and then be obliged to hand it over
to sup- 
port idle Indians,. who did nothing but bask in the sunshine from morning
till night, 
spending their time in gambling and drinking, when they could get the means
of do- 
ing so. They then asked me why I did not impose a tax on those wild Indians
destroyed the woods by fire for the purppse of gathering wild berries, and
on the hun- 
ters for destroying their game, as it also was common property, as well as
the timber 
that was standing useless until it was cut down and converted into money;
that all 
the Indians who desired to work were welcome to their share of the proceeds+
they shared also in the labor. They said that they had themselves and families
support and many old and decrepit relations that depended on them, and would
starved if they had to depend on Government rations; that they did not believe
Government ever intended to tax them for trying to support themselves by
hard labor, 
or making the most of the property the Government awarded them, and that
the tax- 
ing system was got up by the agent to make money for himself and those that
were in 
league with him. 
Finally, they complain against the Department for not having their lands
and secured to them, and thus save them from the trouble and annoyance they
continually receiving at the hands of the white settlers. 
In conclusion, I desire to return you my most sincere thanks for the courtesy
have always'hown in aiding my efforts in the management of my agencies. I
done and am still trying to do all in my power to dispense justice and maintain
between the whites and those Indians under- my charge. 
Desiring your respectful attention to the accompanying report of Dr. Van
Den Bergh 
with regard to the sanitary condition of the Indians pertaining to this agency,
I have the honor to bepsir, very respectfully yours, 
H. Sub I ndian Agent. 
R. H. MILROY, Esq,, 
Superintendent of Indiac Affairs, Olympia, Wash. 
September 1,1873. 
SIR : I have the honor to su bmit the following as my third annual report
upon the 
condition of affairs at this agency. 
When I assumed charge of this agency, a little over two years ago, it was
in a most 
deplorable condition, indeed. About ten years previous to that time, when
the agency 

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