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

[Colville agency],   pp. 314-315 PDF (1003.8 KB)


Page 314

314       REPORT    OF COMMISSIONER        OF INDIAN    AFFAIRS. 
Appendix. 
OFFICE YAKAMA INDIAN AGENCY, 
Fort Simcoe, Wash., September 1, 1873. 
Since the date of the foregoing report, and before mailing it, I have received
a copy 
of a letter from the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated June
13, 1873, 
addressed to Charles Ewing, esq., Washington,ID. C., which letter was written
in an- 
swer to the request of the Roman Catholic bishop of Nisqually for permission
to build 
a church and residence for a Catholic priest within the jurisdiction of both
the Yakama 
and the Nez Pere Indian agencies, and states that the honorable Secretary
of the In- 
terior had given permission to the Catholic authorities to erect such buildings.
In response to the very surprising information contained in this letter,
I beg leave to 
submit the following considerations: 
1st. The two reservati --ns referred to have been assigned by the President,
under the- 
new Christian policy, to t\ 3 Protestant denominations--that of the Nez Percs
to the 
Presbyterian Church, and t -t of the Yakama Nation to the Methodist, with
the ex- 
pectation on the part of all I "otestant Christians that, so far as
the religious instruc- 
tion of these tribes are cone rued, those respective churches were to have
entire 
jurisdiction without the interference of other denominations, most of all
without the 
interference of the Catholic priesthood. 
2d. In the case of reservations assigned under the new policy to the Catholic
Church, 
as at Tulalip, under the Point Elliot treaty, where a Catholic priest is
now the agent, 
and where the same priest has been many years the teacher, and where the
whole ma- 
chinery of the Catholic Church, including a school for girls, under the Sisters
of Charity, 
has been long in operation. no denomination of the Protestant Church has
ever attempt- 
ed to interfere. It has been conceded on all hands that Father Chirouse had
entire 
jurisdiction of the religious instruction of all the Indians under that treaty,
and that it 
would be unlawful and improper under the present Indian policy of the Government.
No good results could follow from instructions that would contradict the
teachings of 
the lawfully constituted authority of the agency. Such contradiction would
only 
confuse the minds of the heathen tribes, and weaken their confidence in Christianity
altogether. 
3. So far as the Yakama Nation is concerned, and I believe the same is true
of the Nez 
Percds Indians, the steady, uniform, persistent policy of the Catholic priesthood
is now 
and always has been, to contradict the instructions of the Protestant teachers,
to defeat 
their influence, and drive from the mind of the Indians all confidence in
their honesty, 
and all inspired purpose of thrift and progress.  1( 0 
4. To encourage, within the lawful jurisdiction of an Indian agent, an element
of 
power and influence that is utterly hostile to all the endeavors of the constituted
author- 
ity, must necessarily prove disastrous to the success of all attempts at
true Christian 
progress not only, but it must prove disastrous to the peace of the reservation,
and to 
the safety of the lives of the resident employ6s. 
It becomes my conscientious duty, therefore, to remonstrate in the most distinct
and 
positive terms against an order that I know to be fatal to every true interest
of the 
Indians of my agency, and a violation of the precedents and the policy of
the Christian 
administration of Indian affairs. 
Respectfully submitted. 
JAMES I-. WILLEM, 
United States Ivdian Agent, Wash. Ter. 
68. 
FORT COLVILLE, Octobet 20, 1873. 
SIR: In conformity with the regulations of the Indian Department I have the
honor 
to submit my first annual report of the affairs of this agency, from the
i3th of Septem- 
ber, 1872, the date of my assuming charge, up to the present date. 
I found on my arrival here that there had been no house or other buildings
provided 
for the use of the agent and employcs of the Government, but was kindly furnished
with comfortable quarters at the garrison by the commanding officer, Capt.
Evan Miles, 
Twenty-first Infantry, and to whom I am indebted for many other courtesies.
As soon as practicable I called the chiefs and head-men in council, to ascertain
(as in- 
structed from your Office) how they were pleased with the new reservation
set aside 
for them by Executive order, and if they were willing to remove to it. The
result of 
that council was made known to you in my special report of November 20, 1872.
I 
will only add here that the tribes represented, viz, the Colvilles, Spokanes,
Pend 
d'Oreilles and Lakes, were unanimous, as they still are, in their opposition
to removing 
to the reservation north of the Columbia; their principal objection s being,
first, their great 
unwillingness to leave their own country ; secondly, the reservation boundaries
do not 


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