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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1875

Reports of agents in Iowa,   pp. 290-291 PDF (1.0 MB)

Page 290

Toledo, Iowa, September 23, 1875. 
SIR: Pursuant to requirements of the Indian Department, I have the honor
to submit my 
annual report of the condition of the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa for the
year ending 
August 31, 1875. 
Upon my acceptance of the position of agent, I found but few of the tribe
on their lands, 
and it was not until the month of June that I could call them in from their
winter hunt and 
trappings, when I proceeded to enroll the tribe for payment and other purposes.
tribe own 419 acres of land, situated in Tama County, Iowa. The land is held
in common, 
having been purchased by the different agents, from a part of their annuity
set apart for 
that purpose after payment, and held in trust for them. They number 341 by
there being 161 males and 180 females. During the last year there have been
ten births 
and twelve deaths. There has been some sickness among them, owing to excessive
water this summer, which overflowed their lands, inundating their dwellings,
creating damp- 
ness, and causing malarious types of fever common to low lands. They have
in cultiva- 
tion, by estimate, about 125 acres, selected according to their individual
tastes and conven- 
ience. The greater part of this is planted to corn. Beans, squashes, and
potatoes, being well 
tilled, will yield an average crop for the season. They have made some advancement
farming, several having purchased harness and plows and prepared their own
ground, and 
a great many more would do the same thing, but they have no means. 
The men have shown a better disposition to work their land this season than
ever before, 
but the high water has prevented much enlargement of their grounds. During
harvest, all 
the able-bodied men that could work went out in the fields and earned good
wages. Quite a 
number of boys down to twelve years of age also went out, and seemed willing
to labor 
when there was a sure reward. Their lands are only partially fenced, and
in such a man- 
ner that they do not derive much good from it, the fencing being mostly by
railway and 
by adjoining white persons, who have kindly built entire line-fences at their
own ex- 
pense, and kept the same in repair for years, and who have patiently submitted
to constant 
trespass from their ponies, by reason of the Indians not having their land
fenced in for pas- 
turing. What pasture-land they have lies in common, and would have been fenced
in but 
for high water, which prevented crossing over the Iowa River. The chief and
old men of 
the tribe consented to fencing their lands, but are now opposed to it. It
is imperative that 
it should be done, if they desire to remain here, from the peculiar situation
of their lands. 
Their stock must be kept on their own lands, as a large and wealthy neighborhood
rounds them, and every day engenders trouble from letting their ponies run
at large or at- 
tempting to herd them. They have entirely too many ponies for the amount
of land owned 
by them, and the number should be decreased by sale, or exchange for other
stock, which I 
have urged upon them to do. 
Their school-house has been completed under contract, and is a very good
and substantial 
building, pleasantly located, and large enough to meet all wants of the tribe
for some 
time. It is furnished well, and has upper rooms for teacher and family. They
are, as a 
majority, opposed to going to school, especially the old men. It will take
slow and earnest 
labor, dependent upon time, to remove their piejudices and educate their
young, on whom 
must depend any degree of success in the future. Their prejudices against
schooling have 
been strengthened by some designing whites, who have enlarged greatly upon
the necessity 
of the scheme to the Indians, and in such a manner that they are suspicious
and mistrustful 
of any good result. When once assured that all is well, there can be no trouble,
for they 
apt and intelligent. Their nomadic habits stand decidedly in the way of education.
must remain continuously on their land, and not take their young away on
their hunting 
and trapping expeditions and keep them every winter. 
I would most earnestly recommend that the attention of the different aid
societies inter- 
ested in behalf of the Indians be called to the fact that these children
will have to be clothed 
before sending to school, and also, if it can be done, that clothing be sent
and placed in the 
hands of the agent by the Commissioner, not only to protect against the inclemency
of the 
weather, but as an inducement for the young to attend schooi, and to teach
them the habits 
of civilized life. I have not, at the date of this report, opened their school,
but shall as soon 
as matters are arranged. 
The situation of this tribe readers the education and government of them
very difficult, 
as they are in close proximity to several towns, and constantly coming in
contact with a cer- 
tain class of whites, from whom they learn profanity, gambling, and other
evils, and who 
associate with them for the purpose of reaping gain in a secret and unlawful
manner. This 
has proved the most serious question in the government of the tribe, and
not unfrequtntly 
has been productive of evil. The citizens residing near have manifested a
kindly feeling, 
and desire their advancement. The men, as a general rule, are very temperate,
and a good 
degree of honesty exists. There has been a good share of credit extended
to them by mer- 
chants and farmers, without which at times their families would suffer. The
women are 
very ingenious at bead-work, making baskets, carpet, matting, and moccasins,
but only work 
to meet immediate wants. The estimated value of their personal property is
about $15,000, 
consisting chiefly of ponies. 
This tribe manifest a friendly and peaceful disposition when allowed to continue

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