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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 Nebraska,   pp. 315-326 PDF (5.9 MB)

Page 315

Nohart, Nebr., Ninthmonth 1, 1875. 
RESPECTED FRIEND : In accordance with instructions from Indian Department.
per circu- 
lar letter of July 8, 1875, the following is respectfully submitted as the
report of the Iowa 
and Sac and Fox of Missouri tribes of Indians for the year ending Eighthmonth
31, 1875. 
By direction of Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, I was assigned to take
charge of 
this aaency, vice C. H. Roberts, resigned, commencing services Twelfthmonth
22,1874, my 
commission not arriving until Fourthmonth 29, 1875 ; and -as no school or
other statistics 
previous to the former date are on record in the office, this report will
be compiled from data 
secured entirely subsequent to Twelfthmonth 22, embracing nearly nine months.
Owing to the absence of a licensed trader for nearly three months, and the
failure of crops 
the preceding season, the Indians were found to be in a very destitute condition,
and those 
who were able to do so had obtained credit -from surrounding settlers and
merchants, thus 
securing what little they had upon which to subsist. Many also were not supplied
sufficient clothing to protect them from the extremely severe weather which
was experienced 
during the past winter ; and having to depend entirely upon their cash annuity
for both pro- 
visions and clothing, it required strict economy to live through the winter
with any reason- 
able degree of comfort. 
As the two tribes at this agency are so unlike ini their state of advancement
in civilization 
and industrial pursuits, it will be necessary to report for each separately;
and in referring 
to the 
It is but justice to say that.they have reached a point in their efforts
to derive their subsist- 
ence from the soil where they deserve all the assistance and encouragement
it is possible to 
give them. With the exception of one or two families, they plant and cultivate
their crops 
in a manner that will compare favorably with that of the surrounding white
settlers; and 
they evince a sprit of perseverance worthy of imitation by those further
advanced in civiliza- 
tion. After the two years of almost entire failure of crops, it was surprising
with what 
alacrity they responded to the efforts to induce them to engage more extensively
in farming. 
They sowed 165 acres spring-wheat, 75 acres oats, 20 acres barley, 4 acres
timothy, 16 
acres buckwheat, and planted 8 acres potatoes, all of which presented a fine
prospect of an 
abundant harvest, until about Fiftbmonth 1, when the migratory grasshoppers,
which had been 
hatched in this locality about Fourthmonth 15. began their depredations,
destroying every 
vestige of wheat, oats, barley, and timothy, thus completely chilling the
ardent hopes of 
those engaged in the labor. 
A large portion of the grain above mentioned was sown by the Indians themselves,
having received instruction from the agent; and no more difficulty was experienced
in teach- 
ing them than would be found in teaching whites having the same opportunities.
Those who 
are most largely engaged in agricultural pursuits can speak and understand
the English 
language, and show a spirit of emulation to do as their white neighbors,
and obtain their 
subsistence from the land they own, as their annuity of about $35 each, upon
which they 
have had almost wholly to depend during the last two years, is entirely inadequate
to sup- 
port them. But, not unlike all classes of human beings, some among them are
shiftless, and 
either live upon the product of other's labor, or eke out a miserable existeuce
upon their 
scanty annuity. This is the exception and not the rule here. 
As nearly as can be estimated, by calculating each field separately, without
actual meas- 
urement, the Iowas have planted and cultivated in a creditable manner 500
acres corn, 
which includes a large portion of the land that had previously been sown
with wheat, 
which was destroyed. When it is remembered that nearly all this corn was
planted twice, 
and much of it three times, the first and second planting having fallen a
prey to grass- 
hoppers, whatever they may succeed in harvesting must be credited to the
perseverance of 
the Indians. It is not expected that a full crop -vill be realized; but estimating
20 bushels 
per acre, which is a low estimate, for some of it % ill exceed 50 bushels
per acre, there will be 
raised 10,000 bushels of corn, besides a large amount of rough provender
for stock. This, in 
addition to the hay eured, which will amount to 700 tons, will furnish abundant
food for all 
the stock of the tribe, and allow a liberal amount for marketing, by which
we hope indi- 
vidual wants can in a measure be supplied. The buckwheat, though not sufficiently
tured to enable an accurate estimate of the crop being made, is very promising,
and will 
probably yield 15 bushels per acre, or 240 bushels. Summing up everything
in the way of 
crops, the prospect of a winter of comfort is much more flattering than appeared
one year 
The Iowas, save two or three families, live in comfortable houses for summer;
but owing 
to not being well finished, and some not at all finished, are not a complete
against the chilling blasts of winter.  These few families are very desirous
of having 
houses, and in a few more cases, where two or more families occupy the same
house, it is de- 
sirable that they should be separated as soon as practicable, each family
having a home of 
its own, for it is a most potent obstfcle to civilization to have them promiscuous
y huddled 
together in one ranch, as dumb brutes. They are much disappointed that these
houses can- 

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