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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 Wisconsin,   pp. 369-375 PDF (3.5 MB)

Page 369

REPORTS OF       AGENTS IN     WISCONSIN.                  369 
KESHENA, Wis., September 18, 1875. 
SIR: In accordance with instructions as per circular-letter under date of
July 8, I 
herewith inclose a report for this agency since October 10, 1874, at which
date I received my 
commission as agent. The first work devolving upon me (Hon. T. C. Jones,
of Ohio, 
special commissioner, assistant) was to make payment to 138 Stockbridge Indians,
who en- 
rolled themselves as per act of Congress of February 6, 1871, entitled "An
act for the re- 
lief of the Stockbridge and Munsee tribe of Indians," as desiring to
sever their tribal rela- 
tion and become true and loyal.citizens of the United States. The per capita
share realized 
from the sale of lands, as provided in the above act, was  675.38, which
amount each re- 
ceived, and they are no longer wards of the Government. 
Nearly all of them, in anticipation of this payment, had bought of unprincipled
who surround every Indian reserve, (over whom the Government has no control,)
wagons, &c., paying exorbitant prices, leaving them but a small amount
with which to 
start out in the world for themselves, but generally the little they had
left was invested in 
land and a home was provided; and although they are largely scattered, I
find most of them 
are doing well, raising good crops the past summer, showing a commendable
spirit of in- 
dustry and settling down into citizenship quite naturally.j 
According to a census just made, 118 members of the tribe preferred to remain
a while 
longer as Indians; but observing the general success and independence of
those gone out 
from them, and owing to the internal discord for which this tribe has been
noted for many 
years, which this separation does not seem to heal, they are almost unanimous
in a desire to 
petition Congress the coming winter that an act be passed authorizing a sale
of the balance 
of their lands, permitting them to receive the portion of goods falling to
them, and to become 
citizens of the United States. 
As this tribe is so small, all of them speaking good English, and in every
respect capable of 
caring for themselves, having made all the advancement in knowledge and intelligence
it is 
possible, for them to make as Indians, it is earnestly hoped their petition
will be acted upon, 
and their request granted. 
Owing to the withdrawal of the citizen party the number of school children
is greatly 
reduced, (an average of less than ten,) which makes the school far from interesting
for thgir 
efficient teacher, Mrs. J. Slingerland. 
thirteen hundred and thirty-two in number, occupying as they do much valuable
in Brown and Outagamie Counties, are surrounded by white people, who in many
come into Indian territory on purpose to take advantage of the Indians and
thereby wrong 
them out of their property. Fortunes have been and are being made by unprincipled
who have erected saw-mills as near to the reservation as possible, buying
of the Indians 
timber at much less than its value, scaling the same to suit themselves,
and oftentimes pay- 
ing for it in goods at exorbitant prices, which in many cases are exchanged
for whisky, 
and it is no uncommon thing for a man with his team hauling timber from the
reserve to. 
setile Saturday night, and before morning his week's work and timber are
both gone. (With 
permission of the Department I have made a few arrests of parties selling
liquor to the In- 
dians, but am much hindered in this work from the fact that the Indian is
aware that he is not 
subject to arrest, no matter how drunk he may get, and the whisky-seller,
by bribes and 
threats, can generally seal his mouth from giving any testimony that will
secure conviction. 
There are many sober and industrious men of the tribe who deeply deplore
this state of 
things, and ask if a law cannot be passed whereby an intoxicated Indian can
be put under 
arrest until he will tell where he obtained his liquor. Could this be done,
drunkenness might 
be almost if not entirely overcome among them. 
A large proportion of this tribe can speak good English, are intelligent,
transact their own 
business, receib e and give credit, and are in every sense fit to become
citizens. The survey 
of their land is now being made and apportioned into lots of 40 acres each,
toward citizenship, which, if bestowed upon them, will prove best for the
Indian, the com- 
munity, and the Government, for, like the Stockbridges, they cannot improve
in civilization 
and remain Indians. 
Their schools are schools in name only, although there is some improvement
the past few 
years; but it matters not how efficient teachers they may have, no one can
make good, or 
even passable scholars of pupils who can come or stay away at their pleasure.
Of nearly 
400 school-childyen among the tribe, the average attendance is but 60, and
with such indif-J 
ference on the part of parents and children, that the withholding from the
tribe (a step justj 
taken by the Department) of the $800 heretofore given for school purposes
is perhaps a wise 
course to pursue until such time as they can appreciate the advantages given
them. For 
statistical information of this tribe I herewith inclose a report. 
They are the largest of the three tribes uder care of this agency, numbering
I1,52'2, who 
are a well-disposed, quiet, and willing-to-work people, and all improveuenits
that cnn be 
"24 IND) 

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