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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 Wyoming,   pp. 375-376 PDF (708.3 KB)

Page 375

REPORTS OF       AGENTS IN     WYOMING.                   375 
No one could tell what next would happen. In a short time these eight young
men were in the 
ranks at work. After a little, others followed their noble example, while
others, both male 
and female, were only deterred from doing so by the violent opposition of
their heathen 
relatives. During the year eighteen have come out and openly professed faith
in Christ; 
two children were baptized, and three couples married. Our Indian church
now amounts to 46, the sexes about equally represented. The reforming, civilizing,
transforming power of the gospel of Christ has had many beautiful illustrations
in our 
midst. The work is the Lord's, and to Him be all the glory. The ma-ta-wa-drum
has but 
seldom been heard this summer. Heathenism seems to be about dying out. The
of Jesus is ever and anon making new conquests, often in the most unexpected
Two or three more years like the past, and the whole face of this reserve
will be changed 
physically, socially, intellectually, and morally. 
Trusting that we shall still be the recipients of your kindly sympathy in
this difficult work, 
I am yours, most respectfully,                                    I. BAIRD,
Superintendent Odanah Indian Mission. 
Dr. I. L. MAHAN. 
United States Indian Agent. 
September 24, 1875. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report for the year ending
August 31, 1875. 
The boundary and sectional survey of this reservation has just been completed,
and when 
officially confirmed the boundaries will be those agreed upon under the Brunot
treaty of 
1872. The sectional surveys are subdivided into 40-acre lots, and embrace
all the arable 
lands on the southern portion of the reservation. The Shoshones are satisfied
with the sur- 
vey, and are disposed to take up land in severalty. There are but few of
them, however, 
that are able or have the ingenuity to plow the soil, fence, and build, without
more assist- 
ance than can be furnished them under the last aqt of Congress. It would
be a fair com- 
parison to say that under such circumstances they would be equal to good
stout white boys, 
twelve or fourteen years old, and unused to labor. If the Government would
act upon the 
principle that Indians are apprentices to agriculture and other civilizing
pursuits, and not 
master workmen, it would appreciate the economy of employing a sufficient
number of 
suitable teachers. It is just as impossible that they can make fences that
will turn stock, 
and build houses that will not fall down, manage plows, or sow seed properly,
as it is to 
expect three or four white men to manage and teach as many hundred untutored
farmers. A Shoshone goes to work with a will, or perhaps under a sense of
duty; he is im- 
patient of delay; and if there is no one to show him, he does as lie thinks
best, and fails; 
under the discouragement he returns to his old companions-his horse and gun.
The writer 
is quite sure that economy is best secured and the object of the Indian Department
will be 
more speedily obtained by the judicious employment of assistance, governed,
as heretofore, 
by the Secretary of the Interior, to meet the requirements at different agencies.
The plan of issuing annuities practiced at this agency has been to congregate
the Indians 
and have them seated in a circle-men, women, boys, and girls, each separate.
The goods, 
having been prepared for distribution and handed into the circle, are distributed
in the pres- 
ence of all by white men and Indians selected for the purpose, and undtr
my immediate 
supervision. No one is overlooked, not even the child at the breast, and
pains are taken to 
discover how many are herding, sick in lodges, &c., and goods reserved
for them. Issuing 
to the heads of families is very unfair, and especially so when polygamy
prevails, as the favorite 
wife is pretty sure to get all to the benefit of herself and her own progeny.
But in my 
humble opinion any method by which a whole year's supplies are dealt out
at once is ex- 
travagant and fraught with other evils. The Indian has more than he or she
needs for the 
present, and the majority of the tribe gamble them off or resort to peddling;
and as there 
are generally plenty of buyers waiting for the harvest, they are readily
disposed of at 10 
cents or less to the dollar, and the balance of the year has to take care
of itself. After the 
Indians are taught the value of goods in money, and economy in meeting their
wants in the 
future, this evil can be overcome ; and until then would it not be better
to make at least two 
issues, one in the fall and the other in the spring ? 
As you are aware, beef for this agency is contracted for, to be delivered
in the slaughter- 
pen as needed, and, when dres1ed, the weight determined on the scales and
paid for. All 
subsisteiice is issued to each lodge on checks given to them upon their enrollment.
Owing to an unusual amount of snow falling on the mountains a month earlier
last fall 
than usual, a portion of the 'supplies did not reach the agency. The winter
was long and 
severe, and after planting in the spring tlhe Indians were permitted to go
out and hunt until 

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