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

Report of historiographer,   pp. 377-[378] PDF (491.2 KB)


Page 377

REPORT     OF   HISTORIOGRAPHER,                         377 
REPORT OF HISTORIOGRAPHER. 
WASHINGTON, October 6, 1875. 
SIR: In answer to your requisition of October 3, for a " full, complete,
and comprehen- 
sive history" of my action in " collecting statistics and historical
data respecting the In- 
dians of the United States," under the appropriation by Congress for
that purpose, I have 
the pleasure to state that on or before the 1st day of January, 1876, the
first volume of my 
report will be ready for the printer's hands, embracing matter equal in quantity
to that con- 
tained in any one of the large volumes of Schoolcraft's 1' Collections,"
&c., on the same sub- 
ject, while material will also be partly prepared for another volume before
the close of the 
fiscal year ending June 30, 1876. This first volume of the report will embody
elaborate 
articles upon, or brief notices of, all the "Indian tribes of the United
States," and of some 
of the extinct tribes, with other articles on Indian terminology, and in
one the history of the 
Indian Bureau, from its inception to the present time, will be presented.
In pursuance 
of your original instructions, that in addition to general. statistics, "
a complete special his- 
tory of at least one of the tribes should be prepared (for the first volume)
to be submitted to 
Congress as an illustration of the effort to be undertaken foi all the different
tribes of the 
United States," I selected the Winnebago t-ribe, as being a representative
tribe, and I have 
prepared from original sources of information, and from the writings of the
earliest travel- 
ers, and from official documents, an elaborate Monograph of that tribe, which,
besides a 
full notice and explanation of the various nomenclatures bestowed upon it
by different civ- 
ilized and Indian nations, and by themselves, embraces their history in the
ante-white 
period, or the time prior to their being first visited by the whites ; their
history during the 
French period of domination; their history during the English period: and
their history 
-during the American period to the present time, with their existing status
and condition. In 
the first named, or ante-white period, are included their ancient traditions,
religions, domes- 
tic and warlike customs, and an idea of their language, including grammatical
construc- 
tion and a copious vocabulary of about three thousand words, which were personally
col- 
lected by me, and carefully noted down upon a precise yet simple system of
orthography, 
(varying as little as possible from the English alphabet,) which has been
established by me 
for .11 Indian vocabularies of this work. A font of type suitable, with the
proper diacrit- 
ical marks and accents, has been cast, and is now on hand ready for printing
this and 
the various other vocabularies of the work. The treaties made with this tribe
will, in their 
historical Monograph, be republished in proper chronological order. The plan
adopted for 
the work is that of an encyclopedia, the articles following in alphabetical
order, thus consti- 
tuting their own index, and making reference easy when information in regard
to any tribe 
or subject is needed by officers of the Government, Congress, or the people.
It is not in- 
tended that the work at first shall be printed otherwise than in the most
close, condensed, 
and inexpensive manner, the size of page and column and the style of type
used for the 
Congressional Record, without illustrations, save a moderate woodcut or two,
having been 
adopted as preferable in which to print the several volumes of the annual
reports that may be 
from time to time issued; though, when these are afterward condensed into
one or two large 
volumes, (if that should hereafter be deemed expedient by Congress;) a more
elegant typo- 
graphical execution may be advisable. 
The appropriations by Congress for this work have been two, of $3,500 each,
for the fiscal 
years ending respectively June 30, 1875, and June 30, 1876, out of which
the undersigned, as 
collector, &c., and historiographer, has been paid a salary, thus far,
at the rate of $2,000 per 
annum, and the balance has been appropriated to pay clerks and copyists ;
for rent of office, 
office-expenses, and fuel; for the purchase of special books on Indian subjects;
for trav- 
eling expenses, &c.; of which whole amount there will probably remain
on hand on the 
31st of December, 1875, a balance of $1,500. 
Very respectfully,                                   THOMAS FOSTER, 
Collector, 4'c ,and Indian Historiographer. 
Hon. EDW. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 


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