United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1875
Report of historiographer, pp. 377- PDF (491.2 KB)
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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