United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
Reports of agents in Washington territory, pp. 140-159 PDF (11.7 MB)
140 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN WASHINGTON TERRITORY. influence at work to have this reservation thrown open to settlement, and their ap- prehensions in this regard tend greatly to discourage them. They do not feel that their relations to the Interior Department have.been fully and finally determined, and though they have decided the matter for themselves, they cannot divest their minds of apprehensions on the subject. As intimated in my last, I cannot but think that any change in either their location or relations to the government would be injurious to their interests and progress, and that the final settlement would greatly encourage them in civilizing pursuits. I suppose that as a rule the presentation of wants, difficulties, and annoyances has formed the burden of a major part of the correspondence of agents; certainly they have been a large element in my own, but I congratulate the department and myself that I can to some extent adopt a different tone. Our mail facilities, which used to be so utterly inadequate, are now all that can be reasonably desired. By the liberality of the Post-Office Department, we have mail three times a week, via Green River City. We can now transact our official business more promptly and satisfactorily, and have frequent communication with the outer world, by which our isolated position is greatly relieved. Another so urce of gratula- tion is the direct transmission to us of all our goods and supplies, thus relieving the agent of much labor and anxiety, and the department of some extra expense. They all arrived in good order and were of a satisfactory quality; some few articles, our medicines among them, did not arrive till this spring, but no great inconvenience was experienced. It is believed from the promptness and energy displayed by the depart- ment that all will be on hand in due season the present year. With a sincere desire to perform the duties of my office to the satisfaction of the de- partment, and for the best interests of the Indians and agency under my charge, and thanking the department for the confidence implied in an unsolicited reappointnment for a third term, I have the honor to be, sir, Very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. J. CRITCHLOW, United States Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. CoLvILLE AGENCY, Fort Colville, Wash., Augu8t 1, 1879. Sin: In submitting my seventh annual report of the condition of the Indian service under my charge, it gives me pleasure to congratulate the Indians on the mani- fest improvement they have made during the past year. It is daily apparent that they are endeavoring to assimilate their condition to that of white settlers. Their desire to own farms in severalty, to build upon and improve them, is a matter of general observation. They seem to have taken a new departure, and are continually widening the breach between their old customs and their new order of life. This condition of affairs is the result of different causes, the great influx of immigration and rapid settlement of the country convincing them of the necessity of providing permanent homes for themselves, in which they can be protected by the government, and the renewed confidence they feel in the ability of the department to assist them in their endeavors. The agricultural implements generously furnished them by the government are being used to good advantage, and they are greatly'encouraged by their excellent crops, which at present promise an abundant yield. The decision of the 'department to make no more reservations, but to give the In- dians the alternative of going upon such reserves as are already established or adopt the habits of civilization, has had a very beneficial effect upon the Indians of this agency, and they are gradually prepariftg to conform to that order of things. In this connection it would seem imperative on the part of the government to provide the necessary legislation to enable those who wish to become-citizens to do so, as there seems to be no well-defined law on that subject. The applications of Indians to make homestead entries have in some instances been refused, the reason being given that therewas no law enabling an Indian to avail himself of that act. As one of the main objections in the mind of an Indian to becoming a citizen is his dread of taxation, I: would recommend that some provision be made to relieve him from the payment of taxes during a limited period, as it is only by actual experience of the protection afforded him that he will ever become reconciled to the system. The importance of erectirg agency buildings upon the reservation is constantly more-apparent. There has always been a great drawback to this reservation from the want of the necessary agency buildings, none ever having been erected here. Many of the Indians who now hesitate about removing to the reserve would do so if the agent were established there and the necessary mills, shops, school-buildings, &c., were built.
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