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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
([1883])

Reports of agents in Idaho,   pp. 53-59 PDF (3.4 MB)


Page 53

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO.                        53 
sidering the fact that it was only the second year of the school. The education
of 
the children of this people is of no little importance. Every one engaged
either in 
mission or Government work feels a deep interest in this subject, and a united
and 
harmonious effort in that direction is doing great good. 
To break up the old Indian notion of marital relations is one of the most
stubborn 
and ugly features of Indian work at this agency. Until within the last month
we 
have had no place to confine and punish the disobedient. 
On the 9th of July I commenced remarking the land of the reservation, with
a view 
of making individual allotments. Some of the older people of the tribe opposed
it, 
and a council was held, at which I explained to them the object, and that
it was the 
work of the Government. This satisfied them, and now a majority of the men
are 
anxious to take allotments. One hundred and twenty-five persons have selected
and 
been assigned land, and the work of allotment will be completed as soon as
action 
by the Department has been taken. 
Much distress exists among these people on account of pulmonary and scrofulous
trouble. 
While it is true a great many have gone to work and made rapid advance in
civili- 
zation, it is equally true that a large per cent. have not made the desired
improve- 
ment. Many of the young men yet stroll about the camps dressed in the original
Indian costume, and do but little work during the year. A great drawback
to our 
Indians is the want of oxen, plows, and machinery. I very much hope that
before 
another annual report is due from this agency the necessary machinery may
be fur- 
nished them, and that their miserable hovels, covered with dirt, will be
made more 
healthful and cheerful by being furnished with board floors and shingle roofs.
Very respectfully,    iWILLIAM M. RIDPATH, 
United State8 Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
FORT HALL AGENCY, 
Ross Fork, Idaho, Augu8t 20, 1883. 
SIR: Among the Indians under my charge, consisting of 1,085 Shoshones and
471 
Bannacks, there exists a peaceable and friendly feeling. There has been no
drunken- 
ness, nor drinking, nor any disturbance on my agency during the year, except
some 
petty differences which were easily settled. 
HABITS AND DISPOSITIONS. 
I find a great difference in the disposition of the two tribes under my care.
The 
Shoshones are an industrious, good-natured, and quiet people; but the Bannacks
are 
restless and roving, and much more difficult to control. 
PROGRESS. 
The condition of the Indians has very much advanced during the year, and
would 
have been more so if greater facilities had been at hand for their use and
encourage- 
ment. They have built four log houses and purchased some agricultural implements,
which shows a disposition to civilization. 
EVENTS. 
Nothing especially has transpired during the year except the burning of the
Gov- 
ernment flouring-mill. There were 1,500 bushels of wheat and 12,000 pounds
of flour, 
belonging mostly to the Shoshone Indians, in the mill at the time of its
destruction. 
This circumstance created considerable excitement at the time and was a serious
loss 
to the Indians on this reservation. It occurred on the morning of December
6, 1882. 
The day previous a Bannack Indian boy about 10 years old while idling about
the 
mill was caught in the shafting. Before he could be released he was so badly
injured 
that he died in a few minutes after being removed to his father's lodge.
It created 
great excitement. The boy's father was absent at the time. One of his wives
fled to 
the agency for protection. She said her husband would kill her and all he
could find 
to avenge the boy's death. The miller also became frightened and dare not
leave his 
house alone. The father on coming home talked very reasonably. He said his
heart 
was bad when he found his boy dead, but he knew that no one was to blame
and his 


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