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

Report of agent in Minnesota,   pp. 95-96 PDF (982.4 KB)

Page 95

experienced much trouble in keeping up the attendance during the last cold
and yet more with some of the teachers whom I found at work when I assumed
of the agency and who were entitled to a fair trial. [have weeded out the
poor ones, 
as I believe, and having thoroughly repaired the school-houses, and received
promise to send their children more regularly, I am hoping that the current
year will 
see a larger attendance. But the meager cost of these schools is not for
a moment, in 
my judgment, to be compared with their real value. Ihave eight schools now
and hope 
to be granted permission to open two more. Without these schools 90 per cent.
of those. 
in attendance would never see the inside of a school-house, so remote are
they from 
white schools. 
The bane of the Indian is whisky; this is the one foe that stands over against
prosperity and future. It is a question of time only when he will disappear
unless it 
can be kept from him. During the year I assisted in prosecuting one Joseph
Cook for 
selling liquor to an Indian. He was tried in the United States district court
a jury, both sides being desirous that the law should be interpreted, the
facts not being 
disputed. Judge Withey reserved his opinion and the case will be reargued
in October- 
before a full bench, when the constitutionality of the law will be passed
upon, and it 
is hoped for its affirmance. In this event I will see that the business is
made too un- 
profitable to follow. 
In looking over the year's work I have not accomplished all I had in mind
and heart 
to do, but I can see that something has been done; the Indians, many of them,
progressed, many others are striving to do and be something, and I expect
to aid thenX 
much more during the present year by reason of my experience in the one just
Very respectfully, 
United States Indian Agent. 
WHITE EARTH AGENCY, MINN., August 21, 1883. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit my second annual report of the condition,
and prospects of the Chippewas of Northern Minnesota, containing the three
tions of Red Lake, Leech Lake, and White Earth, and under the name of the
Earth Agency. 
While the advancement of these Indians towards civilization may seem slow,
I am 
fully convinced that they are improving, and each returning season they are
desirous to obtain the latest improved farming implements, and show much
to become self-sustaining through their farms. My policy has been to impress
them that their subsistence must soon be wholly the product of their own
labor, and 
to disabuse their minds of the idea that the Government owes them a living.
It is very important that the south and eastern lines of this reservation
should be 
well marked out so as to avoid any conflict between them and the white settlers,
would recommend that this be done as soon as possible. Many Indians have
to the southeast corner of the reserve, and trouble has arisen in this matter
of not 
finding the exact lines. 
The Pembina Indians, living on their own township Z5 miles north of this
have made good progress in enlarging their farms, and they have every reason
to be- 
thankful to the Government for being so liberal to them, as they receive
about one-- 
fifth of the appropriation called the Red Lake and Pembina fund. 
The Otter Tail Pillagers, living north of the agency about 1S miles, and
about 8; 
miles east of the Pembinas, have not been so bountifully cared for, and consequently
their progress is not so marked. They are in need of oxen, wagons, and other
ments, and I hope to furnish them out of this annuity fund, intending to
make out, 
the estimate soon for those articles. 
The band of Indians living here and called the Mississippi Chippewas is the
in numbers, and as their annuities, according to the present treaty, will
expire next 
year they may be compelled to rely on their own resources. It is unfortunate
the other part of this band, living at Mille Lac, White Oak Point, and Sandy
could not be induced to make this reservation their home, where no better
region of 
country of the same extent can be found in the Northwest adapted to agriculture
grazing purposes. If funds could be appropriated and the proper effort made,
would no doubt start the tide which would bring them all here in a few yeais.
I have been much gratified with the progress made the past year in our schools.
consider it the most important feature of my work, and one on which the future
of these Indians will depend almost entirely. When the school closed last
year the- 
scholars had dropped out one by one until the attendance was reduced to a
number. This year, at the close. we had almost our full quota, and they were
all evem 

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