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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 Nevada,   pp. 110-116 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 110

110                REPORTS OF AGENTS IN NEVADA. 
land in Minnesota; some have kept the property, others have disposed of it
to white 
persons at a sacrifice. I find it a very difficult task to have some of the
Indians 
keep and take proper care of their stock. The Government employs for them
a phy- 
sician, a teacher, and an Indian as superintendent. 
In closing my report I can assure you that there is no doubt in my mind of
the final 
ability of my Indians to make an honest living for themselves. What we need
is 
proper legislation enacting laws covering the peculiar cases arising among
Indians, 
and I will venture to make some suggestions for improvement as coming under
my 
observation: 
(1.) Section 2139 of the Revised Statutes forbids the introduction of ardent
spirits 
under any pretense whatever into the Indian country, stating that every person
(except an Indian in the Indian country) who sells, exchanges, &c., shall
be punished 
by imprisonment for not more than two years and by a fine of not more than
three 
hundred dollars. This section should be so changed as to hold the Indian
amenable 
the same as the white person; then the agent could arrest and have'punished
the bad 
Indian who goes out and brings the liquor into the Indian country. This I
think very 
important, and I hope will not be overlooked.* 
(2.) Then, again, we find all the United States laws bearing upon trade with
the 
Indians, &c., make special mention of acts committed in the Indian country.
The words 
"Indian country" should be defined in some way, so that there would
be no doubt as 
to what was Indian country. Indians go outside of their respective reservations
and 
trade off property that has been issued to them, and I find trouble to get
officers to 
attempt to execute a law about which there is so much doubt. The words "Indian
country" should be stricken out, or the lines drawn clearly, defining
what is meant 
by the "Indian country." In the introduction of ardent spirits
into the Indian coun- 
try we draw the lines, so far as the introduction is concerned, immediately
around the 
reservations, but when an Indian goes out and disposes of his property we
try to 
,make it appear that the "Indian country" includes all west of
the Mississippi. I 
wish we could reverse it and have no ardent spirits this side of the Mississippi.
(3.) There should be an act making education compulsory upon all Indians,
the 
school facilities should be furnished and the law put in force requiring
all children of 
proper age to attend school a certain number of months each year. 
The new rules governing Indian offenses has been put into operation by organizing
the court and having parties brought before it for trial. Too short a time
has elapsed 
to note much of the effect, but from what I have seen I am satisfied it will
be a great 
help to us. 
Allow me to express my thanks to thyself and the honorable Secretary of the
Inte- 
Tior for the kindness extended to the agency which I represent during the
past year. 
I am thy friend, 
ISAIAH LIGHTNER, 
United 8tates Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
NEVADA AGENcY, NEy., 
Augu8t 11, 1883. 
SIR: Herewith is submitted annual report for 1883. The Nevada agency has
under 
its supervision two tribes of Indians, the Pah-Utes in western and northwestern
Nevada, and the Pi-Utes in southeastern Nevada. The Pah-Utes are of medium
stat- 
ure,well-developed, strong, and intelligent. Their reservations are for much
the larger 
part arid sage-bush lands, not to be cultivated without irrigation. Only
a small part 
of the whole lies so as to be susceptible of irrigation; about two per cent.
of the land 
lying low enough to bring the water from the rivers on it. 
The Indians are very earnest to farm all available land, and make efforts
and sacri- 
,fices to build irrigating works to water the land. Last year they built
a bridge and 
dam, and the present year have rebuilt in great measure the dam and strengthened
the ditch, built flumes, cleared up new land, fenced it, broken it, planted
it, and the 
crop, not yet all harvested, promises fair. More are eager to have allotments
for next 
year, and there seems to be established the fact that there is not arable
land in suffi- 
cient quantity to allot to each family the small amount of fifteen acres.
Yet they (the Indians) have remained peaceable and-have worked out by the
day, or 
month, or job, and earned a fair living for most of them. Their fishing at
Pyramid 
Lake is of great value to them, as it affords them employment for half the
year, and last 
year the sales were something over 75,000-the average price, 7 cents; amount,
$5,250. 
These were actual sales to outside parties. Then there was other labor performed,
which was not paid for in cash, but only in permanent works for future use,
as the 
irrigating works. There was constructed by them at Pyramid Lake reserve 2
miles of 
*This change has been made. See page 269, Supplement to Revised Statutes.


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