University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

Report of agent in North Carolina,   pp. 125-126 PDF (1016.7 KB)

Page 125

REPORT OF AGENT IN NORTH           CAROLINA.            12- 
improvement in agriculture would be more rapid. And yet they are making constant
During the year a number of stump machines have been procured for the Seneca
Indians, by direction of the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs. These
proved a great help to the Indians. They are kept in almost constant use,
and many 
fields, which before were filled with large numbers of unsightly stumps,
are now 
smooth, and the whole surface is brought into cultivation. 
Many of the Indian women keep up the old custom of working in the fields,
ing, hoeing, and harvesting, either alone or with the male members of the
But among the more advanced this practice is rapidly becoming obsolete, and
as the 
women learn the art of housekeeping more perfectly, they find their time
fully occu- 
pied with household matters, and abandon the field work to the men. 
The fight against the sale of intoxicating liquors to the Indians has been
kept up 
during the past year. But the work of suppressing this evil is truly Herculean.
appetite is so strong in many cases that the victim will procure the drink
at any cost, 
and too many stand ready to furnish it. Fine and imprisonment are risked
tatingly, and the difficulty of procuring evidence sufficient to convict
is such that 
but few can be punished. 
The schools upon the various reservations in my charge have in general been
sustained through the year, and the attendance has been good. 
Upon the whole I think very satisfactory progress is being made by these
toward that citizenship which they all look upon as inevitable at some not
very dis- 
tant time. 
Very respectfully, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Nantahalah, N. C., August 20, 1883. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit my first annual report of the Indian service
of this 
One thousand members of this tribe live within the Qualla boundary situate
in the 
counties of Swain and Jackson, North Carolina; these are mainly of full blood.
the counties of Graham and Cherokee about 600 reside, half of whom are full
and the other half being more or less mixed. In the counties of Buncombe,
Madison, and Clay, are near 400, none of whom are of full blood. 
The Qualla boundary contains about 50,000 acres, mostly mountain land. Through
it pass two beautiful streams-Ocona Lufty and Soco. Along their banks and
at their 
confluence some fine bottom land is situated, nearly all of which is under
and yields abundantly of corn, wheat, rye, oats, potatoes, and garden vegetables.
mountain portion of this land, which is by far the greater portion, is an
range for cattle and sheep. The Indians, however, are but little benefited
by this, as 
only a few of them own stock except for farming and dairy purposes. The mountain
portion also has an abundance of excellent timber on it. 
These Indians own about 30,000 acres in detached tracts outside of the Qualla
boundary, the larger portion of which lies in the counties of Cherokee and
much of which is occupied and cultivated by them. The title for these lands
is held 
by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in trust for the tribe. Some of these
have been entered by white men and are now occupied by them, they claiming
the grantor to the Indians had never acquired a title from the State of North
for the same, This has thrown a cloud upon the title of a portion of the
lands belong- 
ing to the Indians and has given them much annoyance. 
The condition of the persons composing this tribe compares favorably with
white neighbors. There are nine ministers of the Gospel, full-blood Indians,
in this 
band, who 'break the bread of life', each Sabbath to well-attended congregations
at some eight or nine different points. Denominationally they are Baptist
and Metho- 
dist. Well-attended Sabbath schools usually precede church services. They
use no 
instrument of music in their churches, the human voices constituting this
part of their 
devotion, which is rendered in a most beautiful manner. Among them there
are some 
intelligent minds, and had they enjoyed our civilization earlier would probably
have been oocupying higher spheres in life; but what the fathers have failed
achieve can be reasonably looked for among the children of the present generation,
who are now enpying excellent educational advantages, through the beneficent
of Congress, andf a fund of their own set apart for this purpose by the wise
of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 
Of the members of this tribe there is only one demented person, and suicide

Go up to Top of Page