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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855

[Southern superintendency],   pp. 119-177 PDF (23.0 MB)

Page 119

No. 47. 
Fort Smith, Arkansas, September 13, 1855. 
SIR: Since my appointment to the discharge of the duties of this 
superintendency, in March last, there has been, in the condition of 
the several tribes of Indians under its charge, no change of particular 
As no exigency has arisen in their affairs, either as among themselves 
or as affecting the general government, requiring my presence in their 
midst, I have not been brought into that close contact with them 
that would give me personally an accurate knowledge of their position 
and condition in all important respects. But inasmuch as by far the 
greater portion of the tribes subject to my care, the Cherokees, Choc- 
taws, Chickasaws, and Creeks, have made very encouraging and 
respectable advances in Christianity, civilization and education, it was
to have been expected, and I am happy to say that the expectation 
was not disappointed, that peace and good order would prevail 
among them. 
The serious personal and family feuds that have, at times, fearfully 
disturbed and agitated the quiet and repose of the Cherokees, have 
been permitted to slumber since the outbreak in 1853, and it is hoped 
are now finally suppressed. Several'questions of importance are pre- 
sented in the report of George Butler, esq., Cherokee agent, and to 
which I would most respecfully invite the attention of the department, 
as they call for the opinion of an authority superior to that vested in 
the superintendent. It seems not to admit of doubt that, so far as is 
consistent with good order and the high regard due the general gov- 
ernment, it would be the better policy to allow the Cherokees the 
right of repressing and punishing the crimes and offences committed 
by their own citizens within their own limits; it would be an incentive 
that would lead them to appreciate their responsibilities as citizens, 
and to prepare themselves for their intelligent discharge. The exercise 
of this great right we claim to be the basis of all progress, veneration
for law, and improvement among ourselves; and its effect on the 
Indian could not be other than salutary and beneficent. 
It is generally understood along this border that the Department 
of War has in contemplation the speedy abandonment of Fort Gibson, 
and the removal of the troops now stationed there to a point further 
west; and as this belief has elicited a very general expression of public,
opinion, it is not inappropriate to remark that, while a small number 
of Cherokees warmly desire it, another portion of them, the Creeks,, 
and the white population along the border of the States, as warmly 
desire it may not be. 
The Choctaws, and in connexion with them the Chickasaws, rank 
with the most favored tribes. There has been some slight dissension 
between them, growing out of a misunderstanding as to thb true 
boundary dividing the Chickasaw district from the country occupied 
by the Choctaws, an unavailing effort to adjust which was made by a 
convention last fall, and subsequently by defining the line agreed 

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