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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1857

New York agency,   pp. 20-26 PDF (2.8 MB)

Page 20

No. 1. 
Randolph, September 30, 1857. 
DEAR Sir: Since my last annual report there has not been any 
material change in the condition of the New York Indians. The 
continued efforts of philanthropic individuals and societies, as well as
the liberal appropriations of the State of New York and the Indian 
department, for the education of the young, are all having their 
influence in civilizing and christianizing the Indian tribes who still 
linger in New York, while the ancient manners, habits, and customs 
of the red men are rapidly disappearing, as they have now (from 
necessity) left the forest and chase for agricultural and mechanical 
pursuits to obtain a living. The Allegany Indian reservation is a 
strip of land, one mile wide and forty miles long, on the Allegany 
river, and the lines are made with all the crooks and angles of the 
stream, with the intention, as far as possible, to have one-half of the 
reservation on each side of the centre of the river. This reservation 
is in an extensive lumber country, and has exerted an unfavorable 
influence on the Indians residing on it. Their timber has always 
been a capital on which they could draw for temporary relief, and has 
enabled them to live without becoming thorough farmers, and the 
result is, they are behind all the other Indian reservations in this 
State in obtaining comfortable houses and farms. This timber is fast 
disappearing and will soon be gone, when these Indians will be com- 
pelled to depend on agricultural pursuits for a living; when this time 
arrives, the friend of the Indians may look for a more rapid advance- 
ment in civilization and comforts around their homes. There have 
been five schools on this reservation for the past year; three of these 
schools were supported by the State of New York, one by a Society of 
Friends from Philadelphia, and one by the American Board of Mis- 
sions. The average time taught was six months, and the average 
attendance of scholars at all the schools was eighty-one. There are 
two churches on this reservation, with one hundred communicants. 
The Cattaraugus reservation is located in a fine agricultural district, 
and the Indians on this reservation are wholly dependent on agricul- 
ture and mechanical industry for a living, and are making fine im- 
provements and living very comfortably. On this reservation there 
have been taught six schools during the past year, supported wholly 
by the State of New York. The average time taught during the year 
was nine months-the average attendance one hundred and seventy- 
five scholars. They have two churches on this reservation-one a 
Presbyterian, with one hundred and twenty-five communicants, who 
have just completed a fine church at an expense of $4,000; the other 
church a Methodist, with fifty communicants ; they have a fine church, 
which was dedicated about one year since. 
The Thomas asylum for orphan and destitute Indian children ap- 
pears to be in a prosperous condition, and has, during the past year, 

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