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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874

Information, with historical and statistical statements, relative to the different tribes and their agencies,   pp. 23-[84] PDF (29.5 MB)

Page 23

NEW YORK AGENCY.-The Indians in the State of New York, formerly 
known as the "Six Nations," are located on eight different reservations,
mainly in the extreme southwestern part of the State. They number 
5,140, 3,060 of whom are Senecas, and the remainder are Saint Regis, 
Onondagas, Tuscaroras, Oneidas, and Cayugas. They have 30 schools 
supported by the State, 12 of the teachers being Indians. Out of 1,870 
children of school-age, 1,418 have been in attendance during some por- 
tion of the year, an increase of 55 per cent. since 1871. The average 
daily attendance is 908, an increase in three years of nearly 70 per cent.
This marked improvement is largely due to the influence of the annual 
teachers' institute established in 1871. An orphan asylum incorporated 
in 1855. supported largely by the State, has been enlarged and improved 
during the year, and has furnished a home for over 100 orphan and des- 
titute Indian children. Nineteen thousand five hundred and eighty-six 
acres are under cultivation. Their industry and pride in farming are 
stimulated by an annual agricultural fair, held by an incorporated so- 
ciety, and officered by Indians, which is largely attended, and furnishes
an annual display of grain, vegetables, aird fruit which will compare 
favorably with that of the county fairs of their white neighbors. Their 
receipts this year were $1,300, most of which was paid out in premiums. 
These Indians have always been considered among the most intelligent 
of their race. They have completely adopted a civilized life, and except
for the fact they have so long been treated as so many quasi-inde- 
pendent sovereignties in the heart of the State of New York, there is 
no reason why they should not be declared citizens. The jurisdiction of 
the criminal courts of New York has already been extended over them, 
and pending the question of their full citizenship a great benefit would
be secured to the New York Indians by authorizing the State to ex- 
tend over the reservations its laws relating to highways, to stock, and 
to collection of debts. 
The Allegany and Cattaraugus reservations are the largest in extent, 
the former lying forty miles along the Alleghany River and one mile in 
width. Across this reservation, along the Alleghany, the Erie, Atlantic 
and Great Western, and Rochester and State Line Railroads have been 
built, and the town of Salamanca and other small villages have grown up.
These improvements were made on what were supposed to be leases 
l egally granted by the Indians and confirmed by an act of the State legis-
lature; but the courts have decided that neither Indians nor the State 
have power to make such leases. There are therefore improvements 
exceeding $1,000,000 in value, and occupied by over 2,000 people, 
upon lands without the authority of law. Three parties are interested 
in the question of this settlement of lease; the Seneca Nation owning 
this reservation in common, individuals of the nation who claim to have 
been occupants of lands used for railroad purposes, and the parties 
who have leased the land in good faith and have made large expend- 
itures in improvements. The interests of all parties concerned require 

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