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

[Nevada],   pp. 278-284 PDF (3.7 MB)


Page 278

278     REPORT     OF  THE    COMMISSIONER       OF   INDIAN    AFFAIRS.
OFFICE OF NEVADA INDIAN AGENCY, 
Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nev., August 31, 1874. 
SIR : In compliance with instructions received from the Office of Indian
Affairs, I have 
the honor to submit the following as my fourth annual report of the progress
made and 
present condition of the Indian service under my charge: 
As I have in my monthly reports and repeated communications kept the Department
pretty fully advised of all the proceedings of the agency at the time of
their transaction, I 
shall be justified in a simple review, together with the presentation of
such plans, changes, 
and recommendations as seem to me pertinent upon the occasion of an annual
report. 
My agency embraces two reservations, the Pyramid Lake and Walker River, each
occu- 
pied by branches of one and the same tribe of Indians, viz, Pah-Utes. These
reservations 
are separated from each other a distance, from agency to agency, of about
eighty miles. 
Nearly two years ago, with the approval of the Department, I transferred
this office from 
Wadsworth to the Pyramid Lake reservation, and though the agency is thereby
removed 
some sixteen miles from the Central Pacific Railroad, and deprived of the
daily mails, yet 
there are more reasons than one why the agency should be retained at this
place. There is 
upon this reserve an abundance of timber growing, and, therefore, no expense
for fuel; 
good buildings have been completed, therefore no rents; but, most important
of all, the 
agency is brought in direct contact with the Indians; and when the improvements
are per- 
fected, and the Indians fully located in permanent abodes, as contemplated
in the programme 
already entered upon, leaving aside the isolation, there will not be a more
desirable place in 
the State, and one where a mission-enterprise could be established more attractive.
At one time this reservation embraced all the territory in this valley south
to the big bend 
of the Truckee River, as per diagram of survey by Eugene Monroe, 1865, but
subsequently 
a reduction of some ten miles from the south was made. By this reduction
the tillable land of 
the reservation was materially diminished; an error that, in our opinion,
should not have 
been permitted, for it left the area of farming lands quite small. There
was, however, one 
good accomplished by the reduction, and that was the short distance intervening
between 
the present reservation-line and the railroad. 
There are, however, sufficient reasons to continue this as a permanent abode
of the In- 
dians. Much land is being reclaimed and brought under cultivation, and under
the proper 
influences the work of reclamation will go on for years to come. The flattering
results ac- 
complished from the work of the past year is sufficient to inspire all parties
interested to 
make still greater efforts toward securing the end contemplated in the just
and humane pol- 
icy now governing the Indian service. That Executive order of March 23 last,
making this 
reservation a permanent abode for the Indians, was an act consistent with
the policy, and 
long will the President be held in grateful remembrance as a true friend
of the Indians, for 
by this act he put an end to the continued fear that they would be re-moved
and the selfish- 
ness of their enemies gratified. This was truly a grand act, for if the record
be correct, 
even before the present policy toward the Indians was inaugurated, there
were certain per- 
sons who seemed determined to have and hold the lands and fishery of this
reservation. 
By reference to the annual report of Lieut. J. M. Lee, 1870, page 108, Commissioner's
Report, who was special Indian agent at the time, Mr. Lee says: "And
I will here remark 
that, until the metes and bounds of the reserve are authoritatively established,
it will not be 
free from the encroachments of a bad class of white men, who seldom believe
in according 
any rights to Indians." This difficulty, to a certain degre6, still
exists, though modified 
somewhat since the transmission to this office of the diagram of the original
survey; and in 
fact no further safeguard would be required if the points marked on the map
had been defi- 
nitely established by stakes or monuments distinctly marked. But this was
not done, 
especially in the Lake district, and for this reason we are subjected to
annoyances. Re- 
garding a more definite surv(y I shall have more to say hereafter, and will
now consider 
the improvements made and results gained, and I am happy to say that the
work has gone 
forward nobly. The Indians have, by all that has been done for them and their
prospects 
of farming, gained courage to increase their efforts to secure the means
needful to self-sup- 
port; and, as a result, almost every acre of land that can be made available
for farming pur- 
poses of any kind has been fenced in, and cross-fenced into fields, and claimed
by individu- 
als or families for permanent homes. Much more land has been put under cultivation
than 
at any previous year, and it is not extravagant language when I say that
some of the finest 
ranches in Nevada are upon this reservation, claimed and cultivated by Indians.
The plan adopted by me ever since coming to Nevada has been to impress upon
the 
minds of the lndians the fact that the Government extended aid for the express
purpose of 
benefiting them, in the way of their becoming self-supporting at the earliest
possible time; 
and that a reasonable time only would be given to the trial, and, if not
improved by them, 
they would be left to their indolence as unworthy of further aid. Meantime
we have 
exerted our utmost endeavors, with the appropriation granted, to provide
with supplies of 
food, teams, tools, seed, and supervision, such Indians as desired to avail
themselves of the 
opportunity offered, giving to said Indians the exclusive right and control
of all that they 
should raise, the agency not withholding a pound for any purpose whatever.
And in this 
connection I will state, that, from the first, we have tried to secure some
work corresponding 
in value to the issues made ; and this r'ule holds good in all cases except
the aged, infirm, 


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