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 1879
([1879])

Reports of agents in Oregon,   pp. 124-136 PDF (6.9 MB)


Page 124

124 
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN OREGON. 
THE INDIANS GOOD MUSICIANS. 
Many of the Indians in this agency are quite proficient in music, vocal and
instru- 
mental. There are four excellent cornet bands in the agency, composed wholly
of In- 
dians. Two of these are upon the Cattaraugus Reservation. At the last annual
fair 
of the agricultural society of Erie County-one of the largest and best conducted
agricultural societies in New York-premiums were offered for the best playing
brass 
bands of the several villages and towns of the county, and the two Indian
bands of 
Cattaraugus Reservation were permitted to compete for the several prizes.
The first 
prize of $60 was awarded to the Seneca Nation Cornet Band, and the second
prize of 
$40 to the Seneca Cornet Band of such reservation; and the third prize to
the white 
band of the village of Hamburg, where the fair was held. The judges were
profes- 
sional musicians from the city of Buffalo. 
The annual temperance convention of the Six Nations of New York and Canada
was 
held during two days in September upon the Tuscarora Reservation, about ten
miles 
from Niagara Falls, N. Y. It was well attended, and a good deal of interest
manifested. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
D. SHERMAN, Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFAIRS.] 
GRAND RONDE AGENCY, OREGON, Aegust 20, 1879. 
SIR: I have the honor, in compliance with the regulations of the Indian Depart-
ment, to submit my annual report of affairs at this agency for the year 1879,
being my 
eighth annual report. 
The Indians of this agency are, as a rule, living upon the small farms allotted
to them 
by former superintendent of Indian affairs in Oregon, T. B. Odeneal. I am
confident 
that no single act of the department has done so much to encourage the Indians
in 
agricultural pursuits and to induce them to emulate the better class of whites
and strive 
to become more self-sustaining than this allotment of lands to the Indians
in severalty, 
and while it cannot be said that this allotment of lands is legally binding
upon our 
government, yet it must be admitted that the government is morally obligated
to pro- 
tect the Indians in the possession of their homes, or, if their removal becomes
absolutely 
necessary, to give them adequate remuneration for their lands and labor.
Since I first assumed charge of the agency, now some eight years ago, I have
been con- 
stantly reminded by the department that my paramount duty as Indian agent
was to 
so conduct the affairs of the agency that the Indians might at the earliest
possible date 
be so instructed in the conducting of their affairs as to become self-sustaining;
and with 
this view most prominent in the management of the agency, I have from year
to year 
endeavored to employ less white and more Indian labor, and to teach the Indians
by 
experience that they can accomplish much for themselves that white men have
hither- 
to been paid by the government to do for them, and by this method the expense
of 
the government has decreased almost seventy-five per cent. and almost all
the work is 
now performed by the Indians, and what money is expended goes to the advancement
of 
the Indians and is honestly earned by them in doing mechanical and farm labor.
The only regularly employed white person upon the agency for the past year,'
ex- 
cepting in the school under contract, being the miller and sawyer, and with
this reduc- 
tion of expenses I am able to say that the Indians of this agency, having
during the 
present year raised for themselves, with no other assistance from the department
than 
the small amount of seed grain, one wagon, and some fifteen plows bought
for them 
last spring, raised a larger amount of hay, wheat, and oats than ever before
since I have 
known them. For more detailed account of their farming operations I would
most re- 
spectfully refer you to the statistics accompanying this report. 
The Indians of this agency are, as you are aware, composed of some seventeen
remnants 
of tribes, and have been collected together from all partsof the State of
Oregon and 
the northern part of California, yet I can truthfully say that they have
and are living 
together with less discord and strife and committing fewer crimes than are
the same 
number of whites in a similar district in the State ; and were it not for
the fact that so 
many disreputable whites do, notwithstanding every effort to prevent them,
sell to 
the Indians upon every occasion liquor, the control of the Indians would
be an easy 
task. 
I have succeeded in the past year in having svme twenty white men arrested
and 
fined for selling liquor to Indians of this agency, and hope that I have
permanently 
checked the liquor traffic among them. 
I have now succeeded in entirely dissolving the tribal relations among these
Indians, 
the existence of chiefs having the effect to materially retard their advancement,
and it is 
now often difficult to ascertain to what tribe some of the younger Indians
belong, so 


Go up to Top of Page