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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879

Reports of agents in Washington territory,   pp. 140-159 PDF (11.7 MB)

Page 140

influence at work to have this reservation thrown open to settlement, and
their ap- 
prehensions in this regard tend greatly to discourage them. They do not feel
their relations to the Interior Department have.been fully and finally determined,
though they have decided the matter for themselves, they cannot divest their
of apprehensions on the subject. As intimated in my last, I cannot but think
that any 
change in either their location or relations to the government would be injurious
their interests and progress, and that the final settlement would greatly
them in civilizing pursuits. 
I suppose that as a rule the presentation of wants, difficulties, and annoyances
formed the burden of a major part of the correspondence of agents; certainly
they have 
been a large element in my own, but I congratulate the department and myself
I can to some extent adopt a different tone. 
Our mail facilities, which used to be so utterly inadequate, are now all
that can be 
reasonably desired. By the liberality of the Post-Office Department, we have
three times a week, via Green River City. We can now transact our official
more promptly and satisfactorily, and have frequent communication with the
world, by which our isolated position is greatly relieved. Another so urce
of gratula- 
tion is the direct transmission to us of all our goods and supplies, thus
relieving the 
agent of much labor and anxiety, and the department of some extra expense.
all arrived in good order and were of a satisfactory quality; some few articles,
medicines among them, did not arrive till this spring, but no great inconvenience
experienced. It is believed from the promptness and energy displayed by the
ment that all will be on hand in due season the present year. 
With a sincere desire to perform the duties of my office to the satisfaction
of the de- 
partment, and for the best interests of the Indians and agency under my charge,
thanking the department for the confidence implied in an unsolicited reappointnment
for a third term, I have the honor to be, sir, 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Fort Colville, Wash., Augu8t 1, 1879. 
Sin: In submitting my seventh annual report of the condition of the Indian
under my charge, it gives me pleasure to congratulate the Indians on the
fest improvement they have made during the past year. It is daily apparent
that they 
are endeavoring to assimilate their condition to that of white settlers.
Their desire 
to own farms in severalty, to build upon and improve them, is a matter of
observation. They seem to have taken a new departure, and are continually
the breach between their old customs and their new order of life. This condition
affairs is the result of different causes, the great influx of immigration
and rapid 
settlement of the country convincing them of the necessity of providing permanent
homes for themselves, in which they can be protected by the government, and
renewed confidence they feel in the ability of the department to assist them
in their 
endeavors. The agricultural implements generously furnished them by the government
are being used to good advantage, and they are greatly'encouraged by their
crops, which at present promise an abundant yield. 
The decision of the 'department to make no more reservations, but to give
the In- 
dians the alternative of going upon such reserves as are already established
or adopt 
the habits of civilization, has had a very beneficial effect upon the Indians
of this 
agency, and they are gradually prepariftg to conform to that order of things.
In this 
connection it would seem imperative on the part of the government to provide
necessary legislation to enable those who wish to become-citizens to do so,
as there 
seems to be no well-defined law on that subject. The applications of Indians
to make 
homestead entries have in some instances been refused, the reason being given
therewas no law enabling an Indian to avail himself of that act. As one of
the main 
objections in the mind of an Indian to becoming a citizen is his dread of
taxation, I: 
would recommend that some provision be made to relieve him from the payment
taxes during a limited period, as it is only by actual experience of the
afforded him that he will ever become reconciled to the system. 
The importance of erectirg agency buildings upon the reservation is constantly
more-apparent. There has always been a great drawback to this reservation
from the 
want of the necessary agency buildings, none ever having been erected here.
Many of 
the Indians who now hesitate about removing to the reserve would do so if
the agent 
were established there and the necessary mills, shops, school-buildings,
&c., were built. 

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