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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883

Report of agent in Michigan,   pp. 94-95 PDF (990.4 KB)

Page 94

94                 REPORT OF AGENT IN        MICHIGAN. 
The reservations of this agency are located in Kansas and Nebraska and surrounded
by a thickly-settled class of farmers, which stimulates, to some extent,
the indus- 
trious Indians' desire to imitate their neighbors in agricultural ways; but,
on the 
other hand, there are always some among these settlers who infuse bad ideas
the Indians and assist them in a great many cases to secure intoxicating
drinks in a 
way which is very hard to detect. 
While we have a prohibitory law in Kansas, it appears to have been a detriment,
far as the Indians are concerned, in securing whisky. I have indicted several
during the year, and have warrants in the hands of the United States marshal
at this 
tine. The only trouble in breaking up the whisky traffic is from the reluctance
the part of Indians in testitying against whom they purchased the whisky,
and in many 
cases it is procured from itinerant whisky venders, who visit the borders
of these res- 
ervations, particularly after annuity payments. 
There has been more sickness than usual in the past year, particularly with
Very respectfully, 
H. C. LINN, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Ypsilanti, Mich., August 24, 1883. 
SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit my second annual report. 
The Indians of this agency are for the most part Chippewas, with a large
ling of Ottawas, and a remnant (about 100) of Pottawatamies. The first-named
scattered widely over the Stafe north of Saginaw Bay, and settled in small
ties of from thirty persons up to several hundred. The Pottawatomies are
by them- 
selves, located in Calhoun County, upon land owned in common, paid for from
provided by the Government some years since, and surrounded by flourishing
ties of whites. The total number of Indians in the agency is between seven
and eight 
thousand. An agency so situated requires more effort to secure results than
one where 
the Indians are all confined within the narrow limits of a reservation. To
assist them 
in their real grievances and dismiss their imaginary ones without injustice,
to see to 
their schools, protect them in their land troubles, and encourage them in
their indus- 
tries has been my constant aim. I have been specially interested in two things:
First, urging them to keep and work their land; second, to keep their children
in the 
schools. I have succeeded fairly, not up to the full measures of my desires
or hopes, 
but many Indians have during the last year been impressed with the importance
these matters, and lands are far more difficult of purchase from them than
a few years 
since, as they begin to realize their value. Had patents not been issued
in fee, thou- 
sands of Indians would have good homes who now have none, having years since
parted with their land, in many cases for a mere pittance, while the wise
incorporated in some treaties of allowing them to sell only by consent of
the Presi- 
dent has saved large numbers of homes to them. 
During the year there has been no epidemic whatever. There is much scrofula
among them, and many are consumptive, while owing to poor houses and our
climate many of the children die; but happily the people have escaped epidemics
culiarly fatal among Indians, as they have but little idea of nursing and
poor accom- 
modation for their sick. 
The Indians of Michigan are mainly engaged for a livelihood in fishing, working
at jobs, and farming; there are very few mechanics among them; they are valuable
in the lake ports as laborers to load and unload vessels, and are first-class
and in these two pursuits hundreds are constantly engaged. Besides these
there are several hundred connected with the fisheries in our great lakes
in one way 
and another, and a few are proprietors of fishing apparatus and succeeding
A large number also are engaged in farming, and are succeeding moderately
Most of the lands occupied by them are well to the north, and will not admit
of grow- 
ing much wheat, but oats, barley, potatoes, and hay can be grown in abundance,
these farm products they are, for the most part, engaged in raising.  I have
aged them as macb as possible in these pursuits, and at council meetings
have often 
spoken, as I believe with good effect, upon the great value and importance
to them of 
While keeping in view my duty to urge them by all possible means to be industri-
ous, I have also kept the schools at work as best I might to assist the children.

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