United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
Reports of agents in Nevada, pp. 110-116 PDF (3.5 MB)
110 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN NEVADA. land in Minnesota; some have kept the property, others have disposed of it to white persons at a sacrifice. I find it a very difficult task to have some of the Indians keep and take proper care of their stock. The Government employs for them a phy- sician, a teacher, and an Indian as superintendent. In closing my report I can assure you that there is no doubt in my mind of the final ability of my Indians to make an honest living for themselves. What we need is proper legislation enacting laws covering the peculiar cases arising among Indians, and I will venture to make some suggestions for improvement as coming under my observation: (1.) Section 2139 of the Revised Statutes forbids the introduction of ardent spirits under any pretense whatever into the Indian country, stating that every person (except an Indian in the Indian country) who sells, exchanges, &c., shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years and by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars. This section should be so changed as to hold the Indian amenable the same as the white person; then the agent could arrest and have'punished the bad Indian who goes out and brings the liquor into the Indian country. This I think very important, and I hope will not be overlooked.* (2.) Then, again, we find all the United States laws bearing upon trade with the Indians, &c., make special mention of acts committed in the Indian country. The words "Indian country" should be defined in some way, so that there would be no doubt as to what was Indian country. Indians go outside of their respective reservations and trade off property that has been issued to them, and I find trouble to get officers to attempt to execute a law about which there is so much doubt. The words "Indian country" should be stricken out, or the lines drawn clearly, defining what is meant by the "Indian country." In the introduction of ardent spirits into the Indian coun- try we draw the lines, so far as the introduction is concerned, immediately around the reservations, but when an Indian goes out and disposes of his property we try to ,make it appear that the "Indian country" includes all west of the Mississippi. I wish we could reverse it and have no ardent spirits this side of the Mississippi. (3.) There should be an act making education compulsory upon all Indians, the school facilities should be furnished and the law put in force requiring all children of proper age to attend school a certain number of months each year. The new rules governing Indian offenses has been put into operation by organizing the court and having parties brought before it for trial. Too short a time has elapsed to note much of the effect, but from what I have seen I am satisfied it will be a great help to us. Allow me to express my thanks to thyself and the honorable Secretary of the Inte- Tior for the kindness extended to the agency which I represent during the past year. I am thy friend, ISAIAH LIGHTNER, United 8tates Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. NEVADA AGENcY, NEy., Augu8t 11, 1883. SIR: Herewith is submitted annual report for 1883. The Nevada agency has under its supervision two tribes of Indians, the Pah-Utes in western and northwestern Nevada, and the Pi-Utes in southeastern Nevada. The Pah-Utes are of medium stat- ure,well-developed, strong, and intelligent. Their reservations are for much the larger part arid sage-bush lands, not to be cultivated without irrigation. Only a small part of the whole lies so as to be susceptible of irrigation; about two per cent. of the land lying low enough to bring the water from the rivers on it. The Indians are very earnest to farm all available land, and make efforts and sacri- ,fices to build irrigating works to water the land. Last year they built a bridge and dam, and the present year have rebuilt in great measure the dam and strengthened the ditch, built flumes, cleared up new land, fenced it, broken it, planted it, and the crop, not yet all harvested, promises fair. More are eager to have allotments for next year, and there seems to be established the fact that there is not arable land in suffi- cient quantity to allot to each family the small amount of fifteen acres. Yet they (the Indians) have remained peaceable and-have worked out by the day, or month, or job, and earned a fair living for most of them. Their fishing at Pyramid Lake is of great value to them, as it affords them employment for half the year, and last year the sales were something over 75,000-the average price, 7 cents; amount, $5,250. These were actual sales to outside parties. Then there was other labor performed, which was not paid for in cash, but only in permanent works for future use, as the irrigating works. There was constructed by them at Pyramid Lake reserve 2 miles of *This change has been made. See page 269, Supplement to Revised Statutes.
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