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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I
([1905])

Reports concerning Indians in Nebraska,   pp. 248-254 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 253

REPORTS CONCERNING INDIANS IN              NEBRASKA.            253 
have allotments upon which good crops can be produced, but they come out
of school without money, have no teams, farming implements, or anything that
will enable them to cultivate their land. Many of them have learned trades,
but in most cases the trade learned is of no value to them upon the reservation,
and consequently they soon become discouraged,. and as there is nothing for
them to do they soon drift back into the old Indian customs, and the time
and 
money spent in educating them is worse than squandered. 
Employees.-The clerical force at this agency is not sufficient to keep up
the 
work without working overtime. They are all hard-working employees and 
do not object to putting in extra time, but in my opinion they should not
be 
required to do so. Owing to the amount of work connected with the leasing
of Indian lands and the other business of the office we should have at least
two additional clerks. The employees at the school have done excellent services
and deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts. 
Minors and guardians.-Under the laws of the State of Nebraska guardians 
must be appointed by the court for the minor children. This may be good law,
but it seems to me that it would be better policy for the Government to look
after the business of the Indian children rather than place them in the hands
of such men as have been appointed guardians, in most instances men who are
not competent to manage their own business, and whose bondsmen in many 
cases can not qualify for 10 per cent of their ward's financial interests.
Sanitary.-Dr. E. S. Hart makes report upon the sanitary coditions of the
reservation and school, as follows:                        4 
In giving the causes for nonadvancement, If not retrogression, especially
for the large 
death rate (much in excess of the birth rate), the wholesale drinking of
whisky stands 
preeminently first as a cause. 
During the year spasmodic interruptions of the supply of liquor to these
Indians have 
occurred, and during these periods the physician's records show a markedly
reduced num- 
ber of accidents and injuries he has been called upon to treat. For some
months the 
saloons in the nearest town were closed, and immediately upon their closing
there was a 
great falling off in disease and injuries. Immediately upon the decision
of the Supreme 
Court, making it an easy matter for the Indian to obtain whisky anywhere,
there was a 
return of the old order of things-drunkenness, disease, crime, and death.
Through the vigorous prosecution of the newly appointed superintendent (probably
un- 
precedented in the history of this agency) of those found bringing whisky
upon the 
agency there has resulted a better, cleaner condition, with less drunkenness,
and conse- 
quent freedom from resulting evils, sickness, injuries, etc., than has prevailed
for years. 
This, a desired light that has been thrown upon the situation, it is to be
feared, is over- 
shadowed by a possibly greater evil, the introduction and use of the mescal
bean, or 
button, within the past few months. While it is not yet possible to ascertain
how de- 
structive, mentally and physically, the use of this drug will be, still well-authenticated
reports of its use by these Indians, and its disastrous effects upon mind
and body, fore- 
tell a more terrible condition than has been created by the use of whisky.
An epidemic of whooping cough, which prevailed during the early months of
this fiscal 
year, was the cause of several deaths among infants. With this exception,
no epidemic 
has occurred. 
Tuberculosis has undoubtedly increased among thcse people. Especially has
this been 
true of tubercular brain disease, six fatal cases of tubercular meningitis
having been 
seen and cared for by the physician. 
Many cases of erysip'las of a malignant form have also come under treatment.
One gratifying fact is that the physician is oftener called upon in cases
of childbirth 
than formerly-though hardly ever unless the case is a very severe one, and
all the efforts 
of the Indian ridwife and medicine man have been exhausted. In such extremity
comes 
the physician's best opportunity to impress those about with the advantages
of civilized 
methods of medical treatment. 
Many fractures have been treated during the year, and while in nearly every
case the 
Indian will call upon the physician to " set " and properly dress
the broken bone, it is 
very seldom that he does not remove all splints and dressings soon after
they are applied. 
This, after one has used his best skill and effort and has spent much time
in cautioning 
against any removal of dressings and the consequences of such removal, is
discouraging. 
A report of conditions at the boarding school for the year must contain much
for 
encouragement. Far less sickness has occurred, and a brighter, healthier
class of chil- 
dren has been in attendance. This is to be attributed to the abandonment,
under the new 
ruling, of the old method of filling up the schoolroom with unsound, unhealthy
children, 
who were a constant menace to the healthy child. 
ARTHUR E. McFATRIDGE, 
Superintendent and Special Disbursing Agent. 
REPORT OF FIELD MATRON AMONG WINNEBAGO. 
I have to say that the year has been largely spent in holding what has been
gained 
and gently pressing, my way into new homes. There have been many things to
meet, 
great indifference to individual home life, little ambition to excel in making
the home so 
truly, and much drifting to homes of others. A mere existence has been the
rule in 
most places where I visit. The winter was a hard one, and large numbers left
the open 
country for the timber, putting up log cabins, where I found them warm and
in most 


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