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

Reports concerning Indians in Nevada,   pp. 254-260 PDF (3.5 MB)

Page 259

is nothing that so handicaps the work of civilization and the superintendent
as gossip 
among the employees and the reckless quoting of faults in the presence and
o& Indian children. In making these remarks I am not unmindful of the
fact that the 
most recent arrivals often have excellent opportunities for noting many ways
for improve- 
ment, but these may be greatly modified after a year's experience. 
It has been a most difficult task for us to know what is the wisest or most
course to pursue with regard to the habitual renegade class, both men and
When they have gone to other towns to escape our authority I have sometimes
them to return and care for their dependent families, thereby multiplying
my own sor- 
rows, but in some cases mothers who themselves have no great reputation for
or sobriety have come to me for aid in holding their children in the better
We have no rule or law upon which to base our authority, and for this reason
it Is 
difficult at times to control. In some instances they have shown a desire
to lead their 
girls into their own mode of life. We are almost convinced that this is the
cause for the objection to having their daughters go to an advanced school,
while the 
boys have more ready permission. I have at times compelled those of tender
years to 
remain in their homes under the care of the older women, especially at night.
is always acceptable to the relatives and received with sulkiness from the
I find these same conditions prevailing, only worse, in other towns, because
of the 
increased opportunities for the parents to withhold their children from school
and for 
the reason that they live under no fear of detection, except for drunkenness
and the 
rather uncertain criticism of their own tribe. 
All these conditions have impelled the field matron to the conviction that
if some 
law could be enforced compelling every parent to be held responsible personally
for with- 
holding his child from school without especial permission much good might
be accom- 
plished, and when a parent could be proved an incompetent person the daughter
be retained under the care of teachers during her youth. This, I have hoped,
serve as a check also upon the growing custom of couples parting and uniting
other members of the tribe in such reckless disregard of the family relations,
as such 
persons are often quoted by the tribe as people of unreliable characters.
I have often 
been appealed to for aid in checking this custom, and I am convinced that
some reform 
in this direction would be readily sanctioned by the better class of Indians.
LILLIAN A. M. B. MAYHEw, Field Matron. 
OWYHEE, NEV., September 14, 1905. 
The census taken June 30 shows a population of 516. Of this number 241 are
Shoshoni and 275 are Paiutes. There are 268 males and 248 females. Of this
number 140 are of school age; 78 of these were in school here during the
and 18 are attending nonreservation schools. 
The reservation contains 312,320 acres, about 12,000 of which is level and
suitable for cultivation; 5,500 acres are fenced; 5,000 acres are under ditch,
and 1,700 acres are in meadow, from which 1,400 tons of hay was cut this
The Indians own 2,800 head of horses and 550 head of cattle. They sold 
during the year about 1,000 horses, at an average of $6 per head. They are
selling their smaller horses only, and in this way expect to have a better
of horses, such as will be useful for saddle and work stock. They are taking
more interest in cattle, and we hope they will soon have cattle to sell instead
Indian horses. 
The acreage of hay land has been considerably increased during the year and
the completion of the Duck Valley ditch has made 1,500 acres more hay land
available, which, it is expected, will be platted and taken up by industrious
heads of families and young men in time for them to prepare for next season's
crop. The land covered by this ditch is adapted to alfalfa, two crops of
can be grown, with an average yield of 3 tons to the acre. If it were not
the numerous ground squirrels that infest the reservation, wheat and barley
could be grown to an advantage; but until this pest can be exterminated it
seems a waste of grain and labor to sow grain upon the reservation. 
The Indian hay meadows, a swamp of approximately 1,000 acres, situated 
in the northeast corner of the original reservation, could be made available
hay land, from which 700 or 800 tons of fine wild hay could be cut annually.
To make this land available it would be necessary to construct two ditches
divert the waters of the two creeks which flow into the meadows. These ditches
could be constructed at small cost. It would be necessary to do considerable
work on the road connecting the meadows with the agency, for the reason that
there is such a heavy snowfall in the vicinity of the meadows that it would
impracticable to winter stock there, and the hay would have to be brought
into the valley near the agency. 
The past winter was unusually mild, and the spring rains were of much benefit
to the grass on the range, so that all range stock is in fine condition.
The sheep men continue to hold their sheep very near the reservation line
on the east, and if vigilance is relaxed in the least, steal over the line

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