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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the years 1921-1932
([1921-1932])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 2, 1921,   pp. [1]-69 ff. PDF (26.8 MB)


Page 14

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
There is much good land on the reservation not yet farmed and 
much can yet be accomplished toward making these people self- 
supporting if they have the implements and seed necessary. With- 
out rentals, land-sale money, or other individual funds, I see no 
practical way of accomplishing this without reimbursable issues." 
LEASING. 
While it is the intention that each able-bodied Indian so disposed 
shall cultivate at least a portion of his allotment, on many of' the 
reservations the acreage of agricultural land is greatly in excess of 
that which the Indians themselves will cultivate. In such cases it is 
the policy to lease the surplus land under the provision of existing 
law, sometimes for all cash, but more generally part of the considera- 
tion is in the shape of permanent improvements on the land, which 
become the property of the allottee upon 'the expiration of the lease. 
The maximum period for which allotted land can be leased is five 
years, except that irrigable laid of this class may be leased for not to
exceed 10 years. The recent law simplifies the execution of such 
leases by providing that the restricted allotments of any Indian may 
be leased for farm and grazing purposes by the allottee or his heirs, 
subject only to the approval of the supbrintendent. 
INDIAN EMPLOYMENT. 
The growing force of Indian activity is recognized in their per- 
sistent work throughout the year in whatever they could find to do, 
their readiness to turn from one gainful occupation to another ex- 
emplifying industry and resourcefulness. They worked in the expan- 
sion of the natural resources of the reservations, in oil wells, mining,
road building, agriculture, etc. Fishing, also picking berries for 
personal use and for sale, occupied whole families in some localities. 
The wild-rice and maple-sugar industries added to the food supply 
and to the exchequer of Indians in the north-central regions. They 
gathered and sold roots having food and medicinal properties; they 
also contributed, as formerly, 7rom their native arts articles of utili-
tarian and esthetic value, as canoes, makuks to hold maple sugar, and 
other articles of birch bark, baskets, beadwork, pottery, blankets, 
home-tanned pelts of animals, which find ready markets. The sheep 
industry engages the activities of man  Indians half of the popula- 
tion of one tribe being shepherds. One railway system found it 
profitable to continue to provide attractive workrooms for families 
of Indian artisans at stations along the line, where their handiwork 
sells readily. Forty Indians are digging a tunnel at one point. 
In professional athletics the Indian continued to "make good" 
last year; a few found work in shops vending athletic goods. Sev- 
eral conducted summer camps for guests and acted as guides for 
tourists and in Boy Scout work. Thousands of dollars were earned 
by Indian students working in families as housekeepers, nurses, farm 
hands, in drying fruits and vegetables, and in the sugar-beet fieJds of 
many States. In the Arkansas Valley the vacation camp of Indian 
student beet-field workers was maintained, and as a vacation lesson 
in economics the boys paid their transportation and board and had 
spending money. A part of their earnings was deposited as a nucleus 
of a bank account. Purposeful recreation was provided. The Indian 
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