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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [1]-21 PDF (9.4 MB)


Page 4

REPORT OF THE 
the hostile and bloody collisions between them, heretofore of so fer- 
quent occurrence. 
The agent appointed for the Blackfeet and other wild tribes in 
their region of country accompanied the expedition sent up the Mis- 
souri river to hold a council with those Indians, and, at the last 
accounts, had reached his destination at Fort Benton. 
The Indians of the Upper Missouri agency consist of eight different 
bands of the Sioux or Dacotah tribe; the Gros Ventres of the Mis- 
souri; the Mandans; the Arickarees; the Assinaboines, and the 
Crows. They claim, and partially occupy, an immense region-of 
country between the Platte and Missouri rivers, which is said to be 
generally of a desert and sterile character. Some of them cultivate 
small patches of arable land, where they can find it; but their sub- 
sistence is derived chiefly from the chase and from roots, and a few 
species of wild fruits and berries found in that region. The supplies 
thus obtained are so scanty that they are frequently reduced to ex- 
treme destitution, and even starvation; and it is difficult to perceive 
how they are to exist, unless some arrangement can be made by which 
resources of sustenance can be developed for them, or it is supplied 
to them directly by the government. 
In regard to the Indians within the Upper Platte agency, and the 
judicious plans proposed to be adopted by the agent, to separate and 
sever the friendly from the hostile bands, as well as the disposition of
the Indians in that region toward the United States-almost all of 
whom it-is represented desire the good will of the government-I 
refer for detairs to the accompanying reports of Agent Twiss. 
The country above the Ayoway not being satisfactory to the Omaha 
Indians, and in the judgment of the department, under the circum- 
stances, not suitable for them, they were assigned a reservation for a 
permanent home at the IBlackbird Hills," in Nebraska Territory, 
to which they removed in the month of May last. While on their 
way to the plains on the summer hunt, a party of Sioux attacked 
them, and, among others, killed Fontenelle, the principal chief. The 
Omahas fled towards the Missouri, and have since been unwilling to 
return to their reservation. In view of all the circumstances, their 
agent has been instructed to permit them to remain in a suitable loca- 
tion, west of Bellvue, until next spring; but to impress upon them 
the. absolute necessity of a return at that time to their reservation. 
Arrangements have been made for the erection of school buildings, 
the breaking of land, and other improvements, on their reserve; and 
a saw-mill will be erected thereon next season, and all needful steps 
taken to place within the reach of these Indians the advantages of all 
the liberal provisions made by treaty for their improvement and com- 
fort. 
The Ottoes and Missourias, although satisfied with the tribal home 
provided for them on the Big Blue, have manifested, nevertheless, an 
unwillingness to abandon their old haunts on the Missouri river. 
They have, however, partially emigrated to their reserve, and the 
necessary steps have been taken to erect school buildings thereon, and 
to make all the improvements provided to be made by the recent 
treaty with those Indians. The educational interests of these bands, 


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