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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 9

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
generous regard of the government. They are more and more devo- 
ting themselves to agricultural pursuits, and using every effort and 
means in their power for the general diffusion of the blessings of edu- 
cation and the Christian religion amongst them. The great drought 
of last year almost entirely destroyed their crops, and subjected them 
to much trial and suffering, which, however, they bore submissively 
and with commendable fortitude. But this calamity has not been 
without a blessing. It impressed them with the importance of a 
closer and more general attention to the cultivation of the soil for a 
subsistence, resulting in more enlarged agricultural operations the 
present year, the immediate benefits of which they have already ex- 
perienced. 
The difficulties between the Choctaws and Chickasaws, explained 
in former reports, will, it is hoped, be effectually adjusted and settled
by the convention which was entered into with the representatives of 
the two tribes in this city the past summer; subject, however, to 
the ratification of their councils, as well as the President and Senate 
of the United States. This instrument, if so ratified, will, it is be- 
lieved, put an end to the galling relations of the Choctaws, in which 
the Chickasaws have been held, under and since the convention of 
1837. It will give to the latter independent jurisdiction and the 
right of self government, which they have so earnestly sought to 
obtain for years past, while it will simplify the relations of the two 
tribes with each other and with the government; and secure other 
important objects and advantages not only to them but to the United 
States. By the convention referred to it is provided that the western 
end of the Choctaw country shall be opened to the permanent settle- 
ment of the southern Comanches, Witchitaws and such other Indians, 
within prescribed limits, as the United States may determine to locate 
therein; and it is gratifying to know that some of these Indians have 
expressed an anxious desire to place themselves under the protection 
of the government, and to accept of permanent homes in the country 
alluded to. 
The Seminoles, under the treaty of 1845, hold the same undesirable 
and injurious relations to the Creeks, which the Chickasaws have to 
the Choctaws under the convention of 1837. They form a small dis- 
trict of the Creek nation, and are entitled to a voice in its general 
council; but are in so hopeless a minority, and so discontented with 
the arrangement, they will take no part in the proceedings of that 
body. They do not consider themselves subject to the laws passed by 
it, and are thus practically without government or law. The neces- 
sary result of such a condition is seen in their idle, dissipated and 
reckless habits. They not only thus suffer themselves, but present 
a vicious and injurious example to the less well disposed among their 
brethren of the other tribe. Without the speedy application of some 
remedy, this state of things is likely to lead to serious consequences. 
I would again suggest that, in justice to the Seminoles, they should 
have a separate country and jurisdiction, with the right of self-gov- 
ernment. They are entitled to these privileges on the same grounds 
as the Chickasaws, and placed in an independent position, with the 
right and responsibility of governing themselves, they would gradu- 


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