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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 11

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
who were under its protection, and that he "would not be permitted 
to hold intercourse with them." 
The great diminution of the buffalo, and other game, from which 
the Indians of the plains have heretofore derived their subsistence, 
has so far reduced them to a state of destitution as to compel them to 
plunder or steal from our citizens or starve. Hence a main cause, it 
is believed, of the depredations and outrages committed by the roving 
bands of Indians of the upper Arkansas agency, within the borders of 
Texas, and upon trains and travellers upon the plains to and from 
New Mexico. Under the existing state of things they must rapidly 
be exterminated by the whites or become extinct. As a remedy for 
these dread alternatives the application to these people of the advan- 
tages of the system of colonization, with the means to aid and instruct 
them in the cultivation of the soil, is again respectfully suggested. 
The usual purchases of goods and provisions for presents to the 
Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Sioux, parties to the treaty of Fort Lara- 
mie, of 1851, and for presents to the Comanches, Kioways, and 
Apaches of the Arkansas river, parties to the treaty of Fort Atkinson, 
of 1853, were made early in the spring. No arms or ammunition 
were sent out, although some of the tribes urgently asked for them. 
Owing to the disturbed state of our relations with some of these In- 
dians there was a doubt as to the propriety of distributing the pre- 
sents, and yet the importance of exhibiting friendly feelings and con- 
fidence towards such as cherished no hostility, was fully appreciated. 
In this state of affairs it was deemed best to entrust the distribution 
almost entirely to the judgment of the superintendent of Indian affairs 
for the central superintendency, after lie should fully consult with the
agents and the officers of the army, located or sent out into the coun- 
try; and then exercising a sound discretion, according to surrounding 
circumstances. He was instructed, in the month of April last, to 
causeall persons engaged in trade with the Indians involved in the 
murder of Lieutenant Grattan's command, and in the subsequent 
murder of the mail party, or with any other bands that he might be- 
lieve to be confederated with them, to cease the trade and leave the 
country; and that it was not expected that he would deliver presents 
to any of the bands referred to, or to other bands that he might have 
reason to believe were hostile to the United States. He was also 
directed to act, on all proper occasions, in conjunction with the officers
who had been, or might be, entrusted by the War Department with 
the military expedition against the Sioux, by imparting such infor- 
mation as might tend to facilitate their operations, and to co-operate 
with them in any way that might be agreeable to both parties. 
Additional instructions-were forwarded to the superintendent for ob- 
servance by Agents Whitfield, Twiss, Vaughan, and Hatch, in whose 
charge are all the wild tribes of the mountain and prairie, from the 
western boundaries of the emigrated tribes in Kansas, and the Paw- 
nees in Nebraska Territory, to the Rocky mountains, and from New 
Mexico and Texas to the British possessions. These agents were 
supplied more liberally than usual with funds for presents and con- 
tingent expenses, and instructed to visit and communicate, during the 
season, with all the tribes that were at peace with the United States, 
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