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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 14

REPORT OF THE 
to me to be ample and conclusive, that Congress repeal this act of the 
territorial legislature. 
The objects contemplated to be attained by holding a council with 
the Blackfeet and other wild tribes on the head waters of the Mis- 
souri river, for which provision was made in the act of July 31, 1854, 
were confided to Superintendent Alfred Cumming of the central, Joel 
Palmer, superintendent of the Oregon, and Governor Isaac I. Stevens, 
ex officio superintendent of the Washington Territory superintend- 
ency, they having been designated by the direction of the President, 
as the officers of the Indian Department, for that service. The gen- 
eral objects desirable to be accomplished by the negotiations with 
which those officers are charged, is the establishment of well defined 
and permanent relations of amity between the Indian tribes of that 
region and the United States, and a general pacification of the Indians 
among themselves. The commissioners were instructed to have these 
objects in view in any stipulations which may be agreed on, and to 
have proper regard in the negotiations, not only to the peculiar habits 
and situation of those Indians, but to the general policy of the gov- 
ernment and the future growth of the population of the United States 
in that direction. They were also directed to avail themselves of the 
occasion of their visit to that region, to procure a census of each tribe,
and to note all that they might learn respecting the habits, charac- 
teristics and history of each, and make such observations of the soil, 
climate and natural features of the country, as might be specially 
useful to the government or contribute to the general fund of know- 
ledge. Owing to the urgency of his other official engagements, 
Superintendent Palmer did not enter upon the duties of the commis- 
sion. Governor Stevens arrived at Fort Benton July 26, having trav- 
elled direct across from Washington Territory, and Superintendent 
Cumming also reached there a few days subsequently, after a prosper- 
ous voyage from Saint Louis. A communication from the commis- 
sioners, dated Fort Benton, August 29, 1855, was received here on 
the first of November, from which it would appear that they had 
every prospect of succeeding fully in their plans, and the grave duties 
with which the commission is charged. It is expected that these 
duties will have been completed, and that the result, and the pro- 
ceedings and journal of the commissioners may be looked for here by 
the first of January next. 
The annual report from the superintendent of Indian affairs in 
California has not been received here. It however appears from the 
current correspondence from that superintendency that the Indians of 
the State are generally quiet except in the northern part. Occasional 
difficulties have occurred between the whites and Indians in the mining 
regions, but pacific relations have resulted in most instances by the 
intervention of the agents of the department where there were such, 
and in the neighborhood of forts by the commands stationed thereat. 
It appears from the most reliable information received here, that the 
whites in the mining regions are quite as much in fault for the state 
of things that exist there as the Indians; the appearance of an Indian 
being the signal for an assault upon him, and every petty Indian theft 
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