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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 15

COMMISSIFNER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
seems to be magnified into undue importance, and the most barbarous 
outlawry follows on both sides. 
Recent reports show that sudden general ill feeling has been aroused 
among some of the Indians in the Territories of Washington and 
Oregon, and apprehensions are expressed by the agents employed in 
northern California that a general war in those Territories will ren- 
der it difficult to preserve the peace with the Indians upon the borders,
who are represented to be extremely warlike in disposition. The 
superintendent, in submitting a report from L. G. Whipple, wbo has 
charge of the Indians on the Klamath river, where a reservation has 
been proposed, and referring to this subject states that, owing to the 
unusual deficiency of fish this season, on which they have relied for 
subsistence, and the contagious influence of war news, "the dangers
of war in that region" will be materially increased. 
The system of military reservations for Indian self support appears 
to promise well for the interests of the Indians of California. There 
have been great difficulties to encounter, and it is believed unnecessa-
rily large expenditures incurred in inaugurating the system. But 
where it has been tried, or partially so, the results have been such as 
to promise permanent benefits to the aboriginal people of that section 
of the confederacy. 
Recent intelligence has been received from John Cain, esq., agent 
for the Indians in Washington Territory, giving an account of the 
murder of Sub-agent Bolen by the Yakima Indians, and the assem- 
bling of a large body of Indians on the east side of the Columbia 
river. By reference to an article published in the Oregon Weekly 
Times of the 6th ultimo, together with a letter in connexion there- 
with from Superintendent Palmer of the Oregon superintendency, it 
will be perceived that the only tribes manifesting hostility to the 
whites are the Yakimas and Clickitats, and in the opinion of Superin- 
tendent Palmer those warlike demonstrations can be checked by 
prompt and energetic action on the part of the troops under command 
of Major Haller, in the event of their achieving a victory over these 
Indians in the first engagement. He remarks that the Indians of 
Oregon have not co-operated with those two hostile tribes in the Ter- 
ritory of Washington, and he apprehends no danger of a general 
outbreak, presuming that Major Haller's command will meet with 
satisfactory success in quieting the Yakimas and Clickitats, and 
thereby staying the further progress of hostile movements in the 
Yakima country. 
The circumstances surrounding the Indian tribes are so different 
from what they were when the laws now in force for the regulation 
of trade and intercourse with them were enacted, that they may be 
regarded as almost entirely inapplicable. Legislation adapted to the 
present condition of things is demanded. And authority should be 
obtained from Congress for compiling the laws now extant, referring 
directly, indirectly or remotely to our Indian affairs. The necessity 
for such compilation must, it seems to me, be apparent. 
There are bands of strolling Indians in several of the western 
States and Territories, who are severed from the tribes to which they 
belong. They are in indigent circumstances, and depend for subsist- 
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