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

[Central superintendency],   pp. 68-118 PDF (20.8 MB)


Page 118

REPORT OF THE 
the domestic ox will live in like ease and good condition.   The 
region of country occupied by these nomad tribes is precisely that in 
which the former animal has heretofore most abounded, being that 
of the short grass, which still constitutes his principal if not his sole
food in winter. It is capable of sustaining, upon animal food alone, 
as dense a population as exists anywhere in the world.      It is 
emphatically the pastoral region of America, destined, when it shall 
have become the abode of civilized man, to be the seat of wealth, 
health, ease, art, and refinement. But, not to indulge in specu- 
lations not demanded by the occasion, I come at once to the main 
purpose which I have in view: it is to urge the propriety of the 
government's supplying those Indians with the means of entering at 
once upon a course of pastoral life. With a liberal supply of grown 
up animals for present consumption, and of cows and bulls for 
breeding, their plains could, in a few years, be stocked far beyond 
their own wants, and all motives for depredating on the property of 
others would thus be withdrawn.    It would be necessary that the 
government still have a parental care of them, to prevent the destruc- 
tion of property not needed nor fit to be killed; to impress them,.if 
possible, with the dignity of individual ownership; to train them in 
the proper care of stock, such as castrating, marking, and branding, 
the processes of milking, butter and cheese making, that of taking off 
and preserving hides, &c. Whilst so restrained and so taught, they 
should also be protected against the powerful wild tribes which 
inhabit the countries adjacent to them. 
Expensive as a compliance with these recommendations would 
undoubtedly be, it would yet prove less so than either a war of 
extermination or the maintenance of a sufficient force to hold these 
tribes constantly in check. Simply as a means of saving them from 
starvation, it is probably the most economical that could be devised, 
whilst on the score of humanity, it bears no comparison with a war, 
whether of extermination or of mere coercion. The fact must not be 
lost sight of, however, that, in order to do anything calculated to 
result in benefit to these deluded creatures, they must first be 
whipped into submission; at present they hold the American govern- 
ment and -people in the utmost contempt, and until they shall be set 
right in this particular, it is folly, and worse than folly, to attempt to
maintain friendly relations with thenil. 
I have thus given a hasty outline of what I deem to be the true 
policy of the government in relation to these people, but the history 
of the past admonishes me of the inutility of all such suggestions. 
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
J. W. WHITFIELD, 
Indian Agent. 
Hon. G. W. MANYPENNY, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
1118 


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