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

[Southern superintendency],   pp. 119-177 PDF (23.0 MB)


Page 171

COMMISSIONuR GO INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
and afford a motive for their loyalty to the United States govern- 
ment'. 
I have to report that no schools are now in active operation among 
the Seminoles, Mr. Lilley, Presbyterian missionary among them, 
having been absent for the benefit of his and family's health. Mr. 
Lilley's labors among this people have been arduous, and will, I 
hope, be productive of much gpod. His school and other instruction 
will shortly be resumed. He and 'his board seem to be the only 
persons who take any interest in these unfortunate and stigmatized 
Indians. 
I regret to say-that I cannot report any perceptible improvement 
the past year among the Seminoles; but it is not otherwise to be 
expected. Possessing no Means of schools whatever, totally destitute 
of any and all kinds of instructio-n save the little afforded by benevo-
lence, believing themselves neglected, how can it be supposed that 
they shoold improve?  Were these means and instructioil provided, 
I am confident, from my own judgment and from the desire evinced 
by the people to possess means of improvement, that the Seminoles 
would advance equally fast with their more favored brethren, the 
Creeks and Choctaws. It seems palpably prominenut to my mind 
that the Seminoles, no matter how provocative their wars in Florida 
were, have been treated with neglect and injustice.. Compelled to 
merge their tribal organization into that of the Creeks-an act which 
the larger portion of the tribe regard as arbitrary, unjust, and 
detrimental-it is strange that no facilities were furnished them for 
education and improvement. Possessing their own annuities, scant 
though they are, they should also have had their own school, farming, 
and blacksmith fund. They will not share with the Creeks in these, 
even were they invited so to'do; and if any improvement is expected 
from tlem it will only be attaired after a separation from the Creeks 
is effected, and the means of culture furnished them by the govern- 
ment. 
During the summer I convened a council of the tribe, for the pur- 
pose of preparing a statement Of their complaints, demands, and de- 
sires, to be by them communicated to the general Creek council in an 
amicable letter. In that letter they presented the grounds why they 
deemed themselves a separate and independent people, so far as any 
other tribe was concerned; and though they pledged themselves to 
abide the treaty of Fort Gibson, 1845, and to conform to all its pro- 
visions; yet they unanimously protested against that treaty as operat- 
ing unjustly and injuriously to their people. There is no prospect of 
their ever becoming an amicable, integral part of the Creek tribe, and 
consequently, with that spirit in, their present relation, no improve- 
ment among them can be hoped for. They earnestly desire a separa- 
tion from the Creeks, and wish that they may be  personally heard by 
the government of the United States, sometime during the ensuing 
session of Congress, through a delegation of their tribe, with their 
agent, sent for to Washington, when they will be able to make known 
all their grievances, claims, and desires. I think that such would be 
the speediest.and least expensive manner of settling these people, of 
bringing them to improvement, and the only humane and practicable 
1,7 r 


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