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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page 5

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
notwithstanding all this, their progress is very gratifying, and the 
results already attained leave no doubt but the Menomonee Indians, 
in a very few years, will completely and perfectly adopt habits of in- 
dustry and civilization. Indian laborers have been exclusively em- 
ployed to do the work of the tribe. The agent, farmer, miller, teacher, 
and one blacksmith, are the only white persons located At the agency 
and .employed on the reservation. All the work in the fields, as well 
as in the shops, is done by Indian hands. A number of the young 
Menomonees have become expert carpenters, providing not only the 
general carpenter shop with hands, but the different bands have car- 
penters among them, who are erecting houses for the various families, 
to facilitate which, the council has requested that a set of carpenter's
tools be furnished to each band. 
In the southern part of Minnesota Territory, the Winnebagoes have 
assigned to them, under the treaty of February, 1855, an excellent 
tract of land for a permanent home, and laudable efforts are now be- 
ing made to correct the vicious habits of these Indians. Extensive 
improvements have been made for them at their new location. White 
labor has heretofore been mainly relied on, but hereafter it is expected
that the Indians themselves will be more extensively employed in per- 
forming the work which will be required to be done. It is designed 
next season to enlarge and extend the improvements upon the Win- 
nebago reservation. At a late council of the tribe, a code of law was 
adopted for the protection of their persons and property, and for the 
punishment of crimes. 
Various causes have combined to prevent the Medawakantoan, Wah- 
pahkoota, Sissetoan, and Wapatoan Sioux, from deriving heretofore 
much substantial benefit from the very liberal provisions of the trea- 
ties of July and August, 1851. Until after the reservations were per- 
manently assured to the Indians in 1854, it would have been highly 
improper to have made expenditures for permanent improvements; 
and, since then, the affairs of the agency have not been free from con- 
fusion in all its operations. Under the direction of their new agent, 
efficient steps will, it is expected, be taken without delay, to ad- 
vance the interests of these Indians, and to make the various improve- 
ments for which the treaties provide. Heretofore large sums of mo- 
ney have been paid to and expended for these Sioux, but they have 
been indolent, extravagant, and intemperate, and have wasted their 
means without improving, or seeming to desire to improve, their con- 
dition. It is to be feared that bad counsels have controlled theni, and 
their constant war with the Chippewas has also had a sad effect upon 
them. All the power of the department will be exerted to require 
these Sioux to cease their roving, wandering habits, and to settle down 
upon their reservations. 
With regard to the Chippewas of the Mississippi, and the Pillager 
and Lake Winnibigoshish bands, it may be remarked that their wars 
with the Sioux, and the use of ardent spirits, have done much to re- 
tard their progress. The agricultural and other labor connected with 
.the reservations at Winnibigoshish, Cass, and Leech lakes, has been 
confided to the direction and management of Messrs. Breck and Bard- 
well, the missionaries in charge, who are making as good progress as 
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