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

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

Page 18

of June, 1856. Its various incidents, and the causes from which it 
originated, it is not now deemed necessary to review. The reports 
received with reference to these hostilities were laid before the Pres- 
ident early in March last, and he immediately recommended an ap- 
propriation for maintaining and restoring peace with the Indian 
tribes on the Pacific coast, which was placed at his disposal by the 
act of 5th April, 1856. 
Temporary provision having been made early in December, 1855, 
froih appropriations at the command of the department, for the extra- 
ordinary expenses of preventing an extension of the spirit of dissatis- 
faction among the tribes, and of collecting the peaceful Indians in 
locations withdrawn from contact with hostile bands, the placing of 
the appropriation, by the President, at the disposal of this depart- 
ment, enabled its officers to extend their plans and prosecute them 
with vigor. 
In both Territories the same policy of collecting and temporarily 
subsisting the peaceful tribes in large numbers, and encouraging 
hostile bands to surrender their arms, and join the friendly Indians, 
was adopted and carried out with considerable success. Hostile 
bands were met and chastised by the military power of the Territo- 
ries and the United States army, and, until the latest advices, the 
reports were that peace had been restored in both Territories; but the 
superintendent of Oregon Territory, in a communication dated the 
10th of October, reports a renewal of hostilities east of the Cascade 
mountains, and that one-half of the .very powerful and hitherto 
friendly tribe of Nez Perces Indians had joined the war party. No 
information was received from Governor Stevens, of Washington, but 
the public journals state that he was obliged to leave Walla-Walla, 
and that the indications were that a general Indian war was inev- 
The policy pursued by this department has been attended with a 
considerable expenditure; and it was hoped that the results of its 
operations, of both a temporary and permanent character, would 
show that, all things considered, it had been the best that could be 
adopted, and the most humane and economical. It cannot be dis- 
guised that a portion of the white population of the Pacific Terri- 
tories, entertain feelings deeply hostile to the Indian tribes of that 
region, and are anxious for the extermination of the race. 
Referring to a paragraph in my annual report for 1854, your atten- 
tion is called to the provisions of law, to be found in the 2d section of
the act of September 11, 1841, respecting investments for Indian 
tribes, which have been construed to require the department to invest 
all Indian moneys held in trust in stocks of the United States. The 
high price at which these stocks have been held, as compared with 
the stocks of the States bearing a like rate of interest, has caused the
execution of the act to injuriously affect the interests of the Indians.
Accordingly, since the 4th of March, 1853, no purchases have been 
made; but where liabilities of this kind have resulted from treaty 
stipulations, the department has estimated annually for appropria- 
tions from the treasury for five per cent. on all such trust-funds. 
Congress has responded to these estimates, and a policy has thus been 

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