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

[Central superintendency],   pp. 65-131 PDF (28.8 MB)

Page 73

CENTRAL SUPERINTENDENCY.                       73 
The bad system adopted many years ago, and still to a great extent 
Qontinued, of paying large money annuities to Indians, has been and 
is still productive of most disastrous results to them. In many of the 
recent treaties a judicious provision has been inserted, which author- 
izes the President to control the character of the annuities; a wise 
and discriminating use of that authority will be an act of justice and 
mercy to the Indians. Large sums of money due to orphans and in- 
competent persons remain yet unpaid and unapplied for their benefit; 
a radical change of arrangement in this matter is indispensably re- 
I know no more injurious custom in the Indian service than that 
of permitting agents to reside at a distance from their respective 
scenes of duty. It is but just, however, to state, that many of those 
gentlemen regret the necessity which compels them to reside at a dis- 
tance from their agencies, the truth being, that no funds have been 
remitted to furnish suitable dwellings for their residences. I there- 
fore earnestly recommend the appropriation of a sufficient amount to 
furnish each agent, not already provided for, with a commodious house 
and suitable out-buildings, in the midst of the Indians, so as to con- 
stitute a comfortable home ; and that authority be given to them to 
cultivate a reasonable quantity of land for their own use, with per- 
mission to employ as many Indians in farming and mechanical labor 
as can be induced voluntarily to engage therein, for a reasonable com- 
The remnants of the once large tribes of Indians that resided east of 
the Mississippi have been forced, by the pressure of civilization, step 
by step across the continent to their last homes and graves in the 
Territory of Kansas; beyond this point they cannot well be driven, as 
there is no longer any outlet for them. The sad condition of these 
unfortunate fragments of tribes well entitles them to a full partici- 
pation in that philanthropy which has been so freely extended to other 
races. In the new relations which must spring up between the whites 
and the Indians, it will be necessary to adopt new regulations for the 
advancement and protection of the latter, as they will soon be sub- 
jected to the restriction of society, and, therefore, should not be left
without the means of adequate protection. 
It appears to me that the adoption of a judicious system of appren- 
ticeship, whereby orphan children, and the children of incompetent 
persons, could be bound for a term of years, to proper and discreet 
persons, for the purpose of acquiring a more thorough knowledge of 
the arts of civilized life, would be productive of great ultimate ad- 
vantage to the children themselves; but I would in every case make 
tke arrangement, subject to the joint action of the national council of 
the tribe and their agent; the council should also be induced to adopt 
a code of laws for the punishment of idle and licentious persons, by 
fine or imprisonment, or both. The council should likewise have 
authority to assess a small percentage upon the gross amount of the 
annuities, for the erection of suitable churches, open to all denomina- 
tions of Christians, and for the building of school-houses, and the 
payment of teachers, where such are not already provided for. 
In conclusion, I would respectfully recommend a new and thorough 

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