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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 77

I have had, thus far, no opportunity to take a census of the nation, 
consequently the numbers given are estimates based upon information 
derived from the Indians themselves, and from persous who have been 
a long time in the country; but they differ so much in their state- 
ments that it is impossible to arrive at anything like a satisfactory 
conclusion without determining it by actual count, which I expect to 
do the present summer. 
I remain, with much respect, your obedient servant, 
E. A. C. HATCH, 
Indian Agent. 
Superintendent Indian Affairs. 
No. 23. 
FORT UNION, September 10, 1856. 
Si: In conformity with the requirements of the Indian depart- 
ment, I have the honor of submitting this, my fourth annual report, 
showing the affairs and condition of the different tribes of Indians in 
the Upper Missouri agency. 
The firm of P. Chouteau, jr., & Co., having obtained the contract 
for transporting the Indian annuities to the different points along the 
Missouri, I left St. Louis, with the goods under my charge, on the 
steamer St. Mary, the 7th of June last. Nothing occurred to mar 
the pleasure of our trip except the loss of one of the employes of the 
"American Fur Company," who fell overboard and was drowned. 
We met the Yancton band of Sioux just below Fort Lookout. They 
had been waiting some time for the arrival of their "annuity" goods,
and in the very destitute condition in which I found them this gift 
of the government was truly a God-send. There is scarcely any game 
in their country, and, for a greater portion of the year, they subsist 
almost entirely upon such esculent roots as the country produces 
spontaneously, the principal of which is an exceedingly farinaceous 
root, like the turnip, called by the residents in the country "pomme
blanche ;" botanically speaking, "psoralia esculenta."  It
is very 
fortunate for this large band, as well as for the several other bands of
Sioux,that their country-produces this root so abundantly. These 
people have a large number of small fields of corn, pumpkins, and 
beans, which, at the time of my meeting them, were in a very flour- 
ishing condition, and bid fair to yield an abundant crop. 
This-band was, a few years ago, nomadic, and, like the rest of the 
Sioux, fierce and warlike; but necessity has driven them to the cul- 
ture of the soil, and they have subsided into a quiet, peaceable, and 
order-loving people, ready to yield to and be governed by any sug- 
gestions of the agent or of the government for ameliorating their con- 
These Indians are decidedly the best of any of the Sioux under my 
charge. They begin to see the necessity of permanently locating 

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