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

[California],   pp. 236-260 PDF (10.6 MB)


Page 237

STATE "OF CALIFORNIA. 
land has been rented at Fresno and King's river, and the Indians 
collected and subsisted at these. points in the same manner as upon 
permanent reservations. The crops consist of 700 acres of wheat and 
barley and 100 acres of corn. Owing to the drought the wheat and 
barley crop was an entire failure. The corn, having been irrigated, 
will be an ordinary crop. This failure of the crops will be a source 
of serious ditficulty to the superintendency. There are about three 
thousand Indians in the vicinity of these farms, all of whom could 
have been provided with food had the crops been successful. The 
drought having been general in this region, grain can only be pur- 
chased at exorbitant rates, such as would not be justified except to 
prevent starvation. Every precaution, however, has been taken to 
a'void the consequences of this misfortune. The agents have been in.- 
structed to turn the attention of fle Indians to their mode of living 
before the care of the government had been extended over them; and 
parties have been sent to the mountains, in various directions, to col- 
lect acorns, berries, seeds, and such other food as they were formerly 
accustomed to subsist upon ; and, as if to demonstrate the fact that 
Providence never leaves any portion of the human family entirely 
unprovided with the means to sustain life, the phenomenon exists that 
the salmon, which for several years have failed to make their appear-# 
ance in the San Joaquin river in an  numbers worth mentioning, are 
this year abundant in that stream, and the prospect seems to be that 
the threatened famine will be in a great degree averted by this provi- 
dential supply of fish from the ocpan, though it is distant from the 
coast, by the meandering of the stream, some three hundred miles. 
A portion of the Indians from the farms have been removed to and 
encamped upon the river, and every facility furnished them for catch- 
ing and curing fish, which, should the supply continue, will enable 
them to provide a sufficient quantity for a great portion of the winter.
Another source, which is now looked upon as of great importance, is 
the Tule lake, lying about fifty miles northwest of the San Joaquin 
river, which abounils with fish of excellent quality, and is, during 
the winter season, the resort of an unlimited number of wild geese 
and ducks, from which the Indians have heretofore, when undisturbed 
by the whites, obtained a comfortable subsistence. Agents Lewis and 
Ridley are now examining the lake country for a suitable location, to 
which, if found, it is intended to remove some ten or fifteen hundred 
of the Indians for support during the winter. Although the prospect 
for these Indians seems to be gloomy, yet I have great confidence that, 
by industry, energy, and judicious management, we shall be enabled 
to provide for them in such a way as to prevent starvation, and pre- 
serve the peace of the country. 
!Passing from the Fresno, we have a much more cheering prospect 
at Xome Lacke reservation, at which place there are collected about 
t.o thousand Indians. Land in cultivation, one thousand acres; 
estimnated product of wheat, fifteen thousand bushels; corn, pump- 
kins, melons, turnips, and other vegetables in great ab'undance. 
Nothing in the pursUitS of industry could have been more satisfactory 
or interesting than the harvesting of the wheat crop; it was cut en- 
tfey with small German reaping-hooks, which were used by the In- 
2a7e- 


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