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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1865

Washington superintendency,   pp. 67-101 PDF (14.8 MB)

Page 78

No. 5. 
Olympia, Washington Territory, September 6, 1865. 
Sin: I have the honor to submit the following annual report of the condi-
tion of the Indian tribes under my charge as Indian agent: 
I take pleasure in referring to the decided improvement in their condition
within the last year. A great many of them are becoming industrious and 
practical farmers. When I was appointed Indian agent, and assigned to 
this agency by your predecessor, they were not in a prosperous condition.
They had very little to work with in- the way of farming implements, not-
withstanding the government had made ample provision for all these things,
and no doubt they had been furnished. But the employ6s who were placed 
upon the reservation did not seem to comprehend the object of the govern-
ment in making treaties with the Indians and locating them upon reserva-
tions. They seemed to think and it was the universal opinion as far as I
could learn, that the reservations were so many asylums for the lazy and
dolent men who happened to be the favorites of the party in power, and the
whole machinery of the Indian department was to be used as a political 
stepping-stone to some demagogue to a seat in Congress. Hence the neglect
on the part of the employds to instruct the Indians in the various pursuits
contemplated by the government. I have been accosted time and again by 
persons asking a situation on some one of mhy reservations, saying, "I
not very able to work, and would like to have a place in the Indian depart-
ment," as though the Indian department was a refuge for the lazy, the
and the vicious. 
But, sir, such men are given to understand that the government has a 
higher purpose in view, the elevation of the Indian race to civilization
religion, and we have endeavored to select men who will be diligent in in-
structing them in all those elements that tend to that desirable object.
My*experience in the management of Indians in order to the improvement 
of their condition is, that the less intercourse they have with the whites
side of the Indian service the better; and in order that I may the better
accomplish my purpose in carrying out my views and the instructions of the
department, I have instructed the employde to suffer no person of vicious
habits to come upon the reservations except to accomplish some legitimate
business, and then leave. 
The foir tribes under my charge arg in a far more prosperous condition 
than ever before, particularly the Puyallups and Chehalis. You will see 
from the report of Mr. Billings, assistant farmer in charge of the Puyallups,
a copy of which will accompany this report, that they have received for pro-
duce sold and labor done for whites outside the sum of $6,215. I have not
yet received reports from any of the other reservations except the Chehalis,
a copy of which is herewith transmitted. The crop upon this reservation 
has been harvested and secured from the rains some time since, which is 
what few farmers in the country can say of their crops. I have, in order
induce the Indians all to work, instructed the employds to inform them that
less they work they will not have any share in the crop ; and not only to
hem so, but to enforce the rule. We have yet some difficulty in our endea-
vors to overcome those old hbits and practices which, to a-considerable de-
gree, still linger among them: I allude t6 polygamy, the flattening the heads
of their children, necromancy in the healing of the sick, and the murder
the necromancer in case of a fatal termination of the disease. They have
murdered two of their doctors since I have been in charge, and made an at-
tempt to murder the third; but I think I have succeeded in alarming them
to such a degree that they will not again commit the act. Some few weeks

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