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

Oregon superintendency,   pp. 101-109 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 102

102 
OREGON SUPERINTENDENCY. 
were Klamaths, 339 Modocs. and 22 of the Yahooskin band of Snakes. 
These numbers include women and children as well as men. Some others 
were represented, although not actually present. I estimate the total num-
ber at 1,500 to 2,000 souls, which includes all represented in the treaty
which was concluded on the 15th October. 
The wishes and instructions of the government-were very carefully and 
fully explained to the Indians, and they exhibited a complete willingness
to 
become subjected to the United States, and cease depredations upon the citi-
zens thereof, in accordance with the treaty. To the stipulations of that
in- 
strument I invite your careful attention. Its provisions are, in some re-
spects, similar to those of other treaties heretofore negotiated with tribes
in 
this State, but they differ from them in calling for the expenditure of smaller
amounts of money, and in subjecting the Indians to a somewhat stricter 
control of the government. 
The census of the tribes, as given in this letter, will be found to differ
materially from the estimates of Major C. S. Drew and Superintendent Steele,
which have been submitted to your office. The former put the number of 
warriors at 900, not including any of the Snakes. (See his letter of Febru-
ary 20, published with my annual report for 1863.) The latter estimated 
them (also excluding Snakes) at 1,400 warriors. (See his letter of March
5, 
copy of which was sent from your office to me.) The number of women 
and children for each warrior cannot be less than four, which would give,
by Major Drew's estimate, 4,500 Indians, and by Superintenffent Steele's,
7,000. I am sure that these numbers are far too large. There may be 2,000
of them, all told, certainly not more. 
The country ceded by the treaty of 15th October is ofvast extent, as you
can see by reference to the map, say 15,000 to 20,000 square miles, and 
presents great diversity of topography, soil, and climate. Parts of it are
barren mountains and sage plains, of no agricultural value, but probably
possessing great mineral wealth. Other portions are valuable for grazing
purposes, producing a large amount of nutritious grass, but containing little
or no land fit for cultivation. The valleys of the Klamath lakes, Rhett lake,
Goose lake, Lost river, and seven others, have much fertile soil. Some por-
tions are well supplied with excellent timber, while in other parts there
is 
very little  The climate of the whole region is dry, differing widely in
that 
respect from the coast counties of Oregon, and while some parts of it enjoy
a mild, equable temperature in winter, the cold in other parts is severe.
Its 
convenient situation with reference to the mines of Idaho, eastern Oregon,
and Washoe, will always assure to settlers who may locate therein a favora-
ble market for their products. 
The reservation designated by the treaty for the use of the Indians in- 
cludes, besides much country almost a desert, the Upper Klamath lake or 
marsh, which affords great supplies of edible roots and seeds for the Indians,
and much fine grazing land ; and it gives them access to the Middle lake
and the Klamath or Williamson river, connecting the two, for fishing pur-
poses. It also takes in enough arable land of good quality near the mouth
of Williamson river to support all the Indians which are ever likely to be
placed upon it. The more extensive valleys upon the Middle and Lower 
lakes are not embraced within its limits. in determining the bounds of the
reservation, I sought primarily to secure a tract of country which had local
advantages for supporting a colony of Indians by industrial pursuits. I 
think this tract will satisfy this, in my judgment, the greatest demand.
A 
second object, and one scarcely less important, was to so locate the tribes
that their separation from whites would be as nearly complete as possible.
This reservation is not likely to be traversed by any important line of tra-
vel, and but a small portion of it will be coveted by whites for settlement.


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