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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

Information, with historical and statistical statements, relative to the different tribes and their agencies,   pp. 23-[84] PDF (29.5 MB)


Page 35

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
The greatest difficulty experienced is to give them enough work to do with
the lim- 
ited means at my command applicable to the purpose. Not the half wanting
work can 
be employed nor furnished tools to work with, a circumstance greatly to be
regretted. 
The popular idea that an Indian will not work is erroneous when they see
its impor- 
tance, and they have an individual interest in doing so apart from the common
inter- 
ests of the tribe. 
The continued depredations of the whites are rapidly stripping the reservation
of its 
timber, and unless efficient means to prevent it are available the most that
is valuable 
will soon be gone. 
One day-school has been kept open ten months during the year, with an average
attendance of about twenty scholars, many of whom have made commendable progress.
During last winter, while the Indians were absent on the hunt, I had a number
of 
children boarded under our care, and while this was done the school was highly
satis- 
factory in regularity of attendance, behavior, and application to study.
 In these 
respects it would have compared favorably with any mixed school of white
children. 
In August, one of the most prominent chiefs murdered a member of the tribe
and 
then fled to the agent for protection against the friends of the murdered
man. He 
was placed in the county jail, where he still remains. 
Inspector Kemble also writes: 
Within half a dozen of the entire number of male members able to work have
re- 
sponded during the past summer to the honorable Commissioner's demand that
the 
tribe must earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. They have generally
worked 
cheerfully and well. The report of farm-work done is certainly encouraging,
notwith- 
standing the failure of nearly the entire crop. 
It is eminently desirable that provision be made for the sale of one- 
half of their reserve, on such terms as will realize the largest amount,
the proceeds of which may be used for the promotion of civilization in 
the purchase of farm-implements and in payment for Indian labor, and 
an appropriation of a suitable amount should be made for the coming 
year, to be re-imbursed out of the proceeds of these sales. 
PAWNEEAGENCY.-The Pawnees, 1,788 in number, are on a reservation 
on the South Branch of the Platte River, a little east of the center of 
the State, containing 283,200 acres of which 48,424 have been appraised 
to be sold in trust for the Pawnees, under act of June 10, 1872. This 
reservation is excellent for both tillage and grazing, but has a scanty 
supply of timber, on which white settlers are continually making dep- 
redations. 
To partially indemnify them for the losses occasioned by the massacre 
last summer by the Sioux of a hunting party of Pawnees, $9,000 was 
expended in the purchase of cattle and supplies, with which they were 
made comfortable for the winter. In the spring the chiefs, in council, 
decided that $10,000 of their regular annuity in goods should be ex- 
pended in agricultural improvements and in payment for labor. Three 
hundred and fifty acres were broken and 1,000 acres cultivated by 
Indians, in addition to the school-farm of 25, and the agency-farm of 
315 acies. The Indians showed a greater willingness than ever be- 
fore to work, and there was good prospect of an unusually fine crop, 
but drought, Colorado beetles, and grasshoppers destroyed everything 
except 1,400 bushels of wheat, less than half a crop, and a few beets 
and potatoes. Their destitution is great, and unless the Government 
affords them some relief, they have only suffering and starvation be- 
fore them during the coming winter. 
In this emergenc- they have taken up again for serious consideration 
the question of removal to the Indian Territory, and have decided in an 
open council, attended by their agent, superintendent, and a member of 
the Board of Indian Commissioners, to remove, and they ask that their 
land be sold on such terms as will realize the largest amount, and that 
a reservation be selected and purchased for them in the Indian Terri- 
tory, and provision made for their removal and establishment in houses 
35 


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