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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 42

42    REPORT OF THE -COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
The school has been irregularly attended by 41 pupils, the irregularity 
mainly owing to the distance of many from the school-house. Al attend 
church, the membership of which is 135. They have harvested 472 
bushels of wheat, 440 bushels of corn, 900 bushels of potatoes, and 
some turnips and beans, but about four-fifths of their crops were ruined
by grasshoppers, and many families look forward to a winter of destitu- 
tion and hunger. Eatire good-will exists between these Indians and the 
white settlers around them. 
This experiment of individual enterprise and self-reliance is an inter- 
esting one, showing the true line of effort for civilization. Fortunately
a provision in the treaty of 1868 with the Sioux Nations, allows any 
member of that nation to follow the course which these Flandreaus have 
taken, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that, if the same privilege
can be granted by proper legislation to other Indian tribes much more 
favorably situated for such individual enterprise, many will avail them-
selves of it, and strike out for themselves. Such legislation, however, 
should not require the Indian on leaving his tribe to forfeit at once all
Government aid at a point where he needs it most, and is best prepared 
to make a wise use of it. 
YANKTON AGENCY.-The Yankton Sioux have a reservation of 400,000 
acres in the south part of Dakota, fifty miles from Yankton. They num- 
ber 2,000, about one-half of whom live in houses, and one-fourth have 
adopted civilized dresS. 
These Indians for several years past have been entirely friendly, and 
are thoroughly committed to civilization. They have given up the hunt, 
and are quite generally engaged in agriculture. The soil is good, but 
as they are in a region subject to drought, severe storms, and grass- 
hoppers, their crops are very uncertain, and they are and will continue 
to be largely dependent for support on rations furnished by the Govern- 
ment. Twelve hundred acres were planted by them this year, (an in- 
crease of 250 per cent. since 1872,) in addition to the agency farm of 1,000
acres, mostly to corn, from which, owing to drought and grasshoppers, 
only 2,000 bushels will be harvested. A few were persuaded to sow 
wheat, but the failure of this their first crop is discouraging. Their 
main outlook for self-support is in stock-raising, for which the reserva-
tion is better adapted, and to which special attention has been given 
in the last two years. There are now on the reservation 1,500 ponies, 
100 mules, 250 head of cattle, and 150 hogs, the individual property of 
the Indians, and 800 sheep still in the care of the agency. All have 
been properly used and well taken care of. Two thousand tons of hay 
have been put up this season. 
In connection with sheep-raising, the art of weaving cloth on hand- 
looms has been introduced, in regard to which the agent reports: 
I have started a weaving-room where I constantly employ from six to eight
Indian 
women in weaving. The cloth made is of a very good quality, and will serve
the 
Indians much better than what is bought for them. As these Indians have now
a flock 
of some 800 sheep, it will not be long ere the clothing for the nation can
be produced 
and manufactured at home. I would recommend that this pursuit be encouraged
as 
much as possible, even though, at first, the cloth could be purchased at
a less price, as 
it will, in time, prove of great importance, and for the time being is a
civilizing power 
of no small merit. 
The manufacture of willow baskets has been -ommenced and promises 
to be a success. Thirty-five Indian houses have been built during the 
year, making a total of 250-an increase of 162 in three years; 600,000 
feet lumber have been sawed, and 1,500 cords wood cut and sold to the 
steamboats. A large stone building for a boys' boarding-school, with 
accommodations for the teachers and missionaries, has been erected by 


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