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

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

Page 78

room for any cultivation they are likely to engage in. The pursuits of these
Indians, as 
of all those in the vicinity of the sound, having been in the past mainly
fishing and 
logging, and in view of the limited amount of arable land in this portion
of the Ter- 
ritory suitable for agricultural purposes, in the opinion of the commissioners
these pur- 
suits are the only ones in which the Indians can profitably engage to any
large extent 
in the future. 
A number of white settlers have located in this valley outside the reservation,
an expense of probably $50,000 would be necessary to satisfy their claims.
Their pres- 
ence in the vicinity of the reservation has not proved favorable to the improvement
of the Indians. This valley is not only the best, but, so far as was ascertained,
the only 
practicable location for the consolidation of the Indians named on the upper
of the sound, not liable to very grave objections. 
It is recommended that the reservation be enlarged to the extent of an average
of three miles on each side of the S'Kokomish River, extending from its mouth
at Hood's 
canal, to two miles above the main forks of the river. The enlarged reservation
then embrace less than two townships of land, but quite sufficient for the
purposes of 
the Indians proposed to be consolidated upon it. It would possess the advantages
furnishing excellent facilities for the pursuits of fishing and logging,
and would isolate 
the Indians from contact with white settlements more perfectly than any other
tion available in this portion of the Territory. It is proposed to place
the consolidated 
bands in charge of the agent at S'Kokomish, and that the agency now located
at Olym- 
pia be discontinued. 
The agency headquarters for the various bands of Indans occupying the five
reser - 
vations of Tulalip, Lummi, Swinomish, Port Madison, and Muckleshoot, is located
Tulalip Bay, at-which point all the Government employ6s reside, except that
a farmer 
is assigned to Lummi. It has not been practicable for the agent or his employ6s
give any considerable care or attention to the Indians upon these reservations
those located at Tulalip, the distance to be traveled being such as to require
about a 
month for a single visit to the various lands within his jurisdiction. 
The habits of all these bands, as of all the Indians upon the sound, are
to spend only 
a small portion of the year upon any reservation, and, so far as they engage
in any 
industrial pursuits, mainly to occupy themselves in fishing, logging, and
in the em- 
ployment of white settlers upon the sound. It is believed that their best
would be promoted by placing them upon a single reservation, and thus enable
the agent 
and his employds to afford them the advantage of their personal care and
All the treaties now in force with the Indians of Washington Territory west
of the 
Cascade Mountains contain provisions looking to the consolidation at some
period of all the bands in that section upon a single reservation, and for
this purpo se 
the right is reserved on the part of the Government in each instance to discontinue
reservations and remove the Indians at the pleasure of the President. The
reservation was selected by Governor Stevens, who negotiated the treaties,
as the 
probable point of concentration. An investigation of its condition and resources,
ever, revealed the fact that it contains substantially no land for cultivation,
and that 
its timber has become already so far exhausted as to render the occupation
of logging 
unprofitable. The Port Madison, Muckleshoot, and Swinomish reservations are
limited in extent, and for many reasons unsuitable for the permanent home
of these 
consolidated bands of Indians. 
The commissioners examined the Lummi reservation, situated upon Bellingham
and found the soil to be excellent for cultivation and easily cleared. The
point is as 
favorable as any upon the sound for engaging profitably in the occupation
of fishing, 
and, except the S'Kokomish, better than any other in respect to its isolation
white settlements. The country extending north has no improvements by white
tlers of any considerable value, and it is recommended that the reservation
be extended 
five miles to the northward, and from the Lummi or Nootsack River to Prince
Sound; and that the Indians now located upon the Tulalip, Muckleshoot, Port
son, and Swinomish reservations be removed and consolidated at this point.
The Indians upon these reservations, located upon the Pacific coast, differ
in many 
respects, both in their condition and pursuits, from those on Puget Sound.
Neither of 
their reservations contain any considerable area of land suitable for cultivation,
the Indians efigage, so far as they provide for their own support, almost
in the capture of whales, furs, seals, and dog-fish. The bands upon the two
tions speak substantially the same language, and are friendly in their relations.
number actually upon the two reservations does not exceed one thousand, and
it is 
believed that economy on the part of the Government, as well as the welfare
of the 
Indians themIselv es, require their consolidation. It is recommended, therefore,

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