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

Papers accompanying the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1874,   pp. [85]-[180] PDF (27.0 MB)

Page [87]

PHILADELPHIA, November 28, 1874. 
SIR: The Special Sioux Commission, appointed last February and 
continued under date of May 4, 18741 beg leave to report that they met 
at Cheyenne, Wyo., on the 28th of July, all the commissioners being 
Owing to illness the chairman and Hon. C. C. Cox were obliged to 
return about ten days after leaving Cheyenne, and most of the business 
intrusted to the commission necessarily devolved upon the remaining 
commissioners, Rev. Mr. Hinman and Robert B. Lines, esq. The con- 
clusions at which they arrived in the matter of the charges against the 
late agent at Whetstone agency, Mr. Risley, and in the matter of the 
claim of H. Graves for removing Whetstone agency, are stated in their 
report to the chairman of the commission, which is hereby presented as 
the report of the commission. Attention is also respectfully drawn to 
the interesting letter of the Hon. C. C. Cox to the chairman. So far as 
it insists upon the importance of the establishment among the Sioux of 
a simple code of law, and its prompt execution at the earliest practi- 
cable date, it expresses the mind of the commission as a whole. (Ap- 
pendix A.) 
The commission after much consultation determined not to press upon 
the Indians the relinquishment of their right to the unceded territory 
east of the summit of the Big-Horn Mountains, partly because the action 
of Congress at its last session looked only to the cession of their rights
in the territory south of their reserve, and partly because the temper of
the Indians was such as to make it apparent that an effort to accomplish
too much would end in accomplishing nothing. 
Much effort was made, however, to secure the relinquishment of the 
right to roam over the unceded territory north of the North Platte and 
south of the northern line of Nebraska, and to hunt on the Republican 
Fork. The commission are glad to be able to report that the Indians 
connected with the Spotted Tail agency accept the consideration offered 
by the Government for the surrender of these rights, and agree to re- 
linquish them, only asking that the right be not withdrawn until after 
this winter, 1874-'75. The commission recommend that $10,000 of the 
amount voted by Congress for the purchase of the above-mentioned 
treaty rights be appropriated to the Upper Bruls; that, in accordance 
with their request, it be paid in American horses and light wagons; 
that the time of delivery be immediately after the return of their hunt-
ing parties from their winter hunt; that the distribution of the horses and
wagons be left to the chief, and that, upon their delivery, formal notice
be given to the Brule's, that their right to roam and hunt south of the 
Niobrara has ceased, and that its use will be prevented by the military.
Equal success did not attend the efforts of the commission to obtain 
from the Ogallallas the relinquishment of their right to roam and hunt. 
The commission have felt much difficulty in coming to a decision as to 
the course which it is proper for the Government to pursue under these 

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