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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 89

WASHINGTON, D. C., Noveniber 17, 1874. 
Sn: I have the honor to transmit herewith my views on the subjects assigned
for report. 
Very respectfully, yours, 
Rt. Rev. W. H. HARE, 
President Special Indian Commission, 30 Bible House, New York. 
In regard to the condition of the respective agencies I have little to remark.
turning from the Indian Territory in advance of my colleagues, I was not
present at 
the special investigations instituted ly them after the expedition to the
Black Hills 
and the location of Whetstone agency. I can only give my general impressions
of the 
status of affairs at Red Cloud and Whetstone. These I confess were favorable,
as I 
witnessed no disorder or bad management during my brief sojourn at these
The Indians themselves were far less savage and intractable than I had imagined
to be. There was an absence of turbulent demonstration and of resistance
to the rea- 
sonable demands of the Government. Indeed there seemed to be an acquiescence
and willingness to conform to any proper exactions made upon them. 
On my return, en route to Cheyenne, I paused both at Spotted Tail's and Yellow
Hair's camps. I was received with marked cordiality, and while smoking with
chiefs the pipe of peace, conversed freely with them on subjects of interest
to them- 
selves, and of their relations to the General Government. There was no reserve,
much that they said added to the favorable impressions I had formed. While
the encampments I could but be strongly impressed with the indolent and luxurious
picture presented by their mode of life. Every tepee had its curtains of
jerked beef 
suspended near it, the ponies grazed on the rich prairie-grass on the verge
of the camp, 
while the young bucks were basking in the sun at the doors of their lodges
with their papooses. In fact a more perfect representation of Arcadia could
hardly be 
My conclusion was that the habits of the Iudi ans were those of extreme indolence,
to which I cannot but think the well-intended policy of the Government has
contributed. The Indian is naturally and by habit idle, except when stimulated
war -or the quest for something to sustain life. He is disinclined to take
any trouble 
beyond what the instinct of self-preservation demands. Supplied as he is
liberally by 
the Government with food and clothing, the Indian has little or no incentive
to exer- 
Is it not the proper policy to adopt some method by which he may be rendered,
not productive, at least self-sustaining? It is evident that this is not
to be accom- 
plished by holding out inducements to agriculture. His limited attempts in
this di- 
rection are far from being successful. Besides, the soil, as well as the
roving, nomadic 
habits of the Indians, are opposed to the idea of profitable or even possible
employment. Grazing, on the contrary, is adapte.d to both. The occupation
is easily 
acquired, and, could it be instituted under favorable auspices, would prove
Thus the Indian would be stimulated to industry, be in a better condition
to avail 
himself of the various processes of civilization, and the Government be spared
an im- 
mneuse and uncalled-for expenditure. How this desirable object can be effected
is to 
be hereafter determined. The amount of grazing-territory should be large
in compari- 
son with a given population, and the country segregated for the purpose should
abundant supplies of grass and water. 
In connection with this important reform proposed to be effected in the life-habits
the Indian, should advance part passu some system of education, as well as
the means 
of enforcing order and punishing crime. Abundant material exists, especially
the young, ready to the teacher's hand. Laborers are needed in this vineyard;
ors and missionaries, who, while developing the intellect of these benighted
may lead them to the proper understanding of the great fundamental truths
of our 
holy religion. Law and its prompt execution are also essential. Nothing else
successfully control and subdue the occasional outrages which go unpunished
and dis- 
regarded, and the very inattention to which merits and provokes fresh violations
law and order. Let the Indian as well as the white man be amenable to law
tially administered, and far less will be heard of murder and theft among
the savage 

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