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

[Wisconsin],   pp. 185-195 PDF (5.5 MB)

Page 186

of them have good farms. As a tribe, they are like boys sixteen or seventeen
years old; they 
know too much to be Indians and too little to be white people. Two important
changes at 
least should be made. Their government by hereditary chiefs should be superseded
by some 
simple but strong system, and their lands should be allotted to individuals
of the tribe. How 
to accomplish these things without the aid of corrupt politicians, or resorting
to the usual base 
artifices, I have been unable to determine. Members of the tribe have continued
to cut and 
market large quantities of wood and timber without much benefit to themselves,
since they 
have been extensively swindled by purchasers and have invested a large fraction
of the pro- 
ceeds in whisky, The late decision of the United States Supreme Court in
the Cook case 
has checked this business, and it is to be hoped that the Department will
stop it entirely. 
If individuals are to be allowed to cut and market timber, some system should
be devised 
by which the tribe shall receive pay for the standing timber. A division
of lands will cor- 
rect this evil. 
The two schools and missions under Rev. E. A. Goodnough, Episcopal, and Rev.
S. W. 
Ford, Methodist, have been more than usually successful. The combined efforts
of the 
teachers and agent have availed to increase the attendance of the pupils
and the interest of 
the Indians in the subject of education. 
Intemperance has continued to prevail. The Oneidas are as completely surrounded
grog-shops as any southern city was by earth-works during the late war. Efforts
to suppress 
this evil will be alluded to under a separate head. 
During the year I have asked the Department to consider and settle the status
of those 
Oneidas living on the reservation called the "homeless Indians."
and hope that the subject 
will be taken up at an early day. 
Most of their business has been transacted by congressmen, and Special Commissioner
Wells, of New York, who has made three visits to the tribe during the year.
I have not 
been able to shut my eyes to what have seemed to me great wrongs practiced
upon a portion 
of this tribe, but have felt that it would be useless to raise my voice in
their behalf. Allow 
me in this connection, as an agent whose resignation has been accepted, respectfully
to sub- 
mit that, for an agent to perform his duty intelligently and efficiently,
he needs to be informed 
of all the correspondence had, or business done, in connection with the tribes
of his agency, 
whether through private individuals, special commissioners, or members of
The school -taught by Mis. J. Slingerland has been well attended, and the
pupils have 
made good progress. The spirit of kindness and harmony manifested in the
is in pleasing contrast with the selfishness and bitterness that.seem to
reign when the older 
people gather in the same place for business. 
A large addition has been made to the membership of the church, and it is
probably no 
fault of the doctrines of Calvin that the fruits of the Spirit are no more
manifest in the lives 
of many of these people who profess Christianity. 
1vIany teams  and tools have been purchased by members of the tribe, and
more ground has 
been cultivated than usual. 
This tribe needs more attention than the other two, because they receive
more aid from ths 
Government and are less advanced in what is commonly called civilization.
The farmer hae 
raised for the Indians upon the farm at Keshena about 200 bushels corn, 600
bushels pota- 
toes, 30 tons of hay. The corn and potatoes will be distributed among members
of the tribe 
for seed next year, and the unusually heavy crops raised will tend to stimulate
the Indians 
to a better cultivation of their lands. He has devoted all the time he could
to visiting the 
homes of the Indians, teaching them how to cultivate their land, care for
their stock, and 
build houses and fences. In the main they appreciate this service and are
anxious to im- 
The miller has ground about 2,000 bushels of grain, sawed 150,000 feet of
lumber, and 
superintended putting 2,000,000 feet of logs into the river for the mill
and for market. The 
mill-site has been seriously injured by the works of the Keshenat Improvement
The blacksmith reports that lie has shod 214 horses and 69 oxen; mended 63
made 20 chain-hooks; repaired 100 guns, 33 traps, 50 hoes, 62 wagons, 61
sleds, 9 stoves, 
9 axes, 8 bells, 9 plows; set 27 wagon-tires; ironed 27 whiffletrees, 9 neck-yokes,
8 ox- 
yokes; bailed 10 kettles; mended 11 scythes; ironed 1 cultivator, 23 rakes,
5 wagon- 
boxes, I wagon-tongue, "25 new sleds, 6 new cutters; made 25 hinges,
14 knives, 25 pan- 
handles, 91 stove-rods, 14 wedges, 50 hasps and staples, 130 spears, 84 needles,
45 scythe- 
wedges, 8 heel-rings, 123 cold-sheets, 9 shovels, 164 trammel chains, 20
sap-gouges, 24 
clevises, 20 drag-teeth, and 2 cant-hooks. 
This report gives a good idea of the state of advancement of the tribe. 
The physician, who came the 1st of July, has had a large number of patients,
and has 
met with less opposition from the medicine-men than was expected. 
The two schools, taught by Alexander Grignon and Mrs. H. E. Stryker, have
been small. 
All efforts of the teachers and agent, including a generous distribution
of clothing and a 
soup dinner for the pupils, to secure a better attendance, were unavailing,
until at a council 
held the last of June the words of the agent, for some reason, produced such
an impression 

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