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

[Indian Territory],   pp. 218-238 PDF (10.2 MB)

Page 225

The old men say the tribe has increased in numbers the past five years, and
was never 
more healthy than during that time, and attribute this to the Great Spirit
in keeping away 
small-pox, cholera, and other destructive diseases. There have been no venereal
among them in the past five years, which goes to show their purity and virtue,
the more 
so on account of their close proximity to the most vile and licentious border
white men. 
Owing to the onerous duties of the physician, the scattered condition of
the Indians, and 
their uncomfortable manner of living, I provided a temporary hospital at
the agency, so the 
sick could be better cared for during the cold winter months, which was always
until the return of warm weather. 
The traders and their clerks can exert more influence for good or evil over
the Indians 
than any other persons who come in contact with them. 
The system of trade has been one of unlimited competition, which has brought
down to the lowest possible price, and the highest price is paid for the
robes and furs to the 
Indians. I have deemed this preferable to having one trader and attempting
to fix his prices 
and profits. I believe no agent, desiring to guard the interests of the Indians,
can agree as 
to rates of profits on goods with a trader whose leading motive is to make
money. Compe- 
tition will bring the lowest possible profits. The Indians are requested
to inform me of any 
attempt by the traders and clerks to take advantage of them in trade. 
Those applying for trader's license are required to show that they are honest,
temperate, and are regular attendants of religious service and Sabbath-school
at home. 
These qualifications have not heretofore been considered requisite. 
When the head of a family desires to anticipate his annuity, he is furnished
a card, with 
his name, number of family, date, and time of next payment written on its
face. The 
names of the licensed traders are printed on the card, with a blank space
opposite each, 
where they are expected to make a mark for every dollar's worth sold to the
Indian; thus 
he can trade wherever he can obtain the kind of goods desired, at the lowest
prices. The 
traders are notified quarterly, by circular, that they can sell a certain
amount per capita on 
these cards, which prevents the improvident from wasting their annuities
on unnecessary 
articles, as the amount is to meet their actual wants as nearly as possible.
At each semi-annual payment the traders furnish me with a clear account of
the sales to 
each one, and when the Indian claims his annuity he presents his card, which
is compared 
with the statement, and, if found correct, he is paid the amount not taken
This method secures the trader his pay, and leads the Indians to economize,
their calculating faculties, and secures them against clerical errors in
traders' books. 
On the 22d of Ninthmonth, 1873, by invitation of Superintendent Hoag to meet
sioner Smith, seventeen of the chiefs and head-men of the tribe visited Lawrence,
Kans. It 
being the first time many of them had seen the cars and other evidences of
advanced civili- 
zation, their desire for the improvement of their own people was greatly
increased; and, 
though frequently in company with both whites and Indians of other tribes
who were intoxi- 
cated, they returned home without tasting liquor. 
As no member of the tribe now living had ever visited Washington, and some
of the 
chiefs being anxious to do so, (for sinister purposes,) a delegation of nine
blanket and four 
mixed-blood Osages, accompanied by their agent and J. M. Hiatt, started for
that place on 
the 16th of Thirdmonth. The action of the delegation in reference to their
business matters 
was not satisfactory to the civilizing portion of the tribe. They returned
via Philadelphia, 
having also avoided intoxicating drinks and improper places. 
The large amount required to pay the Cherokees for this reservat ion so reduced
the Osage 
funds at interest that it was necessary for Congress to appropriate from
their reserved prin- 
cipal for their support the coming year. The wisdom of that act is now apparent,
as a large 
share of the $100,000 thus provided will be required for their support in
case they are 
not permitted to hunt on the plains. 
During the panic last fall I purchased one hundred steers, in order to have
in the spring, to supply all demands for that kind of work from Indians.
I also purchased 
over fifty Berkshire and Poland-China breeding-hogs, a few milch-cowvs, and
a bull of im- 
proved stock, for the school-farm, and three good stallions to improve the
size and strength 
15 IND 

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