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)
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 235 of it. They say that schools are well enough for the Arapahoe children, but that the Chey- ennes do not require to go to school to learn how to hunt the buffalo; and when told that the buffalo would soon all be gone, and that the school was intended and designed to teach them how to live without them, replied that they do not desire to live after the buffalo shall become extinct. R ATIONS. I desire to report that with the present ration allowed to the Indian I find it impossible to feed the members of the tribe on this reservation. During last First, Second, and Third months, and a part of Fourthmontb, when all the Indians were present at the agency, we ran out of rations with the exception of beef, and I have no doubt that had there been a good supply of rations on hand at that time, I could have held the entire Cheyenne tribe at the agency, and prevented much of the trouble since experienced with that restless people. The present ration consists of 4 pounds of coffee per 100 rations; 8 pounds of sugar per 100 rations; half pound of flour per ration; 11 pounds of beef per ration, net, 3 pounds gross; three-quarters of a pound of bacon per ration, (issued twice per month in lieu of beef;) 1 pound of soap per 100 rations; I pound of salt per 100 rations; half pound of tobacco per 100 rations. I would respectfully suggest to the Department, that to increase the ration of beef to '2 pounds net per ration, to decrease the flour-ration to one- quarter of a pound, and substitute one-quarter of a pound of meal, and to make issues of 1 pound of bacon per ration, twice per month, would add materially to the welfare of these people, at the same time the additional cost to the Government would be but trifling. INDIAN FARMERS. Our Indian farming, the present season, amounted to almost nothing. The leading men of the Arapahoes who were interested last year, and to whom we confidently looked the pres- ent season for renewed labors in that direction, were busily engaged in making a "Medicine Lodge " at the time when they should have been planting corn. I caused a section of the large field lying east of the agency to be plowed and prepared for them, but before they got ready for farming, the spring was too far advanced to hope for a crop, and to plant with- out a reasonable hope for success, and fail, would only destroy our prospects for next spring. In all, about 20 to 30 acres of corn and melons were planted by Indians, and about 250 acres of corn by employds, but it proved an entire failure. The drought set in early in Sixth- month, and not a drop of moisture fell to the parched earth until the 7th of Ninthmouth. About the 15th of Eighthmonth, our reservation was visited by clouds of grasshoppers, wafted from the north and east, as if to finish up the scanty vegetation left scorched and dry by the drought which prevailed to such an extent. We have been almost unable to get proven- der of any kind for the Government stock; even rushes and slough grass, cut for hay, have scarcely sufficient substance in them to warrant Vie cutting. Hostile bands of Indians. prowling around in the vicinity of the agency, have burned the prairies in all directions, and unless the coming winter should be mild and open, the pros- pects for wintering stock and procuring pasturage for beef-cattle will be anything but flat- tering. IMPROVEMENTS. Most of the improvements added the past year have consisted of remodeling houses al- ready built, and repairing. We have built a large commodious barn, 60 by 100 feet in dimensions ; also a -new cattle corral, for weighing and branding Government beef-cattle. Cottonwood, the only timber found in this country, has to be renewed about every second or third year, the grain being so pithy and porous that the rain and moisture soon destroys it. Our fences have been entirely rebuilt the present season with good oak posts, hundreds of the old posts being cut down and carried away by shiftless Indians as firewood. We have had no little difficulty in saving the picket fences around the gardens of the agency, and at times -vve have been compelled to call upon the leading men of the tribes to make good our authority. This difficulty became more apparent when,for mutual safety, the Arapahoes were camped immediately adjacent to the agency, and firewood became scarce, from a dread to proceed outside of the limits of the agency to procure it. SANITARY. Considerable of sickness at times prevailed at the agency the past season, but as a result of an increase in faith in the white man's medicine, but very few deaths have occurred, the mortality being mostly among children from one month to three years old. Owing to a press of other business, vwe are as yet without any hospital, although hopes are entertained that we shall have one before the next sickly season reaches us. In former years the Indian jugglery, known as "medicine," and consisting mostly of drumming, shouting, and screaming, to appease the wrath of the Great Spirit, were exhausted over a patient before it was brought to the notice of the agency physician, who frequently found the case so far gone as to be beyond the reach of his art ; but the past season has revealed less cases of this kind than any before.
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