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

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


Page 235

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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