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

[Dakota],   pp. 238-259 PDF (10.7 MB)


Page 252

252 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
have also constructed a dam on White River, and have made about one mile
and a half of 
irrigation-ditch. This ditch can be extended to irrigate some 5,000 acres
of land. 
On arrival at the agency, I found the Indians had a very exalted idea of
their ability to 
resist the Government and compel a compliance with 'their wishes. I repeatedly
called 
their attention to the fact that the buffalo were almost all destroyed, and
as soon as they 
were gone the Indians would be helpless. Red Cloud sent messengers through
the Powder 
River and Big Horn country, and convinced himself that there was not game
enougtI to 
sustain them through a war; they now have a better understanding of their
situation, and 
are making efforts to adapt themselves to the changed conditions. In the
spring a general 
council of all the bands was held, at which they resolved to protect any
one who wished to 
go to farming; whereupon twenty-five persons made application for assistance
to commence. 
Not having procured any implements for this agency, I borrowed some plows
of Agent 
Howard, and broke about 30 acres, in small patches, which were planted by
the Indians; it, 
however, was too late in the season for crops to mature, yet it served to
demonstrate the fer- 
tility of the soil wherever it can be irrigated. The demands for assistance
to farm are greater 
than means at my dsposal will supply. Within twenty miles of the agency there
are about 
50,000 acres of land which can be irrigated, yet agriculture cannot be depended
upon as a 
means for support of these Indians. The valley of White River and adjacent
hills produce 
a fine grass, and the country is well adapted to grazing; stock-raising must
be the main 
pursuit in this country; especially is it adapted to sheep-culture. I believe
the Indians would 
more readily learn to caje for sheep than any other kind of stock. Next in
importance is the 
breeding of horses and mules; they have over 10,000 horses, mostly of inferior
size and 
quality, but by improving the stock with some good blooded horses, a hardy
and valuable 
breed might be produced. 
No missionary or educational work has yet been done among these Indians,
but prepara- 
tions are now making to build a school-house and establish a school. Not
more than a 
dozen, perhaps, of these Indians have ever attempted manual labor, yet such
is their eager- 
ness to commence some industrial pursuit that I consider the prospect for
their civilization 
very flattering. 
Indians have great respect for authority, and strictly observe any law enacted
by a recog- 
nized authority; they are easily governed when one has the power to enforce
his orders; 
among themselves there is comparatively little disturbance or quarreling.
I would respect- 
fully suggest that it would greatly facilitate the administration of justice
and promote 
order, if there was established a court for trial and means for punishment
of criminals at 
the agencies. If there was a court at this agency for their trial, I have
no doubt that 
the criminals whom the Indians now refuse to surrender would be delivered
into my hands. 
They say it is simply sending them to their deaths to send them to Fort Laramie
or Chey- 
enne for trial. 
A strip of country along the valleys of the White River and Running Water,
for a hun- 
dred miles east from the east line of Wyoming, and fifty miles wide, north
and south, em- 
braces all the land of any value for agriculture or grazing in Southwest
Dakota and North- 
west Nebraska. This land is mostly in Nebraska, and therefore out of the
Sioux reserva- 
tion. If the Indian's are removed to their reservation, all hope of civilizing
them or making 
them self-supporting is gone, as there is no place on their reservation where
any number 
of them could make a living. It is therefore the interest of both the Government
and the 
Indians that the treaty of 1868 be revised, and the valleys set apart as
a reservation for 
the Indians. In this connection, also, a release of the unceded portion of
Wyoming and 
Nebraska could be obtained. 
Very respectfiflly, your obedient servant, 
J. J. SAVILLE, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Tashington, D. C. 
UPPER MISSOURI Sioux AGENCY, 
Crow Creek, Dak., Sep ember, 1874. 
SiR: In compliance with the instructions of the Department, I have the honor
to submit 
this my annual report relative to the progress made at tois and Lower Brul6
agency, Dakota 
Territory, for the year ending August 31, 1 874. 
The Lower Yanctonnais are located at the Upper Missouri Sioux agency, on
the east side of 
the Missouri River. These Indians, by their uniform good behavior and the
amount of work 
performed, have shown that they are gradually giving up many of their heathenish
customs 
and indolent habits. Seventy comfortable log-houses have been erected by
them during the 
past year, also many stables for their stock. Eighteen months ago not an
Indian house 
was to be found upon this reservation. At the present time the Lower Yanctonnais
are occu- 
pying over one hundred houses, all constructed by themselves, with the exception
of doors 
and windows. -Many of the Indians of this band are now engaged in securing
logs, with 
the view of erecting houses for themselves before cold weather. 


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