United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
[Dakota], pp. 238-259 PDF (10.7 MB)
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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