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

[Montana],   pp. 259-270 PDF (6.0 MB)

Page 261

CROW AGENCY, M. T., September 21, 1874. 
SIR: I have the honor to herewith submit my first annual report in regard
to the affairs 
of this agency. 
I assumed the duties of the agency on the 20th of September, 1873. Owing
to the fire of 
October, 1872, the buildings were in an Unfit condition for the winter. We
succeeded in 
repairing the buildings already constructed, and erected others, so as to
make the employes 
comfortable during the cold season. 
I have made as careful an estimate of the number of Indians belonging to
this agency as 
it has been possible to do. The Mountain Crows number about 3,000-1,400 males
1,600 females. The River Crows I have not been able to definitely number.
I have taken 
the estimate of last year, placing their numbers at 1,200-500 males and 700
These people have not been here all at one time since I have had charge of
the agency. 
These Indians, (Mountain and River Crows,) are not increasing in population.
They do not 
seem to desire to increase their numbers. Criminal abortion and venereal
diseases pretty 
effectually check their increase. While they seem well disposed toward the
white man, 
they have a deep-rooted and almost unconquerable prejudice against adopting
his customs. 
They seem to desire to continue the chase for a living. While the buffalo
are in reach they 
will not resort to any other means of living. When this subject has been
presented to them, 
they have replied that when the buffalo are all gone they will go to farming.
Others have 
said that when the agency is moved to a good place they will settle down
and farm. 
The present system of giving annuities to the Indians does not promote their
It encourages idleness in any people to give them something for nothing.
One dollar fairly 
earned by honest labor will go as far as $2 given them. Treat the Indian
as you would 
any other poor man, give him work to do, pay him a fair price for his labor,
and thus raise 
his manhood; abandon the idea of treating them as independent sovereignties,
and owners 
of the soil they cannot cultivate ; assign to them a district of country
in which to live ; en- 
courage them to labor by giving them a stipulated price for the products
thereof, besides 
allowing them to retain the same; encourage them to become herders-they are
fond of stock, especially horses; aid them in improving their horses by furnishing
for the 
use of the tribes stallions of an improved bleed ; furnish them with stock-cattle,
and encour- 
age them to become the owners individually of cattle. By these means these
people can b 
gradually induced to abandon their nomadic life. The Government should take
care of 
and support the aged, infirm, and orphans among the Indians,just as it does
among other 
The removal of the agency should be accomplished at the earliest practicable
period. At 
present it is on the river, near the line, thus rendering it an easy matter
for unprincipled 
white men to carry on an illicit trade with the Indians. Whisky can be easily
on to the reservation. Besides, the present location does not suit the Indians.
It is a long 
ways from their hunting-grounds, inconvenient to timber, and would be hard
to defend if 
attacked by hostile Indians. There are some good locations from forty to
sixty miles east 
of here. I very respectfully urge that immediate measures be taken to select
a new site for 
the agency, and suitable building erected thereon. 
The late contract made between the Crows and the special commission appointed
by the 
honorable Secretary of the Interior, whereby the Indians agreed to dispose"of
their present 
reservation and remove to what is known as the Judith Basin country, not
having received 
the sanction of Congress, and the fact that a wagon-road has been constructed
across that 
country, terminating a few miles below the line of the proposed reservation,
and the estab- 
lishment of trading-houses and whisky-shops, all render that country unfit
for the Indians, 
the main argument in favor of that country-to wit, its isolated position-has
destroyed. The fact that the Northern Pacific Railroad will probably pass
up the Yellow- 
stone Valley on the south side of the river, is no argument in favor of disposing
of the pres- 
ent reservation, but, on the contrary, it will render their country more
valuable for them 
when they commence farming, and they must come to that in the next decade.
The school was opened the 27th of October last. The Indian children at first
appeared in 
their native costumes, with noiiowedge of our language. The first quarter
Miss Pluma 
A. Noteware, the assistant matron, had charge. Rev. Matthew Bird assumed
control of the 
school in January. Although the number of Indian children has been small,
yet the school 
has been a success. From six to eight have been boaroed in the family of
the matron, and 
fed and clothed out of the supplies and annuity-goods furnished by the Government.
advancement has been all that could be desired. Their penmanship cannot be
anywhere, under the same circumstances. The chiefs and head-men seem pleased
with the 
school, and promise to aid in securing children to attend the school. The,
only hope for the 
civilization of these people lies in the education of the children. I respectfully
that they be lequired to furnish at least twenty-five scholars for the school,
each scholar to 
remain at least four years. Equal numbers of male and female should be admitted
to the 
school. One great drawback to the advancement of these people is the intermarriage
white men among them. As a rule, any white man who will marry an Indian woman
unfit to associate with the Indians. The presence of such men is a great
detriment to the In- 

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