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

[Montana],   pp. 259-270 PDF (6.0 MB)


Page 262

262  REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
dian. The average Indian is far superior to the majority of the whites who
marry Indian 
women. This agency furnishes an example of men of culture becoming worthless
by asso- 
ciation with the Indians, while they have contributed nothing toward the
elevation of the 
red man. As a rule, the full-blooded Indian stands a much better chance to
become a man 
than the half-breed. The presence of these men causes more trouble in the
management of 
the Indians than all other causes combined. 
I respectfully call the attention of the Department to the fact that there
is a mining-camp 
on the reservation, occupied by from twenty to twenty-five men, who claim
that they were 
on the ground as early as 1864, four years before the treaty of 1868. There
are but few of 
the original discoverers of the mines now at work. Other parties have bought
and other- 
wise obtained interests in these mines. It is a plain violation of article
II of the treaty of 
1868, and is the cause of complaint on the part of the Indians. Persons under
pretext- of 
trading with these miners have, as I have been informed, introduced whisky
into this 
camp. This matter deserves the serious consideration of the Government. It
is hoped that 
such measures may be adopted as will remove all cause of complaint on the
part of the 
Indians. 
This agency, although assigned to the Methodist Episcopal church, no effort
had been 
made to effect any organization until in October of last year, when Rev.
T. C. Iliff, pastor 
of the -huich at Bozeman, organized a church, consisting of six members,
and supplied it 
with preaching once a month until January, when Rev. Matthew Bird was emplo3
ed as min 
ister and teacher; since which time there has been religious services held
regularly every Sab- 
bath. A Sabbath-school was organized immediately after I assumed control,
which has 
been maintained with gratifying results. The church now numbers twelve members.
A Good Templar lodge was organized in April last, with fifteen members, which
now 
numbers twenty-four members. A large majority of the employds belong to this
organiza- 
tion, and its influence upon this society is apparent to all. We have completed
a tuilding 
21 by 33 feet, to use as a school-room, church, and Good Templar hall, which
will greatly 
aid in the various enterprises of moral reform at the agency. 
In conclusion, I am happy to state that the Indians belonging to this agency
have during 
the last year enjoyed good health ; but few have died ; and last, but not
least, they remain 
firm friends to the white man, and stand ready at any tinie to aid the Government
in repell- 
ing the attacks of any hostile Indians who may commit depredations upon the
persons or 
property of the country. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JAMES WRIGHT, 
Agent for Crow Indians. 
Hon. EDW. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 
FLATHEAD INDIAN AGENCY, M. T., September 12, 1874. 
SiR: In accordance with instructions received from the Department, I have
the honor to 
transmit my first annual report of the affairs of this agency. 
Arriving. I relieved my predecessor, Mr. D. Shanahan, on the 14th of July,
as per commu- 
nication to the honorable Commissioner of that date. Owing to the shortness
of my occu- 
pancy I am as yet unable to furnish the Department with details concerning
the require- 
ments and wants of the agency and Indiam, under my charge, but, as time and
observation 
will develop, I will inform the honorable Commissioner by special report.
The condition of the permanent structures at this place at the time of my
arrival, such as 
Indian houses, (twenty-one in number,) agency buildings, &c., was, an'd
is, fair. The stock, 
horses and cattle in good condition, the mill in running order. The number
of shops and 
houses at the agency proper, however, have always proved inadequate, and
more are now 
in process of construction, of which, when completed, a detailed report will
be made. 
The disposition of the Indians of this agency toward the Government and people
bor- 
dering the reservation is of a satisfactory nature. Among the Indians of
these tribes are 
quite a number of thrifty farmers, a majority showing a disposition to abandon
the chase 
and make their living by the arts of civilized life. They are mostly inclined
to agricultural 
pursuits, and had they the opportunity of engaging at such by the donations
of the necessary 
implements, many more than now are would be found self-sustaining. I am led
to this belief 
from the fact, as I am informed by parties who were present at the last distribution
of an- 
nuities, that those receiving plows and harness seemed to be glad that at
last they had the 
opportunity of beginning farming, while, on the other hand, those not receiving
any were 
very much disappointed and so expressed themselves, saying that they wanted
to go to 
work, and could not obtain the means wherewith to do so. I would therefore
recommend 
the purchase of more farming-implements, such as plows, harness, and a few
wagons, as 
annuities, in place of blankets, as such would undoubtedly tend greatly to
their civilization 
and self-sustenance. 
Those Indians not engaged in securing their crops have departed upon their
annual buffalo- 
hunt. Upon these hunts the Pend d'Oreilles are in the habit of stealing horses
from either 
friend or foe, as chance may favor them, and returning, elated with their
success, refuse, uder 


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