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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)


[Wyoming],   pp. 270-271 PDF (1.0 MB)


Page 270

270 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
them; while a calmer and more considerate course leads them, imperceptibly
to themselves, 
to adopt the customs of civilized life. Hence the civiiization and christianization
of the 
Indian tribes is a tardy and critical work, one which necessarily demands
much patience 
on the part of the American people, and must extend over no inconsiderable
length of time. 
We have no reason to expect that the work of centuries will be accomplished
in less than a 
single decade. Btit we may reasonably hope that well-directed, persevering
efforts, accom- 
panied by that Christian charity " which suffereth long and is kind,"
will ultimately be the 
means of elevating the Indian to a nobler manhood and restoring him to the
image of God. 
In conclusion I will say, that whatever good has been accomplished here is
due, in great 
part, to the prompt action of the Department in granting every necessary
requisition of the 
service. 
I desire to express my grateful appreciation of the uniform courtesy and
forbearance which 
have been shown me by the Department during the brief period of my arduous
official duties. 
More especially do I desire to record my debt of gratitude to the All-Father
for that kind 
and ever-vigilant providence that has watched over and preserved us through
the dangers 
and vicissitudes incident to ten months' incessant toil among hostile Sioux.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
WM. W. ALDERSON, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. EDW. P. SMITH, 
Commissiover of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
SHOSHONE AND BANNACK AGENCY, 
Ifyomina Territory, September 23,1874. 
SIR : I have the honor to submit the following annual report for the year
ending Septem- 
ber 30, 1 874: 
The Shoshones, with few exceptions, staid on the reservation the past year,
and during 
the summer season at the agency, and more were willing to work than we were
able to sup- 
ply with implements. There is no longer a doubt of their Willingness to work
as a tribe, 
from the chief down; but it will require time and patient teaching-before
their labor can be 
made as profitable as desired. Several lodges of immediate relatives will
join labor on a 
piece of land, but are entirely opposed to working together in one common
community. 
They are, without a single exception, peaceable and satisfied, and have full
confidence in the 
Government. Lying and stealing is strongly discountenanced by the chief men,
and their 
general conduct is decidedly good. I have never received an unkind word,
even from those I 
have had occasion to rebuke. I mingle freely with them and often engage in
their sports, listen 
to their complaints, and counsel them in trouble, and always receive obedience
and respect. 
The influence and example set them by numerous white people, who force themselves
upon 
the reservation, is not always civilizing in its effects. I cannot prevent
those lawless ag- 
ressions, and have so notified the United States district marshal and attorney,
who have as 
yet paid no attention to the matter. 
An atrocious murder was committed about the 17th instant, a robbery about
the 20th, 
and liquor supplies to the Indians without difficulty. There is plenty of
law, but how is it 
to be enforced when the sympathy of so many people is on the wrong side?
It is hoped 
the example of my Indians may benefit them. 
The hostile attitude of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes caused alarm in the early
part of the 
season as usual, but the timely action of the military command, under Captain
Bates, has 
restored quiet for the present. 
The Shoshones numbered at the agency during the past year about 1,041 souls,
viz, 369 
men, 422 women, and 250 children. Their health is good, and personal as well
as general 
habits much improved. They are as notable to-day for neatness and order as
they formerly 
were for indolence, dirt, and rags; and, I may add, there is still room for
improvement. 
Fully one-half of the Indians engaged in farming and cultivation, in wheat,
oats, potatoes, 
and garden vegetables, about three hundred acres. Unfortunately grasshoppers
destroyed 
nearly the whole crop. There are about 500 acres of land under good fence.
The first 
plowing is done by white men with stout ox-teams, after which the Indians
plow with their 
ponies, being provided with harness and small plows. The cows purchased for
them this 
season arrived too late to be valuable for milking purposes, but the Indians
are very proud 
of them, and no doubt the larger portion will be milked next summer. The
sale of the south- 
ern part of their reservation for cows will give them a handsome start in
stock. 
Agreeable to instructions from the Department, thirteen houses were erected
and two old ones 
repaired this summer. They are 16 by 18 feet, made of sawed logs, one and
one-half stories 
high, good floors, and shingle roofs, and are occupied by the chief and head-men.
 The old 
style nine-plate southern plantation stove is used for cooking and heating.
I would respect- 
fully invite attention to this stove, as it is no doubt the very best for
Indian purposes. 
Considerable effort has been made to induce parents to send their children
to school, but 
the result the last year has not been flattering. The children tire of the
restraint, and parental 


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