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

[Colorado],   pp. 271-276 PDF (3.0 MB)


Page 275

REPORT     OF TIE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     275 
matter. Upon my return to the agency in August, I read to them "in council"
the reply 
of the Commissioner, which was, in substance, that the Bear River country
was not theirs, 
and that they had no rights in it whatever. The Indians listened to me respectfully,
and 
dispersed quietly, and 1 have heard nothing from them in regard to the matter
since. It is 
much to be desired that the northern boundary of the reservation be accurately
defined and 
made plain to the Indians by natural landmarks. I have heard some reports
of their threat- 
ening to drive off persons who have and are making efforts to settle the
Bear River Valley, 
but have not learned that they have resorted to any open violence. 
From actual count of the Indians who have come into the agency during my
charge, and 
from the best estimate I can make of those who belong at this agency whom
I have not yet 
seen, and of some number who propose to make their home at White River in
future, I 
report one thousand Indians at this agency, about equally divided between
men and women. 
Nearly one-half of this number have been present at the agency for some weeks
past. At 
this writing most of them are about going away for the "fall hunt."
From what I can learn of the previous condition of the Indians, I should
say that their 
general healthfulness has been greater the last year than the year before.
There have been 
but few deaths during the year. When unwell the Indians depend very much
upon the 
knowledge and skill of the whites at the agency, and it is to be regretted
that the means 
has not been appropriated for the employment of a competent physician to
serve them. 
In educational matters I would report that I am in hopes to awaken considerable
inter- 
est, though for that portion of the year previous to the 1 st of July I can
report nothing, as 
I believe nothing was attempted in that direction by the last agent. The
lady who will 
take charge of this work has had much experience in teaching and in managing
difficult 
schools ; she comes with a thoroughly devoted spirit and a special aptitude
for the work, 
and is provided with a partial outfit for an industrial school and for object-teaching.
Up 
to this date twenty-one scholars have been secured, sixteen girls and women
and five boys. 
The girls have already made for themselves sixteen garments after the pattern
of female 
attire in civilized life, and are anxious to learn to sew and cut garments
for themselves. 
While working they are learning to count and to talk the English, and are
learning the 
alphabet. The teacher has secured one very bright boy about sixteen years
old to remain 
through the winter as a boarding-scholar, and she thinks if the agent can
arrange to take 
care of them, she can secure many more to remain with her. This work is the
real work to 
do; and so soon as possible a suitable building should be erected for the
accommodation of 
such scholars, that, by their constant intercourse with their teachers, they
may acquire the 
language and manners and ideas of civilized life. If this work should prove
to b practica- 
ble, from the efforts of the teacher and agent this fall and winter, I trust
a sufficient sum of 
money may be appropriated to pay an assistant to attend to the bodily wants
of such chil- 
dren. 
The chief of the Utes at this agency, Douglan, has expressed a desire to
have a house 
built for him and has asked for a cow for his use. Another of the Indians
has already occu- 
pied the house built for a "council-house," and is keeping it neat
and clean. None of the 
Indians of this agency have yet engaged in agriculture; but several have
small herds of 
cattle and goats. I have reason to think that if they were supplied with
citizens' clothing, or 
could procure it cheaply by purchase, the Indians would very generally wear
it in prefer- 
ence to their own peculiar clothing. They are particularly desirous to have
their children 
dressed as white children. They have urged the trader to bring in "boys'
suits," and they 
ask daily the teacher if she can and will cut boys' garments, and they wish
her to make 
caps and bonnets. I am fully convinced that the presence of white women at
the agency 
(of which there are two) has already exerted and will continue to exert a
good influence upon 
the Indians, tending to subdue their rudeness and refine their manners. 
The past season has been very favorable for agricultural pursuits, (whether
it has been 
an exceptionally good season or not I cannot say,) and had there been many
acres under 
cultivation and sufficient hands to gather them, very good crops might have
been secured. 
As it was, I found upon arriving at the agency but between 8 and 9 acres
sown and 
planted. We have harvested about 5 acres of good wheat, yielding at the rate
of '25 bushels 
to the acre. I estimate that we may gather 75 bushels of potatoes, provided
the Indians do 
not disturb them, and, from the product of a small patch which has already
been dug, I 
judge it would be easy to raise 250 bushels from an acre. A small amount
of garden pro- 
ducts have also been raised, including turLips, onions, carrots, &c.
Eighty tons of hay have 
been cut for winter use. The agency herd now numbers, as last counted, 773
head, and 
most of the cattle are in very fine condition, though somewhat wild. 
From the experience of the year I would report that I believe a limited number
of acres of 
land in the " river-bottom" can be successfully cultivated and
made to produce good crops 
of wheat, oats, and potatoes, and should the Department see fit to erect
a flouring-mill at 
the agency, the flour for the Indians might be produced, without great expense,
on their own 
ground. 
The building of the agency and the stockade are in a very poor condition.
New buildings 
should be erected, or the old ones very thoroughly repaired. At present the
agent is unwill- 
ing to put any great amount of expense or labor upon the old ones, owing
to the fact of the 
several recommendations of the last agent and of the Indian inspector that
new buildings 


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