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

[Nevada],   pp. 278-284 PDF (3.7 MB)


Page 279

REPORT     OF   THE   COMMISSIONER       OF   INDIAN   AFFAIRS.      279
and sick. This plan has worked admirably, and it has required no compulsion
to induce 
the parties to save a portion of what they have raised for coming seedings.
Also, I have 
from the commencement of service been impressed with the idea of separating
the Indians 
as much as practicable, giving each family portions of land to cultivate
distinct from the 
others; and it was for this reason that I recommended, in my last annual
report, such legis- 
lation as was needful to make the title of lands secure to the faithful occupant.
I have seen 
nothing to change my mind on this subject, but much to strengthen, and I
respectfully 
repeat, with emphasis, that I consider it of paramount importance that the
reservation be 
surveyed, and in such form that each family may be given at least twenty
acres of land sus- 
ceptible of cultivation, being always careful that the same be [so] located
that irrigation can be 
effected with the present means, or by additional improvements. 
I know that my views relative to the management of Indians and their becoming
self- 
supporting farmers come in collision with some of my predecessors. In the
report of Mr. 
H. G. Parker, of September 20, 1869, page 202, Commissioner's Report, Mr.
Parker says : 
"The reservations they have in the superintendency are of no value to
them whatever. It 
would benefit them vastly more if they were abandoned and allowed to be settled
by the 
whites, for there would be so many more farms to work on. I have demonstrated
the fact 
that these Indians will not farm for themselves; at the same time they are
good hands to 
work for white men." Now I have to say, that I have demonstrated the
fact that the 
Indians will work for themselves more readily even than for others; and,
with the incen- 
tives that have been given by the Government, I am ready to challenge the
better showing 
anywhere, in the same length of time, with the small appropriations made,
that can be seen 
on the score or more ranches made and improved upon these very reservations
mentioned in 
the above extract. Our only difficulty has been to provide, from the small
appropriation 
allowed this service, the needful supplies of food, teams, and farming utensils
absolutely 
requisite to meet the demand made by the continually-increasing numbers ready
and anxious 
to avail themselves of the opportunity to work. More than this: it is not
unfrequent to find 
the Indians waiting with impatience for others to be through with teams,
wagons, or tools, 
that they may use them; and, at the present writing, there are Indians who
have heretofore 
gone abroad to labor for wages among the whites, engaged in harvesting or
thrashing, 
receiving, this time, wages from the Indians upon the reserves for their
labor. I will cite 
one case where an Indian went abroad last year and worked for wages, who
this year, 
under Government auspices, planted a crop of his own, and has already hired
help to har- 
vest and thrash the same, paying for said labor from his sales, in excess
of what he needs for 
support and seed, about $75 in coin. In striking contrast is this Indian
to his own brother, 
who is none other than the troublesome one lately arrested by the military,
and now under 
promise of good behavior; one a steady and contented farmer, and rapidly
progressing 
toward comfort and competency; the other notoriously bad, refusing to abide
upon a reser- 
vation, but ever roving about, a gambler by profession, and always ready
to concert with 
unscrupulous and designing colleagues in promoting discord, embarrassing
to the reserva- 
tion Indians as well as the Government employ6s. 
The Pyramid Lake reservation is under the tuition of E. M. Gregory, esq.,
as farmer, to 
whom much is due for the degree of prosperity attained. (I respectfully refer
the Depart- 
ment to his report.) 
There is also a bonded trader, under approved license from the Department,
who has ex- 
clusive right to trade within the limits of the reserve. The revenue to the
trader is not as 
extensive here as at some of the larger reservations, yet it is of importance,
as it relieves 
the Indians from an excuse to go abroad for traffic. The principal trade
is carried on during 
the months of November, December, January, February, and March. These are
the fishing 
months, and during the time many Indians from abroad come to unite with those
here in 
catching trout, which, under the present arrangement, finds a ready market
and good prices. 
For two years past James 0. Gregory, esq., has occupied this position, and
with credit to 
himself and the Indian service. He has fully sustained the confidence of
the Indians, and 
among the citizens of the country an unimpeachable reputation. 
The Walker River reservation is some sixty miles southeast of Wadsworth,
from which 
point all supplies are transported. This reservation was surveyed in December,
1864, by 
Eugene Monroe, and embraces an area of 320,000 acres, including the Walker
Lake; but, 
according to the most accurate estimate that can be had, there are not more
than 3,900 acres 
of any value whatever to the Indian service, and not exceeding 1,500 acres
that are sus- 
ceptible of cultivation, and even that has proved to be inferior land; and
yet there are many 
good reasons for the retention of this reserve. 
Much has been accomplished in the way of improvements. Quite a number of
Indians 
have made themselves ranches, with the end in view of permanent residence,
and, from what 
I know of their desires and expectations, I would as tenaciously contend
for its perpetuity 
(with perhaps a modified area) as the Indians' abode as for the Pyramid Lake
reservation. 
The great and memorable speech of Hon. I. C. Parker, of Missouri, in Congress
last win- 
ter, finds its echo here. This is the home of at least six hundred Pah-Utes,
who, if absent 
at all, are only so temporarily. Here the Government has promised them an
abiding-place, 
and justice and honor demand that the compact remain inviolate. I am glad
that the exec 
utive oider, of March 20 last, re-affirms the obligation and sets at rest
the question of its per- 
petuity. 


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