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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 280

280     REPORT     OF  THE    COMMISSIONER       OF  INDIAN    AFFAIRS. 
What has been said for the Indians and work upon Pyramid Lake reserve repeats
itself 
here. Most of the lands susceptible of cultivation have been fenced and cross-fenced
into 
separate inclosures, claimed and occupied, and though the crops are not as
good as we could 
have hoped, the fault is not chargeable to the want of interest or care,
but alone to the pov- 
erty of the lands. Many, it is true, go abroad and work for wages, and then
return again" 
to this place, most sacred to them of all others, because it is the place
of their birth. This 
going abroad is inevitable, and must necessarily continue unless the Government
exercises 
more generosity toward these Indians, for I freely confess that I am unable
to provide for 
six hundred Indians with an appropriation sufficient to meet the necessities
of one hundred. 
Then, again, observation has taught me that those that go from the reservation
to work for 
wages are in a measure benefited, as they come in direct contact with civilization
; also, by 
their labor, aid materially in supplying the demand for help that otherwise
would be diffi- 
cult to procure. Many of the people ot Mason's Valley have said to me, "Enforce
the order 
for the Indians to not leave their reservations, and it would be a calamity
to us in more ways 
than one." But the want of lands upon the reserve sufficient to make
every Indian a farm, 
or the inducements held out to them in wages for labor, or any other influence,
except the 
strong arm of the military, will not preclude these Indians from returning
to their home upon 
the reservation when they desire to. There is no race or tribe more tenacious
of this right 
than the Pah-Utes. In fact they are really clannish, and it would be a difficult
matter to 
transfer Indians from one of my reservations to the other, though they belong
to the same 
tribe and speak the same language. I repeat, that there never was a people
more devotedly 
allied to their place of nativity. This was the great reason why the invitation
embraced in 
the order from the Department of October 21 last, though supplemented with
the stern dec- 
laration, "Indians who fail or refuse to come in and locate in permanent
abodes upon the 
reservations will be subject wholly to the control and supervision of the
military authorities, 
who, as circumstances may justify, will, at their discretion, treat them
as friendly or hostile," 
was disregarded. The moment the invitation was announced the Indians at Humboldt
manifested disfavor or revolt. At sink of Carson they plead unwillingness
for fear of cre- 
ating jealousy among the reservation Indians, who would argue that "there
is not enough 
for us and you," while those in Fish Lake Valley sent up their wail
of remonstrance that 
for them to submit to the removal from their old homes would result in their
becoming sick 
and dying off, and still other bands rendered excuses similar to the above.
My idea of the best way to regulate these difficulties is for the Government
to first pro- 
vide a sufficient amount to put every Indian now upon the reservation who
desires it in 
possession of a small farm, with such improvements and farming-utensils as
are needful to 
make a fair beginning, and, in place of attemptivg to force a greater number
upon any reser- 
vation than can thus be.provided for, to the discouragement of all, let further
provision be 
made, adequate to the demand, and time will eventually prove that the larger
portion of the 
Pah-Ute Indians will be a benefit to themselves and the State at large. At
the present time 
the success of our Indian farmers is a greater incentive to others than all
the councils that 
we may hold; and let this encouragement go on, and but little time will elapse
before strin- 
gent orders or military force will not be needed. 
The Walker River reservation is under the superintendency of George Frazier,
esq., who 
has been .o long with us in this work that it needs no words from me to prove
his peculiar 
fitness for the service in which he is engaged. His report will show the
result of labor the 
past year. Mr. H. E. Sargeant is the bonded trader upon this reservation,
and I am quite 
certain that he has done much more for the interest of the Indians than he
has been pecu- 
niarily benefited. The trade is comparatively of but little importance to
the trader, tbr 
though the fishery upon the reservation is nearly or quite as good as upon
the other, yet the 
market is too remote to make it practicable. The sanitary condition of the
Indians upon 
both of these reservations has been remarkably good the past year, and, according
to the 
Indians' register, the ratio of births in excess of deaths has been seven
to one. 
The Pyramid Lake reservation has sustained a severe loss in the death of
Chief George 
Curry, who died on the 23d instant. He was kind to all, and a devoted friend
to the Govern- 
ment. At each of the reservations a good supply of medicines is continually
kept, and the 
employes are always ready to dispense the same, but, strange as it may appear,
the most 
intelligent among them adhere to their own medicine-men, and sometimes the
scenes enacted 
over their sick are quite revolting. Time and civilized influences will eventually
correct 
these heathenish practices. 
The number of Indians in Nevada is a subject that has produced much comment
of late, 
and perhaps no subject presents so diversified opinions as the census of
the Indians. The 
current belief is, that their numbers in this State have been greatly overestimated,
which is 
very likely the fact. I am frank to acknowledge that I am unable to decide
intelligently. 
I have, from time to time, put the estimate of the Pah-Utes at 6,000, but
I only attempted to 
approximate the numbers, as I have never received instructions or authority
to make a gen- 
eral exploration of the field to ascertain the facts, and consider it would
have been a needless 
expenditure of money, as there were always mote Indians upon the reservations
than could 
well be provided for with the appropriation, "Indian service, Nevada."
But for the satis- 
faction of whom it may concern, I will cite the data given by predecessors
: Report of Nevada 
superintendency, 1869, H. G. Parker incumbent, page 460 Commissioner's Report,
the num- 


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