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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 281

REPORT     OF  THE    COMMISSIONER       OF   INDIAN   AFFAIRS.      281
bers were given as follows: "Walker River agency, Pah-Utes, 8,000; Pyramid
Lake 
agency, Bannacks, Shoshones and others, 5,500; Washoes, 500. Total, 14,000."
Again, in 
report of Major H. Douglas, 1870, Commissioner's Report, pages 94 to 96:
" Pah-Utes, 6,000 ; 
Shoshones, 5,325; Washoes, 500; Goshutes, 895. Total, 12,720 "  The
above was founded 
upon a thorough canvass. Now, whether the Indians of the State approximate
the numbers 
given is not for me to decide; the above is the record. 
Captain Wagner, U. S. A., commanding at Camp McDermit, has estimated the
number of 
Pah-Utes at 15,009, embracing those in Idaho, Nevada, Southeastern California,
and Arizona. 
In the month of February, 1872, some fear was entertained by citizens of
Churchill and 
Esmeralda Counties in this State that an Indian outbreak was contempleted,
and Maj. J. C. 
Tidball, U. S. A., with a detachment of soldiers, was sent here. We visited
together the 
Walker River reservation and found in actual numbers 1,500 Pah-Utes; also,
on Pyramid 
Lake reservation, 500. The scarcity of native supplies had driven many to
the reserves, but 
from letters received from other parts of the State, appealing for assistance,
larger numbers 
of Pah-Utes were still off the reservations, and I was led to believe that
the estimates of late 
Superintendent Douglas were about correct. Be that as it may, I believe it
is generally 
conceded by citizens of Nevada that the Pab-Utes are increasing in numbers.
How to prevent the Indians of Nevada from roving about has been a question
somewhat 
mooted. I give the matter notice as circumstances preclude the power of an
agent to regu- 
late the case. The facts given above relative to their consolidation upon
the present reser- 
vations, the express desires of the citizens for their help in the houses,
mines, and upon 
ranches, and yet, greatest obstacle of all, the unrestrained permission of
the companies for 
the Indians to ride at their pleasure upon the railroads in the State, without
regard to the 
orders from the Government "that Indians shall not leave their reservations
without written 
permits from the agent." Now, until the railroad companies recognize
the necessity of the 
above requirements, we shall not be relieved from annoyance. I do not wish
by this to be 
understood as reflecting upon the generosity of the companies. I commend
them for keep- 
ing their pledges with Indians; but if arrangements could be made, whereby
those riding 
upon the cars should present permits from their agents, we should be relieved
from unjust 
censure, and the Indians would not be absent from their work, ofttimes to
the detriment ot 
their own interests. 
One of the important measures now demanding the attention of the Department,
is the 
means for providing the permanently located Indians upon the reservation
with small dwell- 
ing-houses. At the present time some are cutting timber to build, and there
should be a 
good carpenter appointed at once, and the agency should have the authority
to at least pro- 
vide the lumber for roof and floor, nails, doors, and windows for all houses
the Indians will 
build. The carpenter, if appointed, would be able to instruct some of the
young men in the 
trade, which would be of lasting good. Also it is absolutely needful that
there be a mill 
erected upon each of the reservations. A small portable engine or horse-power
with one 
run of burr-stone, suitable for grinding their wheat and barley, and a circular
saw for cutting 
lumber, would be of incalculable benefit, and tend to hasten the time when
they would be 
self-supporting. There is, as I have before stated, an abundance of timber
for all practica- 
ble purposes if it could be utilized; and the cost of the machinery would
be comparatively 
insionificant. 
The necessity for adopting some system for educating the Indian children
of Nevada is a 
question that solves itself; but how to accomplish the desired object I am
not able to tell. 
I have written so much upon this subject, and so frequently urged the establishment
of 
schools, that it seems needless for me to write more. Nearly two years ago
I recommended 
the appointment, as teacher, of a gentleman peculiarly fitted for the work
; but neither the 
appointment was made nor appropriations secured to inaugurate this most desirable
branch 
of service. In response to appeals made to the religious society to whom
was given this 
State, we were informed " that it was their feeling that the Government
should educate her 
wards," a response that I hoped would have been reversed under the administration
of the 
late secretary, but that hope is suddenly destroyed, as in the death of Dr.
Taylor the so- 
ciety atid nation have lost a man who heartily sympathized with every effort
for the good of 
the Indians. In my last annual report I recommended the reduction of the
territory embraced 
in these reservations, and I still think it desirable to make the change.
I do so injustice to 
the Indians and to remove the many difficulties growing out of this burdensome
area, much 
of which is of no practicable benefit whatever to the service. I would respectfully
recom- 
mend that there be an immediate survey, embracing all the bottom-land upon
the reserva- 
tions, including every acre of farming and wooded land, and extending so
far upon each of 
the lakes as to wholly control the fisheries, with, perhaps, a margin on
either side of the 
bottom-land precluding the near approximation of intruders, and so designate
the boundary- 
lines by permanent marks that it will be impossible for encroachments to
be accidental. Then 
let the land be subdivided, as per recommendations elsewhere in this report.
There is, perhaps, 
no service that demands more patience and experience than the Indian. Their
government is a 
vexed question, and even among the people on the very borders of the Indian
countries the 
opinions are as adverse relative to their management as among the politicians
at Washing- 
ton. An agent is continually beset with advisers, yet it would be remarkable
if any two 
persons exactly agreed, though, of course, each always presents the best
method. I am fully 


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