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

[California],   pp. 311-317 PDF (3.3 MB)


Page 316

316     REPORT    OF   THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS. 
ences. They are thus brought in contact with Mexicans, Spaniards, and unprincipled
whites, 
who take every occasion to supply them with whisky, to engage them in gambling,
and to 
defraud them out of their well-earned wages. Upon my arrival here I found
at once that 
dissipation was general among the Indians of this agency. I regret to say
that such is still 
the case, and that such will very likely continue so long as those offending
against the Gov- 
ernment in this particular go unpunished. It may seem strange that, while
we are well 
informed as to where and in what way most of the liquor is distributed among
them, we 
are nevertheless unable to bring the offenders to justice. The reason is
that both parties 
interested, they who sell and the Indians who buy, are ever on the alert
to shun any of the 
employes or others whom they might suspect as ready to detect, and avoid
entering into 
any transactions unless the circumstances are favorable, then generally in
a clandestine man- 
ner. Before any reform can be looked for anong the Indians, two things seem
necessary : 
first, special means should be provided by the Government to detect the perpetrators
of this 
nefarious work ; and, second, a settled home farther away from such influences
should be 
provided for the Indians, where they can have good land enough to keep them
employed, 
either on their own behalf or for the Government. At all times, when there
is any general 
work to be accomplished, they are required to assist. They generally submit
to all the 
requirements of the agent without objection. During the periods of seed-time
and harvest, 
when the Indians were brought under the direct influences of the employ es,
and were work- 
ing steadily day by day, there was a marked degree of improvement in their
conduct. 
No disturbances have occurred during the year between the Indians and the
whites, and 
none of a serious nature among the Indians themselves. 
This agency is under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and,
though 
there has been no missionary in attendance, religious services have been
held regularly for 
the past seven months. As there is no church, we have met in the school-room,
twice upon 
Sabbath and again on Thursday evening of each week. The attendance of the
Indians, 
consisting mostly of the youth, has been fair, sometimes all the room could
contain. They 
have manifested a good degree of interest while being instructed in the Word
of Life, and 
have readily learned to sing many of the songs selected from our Sabbath-school
music. 
Could the young be kept aloof from the degrading influences of the older
ones, there would 
be much to hope for in their future, for many of them are bright and intelligent
and all of 
them well disposed. 
The school has been maintained only six months of the year, September, 1873,
and from 
February to June, inclusive, 1874. There is no school-house and no very suitable
room for 
school-purposes. The whole number of pupils enrolled is 45, with an average
daily attend- 
ance of 23, most all of whom are between the ages of six and sixteen. Some
half-dozen of 
the number could read in the First Reader upon the re-opening of school in
February, since 
which time twice that number have learned to read. They are also instructed
in the first 
principles of arithmetic, and are learning to write elegantly. The most serious
drawback 
in the education of the Indian children is, that while out of the school-room
they persist in 
using the Spanish or the Indian language among themselves, and thereby gain
little prac- 
tice in the use of the English. As a consequence, they fail to retain the
knowledge acquired 
for any great length of time. To remedy this a boarding-school would go far,
where the 
children might be required to use our language exclusively. 
The sanitary condition of the Indians is somewhat improved. Most of the younger
por- 
tion very readily accept the medicines offered by the reservation-physician.
Part of the 
older ones also have laid aside their prejudices, while many others cling
more tenaciously to 
their own theories and remedies. Scarifying is a favorite remedy for almost
all the ills their 
flesh is heir to. They have no regular medicine-men among them, and the middle-aged
and 
old men are persistent patrons of the sweat-house, by the use of which, it
is thought, many 
rheumatic troubles originate or are greatly aggravated. They are very slow
to learn the 
importance of good nursing and regularity of diet. A kind of hospital at
the headquarters 
of the agency, to which patients seriously ill could be removed for regular
treatment and 
careful attention, would tend greatly to save life and promote health. 
As to the condition of the Indians living in this and adjoining counties,
and not properly 
belonging to this agency, I can say but little from actual observation, In
the last annual 
report they are put down as about one thousand in number, embracing those
on Kern, Ka- 
meab, and King's Rivers, and some others. From several petitions on file
at this office, sent 
in the forepart of the year. earnestly requesting that the Indians in those
localities be re- 
moved to the reservation, I would infer that they are far from being in a
promising condi- 
tion. Probably the major part of them would be much improved, both physically,
and mor. 
ally, if placed under authority upon a well-selected reservation. No action
has been taken 
toward their removal, because there has been no suitable place for receiving
them. 
Hoping that the affairs of this agency may ore long be settled in a manner
satisfactory to 
Government and for the permanent good of the Indians, 
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
J. B. VOSBURGH, 
Hon. . P. ~iTHIndian Agent. 
Cotemissioner of Indian Affuirs, Washington, D. C, 


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