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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
([1879])

Reports of agents in Dakota,   pp. 19-52 PDF (15.7 MB)


Page 51

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN         DAKOTA.                  51 
SANITARY. 
Dr. Daniel informs me that two important and unusual meteorological conditions
during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, have contributed to considerable
mortality 
among the Yanktons, viz, heavy rain-fall and great heat in the summer of
1878, pro- 
ducing much malarial fever, and the severely cold winter of 1878 and 1679,
producing 
a large number of cases of bronchitis and pneumonia. Notwithstanding these
adverse 
circumstances to the general health, a resume" of births and deaths
shows an increase in 
population of 24. The prevailing fatal diseaes have been typho-malarial fever,
diar- 
rhcem" dysentery, scrofula, consumption, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
It has been ob- 
aerved that deaths occur mostly among those who pay little attention to the
laws of 
health; and those who practice agricultural pursuits and observe sanitary
rules 
enjoy better health than their less attentive neighbors. 
A large proportion seek medicines and advice from the agency physician, and
from 
results, as shown in the sanitary reports, they take the medicines as prescribed
and 
carry out instructions pretty faithfully. Owing to many unfavorable causes,
their 
increase cannot as yet equal that of the same number of intelligent whites,
but judging 
from the progress made in the ways of the white man in the last few years,
it is rea- 
sonable to presume that their death-rate will be very much modified. 
AGIICULTURE. 
When I reached the agency in Mayj the Indians were anxiously awaiting the
arrival 
of breaking-plows, which were expected on first boat up. On their arrival,
it was 
deemed expedient to deviate from the former policy of issuing them direct
to the In- 
dians, and instead :thereof, to loan them, whieh was done with very gratifying
results, 
as several persons could and did have the benefit and use of the same plow.
T-he amount 
of new prairie ground broken in the latter part of May and June was 346 acres.
From 
excessive heat and continued drought, an increased acreage could not consistently
and 
conveniently be made, and the plows were promptly returned, and are now safely
sAored 
for future use. Judging from the avidity with which they sought the possession
and 
the use of plows this season, I can safely and reasonably conclude that at
the lowest 
calculation at lhast 800 or 1,000 acres of new ground will be broken next
season, as in 
every instance those who have had use of the plows this season have already
decided 
to increase the size of that broken this year, and have thus early bespoken
a plow for 
use next spring. The example thus set has seemingly had the desired effect
of infus- 
ing into others a desire and willingness to become farmers in the full acceptation
of 
the term. The whole matter, whether or not this nation or people can be made
self- 
supporting, rests wholly with the agent, who, if active, prompt, energetic,
and of good 
executive ability, and wil use his best endeavors for the accomplishment
of this 
,object, butfew years will elapse before the Yanktons will be self-supporting
and have 
a sarplus of grain that can be marketed to an advantage. 
The're was harvested on this agency this year the following, viz: 
Acres. 
SOn agency farm, w heat------------......................... . ....... 100
On agency farm, on account of Indians, wheat............. ...............
 80 
On agency farm, oats.....-......-.-........... ............--.- .. 40 
On  Indian  farms, wheat..................................-...........  238
,On Indian  farms, oats .........................................................21
On Saint Paul's Mission farm, wheat ...........................................
 3 
Total acres.......-------------------------------------------   482 
The quality of the grain harvested is .good,.and I estimate the yield at
or about 
5,125 bushels of wheat and 2,400 bushels of oats. 
The following is the actual amount of acreage of corn and potatoes on the
agency 
this year, viz: 
Acres. 
On agency farm, corn.-------------------------------------------------36
On agency farm, potatoes---_----------...................................
 4 
On Indian farms, corn-------.....................................    1,056
On Indian farms, potatoes. .....      ..........---------------421 
Total corn, 1,092 acres; potatoes, 46J acres. 
Unusual care and attention has been given in the cultivation of the corn
and pota- 
toe8; the fields were frequently plowved and are comparatively free from
weeds and 
1ith, and have a healthy look, and promise a good :yield. I estimate that
on the 
agency farm there will be of corn 1,600 bushels, and of potatoes 300 bushels;
and on 
Indian farms 15,2 80 bushels of corn and 706 bushels of :potatoes. The p~atches
of veg- 
etables are about the same size as last year, and the production of turnips,
beans, 
squashes, and melons is about sufficient to meet actual demand. 


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