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

[Report of agent in Kansas],   pp. 81-84 PDF (2.0 MB)


Page 82

82 
REPORT OF AGENT IN KANSAS. 
The lands occupied by the tribes in the agency aggregate 102,025 acres, and
their 
total credits on the books of the Interior Department is about $875,000,
which is per- 
manently secured to them by treaty stipulations. 
During the past year seven Pottawatomie Indians erected comfortable dwelling-
houses and converted the habitations formerly occupied by them into stabling
for 
horses and cattle. Individuals of the tribe purchased about 500 fruit trees
last spring, 
which were planted and grew thriftily, and there are not exceeding ten heads
of 
families in the tribe but what have made very noticeable improvements to
their dwell- 
ings and surroundings. 
The members of this tribe have broken 400 acres of prairie during the summer,
and 
designed breaking 200 more had the season been at all favorable for such
labor. Their 
seeds were all planted early in the farming season, and the growing crops
were thor- 
oughly cultivated. Taken as a whole, their fields present as clean and neat
appearance 
as those farmed by white men in this section of country. In consequence of
dry 
weather at the time corn was maturing, very little, if any, more than half
a crop 
will be realized, and for the same reason but very few potatoes have been
raised. The 
Indians, however, will have sufficient beans and pumpkins for their own consumption,
of a nicer quality than those I have observed outside the reserve. 
These Indians seem naturally inclined to agricultural and pastoral pursuits,
and, 
with but very few exceptions, they have abandoned the idea of hunting, and
express 
themselves as satisfied that the cultivation of the soil presents the surest
and best 
method known to them by which to obtain a livelihood. They take great pride
in raising 
horses and ponies, and are obtaining cattle as rapidly as could be expected,
considering 
their limited individual resources. They raise a sufficient number of hogs
to furnish 
them with all the meat they require, if cured properly, but the majority
of them pre- 
fer to use it while in a fresh state, and as a consequence they are compelled
to purchase 
bacon at a time when it is most expensive. 
A large portion, at least one-third, of their annuity is expended in purchasing
stoves, 
furniture, and other articles calculated to conduce to the comfort of their
families; at 
their last annuity payment, eight persons paid for cooking stoves which they
had pur- 
chased. 
Vhile they have adopted the views of the white race in regard to the manner
of 
conducting agricultural pursuits and their methods of acquiring property,
yet many of 
them are enthusiastic supporters of the traditions and superstitions taught
them by 
their fathers, and, singular to relate, the most extreme men of this class
are among 
those who made the greatest material advancement. I am often profoundly surprised
to hear men of sound judgment in all practical matters express ideas in regard
to re- 
ligious and other subjects so utterly absurd that it would be a charity to
think they 
did not believe them. Another and larger class, embracing the younger members
of 
the tribe, are gradually relinquishing these traditions and superstitions,
and desire to 
be taught the principles of Christianity; this class is surely increasing
in number, and 
I have no doubt but that the succeeding generation of Pottawatomies will
believe in 
all the trutbs of revealed religion. 
There are many zealous supporters of eduation among the ablest minds in the
tribe, 
and it is not openly opposed by any of the Indians; but the party of extreme
Indian 
ideas do not send their children to school, and doubtless prevent all from
being sent they 
can. The school accommodations for this tribe are excellent; they consist
of a boarding- 
house of ample dimensions to board and lodge forty pupils ; a school-house
sufficiently 
large to seat comfortably all the children of suitable age to attend school
in the tribe; 
a large and well arranged laundry; a smoke and milk house combined, and a
commo- 
dious barn for the accommodation of stock belonging to the school farm. The
farm 
consists of 63 acres of land, on which good crops of corn and oats have been
raised this 
year; the stock consists of about 50 head of cattle, 4 horses, and nearly
if not quite 
enough hogs to furnish bacon for the school nine months out of twelve. 
The boys attending the school labor on the farm regularly, and are tauoht
to prop- 
erly care for stock, to milk, and to perform all kinds of labor incident
to farm life. I 
have observed them very closely in the performance of their various duties,
and am sat- 
isfied that they learn as quickly, and are as industrious and faithful, as
white boys of 
the same age. The girls attending the school are taught by the matron all
housekeep- 
ing duties, and under the instruction of the assistant teacher are taught
to cut out and 
make garments for thenm.elves and male pupils; they are very quick to learn
and are 
proud of their ability to make for tLemselves as neat garenuts as are worn
by White 
Ireople of their age. 
The Pottawatomies are entirely satisfied with their present location, and
de, lare an 
intention to establish permanent houses for their children; their relations
with the 
white people living contiguous to them are of the kindest nature, and all
difficulties 
about trespass of stock, &c., are easily settled without resort to law.
The Kickapoo Indians have advanced in agricultural pursuits, and in raising
stock, 
in about the same proportion as have the Pottawatomies. During the summer
they 
broke '200 acres of prairie, which svas inclosed with substantial wire fencing
purchased 


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