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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 Oregon,   pp. 124-136 PDF (6.9 MB)


Page 136

136                REPORTS OF AGENTS IN         OREGON. 
ploy6s during the last twelve years, and being affable in manners and kind
to the In- 
dians have won their highest regard. Hence they have been the Tight men to
induce 
the Indians to adopt civilized habits and learn to exercise mechanical skill.
Their 
influence has been decidedly for moral advancement and Christian civilization
as well. 
INDIAN INDUSTRIES. 
The statistics show a considerable increase over last year of acres cultivated,
land 
fenced and broken, and amount of grain and other crops raised. All the crops
have 
not as yet been gathered, but I am inclined to think they will exceed instead
of falling 
short of my estimates, Notwithstanding the excessively hot and dry weather
during 
the past six weeks, which materially lessened the grain yield, the increased
acreage 
and comparative freedom of the grain from smut will make a much larger yield
than 
for a number of years past, if it has ever been excelled. In the article
of wheat alone 
I estimate 10,000 bushels as against 7,000 last year. Of oats there is a
much larger 
crop than last year. A frost early in July and hot weather since will lessen
the yield 
of potatoes. The department crops havte been a partial failure; the wheat
a total one, 
owing to too late sowing for such a season as this has been. 
WEATHER RECORD. 
No regular record has been kept of the weather here. The coldest and hottest'day
have been noted down. January 2 was the coldest, the mercury making 50 above
zero as against 80 above on the same date the previous January. The highest
record 
was 1070, on the 9th instant, as against 1000 on the 31st of July, 1878,
the hottest day 
of last year. For a number of days previous to and after the former date
it ranged 
from 990 to 1040, making this one of the hottest seasons ever experienced
at this 
agency. At no time during last winter did the snowfall exceed 4 inches in
depth, 
and in February, when the snow was upwards of thirty inches in depth at the
Dalles, 
75 miles north of this agency, at this place there was scarcely enough to
cover the 
ground. In fact this reservation is known all over the country as being one
of the 
best places for stock to winter in that there is on the North Pacific coast.
SUPPLIES OF FOOD. 
The present prospect is very encouraging. Many of the Indians have raised
enough 
of grain, &c., to meet their wants for the year to come. Some will have
a surplus which 
will find ready sale to agency employ4s or neighboring white settlers. Game
of all 
kinds is unusually abundant and within easy hunting distance. The supply
of salmon 
is fully up to average. None need to suffer for want of food if they will
put forth 
reasonable effort. 
THE AGENCY BUILDINGS. 
Most of these are quite old, though in fair repair. The grist-mill will do
for some 
years to come by occasional repairs, but the saw-mill is almost beyond repair.
A new 
one can be built with but little expense on a good-sized stream about 12
miles north- 
west of the agency. As to this you have already been advised in a previous
communi- 
cation. In a little more than ten months the treaty stipulations will expire
as they apply 
to this reservation, and new buildings will hardly be needed here; but others,
or at 
least a saw-mill, should be erected where it will be the most convenient
for the whole 
reservation. The mill here has cut over 50,000 feet of lumber during the
year, and 
much more was needed. 
CONCLUSION. 
At no time since my sojourn here has the outlook given more encouragement
as to 
future prosperity and development. I can see a wonderful change from that
of 
thirteen years ago. White persons coming here and witnessing these Indians,
and 
especially during the Sabbath services, are perfectly astonished. They can
scarcely 
realize that "war paint and feathers" have given place to the habiliments
of civil- 
ized life. May no adverse circumstances ever cause the good work to go backward.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JOHN SMITH, 
United States Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 


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