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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 Wyoming,   pp. 166-169 PDF (1.8 MB)


Page 167

REPORT OF AGENT IN WYOMING. 
167 
winter use. Advertisements were printed during the year inviting proposals
for the 
erection of suitable school buildings, but the bids were too high and consequently
con- 
tractwwere not awarded. 
The schools are sustained entirely by the government, except a portion of
the salary 
paid to one of the teachers is borne by the church. 
A small farm in connection with each school is worked by the Indian youths
of the 
school. The Arapahoes planted 25 and the Shoshones 2 acres in wheat, potatoes,
and 
other garden vegetables, which last are being used for the benefit of the
schools in ad- 
dition to their regular rations issued to them by government. 
The number of children of school age is: Shoshones, 400; Arapahoes, 300.
With proper 
facilities most of them could be brought within the influence of the schools.
From 75 
to S0 youths of both sexes have attended the schools very regularly during
the last 
half of the year. The progress made by them, both in the school-room and
on the farm, 
is gratifying and reflects credit upon the respective teachers, Mr. E. Ballou
of the Ara- 
pahoes and J. W. Coombs of the Shoshones. 
MISSIONS. 
The care of the religious training of the Indians devolves upon the Protestant
Epis- 
copal denomination, which contributes $300 per year toward the support of
the teachers 
for the Shoshones. It has also contributed a box of Bibles and books for
Sunday- 
school work. It has as yet done nothing for the Arapahoes. Very much good
might 
be accomplished by sending a missionary to this field and erecting chapels.
But, for 
reasons known to the church authorities, nothing in this direction has so
far been at- 
tempted. It is believed that well-established missions'at Indian agencies
are of the 
first importance. 
CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. 
On the 10th of April last, one of the Shoshones engaged in the peaceable
occupation 
of herding cattle upon the reservation was found murdered in the foothills,
within nine 
miles of the agency. The affair was shrouded in much mystery. However, after
an 
investigation, which required several months' time, the responsibility of
this crime was 
traced to the hostile Bannacks, and one of the murderers was recently detected
stealing 
horses from the Crows, and met his death at their hands. This relieves the
Crows from 
all suspicion, which the Shoshones had at one time, that some members of
that tribe 
had committed the deed. The above constitutes the only great crime committed
upon 
the reservation during the year. 
Many misdemeanors have been enacted by a few incorrigible members of the
Shoshone s 
and Arapahoes, by frequently leaving the reservation without permission,
visiting the 
settlements on the south, where they obtain whisky from whites living in
that locality 
and bringing it upon the reservation. As they ply their vocation principally
during 
the night-time, it is impossible, without an efficient detective, to arrest
the wrong-doers. 
Furnishing Indians with-whisky is a growing evil in this community, and unless
checked in some way the consequences will be fearful. An Indian will sell
anything 
which he possesses, or can stealfrom his neighbors, for money to buy liquor
with. Much 
trouble has arisen in this way during the past few months. 
AGRICULTURE. 
Shoshones have farmed 225 and the Arapahoes about 25 acres the present season.
About 60 in all have broken and fenced small patches of ground of their own.
This 
plan is meeting with more favor with the Indians than formerly, and were
it not for 
the very great difficulty we experience in getting fencing and other timber
at this 
agency, and using the Indians in breaking the tough sod, their progress in
this direc- 
tion would be much more rapid. The Indians plow old ground easily enough,
but it 
will evidently take them a long while to make a success of breaking new ground.
Ten acres of ground will support a family. There is scarcely a family in
either village 
who could not farm that amount of land when fenced and broken. Yet it would
take 
them several years to fence and break that amount of land of themselves.
The cheaper 
plan, therefore, would be for the government to break and fence each a field
separately, 
and the Indian, can then extend the same as he is taughtand learns how. 
THE UNITED STATES POLICE FORCE. 
Five men were enlisted in this force from the Arapahoes one year ago. They
have 
been generally faithful in the performance of their duties. The Shoshones
have .uni- 
formly refused to engage in the service, claiming that the wages were too
small and that 
the Shoshones did not need a police force. Although strong arguments have
been used, 


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