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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 168

168               REPORT OF AGENT IN         WYOMING. 
none of the Shoshones have responded, and Washakie has endeavored to dissuade
the 
Arapahoes from keeping up their force on their part, and says the "Shoshones
are not 
white people." 
MORMON INDIANS. 
Before the Shoshones were placed upon their present reservation, many of
them had 
been baptized into the Mormon Church. These were taught by the Mormon bishops
that it was'necessary that they should report at Zion (Salt Lake City) once
every yearr 
for the purpose of renewing their covenant. Therefore, every spring or summer,
a 
good many of the Shoshones silently fold their tents and slip away. They
practice 
this every season. As there are no policemen in their tribe, and it being
illegal to use 
the United States Army in bringing back these runaways, the Indians have
the ad- 
vantage. 
SETTLERS. 
The settlers upon this reservation who were located upon the land prior to
July, 1868, 
still hold their claims, and this to the detriment of the Indians. These
claims against 
the government ought to be paid the claimants, who would then give up their
improve- 
ments to the use of the Indians. 
DIFFICULTIES. 
The greatest difficulties existing at this agency in teaching Indians to
work is, 1st. 
Not having a sufficient number of white employgs to attend to the repairing,
and 
teach the Indians at the same time, and do commissary duty. 2d. Have not
hereto- 
fore been supplied with enough farming implements. 3d. Having no suitable
place 
to keep supplies in or to properly issue the same. 4th. Not being permitted
by law to 
issue rations to Indians in quantities to last them longer than three days.
5th. Indi- 
ans refusing to work when their rations are exhausted. 
APPRENTICES. 
One Shoshone youth has worked nearly a year at the blacksmith trade. No others
have been employed because there has been no place at the agency where they
could 
stop. When suitable shops are built the apprentices can be procured. I have
the honor 
to Inclose herewith letters from Mr. Ellis Ballou and Mr. Joseph W. Coombs,
teachers 
at this agency. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JAMES I. PATTEN, 
United State8 Indian Agent. 
The COMISSIONEP OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
REPORT OF SHOSHJONE SCHOOL. 
DEAR SIR: I herewith submit a brief summary of my school work for the year
ending 
July 1, 1879. The school commenced as a day-school in July, 1878. The attendance
was fair, but rather irregular. Indian parents have no control over their
children to 
force them to attend school, and no disposition to compel them to work. Some
of the 
pupils lived quite a distance from the school, and consequently could not
attend more 
than one session daily. Notwithstanding the difficulties we had to encounter,
the pupils made very good progress in the day-school; new scholars were added
from time to time, and when the Indians left, to go on their annual hunt,
I had 
as many scholars registered and as good an attendance as any time previous.
They started out on the hunt in October, and left but eight scholars at school,
who 
attended quite regularly and made good progress. In the month of March we
erected a frame building 40 by 30 feet, covered with cloth, capable of accommodating
40 pupils, and had it completed when the Indians returned from their hunt,
for the 
purpose of starting an industrial boarding-school. The Indians seemed well
pleased 
with the arrangement, and returned most of their scholars to school. The
experiment, 
so far, has proved a success, and works far better than a day-school. Many
of the pupils 
can read English understandingly, and write a very fair hand with a pencil.
Some of 
them speak good English and can work simple questions in the first four rules
of 
arithmetic. 
We have had Sunday-school service every Sunday during the year, and many
of the 
p~upils have committed to memory the Lord's Prayer, creed, and most of the
ten cony- 


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