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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
([1883])

Reports of agents in Dakota,   pp. 21-53 PDF (15.6 MB)


Page 52

2:               REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        DAKOTA. 
-will not be the first to break an engagement that he h as made if the conditions
are 
carried out with a moderate degree of fairness. But I am forced to the conclusion
that 
it would be much better for both the Government and the Indians if there
were no 
treaties in existence, as the Indians would not then be expecting the fulfillment
of 
promises which are rarely ever realized as they understood the conditions
to be. 
Moreover, as the Government has the care of the Indians and is in duty bound
to pro- 
vide for them, and as insufficient appropriations are yearly made by Congress,
re- 
gardless of many existing treaties, would it not be better that all existing
treaties 
with the Indian tribes be abrogated and have annual appropriations made to
provide 
for the wants of the different tribes, without the Indians being enabled
constantly to 
complain that the promises made in their treaties have not been fulfilled
? 
Recognizing the necessity for some more direct and definite laws for the
Indian, 
and with their ultimate civilization in view, I would add that in my opinion
no 
special or intermediate code of laws should be enacted. There should be no
halting 
short of equality and independence before the law, and they should not be
any longer 
circumscribed by special laws that have to be surmounted before the desired
end can 
be attained. To advance the Indians, with a view to making each step permanent
gain, the reservation boundaries should at least be contracted so as to give
but suf- 
fcient lands for the actual requirements of the respective tribes residing
thereon; 
then sell the residue of the reservations, creating a sinking fund of the
proceeds for 
educational purposes and other beneficial objects; make the issue of rations
contin- 
gent upon industry and good behavior; encourage all in their efforts to better
their 
condition; and, finally, extend the protection of direct laws, with the rights
of citizen- 
ship made possible under certain conditions, for while some will doubtless
fail to re- 
alize this expectation, yet I believe that the larger majority will eventually
become 
useful and respected citizens. The enfranchisement of the Indian would awaken
for 
them a keener interest by the different political parties of the entire country
as well 
as in their immediate neighborhood, who would become more interested in their
wel- 
fare, and which would be a powerful factor in their advancement as well as
in pro- 
tecting them in their rights as citizens of the United States. 
All statistical information connected with this agency is contained in the
reports 
herewith transmitted. 
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JAMES McLAUGHLIN, 
United States Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
YANKTON AGENCY, DAK., 
A'ugu8t 10, 1883. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit this my second annual report of the condition
of 
the service at this agency. 
The Yanktons have occupied this reservation since 1859. The reservation contains
430,000 acres, three-fourths of which is susceptible of cultivation. The
other fourth 
is bluff land, making excellent range for stock and protection from the storms
of 
winter. The principal part of the reservation is rolling prairie, dotted
with small 
lakes. 
The Yanktons are gradually turning their attention to farming and stock-raising,
and the interest taken in farming at this agency this year is in advance
of anything 
we have ever had, and the result of a persistent effort is very satisfactory.
Many 
acres of the wheat harvested this year will yield at least 20 bushels per
acre. Corn and 
garden vegetables are very promising, and will yield the greatest crop ever
gathered 
on the reservation. 
Our agency is located on a high bench land, on the east side of the Missouri
River, 
furnishing a very pleasant location for a healthful home. 
The industries carried on here are no small part of the agency work. The
herding 
is under the management of Indians. The work of the carpenter, tin, blacksmith,
wagon, and repair shops is done by Indian labor, under the supervision of
a white 
superintendent and a white blacksmith. 
The religious instruction and influence upon this people has been as beneficial
as the 
most sanguine could expect. Rev. J. P. Williamson, the Presbyterian missionary,
has 
been with them for many years, in fact since his early boyhood, and holds
the entire 
confidence of the tribe. The Episcopal mission has done a grand work. They
have 
a boys' school, where the youths receive instraction under the direction
of Bishop W. 
H. Hare, who makes his home here. The Episcopal mission church is in the
charge 
of Rev. Joseph W. Cook, who speaks the Sioux and holds his day service in
the 
Dakota. 
The agency boarding-school during the last year had a very fair attendance,
con- 


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