United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
Reports of agents in Idaho, pp. 53-59 PDF (3.4 MB)
,54 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO. heart was not bad now. He would do nothing bad. He asked to have a coffin made and wished us to help him bury his boy. Early next morning the mill was discovered on fire and was soon consumed. But little could be saved. It was believed that the mill was set on fire, but I have not been able to obtain any proof of it. The account of the fire spread through the camp for many miles around, and the Indians came in on horseback in large numbers. A few of the Bannack warriors were armed and caused considerable excitement by riding about rapidly. The Shoshones looked at the ruins and quietly returned, thinking that the Bannacks had burned the mill to in- jure them. The corpse was taken to their burial ground, on one of the foot-hills near. Before burial the corpse was taken from the coffin and dressed in a costly Indian war suit and then held up and the best horse in his father's herd was led before him sev- eral times and appeared to be presented to him. After this ceremony the boy's re- mains were buried, and the horse, with two others, was killed near the grave. SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION. Owing to disappointment by the teacher engaged, and lack of suitable buildings, the school was not opened till December. Every effort possible was made to induce the Indians to send their children to the boarding-school, but the result was not as encouraging as desired. The school, however, w5s a success, 20 children having at- tended, and their advancement in the branches taught was all that could be expected. The military buildings and property at Fort Hall, having been transferred to the In- terior Department, are hereafter to be used for an industrial school. They are well adapted for that purpose and located 18 miles from the agency, in one of the finest valleys in the Territory. Workshops will be opened as fast as they can be made prac- ticable. Supplies are already received for a harness shop, which will be opened soon. The Indians take great interest in these shops, and it is believed they will be a very successful feature in the agency. AGRICULTURE. The Indians are making steady advancement in agriculture and civilized pursuits. This is noticeable to all who are brought in contact with them, and they are manifest- ing an increased desire to conform to the customs of civilized life. They commenced last year to acquire property for themselves. They purchased three mowing machines, six hay-rakes, and two wagons this year; four more mowing machines and two hay, rakes have been purchased, making seven mowers and eight hay-rakes owned by In- dians. Of the 1,085 Shoshone Indians registered here since November last full 950 of them have been engaged in farming the past season more or less. Of the 471 Ban- nocks only 240 have been engaged in farming; the balance are off of the reservation considerable of the time hunting and fishing. The crops raised are wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and other root crops. The crops raised this season are: Bushels. 240 acres of wheat (estimated)........................................4,200 330 acres of oats (estimated). . . . ..------------------------------------------ 9,600 55 acres of barley (estimated)-............................................1,500 45 acres of potatoes (estimated)---------------------------------------3, 000 16 acres of turnips (failed) ................................................ 1,000 686 acres .................................................................. 19, 300 Oats are cultivated more extensively than heretofore. They are always in demand, and bring a higher price than wheat. Eight hundred tons of hay will be cut and put up by the Indians this season. As the Indians show so much inclination to industry and civilized pursuits, it is be- lieved that if a quarter section of land should be allotted to each head of a family, and some assistance should be given them to commence its cultivation, the reservation could then be thrown open to settlers, and so bring the Indians into civilized communi- ties. I believe they would improve more from observation and necessity, and sooner become self-sustaining than by the present method. In conclusion I would like to mention an interference which is an annoyance to us. The Mormons persist in holding meetings among and baptizing the Indians of this agency, and have succeeded heretofore in baptizing some 300 as they claim. This prevents their progress in civilization by instructing them in polygamy and other vile doctrines, and makes them discontented. This practice I cannot allow unless it is authorized from you. Respectfully, yours, A. L. COOK, United States Indian Agent. The COumsISmONER OF INDIA N AFFAIRS.
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