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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)

Page 54

,54                 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO. 
heart was not bad now. He would do nothing bad. He asked to have a coffin
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
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
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
mains were buried, and the horse, with two others, was killed near the grave.
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
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
tended, and their advancement in the branches taught was all that could be
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. 
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
last year to acquire property for themselves. They purchased three mowing
six hay-rakes, and two wagons this year; four more mowing machines and two
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: 
240 acres of wheat (estimated)........................................4,200
330 acres of oats (estimated).  .      .      .      ..------------------------------------------
55 acres of barley (estimated)-............................................1,500
45 acres of potatoes (estimated)---------------------------------------3,
16 acres of turnips (failed) ................................................
686  acres ..................................................................
 19, 300 
Oats are cultivated more extensively than heretofore. They are always in
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
ties. I believe they would improve more from observation and necessity, and
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
agency, and have succeeded heretofore in baptizing some 300 as they claim.
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. 

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