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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 Idaho,   pp. 53-59 PDF (3.4 MB)


Page 59

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN         IDAHO.                   59 
thorough industrial schools, embracing agriculture and mechanics for the
males and 
housekeeping and dairy work for females. 
Extend our civil and criminal laws to the Indians; but instead of jury trials
in 
cases as between Indians and whites allow the district judge to preside,
and decide 
the case according to law; and if the decision is not satisfactory allow
an appeal to 
be taken to the supreme court of the State or Territory, as the case may
be. In my 
opinion the Indian would not receive justice in a jury trial in four cases
out of five, 
on account of the strong prejudice that exists against him, particularly
in the Terri- 
tories. 
Appoint an agent, as is done under the present policy, and pay a salary that
will 
command ability, said agent's duties to be to manage the affairs of the schools
and 
attend to the welfare of the Indians generally. 
THE YEAR'S WORK. 
Said work has been one of constant and unremitting labor in managing the
affairs 
of a reserve 35 by 60 miles in extent, and doing an unlimited amount of office
work, 
occasioned by the complicated method of keeping accounts demanded of an Indian
agent. 
I would suggest that in the matter of correspondence with Indians on part
of 
the Department such correspondence pass through an agent's hands. By this
I 
mean allow the agent to read the letters and then deliver them to the Indians
ad- 
dressed, taking their receipts therefor, which receipts should be forwarded
to the In- 
dian Office by the agent. Said receipts should be witnessed by the interpreter
and 
one or more employds. My object for so recommending is that Indians receive
letters 
from the Indian Office containing information which they cannot understand,
but 
pretend to, and interpret it to their friends as they see fit, and in many
instances 
cause unpleasant feelings between the agent and his Indians until the letters
are cor- 
rectly interpreted to them. But one instance of this kind has occurred at
this agency 
during my administration, nevertheless I think the suggestion would be supported
by all agents in the service. In this connection I desire to return sincere
thanks to 
the honorable Commissioner for having forwarded me the original of a letter
supposed 
to have been written by a certain Indian at this agency. Said letter contained
seri- 
ous complaints and charges against the agent and some employ6s. On account
of 
having the original in my possession I was able to ascertain that said letter
was a for- 
gery, and to succeed in finding out beyond a doubt who committed the forgery.
The 
Indian whose name was attached to the, letter made affidavit to the effect
that he 
neither authorized the writing of said letter nor knew anything of its existence.
I 
think if the originals of that character of correspondence were always sent
to agents, 
instead of copies, a great deal of annoyance would be obviated. 
On the 12th day of September last this agency was visited by Col. R. S. Gardner,
United States Indian inspector. He came very unexpectedly, and his coming
was 
like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky. He came to ascertain the truthfulness
of cer- 
tain outrageous statements embraced in an anonymous correspondence, to which
it pleased the honorable Secretary of theInterior to give the dignified title
of" charges 
preferred against Agent Monteith," which statements made Agent Monteith
to ap- 
pear in the role of a first-class villain and fraud. Said charges were examined
by 
Colonel Gardner, and I do not think any one could institute a more searching
investiga- 
tion than did he. I stated to the inspector that I preferred not to be present
during 
the examination of any witnesses, as I had no desire to embarrass a witness
by my 
presence. I have never seen the inspector's report, but have learned indirectly
that 
not a single statement was substantiated. 
As will be seen per statistical report the amount of grain raised this year
is less 
than that of last season, though there is quite an increase in cultivated
acreage. This 
is occasioned by two causes: First, the amount of hay cut by Indians is increased
300 tons, and the same is wheat and oat hay; second, the crops on the east
end 
of the reserve are much lighterthan last year on account of a very severe
drought; still 
there is enough raised by the Indians for their own use, and quite a surplus
to be 
disposed of. 
In consequence of heavy fires on the east end of the reserve and in the mountains,
burning over thousands of acres of fine grazing lands, I am fearful that
much of the 
Indians' stock will perish this coming winter. 
During the year past the general health of the tribe has been good. 
In attending to my duties as agent I have had little or no time to inform
myself as 
to the work of the missionary, Rev. George L. Deffenbaugh. I can only say
that ap- 
parently he has been busily engaged in his noble work, and may God prosper
him 
therein. Statistics pertaining to said work are furnished by him. 
RespctfulyCHAS. E. MONTEITH, 
United States Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 


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