United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
Report of agent in Iowa, pp. 90-91 PDF (1.0 MB)
REPORT OF AGENT IN IOWA. 91 Two hundred and fifteen acres are under cultivation this year; the crops look very promising, and the estimated yield will be: Corn, 8,000 bushels; potatoes, 700; beans, 900; turnips, 150; onions, 25. Also of squash, pumpkins, melons, and other vege- tables, there will be about 100 wagon loads. This will give the tribe an abundance of food and a surplus to sell. The Indians have worked very well this season, the men doing more work in the fields than ever before. They have made 250 rods of fence, and built ten new houses out of bark and boards. A number have also been employed by white people to work in the harvest field. The tribe numbered at the last enrollment about 350 persons. Since then 20 chil- dren have been born, and there have only been 2 deaths, which will make the number at the next enrollment about 368. About 700 horses are owned by this tribe, which constitute their principal wealth. They also own personal property to the value of about $20,000. Last fall they re- ceived $10,000 in annuities, that, with the sale of furs trapped during the winter, and the sale of ponies, has clothed them well, while the crops raised have given them plenty to eat. So that they are well off, for Indians, and are content and happy. The conduct of these people has been exceedingly good during the past year. They have lived peaceably with one another, and with their white neighbors. I have iot heard of a single crime committed among themselves, or to white people, and there has been much less drinking among the young men than at any time since I have had charge of them. The women continue well-behaved, chaste, and industrious. The children are brought up strictly to be good Indians, according to their views. These Indians are still making some progress in educating themselves, but all in their own way; they are still opposed to sending their children to school, and still more bitterly opposed to any missionary work being done among them. They still adhere to many of their old customs and religious ceremonies. The chiefs and headmen will petirion (through the members representing this State in Congress) to have a more equitable and just division of the annuities belonging to the Sac and Fox tribe of Indians. They claim the Fox tribe all live in Iowa, except about 20 that are with the Sacs in Indian Territory; also, that they number 3,50, the Sacs 440. That all the country ceded to the United States by various treaties was owned one half by each, and that in justice they ought to receive one-half of all the proceeds received by the Sac and Fox tribes from said treaties; that the annuities belonging to both tribes amount to over $51,000, and that they only receive a little over $11,000, while the Sacs in Indian Territory receive the balance. They also say the allotment when made by Congress was made under the impression that there were only 80 Fox in Iowa. The reason they intend bringing the matter before Congress is, that the allotment being made by them, it is not in the power of the Indian Depart- ment to adjust it. The health of the Indians has been very good this season, and only two deaths have occurred since last fall. The Industrial School was suspended on the 1st of October last, the teacher hav- ing resigned. The school was hgain opened in May, under the charge of Miss Allie B. Busby, assisted by Miss Anna Skea, who represents the Ladies' Home Missionary Society of Iowa. Both these ladies have had several years' experience as teachers among the Sioux Indians. The attendance so far at the school has been very small, but we hope it will gradually increase, as the prejudice of the Indians (which was ex- cited against the school some years since) is, in a measure, overcome by time. It may at length disappear altogether, and they will be willing to send their children to school. I have done everything in my power to induce them to do so. As soon as the Indians gather their crops, and receive their fall payment, they will all leave, excepta few families who have no horses and scatter over different parts of the country, one or two families in a place, to hunt and trap. They all have friends among the farmers, who permit them to camp on their land, and allow them to have fuel. They help husk the corn, and get jobs to cut wood and make posts during the winter. The farmers also let them have the stalks in the field to feed their ponies. The young Indians associate with the farmers' boys, and they sometimes teach them to read and write and figuire. In this irregular way they have acquired what educa- tion they have. They return to their homes about the first of May, in time to put in their crops; but as lonig as they continue this practice of wandering around, and only remain on their own land five months in the year, they cannot advance much in civil- ization, or in accumulating property. They must settle down, and have permanent houses, and raise hogs, poultry, &c. The farmer has done all he could to assist the Indians in farming, as well as helping those that remain during the winter to get in fuel. I respectfully inclose herewith the statistical information called for. Very respectfully, GEO. L. DAVENPORT, United States Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
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