University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

Reports of agents in Nevada,   pp. 110-116 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 111

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN NEVADA.                        111 
main ditch, which would have cost by contract $1,500 per mile = $3,000, and
six miles 
of subordinate ditches that would average a cost of $300 per mile-$1,800.
They have 
also hauled 225,000 pounds of freight from Wadsworth, and have received no
cash for 
any of this work, but only their rations and feed for their teams while doing
the work. 
The past season has been very dry, and the utility of the irrigating works
have 
therefore been made especially manifest this year, and the success of their
using the 
irrigating works has brought others to call for an allotment close by the
farms already 
in successful operation. 
These Indians seem endeavoring to conform to the existing order of things,
and are 
making efforts to learn the use of tools in every line; especially they take
to black- 
smithing; quite a number of them shoe their ponies, and can mend some of
the iron 
work on their wagons. They are encouraged to keep on, and it is expected
that a 
number of them will soon be capable of doing most, possibly all, of the patching
and repairing required on the agency. 
The portion of the tribe at Walker River have started to build a fence around
the 
arable land, and then expect to farm it in small ranches. Those farmers there
are 
good examples to the rest, as they have had good crops on some part of their
farm 
produce each year. 
The Pi-Utes have been more backward in taking hold, and ony this year has
any 
considerable interest manifested itself among them. They now seem to realize
that 
they must take hold and do something more than they have been doing, and
they 
are making inquiries looking toward this end. 
The schools of the agency, of which there are two, were well attended last
year, 
the one at Walker River'being a day school and new; yet altogether unaccustomed
as they were, and strange as it seemed to them, several of the scholars made
rapid 
progress, and it is hoped that this year will make even a better showing.
The other school is a boarding school, at Pyramid Lake, and when first opened
was 
full, but the measles breaking out it was deemed wise to send hqme those
that were 
sick, and some others that were frightened, so that the attendance was less
for the 
last two months. The scholars are eager to learn some of the lessons, and
some 
things it is very hard to get them to take properly. That is the way that
white 
schools and scholars would do. They commenced farming a little, but the ground
was new, incomplete fences, new ditches and all the discouraging circumstances
of 
a new farm in a new country; and they made this year only a start, with enough
of promise to make it reasonable to look for a fair result this ensuing year.
The 
parents take much interest, and are willing at all times to go with teams
to haul 
lumber and material and supplies for the school, and also to keep clear the
brush, 
level the land, fence it, and whatever work may be necessary. 
Two more of the -Indians have put up frame houses at their own cost, and
more 
would do so, but find it difficult to raise the money necessary to buy the
material. The 
Indians at Walker River take much pride in their herd of cows, and the herd
is in 
good condition, having plenty of feed. It is hoped that this will soon add
largely to 
their means of livelihood. There would thus seem to be indications of a change
of 
movement in their minds toward looking at things in a manner more like civilized
life, and a tendency in them to copy after the habits of their white neighbors,
so 
that as education spreads more among them they come to leave their old habits
as of 
no use to them any longer, and try to earn a living in ways more civilized.
Very respectfully, 
JOSEPH M. McMASTER, 
United States Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
WESTERN SHOSHONE AGENCY, NEV., 
Augu8t 20, 1883. 
SIR: Pursuant to your instructions I have the honor to herewith transmit
my second 
annual report for your examination, giving a brief account of the improvements
made 
and the work performed upon the reservation farm during the past year by
the Indians 
and white employds, regular and irregular, with such other facts and information
properly connected with the subject matter of this report. 
Great progress has been made by the Indians of this reservation in the arts
of in- 
dustry. Full the major portion of the men are capable of performing almost
every 
kind of farm work, some doing one kind of labor and others performing another
according to their taste or talent. There are among them good teamsters and
expert 
herders of horses, cattle, and sheep. They can plow, sow grain by hand, make
and 
cultivate gardens, irrigate grain, mow, cure and stack hay, and cap, stack,
and thrash 
grain, dig ditches, and make fence, build cellars and corrals, and chop and
cord wood. 
As a matter of course it is understood that many of the Indians do this kind
of work 


Go up to Top of Page