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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 Nevada,   pp. 110-116 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 115

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN         NEVADA.                 115 
Upon making inquiry in relation to the matter among the whites at Mountain
City, 
and among the Indians at the reservation, I was unable to gather any facts
pointing 
to any particular party as being guilty of' the murder, the whites claiming
that the 
Indians were the guilty parties, but could show no proof to establish their
allega- 
tions. On the other hand, the Indians not only strenuously denied being guilty
of 
the charge, but asserted, with equal earnestness, that Susan Bill was killed
by some 
white man. As I could get no positive information, one way or the other,
I was 
obliged to allow the matter to drop. 
INTOXICATION. 
The love for strong drink and the playing of cards are two social evils that
exist 
among the Indians to a greater or less degree, and they are hard to overcome
or en- 
tirely eradicate from among them. These evils have been the curse of all
grades of 
humanity and in all ages of the world, and doubtless will continue to be
so long as 
men exist. The only practical common-sense effort that can be made is to
lessen 
these evils by degrees, for an attempt at a sweeping reform in any one or
both of 
these evils only results ih a failure to accomplish the urpose in view. Good
ex- 
amples by the whites for any moral purposes are more effective with the Indians
than moral persuasions followed by bad examples. 
No case of intoxication has occurred upon this reservation, but several have
occurred at Tuscarora and at Elko. Nevertheless, I am glad to be able to
state that 
cases of intoxication are growing less and less every year, and that the
percentage 
of drunkenness among Indians is much less than among the same number of -white
men. It is very hard for the county officials to put a stop entirely to the
selling of 
liquors to Indians, as it is only the lowest and most degraded beings, such
as China- 
men and Greasers (the mixed order of Mexicans) that sell liquor to Indians.
The 
Chinamen are the hardest to convict, as they keep it secreted in their low
dens of 
infamy and disgusting filth, and when one of their number is arrested on.
suspicion 
it is impossible to have them testify against each other. They will not absolutely
tell the truth when the truth will convict and cause punishment to be vested
upon 
one of their own people. * ** 
ADOPTING CITIZENS' DRESS. 
All of the Indians of this reservation have adopted citizens' dress; the
only excep- 
tions to this general rule are when a wandering or stray Bannack or Snake
pays us a 
visit from the Bruneaus. 
The most of the young women of this tribe have learned during the past year,
through the untiring zeal of Mrs. John S. Mayhugh, to cut, fit, and make
their 
own garments, and to make sweet yeast bread from hop yeast, also butter,
and to 
keep their houses and wigwams clean, and to calculate time by their clocks,
most of 
the lodges having clocks, having purchased them from their own earnings.
This 
Mrs. Mayhugh has done without the hope of compensation and reward, excepting
that flowing from a conscientiousness of having performed an act of love
for her less 
favored sisters. Many of their dresses are made and fashioned with good judgment
and taste, and to some extent in the prevailing style of dress, as they are
natural 
imitators. Many amusing incidents could be related by Mrs. Mayhugh in her
experi- 
ence and intercourse with these daughters of the mountains. 
The Indians are fast discarding their Indian names and adopting the Christian
and 
surnames of the whites. I have taught the Indians to speak of each other's
wives as 
Mrs. Bruno John, Mrs. Black Hat, Mrs. Nosey, Mrs. Captain Sam, Mrs. George
Wash- 
ington, Mrs. Elegant Price, Mrs. Ruby Bill, &c., in place of, as heretofore,
my squaw, 
Joe Buck's squaw, &c. 
AREA OF RESERVATION. 
Having noticed some criticism from respectable quarters as to the policy
of the Gov- 
ernment in setting apart large areas of lands for the use of the Indians,
a few words 
in relation to this matter may not wholly be out of place in this report,
so far as the 
same relates to this reservation, which contains 243,200 acres in a compact
farm of 20 
miles square. It is nevertheless true that not more than one-sixth of this
vast tract 
is of any value for agricultural or pastoral purposes. To demonstrate this
fact and 
to disabuse the public mind, particularly in the Eastern and Middle States,
that this 
seeming extravagance on the part of the Government in allowing a few hundred
In- 
dians to occupy so much of the public domain to the exclusion of white settlers
is 
unfounded, it is only necessary to state a few facts to dispel this poetic
illusion. While 
it is true that the reservation does contain 243,200 acres of land it is
also true that there 
is not more than from 1,400 to 1500 acres that is adapted to the raising
of kernel crops, 
and about 1,800 to 2,000 acres for hay purposes after considerable reclamation
work has 
been performed. There may be also about from 35,000 to 40,000 acres of tolerably


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