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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 Oregon,   pp. 126-136 PDF (5.1 MB)


Page 131

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        OREGON.                 131 
is a constant demand for building material, and we cannot give it. In my
opinion 
a great mistake was made here in making these mills steam power instead of
water 
powe'. If they had been provided with water power the Indians could have
used 
them without assistance. As it is, the saw-mill cannot be run without an
engineer 
and head sawyer, an we must ask the Department for funds to work with. Now,
we need much in this direction. 
BUILDINGS. 
The Government buildings are in a sad condition. We need lumber to rebuild,
to make 
and repair fences. The much-talked-of I"Al8ea hou8es" are not completed,
and there 
is no lumber to complete them. Out of fifteen that were promised the Alsea
Indians, 
only ten have been completed. A great many of our young men would take land
and 
go to work making hom-s for themselves if they could get lumber to build
with. I 
have allowed the agency trader to use the mill to cut a few thousand feet
of lumber 
for the erection of a store building. I have notified him that I will have
to use the 
Government building now occupied by him for a commissary, as the shed now
used 
for that purpose is not fit to store anything in. 
INDUSTRIES. 
The Indians' chief industry is farming, and I am agreeably surprised to find
a very 
strong desire to know how to do better farming. Willing to learn, they quickly
take 
to the trades needed here, but do not become first-class meehanics, for the
want of 
the necessary facilities to make them so. 
EMPLOYfiS. 
Of white employ6s, we have a clerk, physician, farmer, teacher, assistant
teacher, 
matron, and a cook. Of Indian employ6s, an interpreter, a teamster, carpenter,
ferryman, mail-carrier, seamstress, and laundress-and, up to July 1st, we
had also a 
shoemaker. Our police force consists of one captain, one sergeant, and ten
privates. 
I am happy to say that at this writing all of these employds are working
together in 
unison and hearty co-operation, and giving me as good service as I could
ask. 
EDUCATIONAL WORK. 
Upon this hangs the destiny of this people. Without earnest and patient work
in 
this direction, we can accomplish but little for the upbuilding of the Indians.
The 
old are (lying off, the middle-aged are set in their habits and ways. The
young are 
susceptible of development under careful training. About the 1st of November,
1882, 
the school bui Idings connected with this agen'3y were destroyed by fire,
and, to the 
great sorrow of all concerned, the children were left without a place to
pursue their 
studies, and many of them without a decent home to go to. After a short time
an 
old and deserted mill was fixed up for a boarding-house, in which about 42
children 
were crowded. With a great deal of patience and care they were managed. A
part 
of the old agency house was converted into a school-room; and in these very
narrow 
quarters the educational work is going on. At the present our scholars are
taking 
their much-needed vacation. We shall take up school again the 1st of September.
We were for a time much elated to think we should have new buildings, in
which 
we could place some 90 or 100 children, but there seems to be some doubt
now as to 
having them for the present. We earnestly hope that every difficulty may
be over- 
come, and that we will be granted the privilege of putting up new buildings.
I believe we can accomplish much good in this direction, as in this part
of the 
work special attention is given to teaching the girls to sew, to cook, and
to do every- 
thing pertaining to good housekeeping, and, as proof of the efficiency of
the work, 
quite a number of the girls have been sought after to go out and do the cooking
for 
the hands during harvest. The boys are taught the care and management of
horses 
and sattle, also the planting and raising of all kinds of garden, as well
as farm work 
in general. The Department has kindly given me funds to put an apprentice
in one 
of the shops, which I shall do shortly. 
CHURCH WORK. 
The teacher, Rev. T. B. White, has charge of this branch of the work, holding
re- 
ligious services on each Sabbath morning and evening. The attendance at church
is 
good; in fct, with our limited room, I may say all come who can get a seat.
There 
is quite a lively interest manifested. The church record was lost in the
fire last fall, 
so that it is impossible to report the exact number of members, and it is
only as we 
can find them out by actual contact that we can tell who are church members.
But 
I am happy to say that since I have been here the church work is taking on
anl en- 
couraging look. 


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