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

Report of agent in Wyoming,   pp. 313-314 PDF (778.1 KB)


Page 314

314                REPORT OF AGENT IN        WYOMING. 
part of the winter season (a treaty stipulation). Last winter they were quite
suc- 
cessful, bringing in robes and furs amounting to about $15,000 in value.
The greater 
part of this money is expended in purchasing flour, bacon, coffee, sugar,
and other nec- 
essaries not fully supplied by Government. The same may be said of money
received 
for freighting. 
Hunting versus civilization destroys a love for home and its comforts, prevents
the 
keeping of milk-cows, raising fowls and domestic animals; keeps up a preference
for 
the old tent life and habits, also careless indifference for property. But
until they 
can be supplied by Government and their own exertions with the necessaries
of life, 
I see no way of averting it. Nature has decided the amount of a ration, and
that is 
just what an Indian will have; if he cannot get it one way he will another.
He will 
feed his family as long as he has a cartridge, and so would an Iqdian Agent
or Mem- 
ber of Congress, and both are supposed to be honest men. But to do my Indians
jus- 
tice, there is no evidence that they committed any outrages on cattle or
other prop- 
erty last winter for they had all the buffalo and other game they could consume,
and 
were peaceable and quiet. 
RELIGION. 
Their religious training has in the past been almost neglected. The Rev.
John 
Roberts, of the Episcopal Church, arrived at the agency on the 13th of February
last. He is a young, energetic man, and has rendered efficient service in
the school 
of which he is now principal. A church building in the near future is in
prospect. 
FARMING. 
Two-thirds of the men are willing to farm and are anxious to do so. Their
efforts 
this year have not been crowned with as much success as desired, owing to
a very 
late, wet spring and want of knowledge in planting. If a competent teacher
could 
be employed for each twenty-five or thirty families for one season, and devote
his 
whole time to teaching them, it would be a saving to the Department in the
end. 
A suitable engine for the grist mill has been purchased and is now on the
ground 
and will be ready for operation this fall. 
FREIGHTING. 
The Indians have made two trips to Rawlins Station, on the Union Pacific
Railroad, 
distance 150 miles, and will make one more in September. The last train numbered
sixty-nine wagons and the same number of Indian drivers, with one white train-mas-
ter, bringing 16,000 pounds of freight in good order. White men could have
done no 
better. 
POLICE, 
Organizing a police force has been stoutly resisted by Washakie, chief of
the Sho- 
shones, but he consented after he saw that it could not be prevented. A good
set of 
young men has been enlisted and no doubt will do good service. 
EDUCATION. 
Teaching on the day-school system has not been a success at this agency,
as Indian 
families are, many of them, at too great a distance from the school, but
by crowding 
the employds into close quarters and converting two of their houses into
boarding 
and lodging houses for school purposes, I commenced a small boarding-school
for 
boys on the 10th of March, 1883. This school is under the auspices of Rev.
John Rob- 
erts and bas been in every respect as successful as could be expected. 
A contract has been let and foundation is now being laid for a large and
complete 
boarding-school house to accommodate one hundred boys and girls. Under good
management there is no good reason why this training school cannot be made
a suc- 
cess. The proximity of home, restlessness of children under restraint, and
want of 
parental authority are all obstacles in the way. But the parents are anxious
for the 
school and are strongly pledged to support it. A firm and determined management
will no doubt overcome all impediments. 
In conclusion, I have the honor to thank you for the improvements you have
or- 
dered for the benefit of the service at this agency. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JAMES IRWIN, 
United States Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 


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