United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
Report of agent in Wyoming, pp. 313-314 PDF (778.1 KB)
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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