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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1884
([1884])

[Reports of agents in Arizona],   pp. 1-9 PDF (4.3 MB)


Page 2

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN ARIZONA. 
can secure at their homes, although at times the children will disobey the
school reg- 
ulations and run away to their camps in order to satisfy their appetites
for a good 
feed of pumpkins, squash, parched corn, and other seeds of which they are
very fond. 
I have thought it would be better for the agent to secure these articles
from the In- 
dians in exchange for flour and serve to the scholars once or twice a week,
as an 
additional inducement to keep them from running away. All the scholars can
read, 
write, and cipher, as also attend to the general household duties with the
aid of the 
matron and teachers. Their morals are continually improving, and they are
giving 
the strongest evidences of the same. 
SCHOOL BATHING. 
The school bathing is never neglected summer or winter. The children are
thor- 
oughly and cleanly dressed once a week, with all garments nice, clean, and
mended, 
in which nearly all the girls are instructed. The sleeping apartments are
not so well 
ventilated as might be, but are very superior in some respects to those of
the poorer 
classes in large cities.  The sleeping apartments are provided with a well-filled
double straw mattress for two children, and good pillows with two pairs of
double blan- 
kets for the same. The children rise every morning promptly at six o'clock
and break- 
fast at seven, giving them one hour's interval for preparing their toilet
and assisting 
in the kitchen and dining-room work. School begins at 8 o'clock. Recess at
10.30, 
commencing again at 11, and continuing until 12 noon, for dinner.  During
the 
heated term I find it better to have no school in the afternoon, but keep
the children 
employed in various ways about the agency at almost anything to divert their
minds 
from being in a school-room. In this I find greater advancement in their
studies, and 
much better students than heretofore. It is a great wrong to keep the Indian
chil- 
dren too long in the school-room without recreation of some kind, and it
is surpris- 
ing to me how well they remain at the agency. They want short school hours
with 
plenty of diversions and amusements. With this, all Indian schools will prosper.
FARMING INDUSTRY. 
But little can be said in favor of such industry here, where there is so
little good 
land and poor supply of water to operate with. The soil, being composed of
sand and 
alkali, with but little earth mixture, eats up a multitude of water before
it is gotten 
in a state of perfection for the sowing of cereal matter, after which it
must be 
thoroughly attended to in the irrigation or the crops will be lost. The question
arises, How can this water best be obtained? Various modes have been adopted
by 
parties, viz, the Rodoudo Ditch Company, about 9 miles from Yuma, and the
Jaegar 
Ditch Company, near the same locality. The extensive Blythe Ditch Company,
near 
Ehrenberg, also the West & Company's ditch, near same locality, and the
agency 
ditch, 7 miles in length; also, various other processes have been tried near
the agency, 
among which the old Chinese system, and water-wheels worked by the river
currents. 
All of these projects have failed, after an expenditure of several hundred
thousand 
dollars. When the water would run in the ditches after their completion it
was 
found to fill them up very rapidly with sediment, which would again involve
great 
expense to clean them out, and all have been abandoned. If the Department
desires 
to teach these people how to farm, something should be done as soon as possible,
or 
remove them to some place where the advantages are more favorable, and where
they could secure something for their labor. 
This year has been disastrous to all the Indians under my charge by the great
over- 
flow of the Colorado River, submerging all the wheat and corn before it ripened
and 
could be secured, thereby depriving theni of their last vestige of seed wheat
and corn 
for planting next fall. I have referred to this matter in my monthly reports,
and I 
hope the Department will grant their earnest appeal and furnish the small
amount 
asked for, to wit, 75 bushels of wheat and 58 bushels of corn. This seed
ought to be 
given them during the month of September, so that they can begin their fall
plant- 
ing, as is their custom, after a locatlon is decided upon for planting. Very
often the 
Indians are obliged to seek a new locality for planting, owing to the rise
and fall of 
the river, which subjects the lands to overflow. What might be a good location
this 
year might prove worthless next year, as it may be so covered with sediment
as to 
be unproductive. 
About the same quantity of cereal matter was planted this year as last, and
up to 
the time of the flood had a very promising outlook; but all was swept away
from 
them. Since the water has receded the Indians have been busy planting melons,
pumpkins, squash, and other seeds, and the present outlook promises well
for an 
abundant crop. If so, this will greatly relieve their wants during the coming
win- 
ter. Besides this, they seem to be blessed with a good yield of mesquit beans,
which 
is their staple article of food at all times when the supplies-of wheat and
corn are 
exhausted. 


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