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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 Idaho,   pp. 63-70 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 64

,64 
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO. 
This treaty has not been ratified by Congress. The portion ceded has never
been 
occupied by the Indians and is not needed by them, except perhaps the northern
part 
of Marsh Valley, which is claimed by them for farming land. The boundary
line of 
the part ceded has not been surveyed, and, as described in the treaty in
a zigzag course 
across the reservation, is not satisfactory to the whites nor Indians. Where
this line 
would cross Marsh Valley seems to be a disputed point, varying from 2 to
5 miles, and 
this uncertainty is the cause of a good deal of anxiety and dissatisfaction.
This valley 
contains about all of the tillable land on the ceded portion of the reservation.
Over 
50 families of whites have settled in it during the past 15 years. It is
claimed that 
the ceded portion would include all these families but 6. A point in this
valley could 
easily be determined for the boundary line, and a straight line east and
west from that 
point to the east and west boundary of the reservation would be satisfactory
to the 
whites and Indians, and include all the white settlers in the ceded portion,
which 
would be very desirable. The Indians would agree, I believe, to this alteration
of the 
treaty. It would cede 100,000 acres more land which is not needed by them.
I ear- 
nestly recommend that a new treaty be made that will be more satisfactory
to the 
parties concerned. This would leave about 800,000 acres of land on the reservation,
most of it grazing land. There would be 7,000 acres woodland, located in
the ravines 
in the mountains, and about 5,000 acres of tillable land that can be irrigated
by the 
Indians at small expense. 
In the treaty above mentioned the Indians were promised land in severalty.
Most 
of the Indians are prepared for this and anxious to have allotments made;
but before 
this can be done the reservation should be surveyed. Each Indian could then
be fur- 
nished with a homestead. They are frequently told by white men that they
will soon 
have to leave the reservation to give place to white settlers, and they need
the assur- 
ance that the allotment of farms and title to the same from the Government
would 
give them. Greater progress will then be made in agriculture and other civilizing
pursuits. I earnestly recommend that the reservation be surveyed and allotments
made soon as practicable. 
Their progress in farming from year to year is apparent to all who visit
this agency. 
The prospect of having a new flouring-mill and the fine appearance of the
crops this 
season pleased and encouraged the Indians; but on July 13 the agency was
visited by 
the most severe hail-storm ever known here. It destroyed over 100 acres of
wheat 
and oats belonging to Indians. The crops not injured look well and promise
a good 
yield. The amount under cultivation is 593 acres, as follows: Wheat, 230
acres; oats, 
265 acres; barley, '22 acres; and potatoes, 76 acres. Over 200 acres of this
is new land 
broken last spring. Not much wheat was sown on old land this season on account
of 
its liability to smut. New-land wheat is not so liable. The amount of the
crop this 
year is estimated at 18,650 bushels, as follows: Wheat, 3,000 bushels; oats,
8,000 
bushels; barley, 650 bushels; potatoes, 5,000 bushels; and turnips, 2,000
bushels. 
One thousand tons or more of hay will be put up by the Indians this season.
They 
sell their hay in stack at $5 per ton. Part of it is hauled off of the reservation
by the 
purchasers; the balance is fed to stock from the stacks. Their herds of cattle
are not 
increasing, except in a few individual cases. They number about 580 head
of cattle, 
mostly cows. No sheep nor hogs are owned by the Indians. They have 2,800
ponies, 
more or less. They are moderately supplied with farming tools, which have
been 
furnished by the Government from time to time, except wagons. Twelve mowing
machines and one reaper have been purchased and paid for by Indians during
the past 
three years, and many are manifesting considerable desire to acquire property.
Six- 
teen Indians are building log houses or have built this season. 
There is but one school here, which is located at Fort Hall, 18 miles from
the agency. 
It is an industrial boarding-school. Thirty-eight different pupils have attended
the 
past year. Thirty-two was the largest attendance for one month. Reading,
writing, 
arithmetic, and geography were taught in the school-room. Under the supervision
of the teacher, the boys cultivated 8 acres of land; 6 acres of this was
in vegetables. 
They were also instructed in harness-making and other kinds (f manual labor.
The 
girls were instructed in household work, in mending, cutting, and making
clothes, 
and seemed to acquire a fair knowledge of their work. Most of the pupils
made good 
progress during the year. Their deportment was good. There were but few run-
aways, very little sickness, and no deaths. Indians are averse to sending
their chil- 
dren to school, particularly the Shoshones, because their medicine-men have
told them 
that the school was "bad medicine, that those who attended it would
die;" and most 
of them seem to believe this. I have, however, induced one of the medicine-men
to 
send to school; another has promised to send, and the prospect of a large
school the 
coming year is more encouraging. 
I have not been able to organize the court for the trial of Indian offenses,
as no In- 
dian would accept the position of judge without pay. But with the assistance
of the 
Indian police I have been able to prevent and break up most of the practices
men- 
tioned in the rules, particularly plural marriages and the war and scalp
dances among 


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