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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 69

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN         IDAHO.                   69 
exists and has abundant reason to feel grateful for the kindnesses and courtesies
re- 
ceived at your hands, and desires to return sincere thanks therefor, and
through you to 
the Interior Department generally. 
I remain, sir, very respectfully,           CHAS. E. MONTEITH, 
Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
NEZ PERcMi AGENCY, IDAHO, 
August 20, 1884. 
DEAR SIR: Your oft repeated expressions of sympathy with missionary work
among 
the Indians encouraged me to act on Agent Monteith's suggestion to send you
a re- 
port of religous work at this agency. 
This is essentially mission ground, as witness yonder white head-stones beneath
that clump of locust trees, marking the graves of Revs. McFarland, Monteith,
and 
Spalding. The Rev. H. H. Spalding founded this mission in 1638 and spent
thirty odd 
years of his life in its service. His name is a household word among this
and neigh- 
boring tribes. During the few years immediately following his death several
min- 
isters were connected with the mission for short periods each, and since
November, 
1878, it has been my privilege to go to and fro over this consecrated ground.
My re- 
lations with the several agents who have administered affairs of Government
here 
have been of the most pleasant nature, and I acknowledge indebtedness to
them for 
their many kindnesses. Our united policy has been, while keeping our work
entirely 
separate, to be mutually helpful in advancing the people under our care in
civil and 
religous life. 
The present membership (adult) is 447, divided into three church organizations,
the 
third having been added only a few weeks ago. The original organization was
at Ka- 
miab, then the Lapwai church was formed out of a portion of its members,
and now a 
third church has been organized consisting of former members of both the
other churches 
living at the North Fork settlement. At their own expense they built a small
frame 
house in which they worship. Almost to a man these are a church-going people,
and 
in reality the houses of worship have long been inadequate in their seating
capacity. 
It is probable that both houses will soon be enlarged so as to accommodate
all who 
wish to attend services. 
There are few cases of discipline except for conjugal infidelity and gambling
in 
horse-racing. On commencing the work here I made Christian marriage a condition
to full church membership, and, as was to be expected, for a few years there
were a 
great many offenders; but of late it has been necessary to discipline very
few per- 
sons for breaking marriage vows. In the meantime all church members and many
outsiders, living in conjugal relations, have submitted to the ceremony of
Christian 
marriage. On the other hand, however, cases of discipline for horse-racing
are on the 
increase. Six members were suspended last year, but this year there will
probably 
be fifteen or twenty cases, when all have been considered. The agent has
remon- 
strated against the practice and I have preached against it, but to little
purpose so 
long as there is no law prohibiting wild Indians from engaging in it on the
reserve. 
There are connected with this mission two churches among the Spokanes and
one on 
the Umatilla reservation, with an aggregate of 211 members. The latter church
is 
supplied by two Nez Perc6 ministers, formerly pupils under the care of Miss
S. L. 
McBeth. The two sisters, Misses S. L. and K. C. McBeth, one instructing classes
of 
men, the other laboring among the women, have done a good part in helping
this and 
neighboring tribes toward a Christian civilization. 
The Presbyterian board of foreign missions expends annually something over
$3,000 
in conducting this mission, mainly in salaries, and in meeting traveling
expenses of 
native helpers in visiting out-stations and attending the stated meetings
of Presby- 
tery. The Karniah people pay their pastor, Rev. Robert Williams, one hundred
dol- 
lars in addition to the salary he receives from the board. 
I could proceed and write about Sabbath schools, Christmas festivals, July
celebra- 
tions, and other matters connected with our church work during the year;
but, by 
the time I have touched on some points of general interest, I fear the limit
of my 
space will have been reached. 
GAMBLING IN HORSE-RACING. 
The wild Indians have several different modes of gambling. There is the universal
game of hands (lohmet), which usually has betting connected with it, and
the com- 
mon game of cards is very generally played for the Same purpose. But neither
oftlese 
games is engaged in by the better class of Indians; gambling in horse-racing
seems to 


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