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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 Indian territory,   pp. 70-100 PDF (15.3 MB)


Page 71

71 
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN INDIAN TERRITORY. 
The most serious difficulty to the advancement of these Indians lies in the
lack of' 
power to control them, and the best results will never be attained until
our roving 
and lawless Indians are under complete control, and forced, not only to stop
depre- 
dating, but compelled to keep hands off of such Indians as desire to work.
It is the 
practice of the "dog soldiers" to compel the attendance of all
Indians on their med- 
icine making, and on refusal of any one to attend his teepee is cut up, chickens,
hogs, 
and cattle killed, growing crops destroyed; they rule with an iron hand,
and their 
will, right or wrong, is absolute law. 
We have here 2,366 Arapahoes and 3,905 Cheyennes, making a grand total of
6,271 
Indians. Outside of the United States police, a few half-breeds and the Indians
em- 
ployed in shops or in teaming, all wear blankets, live in teepees, and are
uncivilized, 
have the manners,-ways, customs, superstitions, &c., which have been
attached to 
their races for generations gone by. There is not one full-blood Indian living
in a 
house, except as above noted. They idle away their time, and those that have
small 
patches that they call farms, consisting of from one-quarter of an acre to
10 acres, 
abandon their crops on the slightest invitation and go to medicine or a feast,
which 
keeps them away ofttimes for a month when they are most needed at home. I
have 
great faith that this state of affairs can be changed; first, as I stated,
they must be 
controlled, and those who will work and wish to abandon their old way must
be as- 
sisted, encouraged, and protected. 
They have here over 4,000,000 acres of land, and while it is true that a
very large 
majority of this land is only fit for grazing purposes it is also true and
can very read- 
ily be seen that it is not necessary to have a great amount of good farming
land for 
only 6,000 people, and that a large part of the 4,000,000 acres can be practically
worth- 
less, for agricultural purposes, and still have sufficient good land for
all their wants. 
This is nudoubtedly true of this country, but the small patches of rich land
in the 
bottoms are ample and will some day support these people handsomely. 
All Indians that I have ever met, I care not how ignorant, know the difference
between right and wrong, and if told that the law is so and so, are as capable
of 
obeying it as whites, and it is a great calamity to Them as well as the Government
that they should be allowed to exist and keep up their old customs and practices,
&c., when a simple act of Congress would so quickly transfer them into
law-abiding 
citizens. The lower House of Congress, at its last session, struck the key-note
to 
the whole situation, and I am sorry that the Senate could not agree that-
Any act which, when done by a citizen of the United States, would be a crime,
shall be and is hereby 
declared equally a crime when done by any Indian upon or belonging to any
Indian reservation, and 
such Indian committing such crime shall be subject to the same juiisdiction,
and amenable to the same 
process that any citizen would be in like case. 
This is not complete enough, but would have been a splendid start in the
right di- 
rection. They must conform tothe will of the Government or take the consequences,
and it is important that this should be made intelligible and significant
to them. 
The speedy punishment of the Indians who took part in the raid on Horton,
and for- 
cibly took possession of over 200 ponies in May last, would have gone farther
to break 
down the power and influence of the worst class of Indians, than all the
threats that 
an agent could make during the rest of his natural days. In these tribes,
like all 
communities, there are particularly hard cases, who succeed better in general
devil- 
ment than most of their friends, because they devote more attention to it,
turning all 
of their energies in that direction, and bringing themselves to bear on it
with an ear- 
nestness and assiduity that could not fail to render them prominent. The
occurrence 
of many such raids will go further to break down the power and influence
of the Gov- 
ernment, if the guilty parties are left unpunished, than anything that can
be done. 
These Indians ceased to be useful and became wholly ornamental when they
quit 
huuting and settled down here to do literally nothing. They should have been
from 
the start given to understand that they must work, and the-power of the Army
should 
have been used to see that they did. I imagine that the thousands of hard-working
mechanics, artisans, farmers, and merchants, who pay.a large tax and have
the best 
interest of our whole country at heart, would be surprised if they could
pause from 
their work and take a fair view of the 6,000 lazy Indians, who daily draw
their pound 
of flesh, and the blood with it, hides and horns thrown in. At times I get
discouraged 
when I look over the vast work to be done here, but so far from losing hope,
I am 
only nervint myself to fresh exertions, and I know the best way to deal with
Indians 
is, to neither promise nor threaten anything that cannot be carried out,
and to deal 
with them always in strict justice, treat them as human beings, like ourselves,
as 
they have much of human nature in their red skins, and are, as I have remarked,
as 
capable of listening to reason, when the reason is good, as if the color
was white. 
Resources sustain nothing, but labor sustains everything. This is a good
country 
for diversified crops, but the importance of agriculture among the Indians
has been 
overlooked. I hope to organize the labor here so as to be able to produce
all the 
wheat, corn, sugar cane, vegetables, and fruits requiredto support these
people. I shall 
not increase the amount of money expended but shall try hard to get 100 cents'
worth 


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