University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

Reports of agents in Michigan and Minnesota,   pp. 103-106 PDF (1.8 MB)


Page 104

104               REPORT OF AGENT IN        MINNESOTA. 
How shall we use to the best advantage our old school-building? It is large
and 
commodious, and I would recommend its use for the teaching of different branches
of 
industry, as carpenters, shoe makers, &c., if funds could be secured
for that pur- 
pose. Our large boys could be taught those things here in connection with
this 
school as well or better in my opinion than in schools farther removed. 
MISSIONARY WORK. 
The missionary work here in both churches is now, as it has been for years,
a matter 
of great encouragement. The faithful laborers in this field evince an untiring
zeal 
in the welfare of these people. The Rev. Mr. Gilfillan, whose life is devoted
to them, 
has not only ministered to their spiritual wants, but gave with an open hand
at the 
"seed sowing," and God grant that he may reap the harvest. 
SANITARY CONDITION. 
I regard this as a very healthy country, having plenty of very pure air and
free 
from malaria. The sanitary condition of the Indians improves slowly year
by year 
as they become accustomed-to the ways of civilized life, and have more and
better 
food and use more care in their protection from exposure. 
THE COURT OF INDIAN OFFENSES. 
While I have selected three good men as judges of the court of Indian offenses
for 
this reservation, I have not been able to find suitable persons both at Red
Lake and 
Leech Lake to be competent judges and such as are necessary for that position.
The 
court here has relieved me of many trying cases, and now it would seem as
if it would 
be impossible to do without them. Their judgment in most cases has been excellent
and their decisions submitted to without any complaint in most cases. There
are a 
few lawless persons here that have been able to do as they wished for many
years, 
and the restraint that this court has been around them has caused some little
dis- 
satisfaction. But it is only a question of time and it will become a permanent
fix- 
ture and recognized as the only way to settle the little differences among
them. If 
these judges could be paid a reasonable salary for their time and services,
there would 
not be any doubt of the continued good results from this court. 
RED LAKE. 
Civilization and education. 
That there is progress in this direction is manifest, though not uniformly
so. The 
exceptions are the band on the north shore of the eastern half of the South
Lake and 
the band located at the confluence of Red Lake River and Thief River, which
bands 
are far behind the rest of the tribe. The position of the former being a
somewhat 
isolated and not easily accessible one, and the latter being at a distance
of 65 miles 
from the overseer's headquarters, they have cultivated a spirit of seclusiveness,
and 
have neither had nor desired the advantages of either school or church. The
differ- 
ence between them and the other five bands of the tribe is marked and is
an em- 
phatic argument in favor of educational and religious opportunities. It is
strongly 
suggested, therefore, that if the present system of Government fostering
is to be main- 
tained for a series of years, schools should be established and attendance
made com- 
pulsory in these two bands. A system of compulsion must be brought to bear
upon 
both parents and children-upon the former to compel their consent, and upon
the lat- 
ter to compel their attendance. This would hold good with all ihe schools
if they are 
to be made a positive success. 
Agriculture. 
There is improvement here also, slow but perceptible. The peculiar social
standard 
of the race, which assigns to the woman all the drudgery except only the
care and 
use of horses and cattle, is a drawback just here, in that thd woman can
only plant 
and cultivate what the man is disposed to plow for her, and her poor tired-born
lord 
of creation is usually disposed to plow but very little and to break less.
Had the 
women the handling of the cattle and plows, I apprehend there would be a
greater 
growth of crops and a larger supply of food raised. I would not be understood
to 
believe in, much less to recommend, any change that should tend to increase
the bur- 
dens of the women, but I allude to the fact as an explanation in part of
the little 
progress niade in this direction. 
The introduction of wheat this season may initiate the solving of the problem
of 
self-support. If the crop shal]l happen to be a good one, and the coarse
flour which 


Go up to Top of Page