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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 Nebraska,   pp. 117-126 PDF (4.7 MB)


Page 118

118 
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN NEBRASKA. 
OMAHAS. 
The Omahas are a steady, sober, and industrious people, whose greatest desire
is to 
secure permanent homes for themselves and their posterity. They are peculiarly
at- 
tached to their homes. For two hundred years or more this has been their
home, 
never leaving it except when driven away by other tribes or for the purpose
of laying 
in their yearly supply of buffalo meat. On the summit of every bluff lie
whitening 
in the sun the bones of their ancestors, and on these bluffs they, too, hope
some day 
to lie with them. 
The principal event of importance of the past year has been the completion
of the 
work of allotting to the Indians their lands in*everalty. In accordance with
the act 
of Congress approved August 7, 18S2, 75,931 acres were allotted in 954 separate
allot- 
ments to 1,194 persons. This number includes the wives, they receiving their
lands 
with their respective husbands. About 55,450 acres remain to be patented
to the 
tribe, according to the act, for the benefit of the children born during
the period of 
the trust patents. 
In the four townships nearest the railroad 326 allotments were taken, showing
the 
practical appreciation by the people of a near market for their produce.
In Town- 
ship 24, Range 7 East, of the Sixth Principal Meridian, 105 allotments were
made. 
The'portion of this township lying west of the railroad and unallotted to
Indians was 
opened last April to white settlement, and was immediately occupied. The
unallotted 
portion of this township east of the railroad will next year be in the market,
and the 
Indians located there will be surrounded by white neighbors, and thus be
brought in 
close contact with civilized people. All the land lying near the white settlements
which skirt the southern portion of the reservation is allotted, and the
Indians, par- 
ticularly those who are inclined to be progressive, are seeking rather than
avoiding 
associations with the white people. This is a good indication. Progress cannot
be 
made in isolation. The increasing crops of the Oulahas to be marketed make
them 
an important factor in the prosperity of the growing villages in their vicinity,
and 
the tradesmen in the villages encourage their efforts. The people seem niore
and 
more in earnest to advance in their farmers' mode of life. The security of
their tenure 
of their land has had an excellent influence. 
The very thorough manner in which the work of allotting those lands was done,
and the practical instructions given them at the same time, has given those
people an 
impetus which will never be lost. The thanks of every one of these people,
and mine 
with them, are heartily given Miss A. C. Fletcher for her noble work. Henceforth
the land follows descent according to the laws of the State, and the registry
kept by 
Miss Fletcher will facilitate in securing the proper inheritance. This registry,
giv- 
ing as it does the exact status of the families as they will be recognized
by the Gov- 
ernment in the patents, will also render valuable assistance in maintaining
the integ- 
rity of the family, a most important mati er in the welfare of this people.
The increasing prosperity of the people and their contact with the white
settle- 
ments makes the necessity of law as between Indians, and white men and Indians,
of 
grave importance. The Indian court of offenses has proven efficient andl
effective in 
dealing with the class of disorders which came under its control. It is,
however, 
daily more apparent that the three judges of this court should be compensated
for 
their services, as they are frequently called upon to do unpopular things,
and if true 
to the duties of their office often risk personal friendship and help. This
is a just 
reason why they should be made independent and secure against loss. Another
reason is found in the fact that the judges must be of necessity taken from
the more 
advanced and progressive people, and such have farms that cannot be left
without 
loss while they are giving their time to trials. Each convening of the judges
costs 
them a day's time, which cannot be given without loss. With proper compensation
and under proper provisions the duties of the judges could be enlarged and
the order 
and discipline of the people enhanced. 
Another step taken by these people at this time, which indicates a determination
to 
march on to independence, is the closing of their shops as tribal institutions.
They 
believe they are ready for the discipline of paying for their own work. If
they can 
succeed in this way it is undoubtedly educational in its tendency, as it
necessitates 
forethought in providing and retaining the means necessary for paying the
carpenter 
and blacksmith for their work; and if they succeed in this they will see
the necessity 
for forethought and preparation in other matters, and that is the beginning
of econ- 
omy and thrift, which solves the whole problem for them of self-support.
The Omahas 
are a determined and progressive people, and in a very hopeful condition.
WINNEBAGOES. 
The Winnebagoes are in many respects as different from the Omahas as a Gypsy
from 
a German. They seem to be by nature and practice a wandering and nomadic
people. 
Some of them are continually on the move and embrace in their travels all
the 
country from Minnesota to Kansas. They are always active, energetic, and
indus- 


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