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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 Washington territory,   pp. 158-177 PDF (9.5 MB)


Page 159

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        WASHINGTON      TERRITORY.       159 
In December I had the pleasure of a visit from United States Indian Inspector
Henry 
Ward and Special Indian Agent Cyrus Beede, gentlemen who have the good of
the 
Indian at heart, I believe. They visited our'Schools and gave the teachers
some 
valuable advice. 
CONDITION. 
I write of the Spokan Indians first, who are living in the vicinity of Spokan
Falls. 
A lamentable condition of affairs exists among them. They were living in
peace along 
the banks of the Little Spokan River, cultivating small patches of land sufficient
for 
their needs, until the whites came in and gradually took their lands from
them (they 
failing to enter their homesteads), until no %v some 50 families are wandering
here and 
there. Unwilling to go to the reserve, they prefer to hang around the town
of Spokan 
Falls and be supported in their miserable laziness by the drudgery and prostitution
of 
their wives and daughters. Disreputable whites who sell them whisky are easily
found by them, and until of late intoxication has been very frequent. An
estimate 
of the cost of removing them to the Cwur d'Ak6ne Reserve (where they could
soon 
become prosperous and thrifty) was submitted in due time at the first session
of the 
present Congress, but for some reason failed. They should be removed at once
to 
some reserve without any sentiment in the matter, as the life they are now
living can 
end only in death and misery to them. 
The Okanagans depend more on the raising of stock than on the products of
the 
soil for support, and are in the main doing well. 
The Colvilles, Lakes, and the Spokans of Whistlepoosum~s band are making
an 
earnest effort to support themselves, and by so doing have received much
encourage- 
ment from me during the past year. 
The Calispels still retain many of their wild ways, and are cultivating the
soil only 
in a small way. A few of them in the vicinity of the agency are making some
prog- 
ress, and are not opposed to accepting a knowledge of the "white man's"
way. 
Of the Methows, San Puells, and Nespilums but little can be said. They are
peace- 
fully living on and cultivating the soil in a small way where they have been
located 
so many years. 
The last tribe to come under this notice is the Comur d'Al6ne, who, by the
testi- 
mony of the Jesuit Fathers, were accounted the most cruel and barbarous of
the tribes 
of the great Northwest are now the most civilized, receiving nothing from
the Gov- 
ernment, only the support of their schools. They are, step by step, taking
the lead 
over even their white neighbors. Their farming implements are of the latest
and 
most approved kinds, and the instructions from the lips of their resident
farmer, 
James O'Neill, have been well received and carefully carried out. I respectfully
call 
your attention to the accompanying report of the resident farmer, showing
them to 
have raised 45,000 bushels wheat, 35,000 bushels oats, 10,000 bushels potatoes,
&c. 
Owning over 6,000 head of horses, 2,500 cattle, 4,900 swine, in the enjoyment
of two 
excellent schools, they may be classed as among the fortunate ones of earth,
For 
this happy state of things the Government can thank the missionaries who
have faith- 
fully labored among them, and their able instructor, Resident Farmer James
O'Neill; 
and in this connection I would respectfully recommend that a comfortable
dwelling 
and stable be erected on the reserve for him during this year. 
TRESPASSERS. 
The mining excitement in the Cceur d'Al6ne Mountains attracted many people
to 
the vicinity of the Cceur d'Alne Reserve, and as a consequence the attention
of the 
agent has been called many times to that reserve to stop the cutting of trees
for lum- 
ber and other purposes. The people passing over the reserve have not interfered
with 
the Indians. For the benefit of the Government and the adjacent settlers
living near 
the reserve there is great need of placing monuments in reasonable proximity
to each 
other defining the lines of survey of this reserve, so that settlers will
not encroach 
thereon and cause trouble among the Indians. 
CRIME. 
I found on my arrival that several murders had been committed on and off
the re- 
serve, and the murderers still in the country. I songht at once to correct
this evil, 
and instructed the chiefs to arrest and pnnish the guilty. As a result of
my endeavors 
they arrested Theodore, who murdered Francois, and as a result of the trial
before 
his chief and headmen he was found guilty and executed. Previous to his death,
in 
a speech to the assembled Indians of his tribe, he warned them of the direful
effects 
of whisky, pointing to his death as a dreadful warning to them to shun forever
the 
drunkard's way. Through the able co-operation of Lieutenant-Colonel Merriam,
commandant at Fort Spokan, who caused the arrest of Michel, who murdered
Sha~er, 
Ems 


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