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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I
([1905])

Reports concerning Indians in Washington,   pp. 355-371 PDF (8.3 MB)


Page 356

356     REPORTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. 
average well with their white brothers, and a large proportion of them can
be 
depended upon to become satisfactory citizens. 
Some trouble has occasionally arisen from the selling of liquor to Indians;
but it is remarkable that there has not been much more, under the circum-
stances. The opening of the Colville Reservatioh to mineral entry brought
a 
train of evils in its wake. Towns have been built on placer mining claims,
and 
all sorts of business, excepting that of mining, are carried on. Saloons
were 
established in the heart of the reservation, and notwithstanding the apparently
plain law on the subject a Federal judge has decided that if, in obtaining
sup- 
plies of liquor, it was necessary to carry it on or across an Indian reservation
in order to reach a mining claim where such a business was established no
law 
was violated. Liquor has undoubtedly been sold to Indians from such saloons;
but it has been impossible to secure conviction for such an offense because
of 
the stated practice of the United States court not to try such cases unless
there 
was corroborative white testimony, juries in this country refusing to convict
on 
Indian testimony alone. These saloons now, however, are apparently living
up to the law, and little is heard of the sale of liquor to Indians except
by the 
slippery " bootlegger." 
Most of the so-called placer claims are fraudulent and without a possibility
of pay dirt, the sole intention of the locators being to hold themfor agricul-
tural or fruit-culture purposes when the reservation is opened. Crops are
raised and garden-truck farming carried on openly, without a pretense of
mining. Irrigation ditches for fruit raising are constructed, ostensibly
for 
mining purposes. This has been going on for years, miieral entries being
accepted, proved up, and patents issued on purely agricultural lands. Here
is a fine field for an expert to trap a conscienceless lot of individuals
and cor- 
porations who regard Government holdings as legitimate prey. 
On the whole, the Colville and Spokan Indians are temperate people, and,
while morally still backward, there is a noticeable absence of immoral diseases
except as an inheritance from a former generation, when white adventurers
introduced all sorts of disorders among the red men. Prompt punishment by
Indian courts for unlawful cohabitation has had a good effect, and there
is 
undoubted improvement in that respect. Sanitation is but little understood
among these Indians, and they are slow to realize its benefits, but the leaven
is 
at work and the prospect for a betterment of the sanitary conditions generally
is good. 
Authorization to issue permits for the grazing of cattle on the Colville
Res- 
ervation, antagonized from the beginning, is now submitted to ungraciously
by 
the Indians, and numerous complaints of trespass or damage, more or less
well 
founded, have been made. The Indians were promised a direct benefit from
the 
money received from grazing lessees, which during the past year amounted
to $3,742.10 and will be about the same for the coming year; but failu're
to 
discover in what manner they are being benefited by this fund causes an occa-
sional condemnation of the system by the headmen. 
Very few leases of Indian allotments on the opened north half of the Col-
ville Reservation were made during the year, and. but one sale of inherited
lands consummated. Most of the allotment Indians live on and cultivate their
own lands, but many have made private leases without the knowledge of the
agent. This might be commendable as showing a capacity to transact business
for themselves, but it frequently happens in such cases that the agent is
appealed to to help the Indian out of a bad bargain. 
Establishment of the proposed day schools will be of distinct benefit to
the 
Indians, but will materially reduce the attendance at the Fort Spokane board-
ing school. The plant of the latter is in such fine shape, so well placed
in a 
beautiful and healthy location, that it would be a misfortune to give up
this 
school, which could be made a success if reorganized in accordance with plans
heretofore repeatedly proposed and urged by Superintendent Avery, for which
I respectfully ask the special consideration of the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs. 
The number of children of school age has heretofore probably been over- 
estimated, while tuberculosis and hereditary scrofula have made serious rav-
ages among the youngsters, an unusually large propdrtion of them being there-
by debarred from school privileges. 
Great care has been used in taking the census, which is nearly accurate and
entirely free from estimates. A material !eduction of population is show.
Areas of districts are large; the country is mountainous ; communities are
scat- 


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