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 1855
([1855])

[Minnesota superintendency],   pp. 48-68 PDF (8.7 MB)


Page 49

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
selling them these articles; but finding that Major Day and Colonel 
Abercrombie, late and present commanders of Fort Ridgely, and 
others, concurred in the opinion that no difficulty need be apprehended 
from their receiving them, the order was, within a few days, changed, 
and they will receive them accordingly, and this after a full know- 
ledge of all the facts connected with their condition and disposition. 
I trust that it may prove satisfactory, as it is the result of that discre-
tion left to the commanding officer at Fort Ridgely, and myself, by 
the government. 
In regard to the savage warfare that has been going on so long 
between the Sioux and Chippewas, it is believed that the presence of 
the troops lately ordered to Pembina will have a salutary effect and 
tend to break-up the war parties that have kept the people on that 
frontier in dread, and retarded the civilization of the tribes themselves.
-The agent of the Sioux suggests the propriety of contracting for 
the annual supply of the treaty provisions to be delivered at their 
agency instead of at St. Paul. That this course would secure the cer- 
tain and speedy delivery of the said supplies at the agency. He also 
suggests that $1 50 per capita, about the pro rata share of each of the 
upper bands, is sufficient to keep them but a short time, twice in the 
year, &c. 
It is proper to say that the contracts were made early in the spring 
for the delivery of the Sioux supplies at St. Paul at the earliest possi-
ble day after the opening of navigation. The contract for the trans- 
portation was made at the same time, so that the transportation con- 
tractor entered into bonds to receive from the boats, store, and forward
to the agency, the provisions immediately upon their arrival at St. 
Paul, and to complete their delivery by September 15. But this is 
not all. If contracts are made for $5,000 worth of provisions to be 
delivered at the agency instead of at St. Paul, the government would 
save three or four thousand dollars now paid for transportation from 
St. Paul to the agency, but the Indians would only receive about one 
half as much provisions, and instead of getting $1 50 worth per 
capita, they would only receive from 80 cents to $1 worth per capita. 
This would evidently be bad policy for the Indians. It would be a 
saving for the government, but a positive loss to the Indians. There- 
fore, as thd government agrees by treaty to pay the upper Sioux $5,000 
worth of provisions annually, it is incumbent on the government, as 
I conceive, to have a given point for the purchase and payment there- 
for; and forward from thence to the agency at its own expense and 
not at the cost of the Indians. It would be greatly to the advantage 
of the Indians to have the government buy their provisions at St. 
Louis, Chicago, or Galena, and then forward them to the agency. 
As it now is the provisions are produced in the States below, and pur- 
chased in Illinois and Iowa; thus the Indians have really to pay the 
transportation from Galena to St. Paul." The transportation from St.
Paul to the agency of the Sioux and Winnebago goods and provisions 
is governed in price and time of delivery by the navigation of the 
Minnesota. The present season has been one of unusually low water 
in every part of this country. And every contractor with the govern- 
ment has used every effort to faithfully fulfill his engagement, s6 far 
4 
49 


Go up to Top of Page