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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 59

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.                 69 
the land ploughed in 1852, and 130 acres of the land ploughed in 
18541 remained unplanted this season. 
The same complaint must be made of those Sisetons and Wahpetons 
-who have been accustomed to plant below the reserve. The same of 
these Sisetons and Wahpetons, however, I cannot make much com- 
plaint, as we had not sufficient farms opened to accommodate them 
all, and the contractor having failed to perform his contract, (having 
broken only 63 acres instead of 500 above Yellow Medicine,) I shall 
be in the same position next year, unless you allow me to place in the 
hands of the farmer during this winter the ploughs, oxen, wagons, 
and other supplies necessary to commence in the spring in sufficient 
force, and in time to enable the Indians to plant on the breaking the 
same season. 
The reports of Mr. Prescott, farmer for the Medawakantoans, and 
A. Robertson, farmer for the Sisetons and Wahpetons, show the 
present situation of the affairs of the Indians on both reserves, and I 
am left to some general observations. 
The land now broken for the Medawakantoans and Wahpekutis 
will be amply sufficient for the support of all the eight bands, 
particularly when additions are made to it in the form of separate 
farms. This plan has been begun this season. Farms have been 
opened for six or seven Medawakantoans, and I confidently expect 
that their example will be followed by many more in the spring. 
A similar plan was begun last year by Mr. Robertson on the 
Siseton and Wahpaton reserve, -the Indian in each case agreeing to 
fence his own farm and build a log house adjoining. Eight such 
farms have already been opened, and six more are demanded, but the 
lateness of the season makes it imprudent to break the land before 
apring. 
The   Sisetons and Wahpetons have about 165 acres in          all 
ploughed, near the Yellow Medicine river, besides the 30 acres for 
the establishment. A plough was sent up to Big Stone lake, when 
it was found that no contractor could be got to go there, and about 
20 acres have been opened there, but this, I hope, is only an earnest 
of what may be done for those Indians in the spring. No stranger 
can be expected to go there except at a very exorbitant price,'and I 
am at a loss to discover any reason for deviating from the plan 
before agreed upon, as our present establishment, with the addition 
of ploughs, oxen, &c., for this express service, is sufficient to accom-
plish the work. Last winter, and again this spring, Mr. Robertson 
resented a requisition for the necessary material to do the work, and 
had, before that time, laid before you an estimate and calculation 
by which it was shown that this plan must be the most economical. 
It is absolutely necessary that another blacksmith should be 
allowed the Sisetons and Wahpetons. The number of these Indians is 
so large that their work cannot be done by one smith. Besides, when 
farms are opening, and after they are opened, during the time of 
spring ploughing, the necessary repairs require the work of a black- 
smith. For this purpose a shop must be erected near the intended 
farms at Big Stone lake, where the smith would find full employment 
during the summer. In the fall he might remove to the Yellow 


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