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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page 8

o                       REPORT OF THE 
gion, and the causes of them, with the action of the agent in the 
premises. With reference to depredations, I have only to repeat the 
remarks made in a former report, and to suggest that it would be 
much better and safer if the law was regarded as the rule of action in 
all such cases. 
The Poncas inhabit the country adjacent to the valley of the l'Eau 
qui Court. They plant corn. The whites are beginning to settle 
the country which these Indians claim. 
The Pawnees, who were formerly compelled by their hostilities with 
the Sioux to leave their own country north of the Platte and seek a 
home south of that river, have now been compelled to abandon the 
latter. The whites are now encroaching upon them north of that 
stream; and while these Indians also cultivate land to a limited ex- 
tent, yet they and the Poncas, from the uncertainty of reaping the 
fruit of their labors, seem to be depressed, and many have given them- 
selves up to indolence and vice. They infest the highways, are inso- 
lent to travellers, and seek to procure a livelihood by begging and 
stealing. It is exceedingly important that arrangements, heretofore 
suggested with respect to these bands, be consummated without delay, 
which will settle them down on fixed and permanent homes, and thus 
promote their comfort and relieve the settlers and emigrants from 
their annoyance. 
In speaking of the face of the country, streams, &c., in the upper 
portion of the central superintendency, the superintendent remarks, 
that "the Missouri river is navigable, for boats drawing thirty-four
inches, from a point twenty-five miles.below its falls to its mouth-a 
distance of more than twenty-nine hundred miles. Thirty-five miles 
below the Judith begins the first of three inconsiderable rapids, none 
of which present any important obstacle to navigation. When the 
character of the navigation of this river becomes more generally 
known, it will be the thoroughfare to Utah, Oregon, and Washington 
Territories. In ascending this river beyond Fort Benton, the first 
fall is eighty-nine feet in perpendicular height. The upper fall, seven 
miles beyond this, is thirty-five feet in height; the intermediate 
space presents minor falls, and a succession of rapids. Above the 
falls there is uninterrupted navigation for small boats for three hun- 
dred miles, in a southerly direction." He also states that the Yellow
Stone is navigable for small boats a distance of six hundred miles 
from its mouth. 
The Omahas are represented as improving in their condition. They 
are contented, and have ample provisions for the approaching winter. 
Their reservation is highly spoken of by their agent; and when the 
necessary government and mission buildings, now in course of con- 
struction, are finished, and all the other improvements contemplated 
are made upon it, the home of the Omahas, at the Blackbird Hills, 
will be a very desirable one. A good crop of corn, potatoes, and 
pumpkins-'was produced on their reserve; and, in addition thereto, 
the Indians have had a very successful hunt. 
Some prairie land has been broken and planted for the Ottoes and 
issourias, at their new reserve on the Big Blue; but their interests 
have suffered for the want of an agent to attend to them. It is to be 


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