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

[Central superintendency],   pp. 65-131 PDF (28.8 MB)

Page 123

they are far in advance now of many of the 'pale -faces' (who are in 
this Territory at, present) in all the characteristics which constitute the
higher and nobler degrees of civilization. The Indians here always 
seem to be thankful for good advice, and manifest a great willingness 
to conform to all the requirements of good counsel; but their innate 
aversion to labor, and their native indolence, which nature has, to a 
great extent, made constitutional with them, seem in most, cases to 
overbalance every good intention which may be awakened- in their 
minds by all the counsel and example which can be given, them. 
"The temperance movement of last year, which promised so healthy 
a reformation in point of morality and general well doing, has since 
failed with many of them. The near approach of the white settle- 
ments, I am satisfied, has a more demoralizing, effect upon the In- 
dians than otherwise. Their mental stamina (except in a few-cases) 
seems _not to be sufficient to resist the temptations to intoxication 
which the approximation of the 'pale faces' affords somany oppQrtu- 
.,nities to indulge in. 
"I know of no liquor now for sale in; but along.-the 
,-border of Missouri, and at Ossawatomie, located on the 8eve imile 
re.erve, it is kept in great .abundance, and, I believe, quite accessible
t - the Indians. 
" This liquor- business is so well: understood between the vender 
sn the Indians who use it, that it is out of the question to reach-the 
.,evil by the law. It is easy to know when the- Indians. have liquor, 
..-but it is next toimpossible to know from whom or. from whence it 
"The credit systen", which has been practised and encouraged 
among the Indians so long, hasu, in my opinion, had a ruinous effect 
upon the;x prosperity and progress in civilized life. I feel well con- 
ninced that if their credit could have been limited to some reasonable 
bounds, and they compelled to draw more upon their physical: and 
mental resources for the purpose of procuring the means of subsist- 
ence, their condition. would be much in advance of what it is now. 
At present there are but few who are not involved in debt to the whole 
.,Amount.. of their annuities before they receive them; and if many of 
them -could get Ltwice or thrice the amount, I believe it would not 
i.ore-than-meet their indebtedness. The claims 1 against them-seem 
to be mostly for provisions and costly wearing apparel ; but it is evi- 
dent that much of their means go for liquor, particularly with the 
-Miamies, and this, I fear, will be the casewith many of them solong 
as cash payments are- continued. My experience and observation, 
since I have been here, demonstrate very clearly (taking the Indians 
in their tribal character) that those who receive the smallest annuities
make the best progress in preparing to live without the special guar- 
dianship of government. The best of them, however, are bad eeono- 
mists,- and make but poor applications of their money." 
eI am in great hopes that a better day is dawning for the Indians 
here. The possession of individual homes is having a good effect upon 
...them. When they become located upon their farms, which they 
know are permanently their own, and consequently their labor and 
niprovements will be to their own personal advantage, and they se- 
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