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

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


Page 124

INDIANS OF' THE 
cure from removal by means of any future treaty made by the chiefs, 
or by any action of the nation, I am satisfied the change will be such, 
in their general conduct, as will make its own argument in favor of 
the policy of individual reservations for the Indians. The Weas, 
Peorias, &c., are already at- work briskly on their Selections-some 
building houses, and others making improvenments of different kinds. 
Indeed, the change seems to inspire them with new energy. 
Civilized white men, workM-r upon common property without spe- 
cial personal interest or ben. I ti to themselves, would soon be as the 
Indians are-without energy, zeal, or enterprise, and therefore worth- 
less. 
In lecturing the Indians, which I frequently do, I exhibited to 
them, in as plain a manner as possible, the kind of ".element"
with 
which they are soon to be surrounded, and the consequent necessity 
for fixed habits of sobriety and industry. That their future safety 
depends upon their observance of the following rules, which I detail 
with comments: first, sobriety and tempe;ance ; secondly, the ed- 
ucation and moral teaching of their children and young people; 
thirdly, habits of industry and economy; and, fourthly, to get out 
of debt as soon as possible, and then stay out. That if anything 
occurs hereafter which may disturb them in the peaceable possession of 
their homes, it will arise from the debts which they now owe, and 
those which they may contract hereafter. That it is true that the 
government, in the execution of the two late treaties with them, has 
laid grounds for guarding them against sales of their lands for debt 
by heartless, creditors, but that this affords, no permanent safety to 
them, because a change of administration at Washington may give 
rise to a different policy, which might not be so favorable to them. 
Instead of guarding them against the contrivances of bad men, spu- 
rious claims may be recognised as legitimate debts; or after they are 
involved in debt, creditors may combine and send delegates to Wash- 
ington and the seat of government for the Territory, and get such 
changes made in the laws and treaties as will enable them to collect 
their debts from the Indians by a sale of their lands. That if this is 
once done, the Indians will soon be without homes, or a foothold upon 
the earth hereafter ; and that the only mode by which to guard against 
such dangerous visitations, is to get clear of debt immediately, and 
then try and remain so. 
This kind of admonition seems to make, at the time, a deep impres- 
sion upon their minds; but it is evident that it is too easily forgotten
by them. 
The excessive dry weather, during the present growing season, has 
operated much against agricultural productions here. The corn crop 
has suffered much; yet from present appearances I think the Indians 
will have plenty, especially the confederated Weas, &c. The potato 
crop is nearly a failure, especially on the high prairie ground. On 
the low brush ground they did tolerably well. The quantity of pump- 
kins and squashes is quite limited, but melons seem to be plenty. 
The quantity of hay saved this season, up to the present time, exceeds 
that of last year, though the prairies have not produced a half crop of 
grass, compared with last season. In a general way, the grass on 
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