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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1865

Washington superintendency,   pp. 67-101 PDF (14.8 MB)

Page 98

No. 10. 
FORT COLVILLE, W. T., July 8, 1865. 
SIR: In accordance with instructions from your office of the 17th ultimo,
I have the honor to submit the following report on the condition of Indian
affairs in this region: 
The tribes inhabiting the district under my supervision are the Colville,
Pend d'Oreilles, Upper and Lower Spokanes, Sanposelles, and Okinakanes; 
also one or two remnants of bands living on the Columbia, near the mouth
of the Okinakane river. 
A small portion of the Cceur d'Alene tribe,' living near the boundary 
between this Territory and Idaho, may also be entitled to the benefit of
your superintendency; but of this I am not certain, not having had time to
visit that region.. I have not had, as yet, sufficient leisure to take a
of these tribes and bands; but, from information obtained from old residents
and Indians, I have estimated their numbers, in the aggregate, at about 
3,200 souls. 
These Indians inhabit the Colville valley and that of the Columbia river,
from Kettle Falls to a point thirty miles below, and number about 500. 
They are supplied, to some extent, with teams, ploughs, and a few wagons,
and cultivate small fields of grain and vegetables. After putting in their
spring crops they usually repair to the cammas grounds, (thirty to fifty
miles east of the valley,) where they are engaged until the middle of June
collecting cammas and bitter root for food. 
About the middle of June the fishing season commences, when they resort 
to the salmon fisheries on the Columbia, where they are usually employed
catching and curing for winter consumption until September, their fields
the mean time being neglected. Though, as a tribe, they may be considered
industrious and well disposed, yet there are among them several drunken 
vagabonds who can be induced to labor for no other purpose than to raise
means for the purchase of whiskey. Drunkenness, however, prevails to a 
much less extent than among the Coast tribes, attributable, as I conceive,
the influence exerted by the two Catholic missionaries residing in the valley.
I shall endeavor to impress upon them the importance of some of their 
number remaining at home and attending to their crops during the cammas 
and fishing seasons. I will recommend that a well-selected assortment of
garden seeds and a quantity of farming tools be forwarded this fall for their
use next spring. A list of the seeds and articles required shall be forwarded
These Indians (numbering about eight hundred) inhabit and cultivate a 
very fertile tract lying about forty miles east of the post, and in the vicinity
of the St. Ignatius mission. Like those in the Colville valley, they have
been partially supplied with teams, ploughs, &c., and raise considerable
quantities of grain. These Indians bear a high reputation tbr honesty and
industry, and I strongly recommend them to the favorable consideration of
the department,. as justice and policy alike demand that the worthy should
receive the most encouragement. Having but little intercourse with whites,
and living off the line of travel to the gold mines, it is to be hoped they
will continue to follow their peaceful avocations unmolested. 

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