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)
98 WASHINGTON SUPERINTENDENCY. 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 census 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. COLVILLE INDIANS. 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 in catching and curing for winter consumption until September, their fields in 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, to 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 shortly. LOWER PEND DIOREILLES. 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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