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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

Information, with historical and statistical statements, relative to the different tribes and their agencies,   pp. 23-[84] PDF (29.5 MB)


Page 27

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.                   27 
lished. Eight Indian houses have been built, and 500,000 feet of lum- 
ber sawed. A day-school of 65. and a night-school of 40 pupils have 
been unusually interesting and protsperous. 
The following extracts from Agent Mahan's report show the other 
work accomplished at this place diring the year: 
The agency buildings being located on this reserve, together with the Government
saw- 
mill, farmer's house, carpenter and cooper shops, make Red Cliff one of the
points on 
the lake. The Indians of this reserve have adopted the white man's manner
of living 
without a single exception. On the 1st of December last I was waited upon
by the 
Indians of this reserve en masse. They informed me that their women and children
were starving. Many of them had not eaten a mouthful of food in four days,
and none. 
of them had food for the next meal. I informed them that they were to go
into the 
woods and cut logs, for which I would pay them in provisions. I laid my plan
before 
the Department and asked the sum of $4,000 to start this work, hoping in
time to be 
able to refund out of the profits of their labor. This, at the end of two
months, was 
denied me, and I found myself in debt for the supplies I had furnished, and
no money. 
I could not stop; for the Indians would starve. I, however, made arrangements
by 
which I was furnished the necessary supplies, for which I agreed to pay lumber
on the 
opening of navigation at the rate of $9 for every 1,000 feet mill run. No
happier and 
more contented people ever lived than the Indians of this reserve since the
1st of 
December last. I have added 70 feet of dock, making it the most perfect harbor
on 
the lake; have made a boom at the mill large enough to hold 50,000,000 feet
logs, 
putting in five cribs, and filling them with stone; have built a cooper and
carpenter 
shop, boarding-house for the men, additional wash-houses; besides furnishing
all the 
lumber required for Bad River, Grand Portage, and Red Cliff, for building
houses; and 
this done without handling one cent of money. The goods were furnished at
fair- 
prices, and the lumber paid the bills. 
The Bad River reservation, covering        124,333   acres in   Ashland 
County, is the only place in the agency where farming operations 
can be undertaken to any considerable extent. Most of it is heav- 
ily wooded    and   must be   1' cleared7 with great labor and expense 
before farms can be opened. Eight hundred Chippewas have here 
made a fair start in civilization; 255 acres are under cultivation, and 
there have been raised 500 bushels corn, 600 bushels oats, and 3,000 
bushels potatoes; 250 tons of hay have been'cut, 30 tons of sugar and 
200 gallons of maple-sugar made, and 11 houses built. These Indians 
have adopted citizen's dress, and most of them live in houses. 
The educational work on this reservation is carried on almost entirely 
by  benevolent contributions. In connection with         the manual-labor
boarding-school, in which 26 boys and .girls are boarded, clothed, and 
taught, a day-school and night-school have been sustained, the former 
with 105 and the latter with 45 pupils. Concerning the prosperity of 
these schools, the sutperintendent writes as follows: 
Though it is only about two and a half years since any of our children were
received 
into this boarding-school, and when they came to us, they came, many of them,
just 
wild from the woods, yet in this short time quite intelligent letters, written
solely by 
themselves, have gone to various points in the United States, and have been
read with 
deep interest and pleasure. In all household duties likewise, and work upon
the farm, 
our girls and boys are as well versed and as apt as the majority of white
children of 
a like age who have had perhaps better opportunity to learn. Not only has
this kind 
of school a rapidly transforming effect upon its immediate pupils, but the
outside 
children are stimulated by a desire to appear as well as those in the boarding-house,
and their parents participating in this desire, exert themselves to accomplish
this end. 
Next to the manual-labor boarding-school in exerting a civilizing and elevating
in- 
fluence, stands the day-school. This, with us, has been a more marked success
than 
such schools on some other reserves. 
Besides the day-school, we have also tried a night-school during the past
winter, which 
met with great acceptance, particularly among those young men who are obliged
to 
labor hard all day. From early in November, up to the time of their moving
to their 
sugar-bushes, the night-school was their favorite place of resort ; and not
only young 
men, but even some well advanced in life, were quite regular in their attendance
and 
assiduous in their efforts to acquire knowledge. Of the good effeicts of
this night- 
school I can scarcely speak too highly. 
m    -              I                                                   
                              --    7- 


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