United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
[Dakota], pp. 238-259 PDF (10.7 MB)
242 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. have been built of logs. Some have improved their old ones. They have a strong desire for better houses, but must wait for greater resources. They have cut and sold about 200 cords of wood, hauling some of it forty miles to market, and they would have cut more, but they have little more wood than they will need themselves. They have made considerable freighting with their teams, going sometimes a hundred miles away. But they have made the most catching small fur, because they knew the best how to do that. In this way they have earned, perhaps, $3,500. This resource will soon fail, as the fur is nearly caught out in this region. One Indian has the contract for carrying the mail through Flandreau, for- which he receives $1,0C0 a year. It is but a few miles from Flandreau to the far-famed pipe-stone quarry, and these Indians make many little sums by selling pipes, rings, ink- stands, &c., made from this beautiful red stone. The manufacture of cloth, baskets, and mats they know nothing about, but have expressed a desire to learn. Also some of the young men have asked to learn the blacksmith and carpenter trades, and, if a suitable place could be found for them, it would be an excellent thing. FEASIBILITY OF THEIR CIVILIZATION. The progress which these Indians have made in the last few years already places them nearer the civilized than the savage being. The chief causes of their improvement, as I view it, are : 1. The lesson they learned from the massacre in Minnesota, that peace is bet- ter than war. 2. The eternal truths of the gospel which were sounded in their ears in a language they fully understood. 3. The feeling of manhood gendered by individual pos- sessions and the responsibility of caring for one's self. THE FUTURE. For their future development it is necessary that the plan f assisting each farmer with an outfit should be carried out. A little over thirty families Lave been supplied with the most necessary things. The other forty should have the same. And they all need a few more articles, one of which is a cow. Furnishing them an outfit is helping them to earn their own living instead of supporting them. It may cost more on the start, but how much better in the end. Wherever Indians will take care of their stock and implements, and use them as these do, let the Government furnish them liberally. It is a kind of sowing that will bring a rich harvest. The matter of education must be carefully looked to, as the parents have little or no edu- cation themselves. Although the school now in progress might answer for the children near by, a large number at a distance will grow up in ignorance unless something further is done. I recommend, therefore, the eiection of a plain boarding-hall, in connection with the present school, where scholars from a distance may receive their meals and lodging. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOHN P. WILLIAMSON, Ho. E. P. SMITH, United States Special Indian Agent. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washingion, D. C. ARICKAREE, GROS VENTRE, AND MANDAN AGENCY, Fort Bcrthold, Dak., August 31. 1874. SIR: In compliance with the requirements of the Department, I have the honor to make the annual report of the affairs of this agency for the year ending August 31, 1874. My acquaintance with the agency began November 1, 1873, at which time, in obedience to office instructions, I relieved my predecessor, Mr. John E. Tappan, of its duties. The con- dition of agency affairs at that time, briefly, was as follows : NUMBER AND CONDITION OF THE INDIANS. There were, according to the estimate of the late agent, about twenty-one hundred Indians belonging to the agency. Nearly one-half or them, however, were away serving as scouts at military posts hereabouts, hunting for game, visiting friends among other tribes, or mak- ing winter-quarters at various places between Forts Buford and Peck, where the conditions for getting a living during the winter are more favorable than nearer home. The sanitary condition of the agency was sad to contemplate. At least one-tenth of those remaining at home were seriously sick, while a majority were suffering more or less from depressing dis- ease. About one-half were living in log houses of native construction, and the other half in their old-fashioned dirt-lodges. The former are for the most part small, close, and over- crowcded, while the latter are large, damp, and cold, both of them poorly adapted to the needs of these people in such a climate as this. But little had been attempted in the way of civil- ization. No missionary or teacher had been provided, and but few male Indians had under- taken to work. Tle'squaws, from time immemorial, have been industrious workers.
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