University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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

[Dakota],   pp. 238-259 PDF (10.7 MB)


Page 246

246     REPORT     OF  THE    COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS. 
some agencies, has crippled us seriously at this agency. The number of employes
allowed 
is insufficient for our needs, and the limited salaries will not procure
such men as Indian 
civilization demands. Without doubt at au agency where the Indians are already
setttled on 
homesteads, and know how to labor, or at an agency where neither agriculture
nor other in- 
dustries are undertaken, $6,000 may be enough to secure all the help that
is needed; but 
at an agency where nearly all the industries of an ordinary American village
must be carried 
on; where a saw-mill and grist-mill are to be kept in repair, and run a portion
of each year ; 
where blacksmithing, tinning, wagon-building, and repairing, carpentering,
and harness- 
mending are to be done; where cows, oxen, and Texan beef-cattle are to be
herded ; where 
supplies are to be issued for short periods, and in small and accurate quantities,
consuming 
nmuch time; where the sick gladly receive and are benefited by careful attention
; where a 
school is to be conducted, and where hundreds of Indians who understand not
the use of a 
single tool or implement of husbandry are ready to be taught in their use,
and will not use 
ihein carefully unless taught and stimulated, I respectfully submit that
seven employ6s 
and $6,000 aie not enough. At least twice that number of men and amount of
money ought 
to be allowed this agency during this and the next fiscal year. 
There are other topics of importance of which I would like to speak, but
my report seems 
already too long. My aim has been to make it general and suggestive rather
than exhaustive. 
For details of the year's operations I would respectfully refer you to my
monthly reports, 
regularly transmitted, and to the accompanying reports of physician, engineer,
arid farmer 
ot the agency. All of which is respectfully submitted. 
1 am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
L. B. SPERRY, 
United States Indian Agent for Arickaree, Gro8 Ventre, and Mandan Indians.
Hon. EDWARD P. SMITH, 
Coot missioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
GRAND RIvER INDIAN AGENCY, 
Standing Rock, Dak., September 8, 1874. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit my annual report for the year ending August
31, 1874- 
The Indians under my charge consist of four tribes of Sioux, afid each numibers
as fol- 
l ws: Upper Yanctonais, 1,406; Lower Yanctonais, 2,607; Uncpapas, 1,556,
and Blackfeet, 
-71. With very few exceptions, the behavior of these Indians has been as
good as could 
be expected; they seem to be well-disposed toward the whites, and have riot
given any 
trouble. In consequence of this good behavior on their part I have entirely
dispensed with 
the aid of the military, and now control the Indians without a single soldier
at the agency. 
I would say here that, in my opinion, if an agent can manage the Indians
placed under his 
charge without the presence of troops, it is much better to do so, for their
presence has a 
tendency to make the Indian feel degraded in his estimation, it appearing
to him a want of 
confidejce in his good intentions. 
I think the Indians at this agency are now in a condition that efforts of
missionaries and 
Teachers would meet with some success. Steps are taken to permanently establish
a mission 
here. There is no church nor school-house at this agency. I respectfully
recommend that 
a liberal share of the general school-fund be allotted this agency, for the
purpose of erecting 
buildings for church and school and for pay of two or three teachers. These
should un- 
derstand and speak fluently the Sioux language, and be able to teach without
the aid of an 
intet pireter. 
In regard to the babits of the Indians under my charge, there is no perceptible
change. 
They still have the same prejudice as ever, considering labor degrading and
beneath them. 
With few exceptions, whatever labor has to be performed is done by women.
In other re- 
spects their habits are good ; they haN e reformed as to their language used
toward me ; it 
used to be boisterous, and frequently rather insolent. They have been induced
to bury 
their dead, and abandon the former habits of putting them up on scaffolds.
I have a giave- 
)aid laid out, and fuinish them with coffins from the carpenter's shop. 
The farms at the old agency, formerly cultivated by these Indians, had to
be abandoned. 
on account of their remoteness from the present location. I have 2(0 acres
of ground 
broken for them here, and have furnished theta with corn and vegetable seeds.
Of the 
former, the Indians planted about 160 acres ; the remainder was used for
pumpkins, squash, 
melons, &c. On account of the unusually dry summer and the ravages of
the grasshoppers 
the ciops did not amount to much; corn did not yield more than about eight
bushels to the 
acre, and the vegetables suffered more from grasshoppers and want of rain
than the corn. 
Agricultural work thus far has been carried on by women principally, but
I have strong 
hopes that next season more of the men will engage in it. As the Indians
make but little 
piogress cutting hay with scythes, I respectfully ecommend that at least
four mowers be 
distributed among them. This is actually necessary, as they should have hay
for their 
horses and cattle duilung the winter. They have heretofore cut down trees
in the vicinity of 


Go up to Top of Page