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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)

Page 247

the agency to use the bark for feed. If this wasting of timber is not stopped,
in a few 
years this supply will be exhausted. 
On account of the action of Congress, limiting the amount for pay of employds
at any one 
agency to $6,000 per annum, but little assistance from the agency employes
can be given 
the Indians in farming next season. 
I have distributed thirty farm-wagons to the Indians. These wagons are very
useful to 
them; the small supply sent by the Government permitted only a limited number
of In- 
dians to get any, while others equally deserving could not be supplied. I
would respect- 
fully recommend that a distribution of at least seventy-five more wagons
be made as soon 
as practicable. 
The buildings erected at this agency during the past year consist of agent's
house, plhysi- 
cian's house, council-house, three large storehouses, blacksmith-shop, carpenter-shop,
ployc's' quarters; also stable and corrals. There have been built six houses
for Indians, 
now occupied by them, and much liked. The tents of the Indians affording
but little pro- 
tection against the severe cold of the winter at the reservation, they are
compelled to leave 
the open country and remove to the woods for shelter. I respectfully recommend
that assist- 
ance in men and material be given them to build houses to live in, and to
have some rude 
As to the treatment of Indians, the most prominent and necessary feature
to be observed 
in dealing and intercourse with them, especially when under the relations
between Govern- 
ment agents to them, is, that never should any promise be made or held out
to them unless 
under a certainty that the promise can be fulfilled in every respect and
at the promised time. 
Wherever the Indians are dependent upon Government for subsistence, there
should always 
be a supply on hand for issue on the days promised them. Annuity goods should
be dis- 
tributed on the day promised by treaty. Nothing causes so much dissatisfaction
Indians as delay or neglect in keeping promises made them; they become at
once distrust- 
ful, and think they are going to be wronged. It is not easy to make them
understand any- 
thing about time and necessity of making appropriations for the purchase
of supplies for 
them, or delays in transporting the same to their destination. 
On the 14th of January several of the most influential chiefs and head-men
of this agency 
left here for Fort Abraham Lincoln, for the purpose of making, if possible,
peace with their 
old enemies, the Reeiw, who had invited them to come. After remaining at
the fort for three 
days, waiting for the Rees, who did not come, they returned, but were still
willing to make 
After the return of the Indians from Fort Abraham Lincoln. a war-party of
Two Kettle's band 
of Sioux, from the lower agencies, passed this place on their way to attack
the Rees. In- 
formation of this movement was immediately sent to the military at Fort Abraham
with a view of stopping the war-party, but on the 15th of February the party
returned, after 
having been successful in carrying off eight horses from the Rees. 
On the 22d of February a party of three Minneconjoux, from Tongue River,
killed a sol- 
dier, who was herding cattle a short distance from the military station at
Grand River, and 
ran off with his horse. One of the same party also stole three of the best
horses from the 
Indians of this reservation. 
On the night of the 15th of May a party of Gros Ventres made a raid on this
place, and 
stole thirty-three Indian ponies, and succeeded in getting them as far as
Mr. Gayton's wood- 
yard, some twenty-five miles from here, when Mr. Gayton, with his employes,
drove off the In- 
dians and recaptured thirty of the horses. The Gros Ventres managed to get
away with 
three horses. 
A raiding-party of Sioux from the lower agencies passed here in the latter
part of May, 
on their way north, and returned on the ISth of June, saying that they had
killed seven 
Rees, with a loss to themselves of two killed and one wounded. They profess
not to have 
any ill-feeling against the whites, and say they are always careful when
raiding not to im- 
peril the lives of any whites or injure their property. As long, however,
as the Rees com- 
mit depredations on them, they say they are compelled to retaliate 
Near Fort Rice, Dakota, on the 2d of July, Joseph Putney, a white man, was
killed by an 
Indian of this agency. It appears that on the evening of the 1st of July
Joseph Putney 
and the Indian had a drunken row, in which he beat the [ndian ; that they
took strong drink 
the next morning, when the Indian, still smarting under the ill-treatment
of the previous 
evening, was again struck by Putney and knocked off his horse. The Indian
then shot 
Putney. This Indian is a brother of Two Bears, a chief of great influence,
and is a friendly 
and well-disposed Indian, but was at the time under the influence of liquor,
furnished him 
by Putney in violation of law. On the 9th of August a deputy United States
arrived at the agency, for the purpose of arresting the supposed murderer
and take him to 
Bismarck, Dakota, for trial. I summoned the chief, Two Bears, and told him
what the marshal 
had come for, and that lie was expected to give up his brother for trial.
In answer he said 
that he was present at the time the shooting took place, and that his brother
had been made 
drunk by Putney and beaten, and was in danger of his life when he fired at
Putney; that 
lia brother was not to blame; that the parties who supplied the Indians with
liquor should 
be punished first. In council afterward they asked me to make a statement
of the case, 
and send it to the Indian Bureau, with the request to lay it before the President,
and that 

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