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)
250 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. measures established by me, only two men and four infants have died since Christmas last, and the health of the people is now excellent. The only malady that gave me trouble was an opthalnic difficulty, which has now nearly disappeared from the village. DESERTED VILLAGE. The Ponca people, through rumors of war and threats of annihilation at the hands of their terrible enemy, the Lower Bruld Sioux, have removed into this camp, (agency village,) and have mostly occupied tepees or tents here during the summer, deserting their own village on the north bank of the Niobrara River; but I have taken care of their interests there-have visited " Point Village" several times during the past season, before and since the harvest, as we have two or three machines and several agricultural tools, it would be difficult to carry backward and lorward. INDIAN FARMING. The Indians, with considerable zeal, after plowing was begun by agency hands, followed up with a fair show of farming operations. They participated in the work throughout, and over 300 acres of farming (arable) hnd was mainly cultivated by them, and over 50 acres by agency teams and labor, (mostly Indian operators.) The promise of wheat and corn was very good, and, without bombastic words or vile predictions, it was quietly said the Poncas would have (D. V.) 3,000 bushels of wheat, 4,000 bushels of corn. If we could have halved both I should have been glad, and have felt grateful for the harvest of my hopes. But the drought, followed by three locust-raids, so completely stripped our fields that noth- ing was left but a few prematurely dry stalks and straw, and this we let the cattle-herd eat up. Upon the Ponca reservation, near the villages, there have been planted for land- marks and betterments not less than one hundred young cotton, box-elder, soft-maple, ard other tree varieties I am unacquainted with. These from the excessive drought of the past summer, &c., have withered, and are mostly past recuperation, but we propose to plant two for one cut down, upon our timber-lands, and place wind-breaks in proper and cot- venient locations for utilizing the country in which these Indian people have found a home. AGGRESSIVE INDIANS. The Sioux Indians, who have hitherto, in superior numerical force, and with better arms, harassed and molested these Indians, have, during the year last past, (from the date of my tormer annual report,) failed to make hostile demonstrations in as large force as heretofore. The Sioux Indians (Ogallallas, it is said) have latterly lost two persons in battle with the Poncas, and the balance of booty of late has been in favor of the Poncas, who seem willing to adopt the precautionary measures suggested, and learn to regard and respect wishes which evidently pay for the investment of obedience. No Poncas have been lost in battle, but some property was taken by the aggressive Sioux. PONCA ASSETS. While much remains to be done for these people, and their wants keep pace with the knowledge they are acquiring, yet I can look back with pleasure on the results of my labor and say that it has not been in vain. Over forty wagons, fifty yoke of good work-oxen, a few horses, &c., several cows, hogs, and chickens, with some turkeys, plows of two kinds, shovel and subsoil, agricultural machinery and implements, the last in the hands of nearly every able-bodied Indian, and all these exclusively under their own control and manage- men t. We have eight horses and four mules, seven yoke of work-oxen, seventy breeding-cows, including thirty heifers in calf, thirty-six yearlings and calves together, and three breeding- sows and boar. Among the horses are included two stallions of the French-Canadian stock, which have been operated with to some extent. Two good bulls (Durham and Devon) are s ith the cow-herd. These are held by the Government for agency use and farm-stock, and will be housed and wintered in the farm-sheds and corrals now building. Our warehouses and other buildings are in good order and repair, and the roads and bridges throughout the settled portion of the reserve have been well kept. We shall soon commeuce the season's work of logging, &c., after the live stock and their provender have been cared for. Respectfully submittcd. CHARLES P. BIRKETT, United States Indian Agent, Poncas. Hon. EDWARD P. SMITH, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.
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