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])

[Montana],   pp. 259-270 PDF (6.0 MB)


Page 263

REPORT     OF   THE   COMMISSIONER       OF  INDIAN    AFFAIRS.      263
any circumstances, to restore the captured animals to their proper owners,
even after identi- 
fication and proof. Michelle, the chief, is powerless to prevent these raids,
as, physically, he 
is unable to accompany his people upon their hunts, and, his authority being
totally disre- 
garded by the whole tribe, he is at home, equally powerless to exact obedience
to his com- 
mands. Hence stock once in possession of these Indians is pretty certain
to remain there, 
and I would in consequence reeommend the promotion of Andre, second chief,
to the position 
now occupied by Michelle. Andre at present resides at the mission, and appears
to have 
the confidence of his people and to influence them according to his will,
but, in the event of 
his promotion, would no doubt gladly move his residence to this place, in
order to acquire the 
competence so liberally bestowed by the Government upon the head-men. 
The Kootenays are a peaceable and well-disposed people, and desirous of acquiring
a 
knowledge of civilized habits, though their condition is at present, so to
say, deplorable. 
Being very poor and having no farming-implements with which to work, they
are necessa- 
rily compelled to seek their subsistence from the hunting-grounds, a source
which is fast 
diminishing from the encroachments of the whites. This tribe, twenty-five
lodges of which 
are located upon Dayton Creek, within and close to the northern line of the
reservation, de- 
sires very much to know the exact location of said line, as its establishment
would settle some 
angry disputes now existing between them and some white settlers near the
line in reference 
to a large tract of meadow-land, capable of producing annually some two or
three hundred 
tons of hay, which the Indians claim to be within the reserve, and which
the whites claim 
to be without. This year, however, the two parties havejined issue by cutting
and putting 
up hay together, but, the exact location of the defining line remaining unsettled,
the same 
trouble is likely to be of annual recurrence. I would accordingly submit
the question for 
the action of the Department. 
That portion of the Flathead Nation at present residing upon the reservations
numbers 
about five families, including the chief Arlee. These Indians are cultivating
the two farms 
heretofore tilled for the use of the agency, the chief possessing exclusively
the lower farm, 
containing by estimate some 75 or 80 acres of land. The upper farm contains
by estimate 
some 45 or 50 acres of laud, and is worked by four parties of half-breeds.
Their crops this 
year are light, owing to the inattention and insufficiency of labor employed
upon them during 
the irrigating season. 
I visited the Flatheads of the Bitter Root Valley, and am satisfied that
their condition is 
neither propitious nor satisfactory. A small portion are on farms and appear
to be advanc- 
ing towards self-sustenance, but the greater majority are careless and idle.
I am informed 
that they have been committing thefts upon the Crows and Blackfeet, in consequence
of 
which they fear to go to the buffalo country this winter. 
The two chiefs of the Flatheads, Charlos and Arlee, are so antagonistic,
that there seems 
little hope of their reconciliation. In referring to their removal to the
Jocko reservation the 
chief 'Arlee told me repeatedly that the whole Flathead Nation were willing
and anxious to 
comply with the request of the Government by removing to the Jocko as soon
as the appro- 
priation for that purpose would be here and paid over to them. During my
recent interview 
with Charlos, who appears to have the confidence of the whole Flathead tribe,
(with but 
few exceptions,) I did not observe the least desire on his part to leave
the Bitter Root Valley. 
The educational and missionary interest of the Indians on the Jocko reservation
are under 
the supervision of the Jesuit Fathers and Sisters of Charity at Saint Ignatius
Mission, who 
have made very satisfactory progress in that regard, exerting themselves
to their utmost in 
behalf of the civilization and christianization oh these people, whose attention
to their relig- 
ious duties speaks volumes for the indomitable energy of their religious
instructors, the 
missionary Fathers. The schools are principally under the supervision of'
the Sisters of 
Charity, who are zealous in their efforts toward the education of the children
nuder their 
charge, and have now some thirty-odd girls at their boarding-schools, the
average attend- 
ance of boys at the day-school being about fifty. The boys are taught reading,
writing, 
arithmetic, grammar, spelling, and history, while the girls are taught, in
addition, all the arts 
of housewifery, sewing, embroidery, &c. The amount paid by the Government
for these 
schools has at no time been sufficient to meet the current expenses of said
schools, the addi- 
tional sums required, amounting soiiie years to over $2,000, being furnished
by the labors 
of the Sisters and the assistance of the Fathers. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
PETER WHALEY, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Honi. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
~SPECIAL INDIAN AGE:NCX, 
Fort Bclknao. Montana, September -. 
Si: I was placed in charge of this post as a special agency about November
1, 1873, it 
haviiig been previously a distributing aiid trading post for a poition of
th Indians attached 
to the Milk River agency. Indians under my supervision have been the Gros
Ventres, num- 


Go up to Top of Page