United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
[Nevada], pp. 278-284 PDF (3.7 MB)
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 279 and sick. This plan has worked admirably, and it has required no compulsion to induce the parties to save a portion of what they have raised for coming seedings. Also, I have from the commencement of service been impressed with the idea of separating the Indians as much as practicable, giving each family portions of land to cultivate distinct from the others; and it was for this reason that I recommended, in my last annual report, such legis- lation as was needful to make the title of lands secure to the faithful occupant. I have seen nothing to change my mind on this subject, but much to strengthen, and I respectfully repeat, with emphasis, that I consider it of paramount importance that the reservation be surveyed, and in such form that each family may be given at least twenty acres of land sus- ceptible of cultivation, being always careful that the same be [so] located that irrigation can be effected with the present means, or by additional improvements. I know that my views relative to the management of Indians and their becoming self- supporting farmers come in collision with some of my predecessors. In the report of Mr. H. G. Parker, of September 20, 1869, page 202, Commissioner's Report, Mr. Parker says : "The reservations they have in the superintendency are of no value to them whatever. It would benefit them vastly more if they were abandoned and allowed to be settled by the whites, for there would be so many more farms to work on. I have demonstrated the fact that these Indians will not farm for themselves; at the same time they are good hands to work for white men." Now I have to say, that I have demonstrated the fact that the Indians will work for themselves more readily even than for others; and, with the incen- tives that have been given by the Government, I am ready to challenge the better showing anywhere, in the same length of time, with the small appropriations made, that can be seen on the score or more ranches made and improved upon these very reservations mentioned in the above extract. Our only difficulty has been to provide, from the small appropriation allowed this service, the needful supplies of food, teams, and farming utensils absolutely requisite to meet the demand made by the continually-increasing numbers ready and anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity to work. More than this: it is not unfrequent to find the Indians waiting with impatience for others to be through with teams, wagons, or tools, that they may use them; and, at the present writing, there are Indians who have heretofore gone abroad to labor for wages among the whites, engaged in harvesting or thrashing, receiving, this time, wages from the Indians upon the reserves for their labor. I will cite one case where an Indian went abroad last year and worked for wages, who this year, under Government auspices, planted a crop of his own, and has already hired help to har- vest and thrash the same, paying for said labor from his sales, in excess of what he needs for support and seed, about $75 in coin. In striking contrast is this Indian to his own brother, who is none other than the troublesome one lately arrested by the military, and now under promise of good behavior; one a steady and contented farmer, and rapidly progressing toward comfort and competency; the other notoriously bad, refusing to abide upon a reser- vation, but ever roving about, a gambler by profession, and always ready to concert with unscrupulous and designing colleagues in promoting discord, embarrassing to the reserva- tion Indians as well as the Government employ6s. The Pyramid Lake reservation is under the tuition of E. M. Gregory, esq., as farmer, to whom much is due for the degree of prosperity attained. (I respectfully refer the Depart- ment to his report.) There is also a bonded trader, under approved license from the Department, who has ex- clusive right to trade within the limits of the reserve. The revenue to the trader is not as extensive here as at some of the larger reservations, yet it is of importance, as it relieves the Indians from an excuse to go abroad for traffic. The principal trade is carried on during the months of November, December, January, February, and March. These are the fishing months, and during the time many Indians from abroad come to unite with those here in catching trout, which, under the present arrangement, finds a ready market and good prices. For two years past James 0. Gregory, esq., has occupied this position, and with credit to himself and the Indian service. He has fully sustained the confidence of the Indians, and among the citizens of the country an unimpeachable reputation. The Walker River reservation is some sixty miles southeast of Wadsworth, from which point all supplies are transported. This reservation was surveyed in December, 1864, by Eugene Monroe, and embraces an area of 320,000 acres, including the Walker Lake; but, according to the most accurate estimate that can be had, there are not more than 3,900 acres of any value whatever to the Indian service, and not exceeding 1,500 acres that are sus- ceptible of cultivation, and even that has proved to be inferior land; and yet there are many good reasons for the retention of this reserve. Much has been accomplished in the way of improvements. Quite a number of Indians have made themselves ranches, with the end in view of permanent residence, and, from what I know of their desires and expectations, I would as tenaciously contend for its perpetuity (with perhaps a modified area) as the Indians' abode as for the Pyramid Lake reservation. The great and memorable speech of Hon. I. C. Parker, of Missouri, in Congress last win- ter, finds its echo here. This is the home of at least six hundred Pah-Utes, who, if absent at all, are only so temporarily. Here the Government has promised them an abiding-place, and justice and honor demand that the compact remain inviolate. I am glad that the exec utive oider, of March 20 last, re-affirms the obligation and sets at rest the question of its per- petuity.
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