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

[Oregon],   pp. 317-326 PDF (5.0 MB)

Page 319

pursuits alone a means of support, in a country and climate clearly and unmistakably
signed by nature exclusively as a pastoral region. 
The present state of affairs may be represented as follows: 
On the 1st of February last a boarding-school was opened with fifteen scholars
of both 
sexes in attendance, which number has been gradually increased to twenty-five,
and their 
proficiency during this time is very remarkable. Some, who at the commencement
very little of the English language, can now read and write. We have a convenient
comfortable school-house, nicely furnished with blackboards, maps, and charts,
a boarding- 
house, 26 by 40 feet, with sleeping-apartments above for the school-girls,
and an L 15 by '22 
feet, all conveniently arranged, for the family of the matron, and cook-room
and dining-room 
for all the children, and a separate sitting-room for the girls, and another
building, 16 by 20 
feet, one and one-half stories high, with L 15 by 22, which contains sitting-room
and two 
sleeping-apartments for boys, sufficiently large for the accommodation of
at least forty, and 
a comfortable room for the teacher. With the exception of the school-house,
these buildings 
have been finished and mostly built during the past year. The strong prejudice
existed in the minds of the Indians against the school at first has been
measurably over- 
come, and the more enlightened now regard it as the principal means of raising
them to the 
status of the white man. 
The flouring-mill, which was left unfinished for want of funds, has been
completed during 
the year, and when a smut-machine shall be added, which I hope will be done
during the 
present year, it will rank favorably with the best mills of its size in the
State. The saw- 
mill has been kept constantly running except during the severest part of
the winter-season, 
when the great depth of snow rendered it impossible to furnish logs, and
about 300,000 feet 
of lumber have been made. It is now filling a contract for 210,000 feet for
the military de- 
partment at Fort Klamath. This work has been mostly done by Indians, with
the help of 
the miller and one assistant.  Other agency-buildings have been repaired
and additions 
made thereto, and with a few more improvements will be all that is necessary
for the com- 
fort of the employds. By reason of the time and labor expended in these improvements,
little has been done in building for Indians. But four Indian houses have
been completed, 
and, with the exception of the doors, windows, &c., the work on these
has been mostly done 
by themselves. 
The cultivation of the soil as a means of support has been too thoroughly
tested during 
the last few years to need further proof of its utter impracticability. Heavy
frosts prevail 
during every month in the year, and none but the hardiest vegetables and
cereals can ever 
be produced here, and those only when the frosts chance to occur when they
are at such a 
stage of growth as not to be injured thereby. Last spring these Indians evinced
an uncom- 
mon interest in plowing and sowing, and, although there was an unusual breadth
of land 
planted, the root crop is an entire failure, and the spring-sown grain nearly
so. A few patches 
of volunteer rye are very good. The grain sown on the Government farm is
but little better, 
and the only vegetables grown are those in the school-garden and the little
gardens set aside 
for the employcs, which were resown several times. Although so frosty in
summer, there 
are portions of the reserve where the snow never falls to any great depth,
consequently this 
reservation is peculiarly adapted to stock-raising. Last winter was unusually
severe in this 
section of country; but while in many adjaceut localities stock of all kinds
died by the 
thousand, not one was lost on that portion of the reserve lying along Sprague's
River, where 
most of the Government, including beef-cattle, were wintered. 
The funds you so wisely furnished in September last for the purchase of cattle,
&c., together with a small portion of the funds for "support, &c.,
of Shoshones and Ban- 
nocks," have been expended for these objects, and now the Indians are
rejoicing in the pos- 
session of twelve wagons and double harness, and nearly 300 cattle, mostly
cows and heifers. 
This acquisition has stimulated them to renewed activity, and they have harvested
an unu- 
sually large quantity of hay the present season. 
About the/beginning of the fiscal year Rev. James Hare, a member of the Oregon
ence, (Methodist Episcopal,) was appointed commissary in charge at Yainax
station, which 
appointment was approved by the conference, and he, with the agent, have
done what they 
could, aside from their other duties, in preaching to, and teaching the Indians
the simple 
truths of the gospel with encouraging success. Religious meetings have been
well attended, 
and several of them not only confess to having experienced a change of heart,
but they also 
exemplify the Christian religion in their daily lives and conduct. 
In looking back over the two past years I can see a steady improvement in
these Indians 
in many respects. Gambling, which has formerly been a universal practice,
is now almost 

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