United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
Reports of agents in Idaho, pp. 52-57 PDF (2.8 MB)
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO. 55 urgently impressed upon him the importance of taking the initiatory step and thus set an example that. would be sure to be followed by the masses; and although my efforts have thus far proven unsuccessful, I have confidence that Ten Doy, though in the declining years of life, will be engaged at plowing during the coming autumn. The Indians have, during the year, inclosed with substantial fences 98 acres of land, cleared it of heavy sage-brush, and have dug irrigating ditches to water it, aggregating at least two miles in length, ad since May 2"2 have cultivated 37 acres in the above- mentiqqed vegetables, besides other labor which will be found in the statistics here- with inclosed. The failure of the contractor for transportation to deliver any of the annuities for the use of the Indians during the last fiscal year, until January 6, caused a great amount of suffering from cold, especially during the month of December, among the aged and .of ag .... q Y . ..eA. and children, and I regret the necessity of stating that such articles as knives, forks, spoons, tin-plates, bread-pans, camp-kettles, dutch-ovens, coffee-nots, and fry-pans, have not yet arrived, although the year has closed. These goods-Were purchased by the de- partment during September and October, 1878, and the necessity of Indians making bread in wash-bowls and baking it in ashes, broiling meats by direct contact with fire, and eating with their fingers and sticks, could have been averted had his contract been complied with. In the absence of a treaty with this bapd of Indians there is a great disposition on their paxt for roaming from'point to point in the mountains, making the reservation rather a convenience than a home, and it is important that treaty relations should be establishled, in order that they should realize a greater obligation to remain here than at present, though were they all to remain the appropriation of $20,000 per annum to provide for 890 Indians would be a fraction less than 44 cents per week for each In- dian, to supply all the articles specified in the act, which is an utter impossibility. There is an abundance of good farming-land on the reserve to occupy the undivided attention of every Indian assigned to it, and as they appear to be attached to this rather than to any other reservation, they should be required to improve it. The an- nual excursions to the buffalo country have a degrading tendency and should be dis- continued. The need of*a school, the great civilizer of our day, is very much felt, but unfortu- nately, the meagre appropriation for this agency places such an enterprise beyond reach until the Indians have advanced to such a point that funds now required for food and raiment can be devoted to this important matter. I trust that period is not far distant, for ignorance and superstition predominate among them to a great extent. There is no minister of the gospel of any denomination, nor any church structure to be found in this valley, either among the whites or Indians; hence their spiritual inter- ests are suffering in an untold measure. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOHN A. WRIGHT, Farmer in Charge. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. LAPWAI, IDAHO, August 16, 1879. SIR: In submitting this, my first annual report, I .beg leave to say: Owing to the lateness in the season of my assuming charge of this agency, it was impossible to increase the cultivated acreage for the present year to any great extent. Nature has been exceeding kind to these, her children, in providing soil Of the greatest fertility for the production of their subsistence in quantities so abundant and with such small exertions. They are gradually and surely learning to appreciate and im- prove such opportunities. The majority of land comprising the reservation is a vast rolling prairie, affording, as it does, luxurious pasturage for thousands of their cattle and horses. The Clear Water River, flowing, as it does, directly through the reserve, branching out in the North, Middle, and South Forks, greatly benefits their locations that they have taken in the valleys lying between such river and the bluffs of the higher land, forming, in one instance, at KamAih, one of the most picturesque locations to be found in the whole northwest. Situated in a valley on either side of the South Fork, in length about six miles, varying in width from one half to two miles, in forin likea vast amphitheater, surrounded on all sides by nearly perpendicular bluffs, rising 2,000 feet in height, it forms one of the prettiest valleys one can imagiue. A view from the bluff reveals a living panorama, as one sees the vast fields of waving grain surrounding well-built and tasty cottages adorned with porches and many of the con- veniences found among industrious whites. The sight would lead a stranger, not know- ing of its inhabitance by Indians, to inquire what prosperous white settlement was lo- cated here. It is by far the most advanced in the ways of civilization and progress of any in the Territory, if not on the coast.
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