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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
([1879])

Reports of agents in Idaho,   pp. 52-57 PDF (2.8 MB)


Page 55

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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