United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
Reports of agents in Montana, pp. 89-100 PDF (5.6 MB)
100 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN MONTANA. SANITARY. The health of the Indians on uthe whole has been as good as could be expected, .con- sidering their habits and manner ;of living, but there are many eases and times when a good phyiscian would be a most valuable acquisition. AGENCY BUILDINGS. I have repaired the old buildings as much -as the appropriations would admit of, and they are now in a very passable condition. I have now material sufficient on the ground ready to use in the luilding of warehouse, house, st'able, carpenter-shop, and office. The employls are now engaged in cutting and stacking hay, of which I propose to put up fifty tons (mowing-machine not yet at hand). As soon as haying is finished we shall immediately proceed to erect the several buildings named. RI'VER CROWS. By telegram dated December 12, 1878, I was notified that the River Crows were placed temporarily under my charge for the purpose of distributing to them at this post their annuity goods and subsistence st6res. I immediately proceeded to their country and after considerable difficulty succeeded in reaching a part of them, and holding a counil with them. I informed them of the change in the direction of the goods, and they were much pleased with the change. Subsequently some 30 lodges came to this post and received their annuity goods and subsistence stores. They staid here some ten days and then returned across the Missouri River. This past spring some 35 lodges agaifi came to this post, and remained on the reservation some weeks, but becoming frightened at the rumors -concerning the Sioux and their intentions, they again returned across the Missouri River. I expect the greater part of their camp to return here in the course of a few weeks. I am'confident that with the settlement of the status of the Sioux, or whenever the situation is such that they, the Crows, can feel -as- sured of their safety on the reservation, the most of the tribe would rather come here for their goods than to go to their old agency. The Crows, Assinaboines, and Gros Ventres appear to get along well together, and by intercourse will soon become fully assimilated. The number of River Crows has heretofore been plac.ed at 1,200 souls. From the best authority I am able to find, there are not to exceed 900 people, which is probably about the real number of River Crows. I did at an early day use all my power to get the whole tribe to come to this post, but the influence of traders and other interested par- ties on'the Yellowstone and vicinity has been so great that I have been unable to con- trol them. IN CONCLUSION. Since writing the foregoing, I have had the pleasure of reading in the Chicago Tri- buneof July 10 a reported interview with Maj. J. M.Walsh, of the Northwestern Mounted Police. It is perhaps not within my province to notice buch matters, nor should I, but that he appears to go out of his way to attack the Assinaboines belonging to this agency. I :do not claim-for the Indians of this reservation the strict integrity and virtue that he :does for the Sioux under his charge, for I do not believe it exists among any tribe of Indians, but I desire to reiterate that, with one possible exception, my Indians have not stolen any horses either from whites or Indians since I have been with them, and in that one case they were immediately given up to the owner upon demand being made - -and I do know that in that time at least 175 horses have been stolen from -hites and agency Indians within a radius of six miles from this post, and 1.also know that during the past spring and summer as many as six Gros Ventres have been killed on their own reservation. I do not charge this as all having been done by the Sioux, but a large portion of the horses have been stolen by Indians from the British side of the line, and it is well known that many of the horses went direct to the Oncapapa camp, and we know that the Gros Ventres that have been killed were killed by Sioux and Nez Perc6. My Indians will do the same thing whenever the occasion presents it- self, viz, kill and steal from the Sioux, but no one can truthfully charge that for the last fifteen months they have gone off their own soil to do it. I also wish to call to mind the fact that hundreds of horses have been run off from the Yellowstone and vi- cinity, and numbers of whites killed by the same Sioux and Nez Perc6, and it is a fact that TrapperValentine has just returned from a two months' search for his horses through the various north Indian camps. fie finally found them with a half-breed, rbut they were stolen by the Oneapapas and sold to the said half-breed. In stating this fact, I do not desire to in any way impugn Major Walsh's statements, only so far as I know them to be erroneous, but in my opinion time will show the fallacy of some other of hi8 statements and deductions. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, W. L. LINCOLN, United States Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
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