United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
Reports of agents in Washington territory, pp. 140-159 PDF (11.7 MB)
REPORTS OF AGENTS IN WASHINGTON TERRITORY. 141 An estimate for the funds necessary for such purpose was forwarded to your office on the 24th ultimo. It is much to the credit of these Indians that they should have built so many houses, barns, granaries, &c., and done so much fencing with but the assistance of a few nails, axes, and saws from the government with which to accomplish so much. With the price of lumber at $20 to $25 per thousand, it has been a great tax on their limited means "to obtain sufficient for flooring their granaries, thrashing-floors, houses, &c.; yet asa general thing their houses are well built. The growing crops can only be estimated, but they are sufficiently advanced to war- rant the statement that they will be greatly in excess of the previous year; the wheat may be placed at 15,000 bushels; corn, 430 bushels; oats, 4,000 bushels; potatoes, 2,500 bushels; turnips,500 bushels; onions, 450 bushels; beans, 50 bushels; number of melons, 2,000; pumpkins, 600; hay cut, 100 tons; which is sufficient evidence of progress. Besides this no inconsiderable portion of their living is obtained by work- ing for the farmers and others, their labor being in constant demand at liberal wages; and also in cutting and splitting wood for the contractors for the military post here and at Camp Cceur d'Al6ne. While there is satisfactory evidence of thrift and progress in civilized pursuits in every tribe belonging to this agency, in none is it so apparent as among the Cneur d'Aldnes; they excel all others in the number of their well-improved farms and in the crops they raise. They have purchased this spring fifteen wagons, with their own means, and for ten of which they paid one hundred and forty'dollars each, and propose to purchase a reaper and thrasher for the coming harvest. With the exception of boarding-school for the education of 25 scholars, they have never received assistance from the government, and they ask none, other than a confirmation of their reserva- tion and some assurance that they will not be molested in their present homes. The boarding-school established in December last has been in charge of Sisters of Charity, and the progress made by the scholars is satisfactory in every respect. So anxious are the Indians to have their children educated that they urge upon the teach- ers more than are provided for by the government, and they are educating in excess of that number as many as their limited means will allow. The CSlville school, in which forty scholars are being boarded, clothed, and educated by the government, is also in charge of Sisters of Charity, and has also been conducted with the same satisfactory results; the proficiency of the scholars in their various studies greatly surprised the large number of citizens who were present at the recent com- mencement. More than double the number of scholars would seek admittance to the school if the facilities were furnished. The-desire of the Indians to have their children edlicated is in keeping with their advanced civilization in other respects. The missionary work among them is carried on by the Jesuit Fathers, with the same zeal that has ever characterized that order. By their earnest, patient, and untiring efforts they now count their church members by the thousands, and this number is yearly increasing. The Indians have built two small churches, by their own unaided efforts, during the past year, and have hewn the timbers and assisted materially in other ways towards the erection of a large and commodious church at the Catholic Mission. I inclose herewith the report of the agency farmer, in which several matters of in- terest are noticed in detail and more fully than I have done in my main report. The statistical report called for is also inclosed. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOHN A. SIMMS, UnitedStates Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. COLVILLE INDIA, AGENCY, WAsH., Che-wve lah, July 26, 1879. Sit: I have the honor herewith to hand you my report of the farming operations of the Indians within your agency. On the 16th of April, agreeable to your instructions, accompanied by the interpreter, I left the agency for the purpose of visiting the Colvilles, Lakes, San Poels, Okanogans and Spokanes. On my way down the valley I examined the farms of the Indians along the route. Owing to the excessive rains not much had yet been done, but prepara- tions were being made for commencing work as soon as the weather would permit. At the mission school farm considerable work had already been done. We there found the first wheat sown and up we had seen on the trip; it was looking well; and the little boys connected vWith the school, from twelve to fifteen years old, who were doing the work of the farm, were busily preparing other land for oats, potatoes, and their gardens. They showed a proficiency and knowledge in their work which you would hardly expect to see in boys of their age.
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