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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1884
([1884])

Reports of agents in Dakota,   pp. 20-63 PDF (21.1 MB)


Page 49

REPORTS OF AGENTE IN DAKOTA.                           49 
SISSETON AGENCY, DAKOTA, 
September 20, 1884. 
Si: I have the honor to submit my annual i eport for the fiscal year ending
June 
30, 1884. 
This reservation is a triangle of land, lying u, on the eastern border of
Dakota be- 
tween parallels 45- and 460 north latitude, h.5 ving Lake Traverse as a part
of its 
eastern boundary, and its southern point toi ching Lake Kampeska. It contains
918,780 acres. The Coteaux do Prairie, a fine r inge of hills, run from the
northwest 
corner southeasterly through the reservation. T 4e eastern slope of these
hills is gashed 
with not less than fifty ravines, each having a -- tream of spring water
in it. The bot- 
tom and sides are generally covered with a gro vth of oak, cottonwood, linden,
box- 
elder, and ash trees. The prairie east of the Co eaux is a body of very excellent
farm- 
ing land, as is also the valley of the Little Si' ux River near the south
end. The 
lakes upon the reservation and bordering it ab( und in excellent food fishes.
The tribes residing at this agency are parts )f the Sisseton and Wahpeton
bands 
of the Dakotas or Sioux. They are very nearl   civilized. They all wear clothing
like the white people and have abandoned almo, t all the customs of savage
life. They 
are entirely self-supporting; most of them mak,, their living from their
farms. Some 
that live around the lakes subsist principally on fish, and do very little
farming. 
One excellent mark of progress is that a large ],art of the farm labor is
performed by 
men. There are a few who persist in the nom adic habits of their wilder state,
but 
the number is decreasing. Quite a proportion :f the people are the opposite
of in- 
dustrious, and perform the minimum of labor t tat will secure a living; in
this, how- 
ever, they may not differ materially from whitE men, except perhaps in degree.
The births (63) outnumber the deaths (42) for he year, and the general health
of the 
people has been good. 
LANDS IN SEVE IALTY. 
Their lands were allotted in severalty in 1876 At that time the larger part
of the 
people were really incapable of making a proper , election of lands for farming
purposes. 
hey sought fuel, water, and shelter, and hem e huddled into the ravines along
the 
Coteaux or in the fringes of timber around the akes. A large number of these
allot- 
ments do not contain arable lands enough to enable the allottee to cultivate
the 
fifty acres required before he can receive a p itent. Hence the agents have
been 
trying to induce them to change their locations bud, retaining 40 acres of
timber, take 
120 acres of the rich prairie for cultivation. T uis movement has been partially
suc- 
cessful, and quite a number have pushed out I rom the bills. Several of these
have 
already received patents and at least twenty m )re have complied with the
condition 
and are awaiting surveys to put their applica Jions in form to forward. The
stakes 
marking the subdivisions have been burned aw ay by prairie fires, and it
is necessary 
that the settled parts should be restaked in ordet to enable me to define
those new loca- 
tions and properly verify the applications for all tments and patents. There
have been 
six patents issued to members of this tribe duri ag the fiscal year. 
LAND AND CR )PS. 
I estimate the number of acres broken up)n the reservation at 5,600. Of this
amount 350 acres have been broken this year. The aggregate amount under cultiva-
tion this year will not exceed 4,500 acres. T le crops of wheat and oats
have been 
good and are all now in stack. Threshing has begun. The amount of wheat raised
is less proportionately than the oats, because it has been customary to issue
seed 
wheat to many of the Indians each spring. Fi, ding that a promise had been
given 
not to ask for it this year, I did not ask for nor i isue any seed wheat.
I assisted them 
in some other ways to earn the money to buy it with, but many were content
to sow 
oats instead because the seed cost less. All )f the more thrifty farmers
will save 
their seed this year. 
FARM MACHID ERY. 
There is a disposition among some of the fai mers to imitate one of the failings
of 
the white farmers around thern, viz, to buy ex jensive farm machinery on
credit far 
beyond their needs. The result is bad, of coui 3e. The rates of interest
are ruinous, 
and their crops go largely to pay machine note'. 
EDUCATIO=. 
The preparations for the education of the chi dren of this tribe are commensurate
with the work to be done; and with the faith cul performance of their duties
by the 
employgs in that department, and a willine  s on the part of the people to
permit 
their children to enjoy the great advantages or en to them, the entire school
popula- 
tion should be reached. During the fiscal yea' the Manual Labor Boarding
School 
4266 IND---4 


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