REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Washington, D.C., November 1, 1874.
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith my annual report, accompanied by the reports of the superintendents and agents of the Indian Bureau. The statistical returns are more than usually full and accurate. From them will be gathered unmistakable indications of advancing civilization among nearly all the different tribes of Indians, evinced by a gain in material prosperity, increased interest in and facilties for education, and a growing disposition of good will toward the Government. I believe that no year in the history of Indian relations with the Government has witnessed such a marked general movement toward the civilization of the Indian. For three years the appliances of civilization have been brought to bear with increasing force upon the red men of the country, and the results produced are gratifying and most hopeful for the future.
At twenty-one agencies, Indians who at the beginning of this period made no effort and showed no inclination toward labor or self-support, or education for their children, seem now to have settled into an earnest purpose to adopt a civilized mode of life, and to learn to provide for themselves.
For convenience of reference and remark, the Indians of the country may be classified under three. heads:
First. Those that are wild and scarcely tractable to any extent beyond that of coming near enough to the Government agent to receive rations and blankets.
Second. Indians who are thoroughly convinced of the necessity of labor, and are actually undertaking it, and with more or less readiness accept the direction and assistance of Government agents to this end.
Third. Indians who have come into possession of allotted lauds and other property in stock and implements belonging to a landed estate.
A CENSUS OF THE TRIBES BY CLASSES.In the first class are enumerated 98,108, who may be catalogued as follows: 46,663 out of about 53,000 Sioux; 420 Mandans; 1,620 Gros Ventres; 4,200 Crows; 5,450 Blackfeet, Bloods, and Piegans; 6,153 Utes in Colorado and New Mexico; 9,057 Apaches in New Mexico and Arizona; 2,000 Navajoes in New Mexico; 4,975 Kiowas and Comanches in Indian Territory; 6,318 Cheyennes and Arapahoes in Indian Territory, Wyoming, and Dakota; 5,352 Chippewas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan; 300 Nez Percé in Idaho; 1,600 Shoshiones and Bannacks in Wyoming; 1,000 Shoshones and Bannacks in Oregon.
The second class, to the number of 52,113, is summed as follows: 5,769 Chippewas and Menomonees in Minnesota and Wisconsin, 338 Sac and Fox in lowa, 4,622 Sionx, 730 Poncas, and 975 Arickarees in Dakota; 3,289 Pawnees, Omahas, Otoes, and Sac and Fox in Nebraska; 1,829 Flatheads in Montana; 2,700 mixed Shosbones, Bannacks, and Sheep-Eaters in Idaho and and Wyoming, 1,200 Nez Percés in Idaho; 355 Kickapoos, 365 Kaws, 345 Comanches, and 2,372 Osages in the Indian Territory, 1,200 Pai Utes on reservations in Nevada; 575 Utes in Utah; 1,900 Mojaves, Chemehuevis, and Hualapais in Arizona; 9,068 Navajos in New Mexico, and 15,056 among the different tribes in Washington Territory, Oregon, and California.
The third class, numbering 100,085, includes 5,140 Senecas and other Indians in New York, 11,774 Chippewas and other Indians in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; 2,780 Sioux at Sisseton, Santee, and Flandreau agencies; 226 Iowas and 1,785 Winnebagoes in Nebraska; 750 Pottawatomies and Kickapoos in Kansas; 500 Osages, 16,000 Choctaws, 13,000 Creeks, 6,000 Chickasaws, 2,438 Seminoles, 17,217 Cherokees, and 4,141 belonging to smaller bands in the Indian Territory; 1,000 Eastern Cherokees in North Carolina; 1,307 Nez Percés in Idaho; 5,122 Yakamas and others in Washington Territory, and 10,905 Pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona.
Within the third class, modified somewhat, might be included 4,300 Pimas and Maricopas, and 6,000 Papagoes, in Arizona, and a majority of the 5,000 Mission Indians in California. all of whom were once citizens under the Mexican government, and all receiving no governmental aid bevond the care of an agent and a small disbursement for educational purposes; and if at any time during the last generation it had been possible for them to have received suitable lands in severalty, they would now be in as tolerable a condition Of comfort as most of their white neighbors.
A fourth class of roamers and vagrants might be enumerated, consisting of 600 Winnebagoes and Pottawatomies in Wisconsin, 250 Sac and Fox in Kansas, known as Mokohoko's hand, 6,000 Shoshones, and others in California, 2,500 Indians on the Columbia River; 1,945 Western Shoshones in Nevada; 3,221 Utes in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; 2,420 Yumas and others in Arizona, and 500 scattered Indians in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Texas.
THE WILDER TRIBES.Respecting the Indians enumerated in the first class, this general statement is true: A decided advance has been made during the year in the direction of securing control and influence over these the wildest of the tribes in the country; and the way has opened quite perceptibly for a much larger and more hopeful work among them during the coming year. They are as yet unreached by missionary work, and are in their native paganism, whose superstition often forbids their being counted for enrollment and the attendance of their children at school. It is from Indians in this class that any such hostilities are to be apprebended as hereafter to require the presence or use of the military; and, with the exception of possibly seven thousand to ten thousand, none of these are properly designated hostile; and the hostiles themselves are so scattered and divided in cliques and bands that, except under extraordinary provocation, or in circumstances not at all to be apprehended, it is not probable that as many as 500 Indian warriors will ever again be mustered at one point for a fight; and the conflicting interests of the different
tribes, and the occupation of the intervening country by advancing settlements, such an event as a general Indian war can never occur in the United States. This opinion finds strong confirmation. in the fact that the highly disturbed feeling aniong the Sioux during the past summer has not led to an attempt at war, and that military posts have been successfully established at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies, in face of the violent declaration of the Indians that no soldier should ever cross the North Platte. The feeding process, which has been now continued for six years with the Sioux, has so far taken the fight out of them that it was impossible for a portion of the more warlike non-treaty bands to prevail upon their brethren, who have been sitting down at the agencies along the Missouri River, to risk the loss of their coffee, sugar, and beef in exchange for the hardships and perils of a campaign against soldiers. As a result, the Custer expedition penetrated to the very heart of their wild country and returned without meeting opposition, and the military camps at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies are in safety, though surrounded by a force of fighting men from ten to twenty times larger than their own number. To have tamed this great and warlike nation down to this degree of submission by the issue of rations is in itselt a demonstration of what has been often urged that it is cheaper to feed than to fight wild Indians.
The first requisite in the management of all the Indians in this class is firmness. All outrages or depredations should be followed up promptly, and punished at all hazards and at any cost. Any leniency which comes in to prevent such exercise of firmness is an expensive and mistaken kindness, which is sure to end in great suffering caused by the necessity for greater severity. The necessity for making the present war upon the Comanches and Cheyennes in the Indian Territory has resulted largely from a failure to observe this rule. The military force now stationed around and among these wild Indians is deemed sufficient for their restraint, there being no reason to expect that the same amount of military service will be needed to keep the peace during the coming year as has been required and effectively rendered during the past.
It is confidently believed that even the present appliances, if held steadily to bear upon this class of Indians, will diminish its numbers year by year, by inducing them, partly through increasing confidence and partly through stress of circumstances to undertake some sort of civilized labor.
THE PARTIALLY CIVILIZED.The 52,113 people embraced in class two may be properly designated as Indian novitiates in civilization. They have largely broken away from heathenish practices, are generally abandoning the medicine-dance and have come directly under the influence of religious teaching. With scarcely an exception, their progress in civilization seems to keep pace with the breaking down of their pagan notions. They have furnished the subjects upon which the main labor of the year has been bestowed by the events, and by this labor its ranks have been largely recruited from those hitherto wild and intractable. A glance at almost any one of the reports of the agents will show the enthusiasm and hopefulness which have been inspired by the marked improvements they have witnessed.
implements, seeds, and stock, are needed; and wherever any tribe in this class is receiving cash aunuity by treaty, that treaty should be so far amended or annulled as to make all bounty and aid by the Government come to the Indian ward in the form of payment for labor performed.
If, according to the testimony of faithful and trustworthy agents, who speaking from personal observation and contact with the facts know whereof they affirm, such bountiful and hopeful results have been produced among them, in spite of the present disabilities and difficulties, no candid mind can question the sure and rapid returns which will come if the reasonable requirements of their case can be met by appropriate legislation.
THE CIVILIZED.The third class, numbering 100,085, composed of Indians who, without violence to the term, may be called civilized, is most numerous. All of these have been greatly assisted in attaining to their present condition by the direct and long-contined religious teachings and influences of missionaries. The great need of a majority of this class of Indians at the present time is a qualified citizenship, and yet most of them hesitate to take any steps which propose to lead them out of the tribal condition. Pride of nationality, dread of competition with the enterprise of white men, and fear of loss of property by taxation or suit for debt cause this hesitation among the mass of the less educated; while the more forehanded and better educated among thein, being generally the government de facto, and thus intrusted with funds and power, are in no haste for a change. Both classes appeal most strenuously to the letter of their treaties, which requires the United States to protect them as sovereignties forever; and the question will sooner or later arrive at this point, as in the case of cash annuities, whether the Government will hold itself bound forever by the literal terms of its bargain with its wards, to the palpable damage of both contracting parties.
THE SIOUX PROBLEM.These Indians, comprising seventeen different bands, are the most numerous tribe in the United States. Forty-six thousand seven hundred and fifty-three have received rations from the Government at eleven different agencies. The wilder portions of this tribe, who have as yet consented to visit an agrency only on an occasional raid for rations, are variously estimated from five thousand to ten thousand, making the whole number of Sioux not far from 53,000. As a whole, this tribe is as yet unreached by civilization, except so far as their necessities and inclinations have led them to receive rations and annuity goods from the hands of government agents.
they inhabit is not adapted to their support in a civilized mode of life. Undoubtedly a much larger number of white people could maintain themselves by farming and herding in the vast domain assigned to the Sioux, but this is possible only to a people trained to such habits of thrift and industry as would enable them to sustain themselves for one year, or even two, in event of loss of crops by drought or grasshoppers. An Indian farmer must be far along in civilization before he will have become forehanded enough for such an emergency, and it would be scarcely possible for the Sioux to come from barbarism to this condition in a country where they are liable to such losses two years out of five. It may be said that the Government can come to their aid and carry them over these occasional years of failure; but such help, teaching the Indian to rely on other resources than his own, would be a constant lesson in improvidence, and thus tend to defeat the end in view. The larger portion of the Territory is unsuited to herding on account of the severe winters, which make it necessary to provide hay during several months of the year. Proper care of cattle in such circumstances presupposes a degree of civilization of Indians which would place them above all necessity of Government guardianship. The ponies which the Indians now raise in large numbers, being more hardy than cattle, survive the cold and hunger of a Dakota winter with such support as they gret from the grass under the snow, and the bark of the cotton-wood tree. But these ponies, even if a market was found for them, could not be raised in sufficient numbers to furnish a means of support to a people in civilized life.
The Sioux now upon the Missouri River can possibly find suitable soil and wooded country sufficient for as large an experiment of civilization as they can for some years to come be induced to undertake, though not without serious disadvantages. Many of these Indians along the Missouri, as will be seen by the reports of their respective agents, are already beginning in earnest to labor for themselves. The stock cattle furnished at Cheyenne, Crow Creek, and Yankton agencies one year ago have been as well cared for by these Indians as could have been expected, and more are now called for by others at these agencies and at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail. The experiment in this direction at Grand River was not so successful. This process of settling down will gradually extend until the bands along the river are brought into a degree of civilization that will render them no longer hostile or dangerous to neighboring settlers; but it is not at all likely that the country will furnish them with such farms and means of subsistence as to make it unnecessary to provide for a certain portion of their support yearly; and the furnishing of this support will, in itself, retard and in many ways the process of civilization.
For the main portion of the Sioux Nation living in Northern Montana, and west of the Nlissouri River in Dakota, there is not even this degree of hopeful prospect, on account of the barrenness of their country.
THE BLACK HILLS EXPEDITION.A military reconnoitering expedition to the'country in Southwestern Dakota, known as the Black Hills, occasioned great excitement among the whole Sioux people during the summer. They regard it as a palpable infraction of their treaty stipulations, and were filled with the apprehension that it might lead to their exclusion from a country held sacredly their own, and highly prized as their home and last refuge from the encroachment of settlements. The exaggerated accounts of rich mines
and agricultural lands given in the dispatches of the commander and explorers and correspondents of the expedition intensified the eagerness of the people all along the border to take possession of this country. Notwithstanding the subsequent correction of these exaggerations by statements on reliable information that no indications of mineral wealth were found, and that the lands were undesirable for white settlements, together with the strict prohibition by the War Department of any intrusion into the Territory, exploring and mining expeditions have been fitted out at Yankton, Bismarck, and other points, and have started to the Black Hills. Some have been driven back by the Indians with loss of life and property, and others are supposed to be on their way. It is not believed, however, that, any serious complication will arise from this source. If neither the military nor Indians should be able to guard their country, the explorers themselves will probably soon become satisfied of its undesirableness to them, and will voluntarily relinquish their projects for mining or settlement. It is not improbable, however, that legislation will be sought, meanwhile, by which to procure the opening of this country to settlement. Such a course cannot be too strongly deprecated, and should be opposed in every form. Scarcely a greater evil could come to the Sioux people than the disturbance and demoralization incident to an attempt to dispossess them of their country.
A NEW AGENCY NEEDED.The Minneconjou, Sans Arc, and Two Kettle bands, which have made the Black Hills country their home and special retreat, are for the most part wild and non-treaty Indians, though probably a majority of them have been accustomed for several years past to receive more or less rations during the three or four months of the winter at different agencies, but mainly at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail. Their presence at these agencies causes disturbance and irregularities of many kinds, and the agent has not heretofore had for his support a sufficient force to enable him to prevent them from taking for themselves, from the Government stores purchased for other Indians, such quantities of rations as they have demanded. This has required additional supplies and necessitated annual deficiency appropriations. To remedy this evil Congress at its last session was requested by the Department to establish a new agency in the region of the Black Hills, and provide support for these Indians by themselves; but the necessary legislation was not secured, and these wild Indians are already coming from their partially successful buffalo-hunts to the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies to spend the ensuing winter. The presence of the military force now established at these points will probably prevent any serious disturbance or violent demands at these agencies for rations like those of the last winter; but it will not prevent the desperation which would come from starvation, and the consequent depredations upon settlements in Nebraska and Wyoming. For it is not to be supposed that wild Indians, numbering from seven to ten thousand, will long suffer from hunger within two days' ride of the herds and granaries of white men. There can be no question as to the expediency of supporting Indians by regular issues of rations when the alternative is their support by plunder. And as all the reasons heretofore urged for the establishment and support of an agency for these non-treaty Sioux are still pressing, and with the increased force which further observation and experience have furnished, I respectfully suggest that Congress be again requested to provide such an agency, and also to make the deficiency appropriation necessary to provide for their subsistence during the ensuing winter.
RELINQUISHMENT OF HUNTING PRIVILEGES IN NEBRASKA.It will be seen by the report of the commissioners appointed to negotiate at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies for the relinquishment of the privilege secured to the Sioux by the treaty of 1868 to hunt in Nebraska, and to find a suitable location for the Spotted Tail agency, that the purpose of the commission was not fully accomplished; but it is expected, as the result of their conference, that the Indians, in consideration of $25,000 offered in exchange, will yet consent to the relinquishment of the privilege of hunting south of the Niobrara, in Nebraska.
SPOTTED TAIL AGENCY LOCATED IN NEBRASKA.The attempt of the commission to find a suitable location for the Spotted Tail agency confirms the opinion heretofore entertained as to the general barrenness of this reservaiion. The site selected and the only one found after long and wide searching at all desirable or practicable for locating the Indians with a view to their civilization is in the State of Nebraska, ten miles from the southern line of Dakota. Both the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies are now without the limits of the reservation, being situated on a portion of Nebraska reserved by treaty for the exclusive use of the Indians. It will be largely for the advantage both of the Government and Indians if the southern divide of the Niobrara River can be made the boundary of their permanent reservation in place of the southern line of Dakota. Besides affording a natural boundary, instead of an imaginary line not easily distinguished by Indians, this would furnish a country suited to an experiment in Indian agrictilture and herding.
THE WILD TRIBES IN THE INDIAN TERRITORY.The apprehension expressed in my last annual report, that witliont calling for vigorous operations by the military it would be impossible to put a stop to the constant and murderous raiding by Indians belonging in the southwestern portion of the Indian Territory, have been fully realized. For several years past the Comanches and Cheyennes have not for any length of time fully ceased their raids. The Kiowas made a covenant never again to raid in Texas, and substantially observed it so long as the question of the release of their chiefs, Satanta and Big
Tree, from the State penitentiary was pending; but since their release there is little doubt that some of the Kiowas have joined the Comanches in expeditions for plunder and murder.
MISTAKEN LENIENCY.There can be no question but that the necessity of fighting these Indians would have been obviated by firmness and promptness in procuring the punishment of the crimes of individual Indians and of white marauders in their territory. For a long time past it has been the practice of the Government to solemnly promise Kiowas, Comanches, and Cheyennes that any further raiding in Texas would be promptly and severely punished by the military, but when the Cheyennes and Comanches, having continued to raid with scarcely any abatement, have been again arraigned, the promise has been redeemed by a second issue of the same tenor. Under this impunity in crime these Indians have become bold and defiant. Added to the demoralization produced by this mistaken leniency was the aggravation of frequent loss of property by white thieves from Texas and Kansas raiding upon their herds. Some of the well-disposed Indians, who had induced others of their tribe to surrender stolen stock, were the parties who suffered most from this white thieving. Taking advantage of this demoralization and exasperation, it was not difficult for some of the wilder and more unmanageable braves to inaugurate hostilities by assassinating the clerk at the Cheyenne and Arapahoe agency, and by the murder of teamsters and the plunder of a train freighted with Indian supplies.
PUNISHMENT OF HOSTILES BY THE MILITARY.In July, Agents Haworth, Miles, and Richards were directed to call in and enroll at their agencies all Indians who were prepared to remain peaceful and law-abiding, and the military authorities were requested to bring to punishment all who joined themselves to the hostiles. This has resulted in a vigorous campaign against nearly all the Comanches and Cheyennes and more than one-half of the Kiowas. By the latest advices received from the agents and military commanders, it is believed that these intractables have been effectually chastised, and are prepared to submit to proper regulations and restrictions. So far as the Office is advised the campaign has been successfully conducted, without the barbarity of indiscriminate slaughter which has sometimes attended warfare upon Indians, and such methods have been adopted as have brought the punishment directly and almost exclusively upon the hostile persons.
PROPOSED RADICAL CHANGES FOR THE HOSTILES.The question of the future of these wild Indians has been seriously considered. Their deep and avowed aversion to any settled life cannot be overcome so long as they are on the borders ot the vast unoccupied plains and almost within sight of herds of buffalo. And while they continue in this unsettled life by the chase it will be well-nigh impossible to render settlers in Northern Texas and in New Mexico secure from pilfering and murderous attacks by small parties of individuals of these tribes. The interests, therefore, both of citizens and Indians require the adoption of radical measures. Their hostilities during the past summer are a practical abrogation on their part of treaty right. The Government, having subjugated them by arms, will be at liberty in deal-
ing with them to have reference hereafter only to what is right and best for them, and in my judgment the following coarse is practicable, expedient, and humane: Procure from the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws sufficient quantity of land, in four different tracts, suited to herding and agriculture, and disarm and dismount these wild Indians and remove them to these localities, furnishing them cattle in return for their ponies, and rations and clothing in return for their labor in building houses and opening farms for themselves.
,The principal objection to such a course will be found in the necessarily large expense for the first two or three years, additional to the amount now required for rations and clothing. Allowing for stock and implements and house-building $250 to a family, about $500,000 annually for the next two or three years will be needed. But this course, pursued for three years, will practically relieve the Government from. further annual expenses, except for schools and a few employ&etilde;s. The cost of lands required for their new location will be more than compensated by the territory relinquished in exchange; and this relinquished country may be held for occupation by other and peaceful Indians to be removed to the territory, or may be surrendered for homesteads of settlers. This course, successfully pursued, will put an end to depredations by these Indians. and thus save a large expense to the Government. During the past five years claims for depredations committed by these Indians have been allowed by the Department in the amount of nearly $1,000,000. These claims represent actual damage sustained, and in the main will be recognized as just and be paid by the Government.
These facts establish conclusively the economy of the proposed removal. Of its humanity and kindness there can be no question; and if adopted at the present favorable time, when the consent of the Indians thereto way be required as the condition of their return to allegiance and support by the Goverument, it will, in my judgment, be found entirely practicable.
NORTHERN ARAPAHOES AND CHEYENNES.A portion of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes who belong in the Indian Territory are still roaming among the Sioux in the vicinity of Red Cloud agency. In accordance with the provisions of the act appropriating $25,000 for their support, the agent has been instructed to withhold any further rations until they remove south. Such removal, however, has not been deemed advisable, pending the settlement of hostilities in the Indian Territory.
THE INDIAN TERRITORY WITHOUT LAW.Lawlessness and violence still continue in the Indian Territory. The two or three United States marshals sent to enforce the intercourse laws by protecting Indians from. white thieves and buffalo-hunters have been entirely inadequate to cover a country of 30,000 square miles, and out of this inadequate administration of law have come the irritation and retaliation which have led to the present hostilities.
62,253 square miles, inhabited by more than 75,000 souls, including
50,000 civilized Indians, without the protection of law, and not infrequently the scene of violence and wrong.
The necessity of establishing a government in some form, or at least a United States court, for these people is manifest, and I respectfully recommend that this necessity be again clearly laid before Congress.
REMOVALS TO THE INDIAN TERRITORY.The Indian Territory has a population at present averaging a little over one inhabitant to the square mile. The unoccupied portions of this country are sufficient in extent to furnish a homestead to every Indian family in the United States, and it has heretofore been considered feasible eventually to domicile a large majority of the Indians in this Territory. Experience, however, shows that no effort is more unsuccessful with an Indian than that which proposes to remove him from the place of his birth and the graves of his fathers. Though a barren plain without wood or water, he will not voluntarily exchange it for any prairie or woodland, however inviting.
does not seem to me probable that the large, unoccupied tracts of this country will ever be required for Indian purposes. If by an arrangement with the tribes owning that country the Comanches, Cheyennes, and Kiowas can be removed, according to my recommendation, east of the ninety-sixth meridian, I see no reason why the lands now occupied by these wild Indians may not be taken in exchange and opened to settlement.
CO-OPERATION AND ASSISTANCE BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT.The necessity for seeking the assistance of soldiers in punishing and restraining lawless Indians has been almost exclusively confined to Arizona, New Mexico, Western Indian Territory, and Dakota; and the service rendered has so promptly and efficiently met the emergencies which have arisen as to make it probable that requisitions upon the military for the punishment and restraint of Indians hereafter will be less frequent, and such as will require the employment of less force.
CO-OPERATION WITH RELIGIOUS BODIES.The relations of the Bureau to the several religious societies, in accordance with whose nominations its agents have been appointed, have
been harmonious, and, it is believed, mutually helpful. There can be no question but that, as a class, the persons thus secured for the difficult and responsible position of Indian agent are conscientious and faithful men. Exceptions to this statement have been less frequent the past year than heretofore, owing to the increased care of the religious bodies in their selection of nominees, which has probably resulted from a quickened sense of the responsibility assumed by them, and their enlarged information as to the requisite qualifications of an efficient agent. Other things being equal, the character of an accurate report of an agency can be forecast by previous personal acquaintance with the agent. If he is a man of nerve and hard sense, who has gone to his agency with the ruling purpose to do good, who believes that an Indian is a fellow-man, susceptible to the same motives and influences as himself, needing to be taught industry and individuality, the reports from that agency will show a steadily improving condition from the time of the arrival of the agent; and if the ordinary means are at hand with which barbarism may reasonably be expected to be cured, the indications of such improvement shortly become marked, and the recovery of the tribe from barbarism is soon made to appear feasible and well begun. Too much emphasis cannot be laid on the necessity of securing this class of men for agents and by no plan likely to be adopted is it probable that better men can be secured for this service than the several religious bodies offer on their nominations to the Government.
EXPENSIVE ECONOMY.Scarcely any service in the Government is more delicate and difficult than that of an Indian agent. On no Government post of duty is an officer more liable to be approached and manipulated by designing men, and nowhere else are the apparent facilities for undetected fraud so great as in many of these distant and inaccessible fields. Surely the Government cannot afford to appoint a man to this duty who is not both able and upright, and who can be kept strong in his integrity. And yet the Government offers for such service, requiring such qualifications, the sum of $1,500 per annum as pay of an agent and the support of his family in a country unusually expensive. Can it be that the Government intends either deliberately to maim and cripple its service, or to wrong honest and efficient officers? I respectfully repeat and urge the recommendation of last year, that the salaries of Indian agents be increased to at least $2,000 per annum for the eastern agencies, and $2,500 for the remote.
LEGISLATION FOR INDIANS ON A NEW BASIS.Frequent mention has been made in this report of the necessity for additional legislation on behalf of the Indians. This necessity is apparent from the fact that the only statutes under which Indians are managed and controlled are substantially those enacted in 1834, known as the trade and intercourse laws, whose main purpose was to regulate traffic in furs, and prevent sale of ammunition and intoxicating drinks, and intrusion upon an Indian reservation. This meager legislation was in accord with the theory then prevailing, that the Indian tribes were related to the American Government only as sovereignties who naturally would provide their own laws; and that the red men, being a people essentially wild and untamable, needed only to be kept a remotely as possible from all settlements, to be assisted as hunters, to be forcibly
precluded from an undue supply of gunpowder and rum, and to be made as peaceable as possible by the presence of an agent and the distribution. of a few annuities in cash and blankets.
In my judgment, whatever of failure has attended the management of Indian affairs in the past has been largely attributable to this fandamental failure to recognize and treat the Indian as a man capable of civilization, and, therefore, a proper subject of the Government and amenable to its laws. A judge in Idaho who is also a United States commissioner, has decided that he had no jurisdiction, either as a territorial or Federal officer, in a case where one Indian had killed another, though the murder was committed in his own county and outside of any reserve. Thus it has come to pass that we have within our borders at the present time 75,000 wild Indians who need legislation appropriate to a people passing rapidly out from a savage tribal government into a degree of control by the United States Government; and 200,000 other Indians who might be readily brought within the protection and restraint of ordinary law, and yet are practically without the benefit of any suitable government, a majority of them being property-holders, living upon their farms, having their schools and churches, and scarcely differing in their mode of life from the pioneer settlers of the country.
The damage which is inevitable to the Indians from this anomalous state of things, will be more apparent if we keep in mind that no officer of the Government has authority by law for punishing an Indian for crime, or restraining him in any degree; that the only means of enforcing law and order among the tribes is found in the use of the bayonet by the military, or such arbitrary force as the agent may have at command. Among the Indians themselves, all tribal government has been virtually broken down by their contact with the Government. The chiefs hold a nominal headship, depending for its continuance on the consent of the most turbulent and factious portion of the tribe. If a white man commits depredations upon the Indians in their own country no penalty is provided beyond that of putting him out of the country, a penalty which he readily takes upon himself when escaping with his booty.
Neither is there any provision of law by which an Indian can begin to live for himself as an American citizen. Being by the fiction of sovereignty, which has come into our Indian relations, citizens of a "domestic dependent nation," contrary to the American doctrine upon this subject he is not allowed to change his nationality at will, but required first to obtain consent of both parties to his tribal treaty. As a result of this restriction, many Indians are kept with the mass of their tribe who otherwise would strike out for themselves. The case of the Flandreaus, a small band of Sioux in Dakota, hereafter detailed, who availed themselves of a special provision to this effect in their treaty, is interesting as illustrating the advantage of a privilege which should be provided for all Indians.
Neither is there any provision under existing law by which an Indian desiring to continue his relations with his tribe is allowed to receive an allotment of his portion of the land owned in common; thus individual enterprise and self-support are materially repressed.
Many of the appropriations, in accordance with treaty stipulations, provide that annuities should be paid cash in hand, or in goods distributed per capita, to be accounted for to the Government on the receipts of the chief. All bounty of the Government bestowed in this form is worse than wasted, tending to perpetual poverty by providing for idleness and unthrift.
QUALIFIED CITIZENSHIP.I therefore respectfully recommend that the attention of Congress be called to this subject, and that such legislation be requested as will secure
which shall be expended both honestly and wisely for their benefit, and to hold steadily to well-defined and carefully prepared methods of treatment, every year will witness a steady decrease of barbarism and its consequent danger and annoyance, and a constant accession to the number of peaceful and intelligent Indians who shall take their place and part as subjects of the United States. Surely this cannot be too much to ask and expect of the people of the great republic. The record of the past cannot be rewritten, and it is not pleasant to recall. Much of administrative mistake, neglect, and injustice is beyond repair. But for Indians now living much of protection and elevation and salvation is still not only possible, but feasible and highly promising; and well will it be if we are wise enough to make the most of the opportunity left to deal justly and humanely with these remnants of the first American people.