THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Washington, D. C., October 30, 1876.
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith, in accordance with law, the annual report of the Indian Office, accompanied by the reports of its superintendents and agents. These reports give detailed statements of the condition of the Indian tribes, and the progress which has been made during the past year, and indicate that the condition of this branch of the public service is steadily becoming more efficient and satisfactory.
The management of Indian affairs is always attended with much of difficulty and embarrassment. In every other department of the public service, the officers of the Government conduct business mainly with. civilized and intelligent men. The Indian Office, in representing the Government, has to deal mainly with an uncivilized and unintelligent people, whose ignorance superstition, and suspicion materially increase the difficulty both of controlling and assisting them.
The traditionary belief, which largely prevails, that the Indian service, throughout its whole history, has been tainted with fraud, arises, I apprehend, not only from the fact that frauds have been committed, but also becanse, from the nature of the service itself, peculiar opportunities for fraud may be found. The agencies are usually located in distant and, in some cases, almost inaccessible places. They are, in many instances so far from the accustomed abodes of our people as to be rarely visited by any civilized men except the agent and his employés and persons furnishing supplies. It thus happens that the business of the agency is conducted without the restraints which generally surround public officers. The agent is too remote to be under the immediate and constant surveillance of the central office. He is in a great degree free from the espionage of an intelligent public, and those near him who are competent to detect frauds or criticise official conduct may be influenced by or be in collusion with him. The Indians to whom he distributes supplies are too ignorant to protect themselves from imposition, or, in case dishonesty is suspected, to bring the fact to the knowledge of this office. Thus it happens that the fact that frauds are known to have been committed, [j]oined to the knowledge that abundant opportunities for frauds exist, excites in the minds of a suspicious public a readiness to believe every rumor affecting the integrity of an Indian agent or the honesty of the Indian service.
mitted to him the conduct of the agency business proper, the erection and care of buildings, the supervision of farming and mechanical operations, the purchase and care of stock, the proper receipt and distribution of supplies, the management of schools, the keeping of accurate and complicated financial accounts, and the furnishing Of information and advice as a basis of action by this office, but upon his skill, tact, and ability to influence and control his Indians, success in the administration of Indian affairs wholly depends. No man, who is not possessed of talents of a high order and great variety, can be, completely successful as an Indian agent. A distinguished military officer, after long experience with Indians, states that to successfully manage one of the most important Indian agencies requires as high an order of capacity as to command an army.
The great want of the Indian service has always been thoroughly competent agents. The President has sought to secure proper persons for these important offices by inviting the several religious organizations, through their constituted authorities, to nominate to him men for whose ability, character, and conduct they are willing to vouch. I believe the churches have endeavored to perform this duty faithfully, and to a fair degree have succeeded; but they experience great difficulty in inducing persons possessed of the requisite qualifications to accept these positions. When it is considered that these men must take their families far into the wilderness, cut themselves off from civilization with its comforts and attractions, deprive their children of the advantages of education, live lives of anxiety and toil, give bonds for great sums of money, be held responsible in some instances for the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and subject themselves to ever-ready suspicion, detraction, and calumny, for a compensation less than that paid to a third-class clerk in Washington, or to a village postmaster, it is not strange that able, upright, thoroughly competent men hesitate, and decline to accept the position of an Indian agent, or if they accept, resign the position after a short trial. In my judgment the welfare of the public service imperatively requires that the compensation offered an Indian agent should be somewhat in proportion to the capacity required in the office, and to the responsibility and labor of the duties to be performed.
I respectfully recommend that this subject be brought to the attention of Congress, and that that body be requested to appropriate not less than $30,000, to be distributed as additional compensation to Indian agents having the most important and difficult agencies; the salary of no agent to amount to more than $3,000. While fully aware of the great reluctance of Congress to increase salaries, I believe the increase suggested is most urgently needed, and would result in a large saving to the Treasury, and be of incalculable benefit to the Indians and to the service.
During the past year the office has been seriously embarrassed by inadequate and delayed appropriations. In January last the agents at Spotted Tail and Red Cloud reported that their supplies of beef and flour would be exhausted by March 1. This information was transmitted to Congress, with the recommendation that the emergency be met by special appropriation. No appropriation being made, the attention of Congress was again urgently called to the subject in Executive Message of February 28. On the 6th of April, a deficiency bill appropri-
ating $150,000 was passed; but relief had been so long delayed that, though the utmost expedition was used, supplies failed to reach the agencies until the Indians were in almost a starving condition, and until the apparent purpose of the Government to abandon them to starvation at their agencies had induced large numbers to go north and join the hostile bands under Sitting Bull.
In July last, through the failure of Congress to pass the annual appropriation bill, supplies at several Sioux agencies again became nearly exhausted, and though a temporary appropriation of $150,000 was made, many Indians, rendered excited and suspicious by the war in the north, abandoned their agencies to take part in hostilities. Congress still failing to pass the annual appropriation bill, a similar emergency existed in August, which was again met by a temporary relief bill, but produced a like effect on the Indians.
The above facts are not recited for the purpose of criticism or fault finding, but to vindicate this bureau from the charge made at the time, that the deficiency in supplies was owing to inefficiency and neglect on the part of the office.
My predecessor submitted, through the Secretary of the Interior, to Congress in December last, a full history of the facts relative to the removal of the Pawnees from Nebraska to the Indian Territory, and asked for an appropriation of $300,000 to defray the expense of said removal, and to establish the tribe in their new home; the same to be reimbursed to the Treasury from proceeds of the sale of their Nebraska reservation. The bill, however, was not passed until April; not until the attention of Congress had been repeatedly called to it, and not until hundreds of Pawnees had been compelled to abandon their agency, to live by begging or stealing in Southern Kansas. In numerous other instances, notwithstanding the passage of several relief bills, the funds at the disposal of this office have been so limited as to make it a matter of the utmost difficulty to keep Indians from suffering with hunger.
The failure to pass the annual appropriation bill before the 15th of August last, has made the duty of purchasing supplies and transporting them to the agencies unusually arduous. Immediately on the passage of the act, advertisements for proposals for beef, flour, and other supplies, and for transportation, were issued, to be opened in Saint Louis on the 6th of September; and for dry goods, groceries, hardware, &c., to be opened in New York on the 14th of September.
In Saint Louis bids were opened in the presence of a committee of the Board of Indian Commissioners and of Col. L. P. Luckey, representing the Secretary of the Interior; in New York, in the presence of the Assistant Secretary of the Interior and the full Board of Indian Commissioners. A large number of proposals were received, and most of the awards, with the exception of transportation and beef, were made on terms more favorable to the Government than usual.
Owing to the lateness of the season, transportation rates over several routes are higher than last year. Up the Missouri River, for instance, goods must be transported at a low stage of water, with a liability of the river closing with ice, thus increasing the distance over which they must be hauled by wagon over roads impeded with snow. The increase in the price of beef at some points is due in part to the 1ateness Of the season, but more particularly to the greater stringency in terms of the contract as to the quality of the beef to be received.
Notwithstanding every effort has been made to expedite the shipments of supplies, it is probable that a portion of those for the more remote agencies will fail to reach their destination this fall.
It is very important that the appropriation for Indian supplies should be made early in the year, to enable the office to take advantage of the most favorable season for purchase and transportation, and to perform this important service with due deliberation and care.
In order to form any wise opinion as to the best method of dealing hereafter with our Indians, a clear conception of their actual condition, and of [o]ur present relations with them, is necessary.
From be first settlement of the country by white men until a comparatively recent period, the Indians have been constantly driven westward from the Atlantic. A zigzag, ever-varying line, more or less definitely marked, extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and always slowly moving west, has been known as the "frontier" or "border." Along this border has been an almost incessant struggle, the Indians to retain and the whites to get possession; the war being broken by periods of occasional and temporary peace, which usually followed treaties whereby the Indians agreed to surrender large tracts of their lands. This peace would continue until the lands surrendered had been occupied by whites, when the pressure of emigration would again break over the border, and the Indian, by force or treaty, be compelled to surrender another portion of his cherished hunting-grounds.
So long as the illimitable West offered to the Indian fresh hunting-grounds, he was unwilling to exchange his wild freedom and indolent existence for the restraints and toil of the rude and imperfect civilization to which it was possible for him in only one life-time to attain. If any tribe of Indians in this country had made the effort to abandon their savage mode of life, and undertake self-support by labor, it is at least doubtful whether for many years the change would not have rendered them more miserable and wretched. Their lack of means, of knowledge, and of previous training would, in all probability, have made such an attempt a conspicuous failure. If individual Indians had succeeded in acquiring property, they would probably have been swindled out of it by unscrupulous white men. The natural and the easiest course was to remove west and continue to hunt.
Toward the close of the first half of this century the tide of emigration and adventure swept even the frontier away and rushed across the continent. Throughout the vast regions of the West the adventurous, grasping Anglo-Saxon race is dominant and in possession of the fairest and richest portions of the land. Except in the Indian Territory and perhaps Dakota, the white exceeds the Indian population. No new hunting-grounds remain, and the civilization or the utter destruction of the Indians is inevitable. The next twenty-five years are to determine the fate of a race. If they cannot be taught, and taught very soon, to accept the necessities of their situation and begin in earnest to provide for their own wants by labor in civilized pursuits, they are destined to speedy extinction. From the fact that for so long a period Indian civilization has been retarded, it must not be concluded that some inherent characteristic in the race disqualifies it for civilized life. It may well be doubted whether this be true of any race of men. Surely it cannot be true of a race, any portion of which has made the actual progress realized by some of our Indians. They can and do learn to labor; they can and do learn to
read. Many thousands to-day are engaged in civilized occupations. But the road out of barbarism is a long and difficult one. Even in enlightened Europe there are millions of people whose ancestors a few generations ago were as ignorant and poor and degraded as our most advanced Indian tribes now are. Civilization is a vague, indefinite, comparative term. Our children's grandchildren may look upon our civilization as very rude and imperfect. It is not my wish to give any rose-colored view of the present condition of our Indians. Many of them are as miserable and degraded as men can be; but it cannot be denied that others are making reasonably satisfactory progress.
Within a few years the Government has undertaken somewhat systematically to bring them into civilized life. The "peace policy" has sought to throw around them healthful associations; to place at the several agencies agents and employés of good moral and Christian character and of active sympathies; and an earnest effort has been made to teach Indians to labor and to read. It is too soon, perhaps, to assert that this effort has proved a success, but the accompanying reports of agents abundantly show that notwithstanding all surrounding difficulties, much has been accomplished toward establishing and maintaining peace, toward protecting Indians from evil influences, and toward awakening in them the desire for a better mode of life. The success of some of our agents, who have labored under reasonably favorable circumstances, deserves all praise, and has fully equaled the fondest hopes of the friends of the peace policy. Certainly enough improvement has been made to justify the continuance of the present benevolent efforts.
In considering whether modifications of existing methods may not be desirable, I have arrived at the conviction that the welfare and progress of the Indians require the adoption of three principles of policy:
First. Concentration of all Indians on a few reservations.
Second. Allotment to them of lands in severalty.
Third. Extension over them of United States law and the jurisdiction of United States courts.
The reservations upon which, in my opinion, the Indians should be, consolidated, are the Indian Territory, the White Earth reservation in Northern Minnesota, and a reservation in the southern part of Washington Territory, probably the Yakama reservation. If it should be found impracticable to remove the Indians of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, to the Indian Territory, they might be concentrated on some suitable reservation either in Colorado or Arizona.
I am well aware that it will take a long time, much patient effort, and considerable expense, to effect this proposed consolidation; but after consulting with many gentlemen thoroughly acquainted with Indian questions and Indian character, I am satisfied that the undertaking can be accomplished. If legislation were secured giving the President authority to remove any tribe or band, or any portion of a tribe or band, whenever in his judgment it was practicable, to any one of the reservations named, and if Congress would appropriate, from year to year, a sum sufficient to enable him to take advantage of every favorable opportunity to make such removals, I am confident that a few years' trial would conclusively demonstrate the entire feasibility of the plan. I believe that all the Indians in Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota, and a part at least of those in Wyoming and Montana, could be induced to remove to Indian Territory. There is also ground for the belief
that the Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico Indians, and a part if not all of those in Nevada, could also be taken to that Territory.
Many of these Indians are now located on lands utterly unfit for cultivation, where starvation or perpetual support by the Government are the only alternatives. It is doubtful whether even white people could cultivate profitably the greater part of the Sioux reservation in Dakota. In the Indian Territory, on the other hand, are fertile land, a genial climate, and room for more Indians than there are in the whole Union.
That the Indian sentiment is opposed to such removal is true. Difficulties were experienced in bringing to the Territory its present inhabitants from east of the Mississippi; but the obstacles were overcome, and experience shows that there the race can thrive. With a fair degree of persistence the removal thither of other Indians can also be secured. The Pawnees have recently gone there, and seem content with their new home. The Poncas, and even the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Sioux, give evidence that they are ready for the change; and if Congress will make a liberal appropriation to effect the removal of these Sioux, it is quite likely that within a year or two, other bands now on the Missouri River may also be induced to remove. If the Sioux are given a suitable reservation in that Territory for a permanent home, and are aided by the Government for a few years in their efforts at agriculture and stockraising, I know of no reason why they may not, in one generation, become as far advanced as are the Cherokees and Choctaws now.
It is to be regretted that all the Indians in the United States cannot be removed to the Indian Territory; but it is doubtful whether, at least for many years, it will be best to attempt to remove Indians thither from the region of the great lakes or from the Pacific coast. I would therefore suggest that, for the tribes of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the wandering Pembinas in Dakota, the White Earth reservation is best adapted as a permanent home. Containing thirty-six townships of well-watered timber and wheat lands, it offers far better agricultural facilities than do other reservations in those States, and is in about the same latitude with them.
My information in regard to the proper reservation for the Indians on the Pacific coast is less definite, and I have suggested the Yakama reservation, mainly because it is well known that the Indians there, under the direction of Agent Wilbur, have made remarkable progress. A commission now visiting the Indians in that region has been requested to make such suggestions on the subject as they may deem wise.
The importance of reducing the number of reservations is shown by the following considerations:
Many of the present reserves are almost worthless for agricultural purposes; others are rich in soil, mineral wealth, and timber. Nearly all are too small to subsist the Indians by hunting, and too large for them to occupy in agricultural and civilized pursuits. Many are so remote and difficult of access, that needed supplies can be furnished only at great expense. Nearly all are surrounded by white settlers, more or less numerous. Wherever an Indian reservation has on it good land, or timber, or minerals, the cupidity of the white man is excited, and a constant struggle is inaugurated to dispossess the Indian, in which the avarice and determination of the white man usually prevails. The length of the boundary-line between the reservations and the contiguous white settlements amounts in the aggregate to thousands of miles, every mile being a point of contact and difficulty. This aggregate boundary is so extensive as to render almost impossible the prevention of illicit trade in arms and whisky. As now constituted, these reservations are
a refuge to the most lawless and desperate white men in America. There the vagabonds, the outcasts, the criminals, the most immoral and licentious of the population of the western portion of the country take up their abode, because there they are practically beyond the reach and operation of law, and can live lives of crime and debauchery with impunity and without reproach. Such men seriously obstruct, if they do not render nugatory, every effort to give assistance to the Indians.
By the concentration of Indians on a few reservations, it is obvious that much of the difficulty now surrounding the Indian question will vanish. Many agencies now conducted at large expense could be abolished. The aggregate boundary-lines between the reservations and country occupied by white people would be greatly reduced, and the danger of violence, bloodshed, and mutual wrong materially lessened. The sale of liquors and arms could be more effectually prevented; bad white men could more easily be kept out of the Indian country; necessary supplies could be more cheaply furnished; a far smaller military force would be required to keep the peace; and generally, the Indians, being more compact, could be more efficiently aided and controlled by the officers of the Government. Moreover, large bodies of land would be thrown open to settlement, proceeds of whose sale would be ample to defray all expense of the removals.
It is doubtful whether any high degree of civilization is possible without individual ownership of land. The records of the past and the experience of the present testify that the soil should be made secure to the individual by all the guarantees which law can devise, and that nothing less will induce men to put forth their best exertions. No general law exists which provides that Indians shall select allotments in severalty, and it seems to me a matter of great moment that provision should be made not only permitting, but requiring, the head of each Indian family, to accept the allotment of a reasonable amount of land, to be the property of himself and his lawful heirs, in lieu of any interest in any common tribal possession. Such allotments should be inalienable for at least twenty, perhaps fifty years, and if situated in a permanent Indian reservation, should be transferable only among Indians.
I am not unaware that this proposition will meet with strenuous opposition from the Indians themselves. Like the whites, they have ambitious men, who will resist to the utmost of their power any change tending to reduce the authority which they have acquired by personal effort or by inheritance; but it is essential that these men and their claims should be pushed aside and that each individual should feel that his home is his own; that he owes no allegiance to any great man or to any faction; that he has a direct personal interest in the soil on which he lives, and that that interest will be faithfully protected for him and for his children by the Government.
My predecessors have frequently called attention to the startling fact that we have within our midst 275,000 people, the least intelligent portion of our population, for whom we provide no law, either for their protection or for the punishment of crime committed among themselves. Civilization even among white men could not long exist without the guarantees which law alone affords; yet our Indians are remitted by a
great civilized government to the control, if control it can be called, of the rude regulations of petty, ignorant tribes. Year after year we expend millions of dollars for these people in the faint hope that, without law, we can civilize them. That hope has been, to a great degree, a long disappointment; and year after year we repeat the folly of the past. That the benevolent efforts and purposes of the Government have proved so largely fruitless, is, in my judgment, due more to its failure to make these people amenable to our laws than to any other cause, or to all other causes combined.
I believe it to be the duty of Congress at once to extend over Indian reservations the jurisdiction of United States courts, and to declare that each Indian in the United States shall occupy the same relation to law that a white man does. An Indian should be given to understand that no ancient custom, no tribal regulation, will shield him from just punishment for crime; and also that he will be effectually protected, by the authority and power of the Government, in his life, liberty, property, and character, as certainly as if he were a white man. There can be no doubt of the power of Congress to do this, and surely the intelligent Committees on Indian Affairs of the Senate and House can readily propose legislation which will accomplish this most desirable result. I regard this suggestion as by far the most important which I have to make in this report.
Since our Government was organized two questions, or rather two classes of questions, have transcended all others in importance and difficulty, viz, the relations of the Government and the white people to the negroes and to the Indians. The negro question has doubtless absorbed more of public attention, aroused more intense feeling, and cost our people more blood and treasure than any other question, if not all others combined. That question, it is to be hoped, is settled forever in the only way in which its settlement was possible by the full admission of the negro to all the rights and privileges of citizenship. Next in importance comes the Indian question, and there can be no doubt that our Indian wars have cost us more than all the foreign wars in which our Government has been engaged. It is time that some solution of this whole Indian problem, decisive, satisfactory, just, and final, should be found. In my judgment it can be reached only by a process similar to that pursued with the negroes.
In the three propositions above stated, will, I believe, be found the true and final settlement of this perplexing subject. However efficient may be the administration of the Indian Office, and however faithful the labors of its agents and their subordinates, I have little hope of any marked degree of success until the above suggestions are substantially adopted as a permanent Indian policy. If Congress concludes to act on these suggestions, laws should be passed at the coming session to extend the jurisdiction of the courts over all Indians, and to provide for the allotment of lands in severalty in the Indian Territory, and on such other reservations as may be selected as permanent; and an appropriation should be made with which to begin the removal of Indians to their permanent homes.
I trust I may be pardoned for stating that it appears to me that the fundamental difficulty in our relations hitherto with Indians has been the want of a well-defined, clearly-understood, persistent purpose on the part of the Government. Indians affairs have heretofore been managed largely by the application of mere temporary expedients in a fragmentary and disjointed manner. For a hundred years the United States has been wrestling with the "Indian question," but has never had an
Indian policy. The only thing yet done by the Government in regard to the Indians which seems to have been permanent and far-reaching in its scope and purpose, is the dedication of the Indian Territory as the final home for the race. Surely it is time that a policy should be determined on, which shall be fully understood by the Government, the people, and the Indians. We cannot afford to allow this race to perish without making an honest effort to save it. We cannot afford to keep them in our midst as vagabonds and paupers.
I appeal to the statesmen of the country to give to this subject their earnest attention; the sooner it is settled on some wise and comprehensive principle the better for all concerned. We have despoiled the Indians of their rich hunting-grounds, thereby depriving them of their ancient means of support. Ought we not and shall we not give them at least a secure home, and the cheap but priceless benefit of just and equitable laws?
Affairs in the Indian Territory are both complicated and embarrassing. By treaty the Government has ceded to the so-called civilized tribes, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, a section of country altogether disproportionate in amount to their needs. The Cherokees number about 13,000, and own 5,031,351 acres, or 279 1/2 acres to each person. The 16,000 Choctaws have an average of 418 acres to each person; the 6,000 Chickasaws, an average of 775 acres; the 13,000 Creeks, an average of 247 acres, and the 2,438 Seminoles, an average of 82 acres. In the aggregate, for a population of 55,438 persons there are set apart 20,784,309 acres, or an average of 375 acres for each individual an area nearly equal to the area of the State of Indiana for a population not much greater than that of many agricultural counties in the Eastern or Middle States.
No doubt considerable portion of land in each reservation is unsuitable for tillage, but most of it is valuable for grazing, and the amount susceptible of cultivation must be many fold greater than can ever be cultivated by the labor of the Indians. But the Indians claim, it is understood, that they hold their lands by sanctions so solemn that it would be a gross breach of faith on the part of the Government to take away any portion thereof without their consent; and that consent they apparently propose to withhold. The question is thus directly raised whether an extensive section or fertile country is to be allowed to remain for an indefinite period practically an uncultivated waste, or whether the Government shall determine to reduce the size or the reservations.
The question is plainly a difficult one, and should be considered with calmness, and a full purpose to do no injustice to the Indians. Any opinion thereon is ventured with hesitancy on my part; but I cannot but believe that public policy will soon require the disposal of a large portion of these lands to the Government, for the occupancy either of other tribes of Indians or of white people. There is a very general and growing opinion that observance of the strict letter of treaties with Indians is in many cases at variance both with their own best interests and with sound public policy. Public necessity must ultimately become supreme law; and in my opinion their highest good will require these people to take ample allotments of lands in severalty, (to be inalienable for at least twenty years, and then only among Indians,) and to surrender the remainder of their lands to the United States Government for a fair equivalent. Upon the lands thus surrendered, other Indians should be located as rapidly as possible, and should be given allotments under the same restrictions.
From the recommendation above made, it must not be understood to be either the policy or purpose of this office to in any way encourage the spirit of rapacity which demands the throwing open of the Indian Territory to white settlement. That country was set apart, half a century ago, as the home of the Indians. The eastern and better portion contains sufficient room for all the Indians now there, and all who will ever remove thither. The true way to secure its perpetual occupancy by Indians is to fill it up with other Indians, to give them lands in severalty, and to provide a government strong and intelligent enough to protect them effectually from any and all encroachments on the part of the whites.
The anomalous form of government, if government it can be called, at present existing in the Indian Territory must soon be changed. ln some shape or other those Indians must be brought under law and the jurisdiction of the courts. The idea that that Territory is to consist forever of a collection oF little independent or semi- independent nationalities is preposterous. If thirty or fifty thousand white men remove and settle in any part of the West, the United States extends over them its laws and establishes a territorial government, preparatory to its admission into the Union as a State; and it can be neither a hardship nor an injustice to the tribes in the Indian Territory, if, recognizing their right to ample compensation for the surrender of lands which they do not need. we place them on a par with white men before the law.
Any such change would undoubtedly be resisted by many among the Indians themselves. In the so-called "nations" are a number of educated, intelligent, ambitious men, who under the present system are leaders of their people, controlling their affairs and the expenditure of their revenue. They very naturally deprecate any change which will endanger such power. They argue with great earnestness that the adoption of a territorial form of government would be followed by an influx of white men into the Territory, and that the ultimate result to the Indians would be dispossession of homes, and pauperism. Such a possibility could, however, be averted by an allotment of land to each Indian, made inalienable to white men, and by providing that no white man should become a citizen of the Territory, or own or lease any real estate therein.
As to the particular form of government for the Indian Territory, I am inclined to think that no better system can be devised than that suggested by my predecessor in the last annual report of this office, as follows:
"The need of this Territory to-day is a government of the simplest form possible; and, in my judgment, a government similar to that provided for 'the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio,' (Stat. at L., vol. 1, page 51,) preliminary to the organization of a general assembly, would, I think, be the best adapted for the Indian Territory at present, both on account of its simplicity and of its economy. It consisted of a governor, a secretary, and judges, who had power to adopt and publish in the Territory such laws of the United States, criminal and civil, as were found necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the Territory, said laws to be reported to Congress from time to time, and to be in force in said Territory unless disapproved by that body; the governor also to have power to appoint magistrates and other necessary civil officers.
"The anomalous state of social and political affairs in this Territory
renders some such form of government as above set forth much better adapted to the circumstances and necessities of the case than an elective and representative government could possibly be for several years. Of the seventy-one thousand, all but seven thousand have attained to such a degree of civilization as to be capable of appreciating and profiting by a government of this character, and the remainder being the wilder and wholly uneducated tribes could be readily brought to feel its force in restraint and education. On the other hand an elective government for these people would bring together representatives from thirty-five different tribes, and any legislation or any discussion to be made intelligible must be translated into as many different tongues. But a more serious and I think more fatal objection would be found in the sectional and tribal jealousies, which have their strength in proportion to the ignorance of a people, and among these thirty-five tribes would render most if not all the enactments of such a representative body practically of no avail to govern its people or enforce its laws.
"I believe the simple form of government above suggested can be made strong and effective, and will prevent the experiment of a confederated self-government, for which the Indians are not prepared, and which would be sure to result in anarchy and strife.
"Great care should be taken, however, that this government be so restricted in its powers that its sole function shall be to make and administer law for the prevention of intrusion, the protection of the rights and interests of the Indians as against all outside parties, and to define the rights and enforce the obligations of the Indians as among themselves; and this government should be strictly prohibited from any attempt to confer rights or privileges upon any corporation whatever, or upon any individual other than the lawful members of the Indian tribes. By this method I deem it entirely feasible by appropriate legislation to provide an efficient government for the Territory, to the great benefit of the people governed, without encroaching upon the rights and privileges of individuals.
"If, however, it shall be deemed inexpedient to provide such a government on account of treaty stipulations that each separate tribe shaII govern itself, then I would respectfully recommend the establishment of a United States court within the boundary of the Territory, with such a force of marshals as shall be sufficient for the execution of the process of court without calling for troops to act as posse.
"These Indians occupy a most interesting and important position in the history of the country. They ought not to be left the prey of the worst influence which can be brought to them in the life and example of the meanest white men. They deserve such guardianship and care on the part of the United States as will secure for them the powerful aid to elevation which comes from the presence of law."
I recommend this subject to the consideration of the honorable Secretary, with the hope that he will invite the serious attention of Congress to the grave questions involved.
Owing to inadequate appropriations, deficiencies have occurred annually for four years past, the largest being in 1873-74. Of this aggregate deficiency $456,375.92 has never been covered by appropriation. An estimate for this amount (incorporatedl in H.R. Ex. Doc. No.151) failed to receive action by Congress at its last session. This sum is composed mainly of small amounts due to a large number of individuals for services
as employés, or for supplies actually furnished to Indians. The accounts upon examination are found to be correct and just, and recommendation is made that legislation be urged in behalf of the claimants, who are suffering both hardship and injustice by prolonged delay in payment.
The deficiencies created during the year by inadequate appropriations for the Sioux and Apaches were met by appropriations by Congress at its last session, and so far as I can now judge there will be no deficiency to be reported for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876, except an amount of $3,184.55, being a balance due on contract for the construction of a saw and grist mill in Oregon, which item is embraced in the annual estimate of appropriations required for the Indian service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878.
For several years past a camp of Sioux on the Yellowstone River have been known as the northern, or hostile, or non-treaty Sioux, or more commonly as Sitting Bull's band. They are in no sense a recognized band or branch of the great Sioux Nation, but consist of representatives from all the bands, who have rallied around one as their leader who claims never to have been party to any treaty with the United States, and who styles himself chief of the followers whom his personal power and avowed hostility to civilization and the United States Government have attracted around him. This camp at last became a rallying-point for malcontents from the various agencies; a paradise for those who, tired of Government beef and restless under agency restraint, were venturesome enough to resort again to their old life by the chase; a field of glory for the young braves whose reputation for prowess was yet to be made; and an asylum for outlaws among the Indians themselves, who, fleeing thither, might escape retribution for crime.
Having their headquarters in the center of the buffalo-country, surrounded by abundance of game, independent of the aid of the Government, scorning its authority, defying its power, and deriding its Army, these desperadoes have skillfully and successfully evaded the frontier-garrisons and roamed at will over the plains of Western Dakota and portions of Montana and Wyoming, not only plundering, robbing, and frequently taking the lives of settlers, but extending their hostilities to every tribe of Indians in their vicinity friendly to the United States.
That the Crows, the Shoshones, Bannacks, Arickarees, Mandans, Utes, and the Blackfeet Nation have braved all threats and resisted all inducements offered by these adventurers, and, in spite of repeated losses by depredation, have steadfastly adhered to their friendship to the Government, has sufficiently proved their loyalty; but their pathway to civilization has been seriously obstructed. An Indian cannot be taught to work with hoe in one hand and gun in the other; and repeated examples of unpunished marauding beget restlessness and want of confidence in the Government and increased reluctance to adopt the white man's ways.
The number of this so called band was estimated last winter to be not over 3,000. From this number not more than six or eight hundred warriors could have been mustered. Recognizing not only the irreparable damage to settlements caused by these desperadoes, but also their disastrous influence in retarding civilization among the friendly tribes, and the demoralizing effect of their proximity in promoting an uneasy feeling among the reservation Sioux, and in affording a refuge for criminals, the Department, in December last, decided to make a final attempt to induce
these Indians to come into their agencies, and issued an order requiring them to go upon their reservations by the 31st of January last, or be regarded as hostile and turned over to the military.
To this order, communicated by couriers from the several agencies, no regard was paid. The General and Lieutenant-General of the Army were of opinion that a movement against the "hostiles" undertaken in the winter would be entirely practicable for which none but the regular troops stationed in that part of the country would be needed; and on the 1st of February these Indians were accordingly turned over to the War Department for appropriate action by the Army.
The increase in the number of Sitting Bull's retainers by accessions from the agency Sioux, already alluded to, and the terrible slaughter of our forces under General Custer, the details of which are familiar to the public, have extended throughout the year what was expected be a campaign of but few weeks' duration. It is hoped that the coming winter-campaign, for which extensive preparations are now in progress, will result in the unconditional surrender and entire submission of these Sioux, and that this will be known hereafter as the last Indian war.
In the last Indian appropriation act, $20,000 was appropriated, to be expended under the direction of the President, for the purpose of securing from the Sioux Indians the relinquishment of "all right and claim to any country outside of the boundaries of the permanent reservation established by the treaty of 1868 for said Indians, and also so much of their said permanent reservation as lies west of the one hundred and third meridian of longitude," and to secure "a grant of convenient and accessible way over said reservation to the country thus ceded, for wagon and other roads, from points on the Missouri River, in all not more than three in number." The act further provides that the Indians hereafter shall receive their supplies at such places on their said reservation in the vicinity of the Missouri River as the President may designate; and also, that "no further appropriation for said Sioux Indians for subsistence shall hereafter be made until some stipulation, agreement: or arrangement shall have been entered into by said Indians with the President of the United States which is calculated and designed to enable said Indians to become self-supporting."
In pursuance of the provisions referred to, a commission was appointed in August last, consisting of Hon. George W. Manypenny, Bishop B. Whipple, Hon. A.S. Gaylord, Hon. H. C. Bulis, Hon. Newton Edmunds, Col. A.G. Boone, and Dr. J.W. Daniels, who proceeded immediately to the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies, for the purpose of securing from the Indians the agreement contemplated in the above-named act. The commission have not yet submitted their report, but it is understood that their mission has been successful.
For the purpose of providing some suitable location to enable said Indians to become self-supporting, the commission were instructed to consider the propriety of securing the assent of the Indians to their removal to the Indian Territory. Having indicated a willingness to consider the question of removal, a delegation of Sioux are now en route to the Indian Territory to examine the country and make report.
The report of the commission, as soon as received by this office, will be forwarded to the honorable Secretary, to be submitted to Congress for its action.
It will be remembered that the visit of a delegation of Sioux to Washington, in May, 1875, resulted in an agreement whereby, in consideration of the sum of $25,000 appropriated by Congress, they surrendered their treaty-privilege of hunting in Nebraska. They were also induced to relinquish such claim as they possessed to that portion of Nebraska lying south of the south divide of the Niobrara River, which, by the terms of the treaty of 1868, "should be held and considered unceded Indian territory, and no white person or persons should be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same, or without the consent of the Indians first had and obtained, should pass through the same."
The Sioux, never having made a clear distinction between the territory described by the treaty of 1868 as neutral and that designated as their permanent reservation, were very unwilling to accede to the wishes of the Department, and consented to the cession of their rights in the above-described territory only on receiving the pledge, given by the Secretary of the Interior, that their request for an additional $25,000 in consideration of such cession should be presented to Congress.
This claim failed to be considered by Congress at its last session. The Indian mind seems incapable of discriminating between a promise to present a claim to Congress and a promise to pay the amount of the claim, and the commission recently charged with obtaining further concessions from the Sioux were met at every agency with complaints of the failure of the Government to fulfill what the Indians consider its solemn pledge. In view of the above, and of the importance of the negotiations now pending, I trust that Congress will give this matter favorable consideration at its next session. The expenditure, at their own request, of the $25,000 already received in the purchase of cows, horses, harness, and wagons for the Sioux is a guarantee that the amount hereafter to be appropriated will be of direct assistance to the Government in carrying out its purposes for their civilization, as indicated by the effort now being made to secure their settlement in the Indian Territory.
A commission consisting of D.H. Jerome, esq., of Michigan; Brig. Gen. O.O. Howard, U.S.A.; Maj. H. Clay Wood, A.A.G., U.S.A.; William Stickney, esq., of Washington, and A.C. Barstow, esq., of Rhode Island, has been appointed during the present month by the Secretary of the Interior, to inquire into the status and claims of the so-called non-treaty Nez Percés, and to effect a settlement on a permanent basis of the difficulties existing between them and settlers. These difficulties have arisen mainly from intrusion by settlers upon the Wallowa Valley, Oregon, which the Nez Perce chief, Joseph, claims as unceded Indian territory, and have been aggravated by the recent murder by white men of one of Joseph's band.
The commission is also authorized to visit roving bands in Idaho and Washington Territories, with a view to placing them upon reservations; and have been requested to take into careful consideration the subject of reducing by consolidation the number of reservations in Idaho and Washington Territories and Oregon.
Their exposure to raids from the Sioux, whose hostility arises from the fact that the Poncas are on lands claimed originally by the Sioux and included in their permanent reservation, has hitherto been a serious obstacle in the way of the progress in civilized life which they seem disposed to make. It is believed that when the necessity of giving a large share of attention to self-defense is removed they will readily come into condition of self-support by agriculture.
The proposed removal will not only benefit the Poncas, but the reserve thus vacated will offer a suitable home for some of the wild bands of Sioux, where, with a set of agency-buildings, 100 Indian houses, and 500 acres of improved land to start with, the experiment of their civilization may be tried to advantage.
For this removal, conditioned on the consent of the Poncas, Congress at its last session appropriated $25,000. If the efforts now being made to gain such consent are successful, the move will be commenced early in the spring. The above-named sum will not, however, defray the expenses of their removal, and purchase from other tribes the land on which they shall be located, and provide for the outlay necessary to establish them in such a way as fairly to reimburse them for improvements surrendered; and I most earnestly hope that such additional provision will be made as will enable the office to give them a fair start in their new location.
It is with gratification that I am able to report the abolition of the Chiricahua reservation in Southeastern Arizona and the removal of a majority of the Indians belonging thereto to the San Carlos reserve. That this move, though undertaken with grave apprehension, was accomplished without difficulty is due in large measure to the hearty support and co-operation afforded the office by the governor of Arizona and the general commanding the department.
Up to April last, the Chiricahua Apaches kept the pledge made by their chief, Cochise, to General Howard in 1872, so far as regards the citizens of the United States. It is reported, however, that raids, more or less frequent, in which the Chiricahuas have been assisted by "visitors" from other reservations, and by renegades, have been made over the border into Mexico, especially in the State of Sonora. The fastnesses of the mountains which constituted the Chiricahua reserve afforded special facilities for successful marauding, and the reports of losses by citizens of Mexico from Indian incursions are confirmed by report of Special Commissioner Williams.
In March last a quarrel, resulting in the death of two men and a grandchild of old Cochise, caused a separation in what is known as Cochise's band of Chiricahuas. Most of them under Taza, son and successor of Cochise, came into the agency; the others, under the leadership of Skinya, remained in the Dragoon Mountains. On the 7th of April, a few of Skinya's followers, while under the influence of liquor, murdered Messrs. Rogers and Spence, station-keepers at Sulphur Springs, twenty-six miles from the agency, and proceeded to San Pedro River settlement, fifteen miles above Tres Alamos, where they killed one ranchman and wounded another, stole four horses, and then fled to the San Jose Mountains, fifteen miles north of the Mexican line, where the band took a strong position, from which, on the following day, a detachment of United States cavalry was unable to dislodge them. The attacking party were met by a furious fire from an unseen foe, and were obliged to retreat with the loss of one man.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Chiricahuas had repeatedly refused
to listen to any proposition looking toward removal, had never been disarmed, and could easily, as in years past, find almost impregnable positions in their mountain-home, it was decided to attempt a permanent settlement of all difficulties by abolishing their reservation and removing the Indians elsewhere.
On receipt of the intelligence of the outbreak at Chiricahua, a force of 233 Indians, who expressed their willingness to co-operate with the military or civil authorities in an expedition against the Chiricahuas, was organized by the San Carlos agent from the various bands at his agency. To assist Agent Clum, who was charged with this undertaking, the commanding general furnished arms for 300 Indian scouts and police from San Carlos and detailed twelve companies of United States cavalry; but before any of them had reached the agency, Taza, had led his band against the outlaws, who were endeavoring to induce him to join them in hostilities, and had killed their leader and six others. The next day, June 5, a council was held, in which Taza and two other principal men consented to remove, and on the 12th of June Agent Clum conveyed to San Carlos, under the escort of his Indian police, 325 Indians, most of whom belonged to what was the Cochise band proper. They are located on the Gila River, a few miles below old Camp Goodwin, where they remain quiet and apparently contented. Taza died recently while on a visit to Washington.
On the 13th of June the supervision of the Chiricahua reservation was transferred to General Kautz, with a request to treat as hostile all Indians found thereon.
Three leading men of the Southern Chiricahuas, who agreed to remove on condition that they be allowed twelve days in which to bring in their families, were allowed four days for that purpose which they improved in making Rood their escape, probably into Sonora. They were followed by troops, but without success.
It is believed that the number of Indians belonging to the Chiricahua agency has hitherto been overestimated, and that not more than 300 failed to be removed to San Carlos. Of this number, 162 are reported by ihe agent for the Southern Apaches to have removed on their own account to the Hot Springs reservation in New Mexico where they have friends and relatives, and will be allowed to remain.
It is a matter of regret that Pionsenay, the murderer of Messrs. Rogers and Spence, is still at large. He was wounded in the fight with Taza, but succeeded in getting away, and was afterward brought in with 38 others, mostly women and children, by the San Carlos police. On the 13th of June he was turned over to the civil authorities, from whom in nine hours he made his escape.
In this tribe are 3,000 Indians. The experiment of insisting on labor-equivalent for all supplies issued has been tried with marked success for three years past. Previous to l874 the Osages lived mainly upon buffalo-meat and the proceeds of the sales of robes. In 1874, the breaking out of hostilities between the Cheyennes and other plains-Indians and the Government obliged the Osages to forego their hunt and threw them upon the Government for their entire support, all crops having been destroyed by grasshoppers. By authority from Congress, to make liberal use of their invested fund, the office was fortunately able to meet the emergency, and also, by issuing only in return for labor performed for themselves or for the tribe, was able to take advantage of this enforced abandonment of the chase to awaken such an interest in civilized pursuits as is incompatible with life of a hunter.
Fields were cultivated, new land broken, houses built, farming-implements and stock purchased, and converts to the labor-system multiplied rapidly. In spite of many adverse circumstances the interest has steadily increased. Owing to the exhaustion of the sum authorized to be expended by Congress, the Osages last winter were obliged to resort to the buffalo-country, but returned without success in a destitute condition, more ready than ever to learn the lesson of dependence for subsistence on the cultivation of the soil. Unfortunately, want of funds prevented the agent from giving the needed assistance in seeds, plowing, and planting, while an unprecedented flood destroyed the larger portion of such crops as were raised. The following extract from the report of Agent Beede sets forth clearly the present situation of affairs:
The leaders have manifested a disposition to co-operate with the agent in the civilization of the tribe, and this season, probably to an extent never before, have restrained their young warriors from committing depredations. They have done so on short allowance, in the hope that relief would come with the opening, of the present year, and they cannot understand why the Government should fail to respond to their earnest petition for their own invested funds, already accumulated in the United States Treasury, to advance them in civilization and subsist them in their transition-state from barbarism to self-support. They appealed to Congress for this aid, informing the Department, through their agent, of their necessities, the impossibility to live, even, without the hunt, unless aided for the time being, and of their utter failure in last winter's attempt for buffalo, and thus their absolute dependence, and of their crowning misfortune by almost unprecedented flood in the latter part of Sixthmonth last, which carried away their fences and destroyed by far the greater part of the crops raised by and for many members of the tribe.
They ask nothing gratuitously at the hands of the Government; they only ask a portion of their own, made necessary by an extension of time granted by Congress to settlers on their lands in Kansas in which to pay for the same; and it should be remembered that this extension was granted without consultation with or consent of the Osages; and, had these lands been promptly paid for, as the commissioners treating for them represented they would be, their annual interest on the proceeds of the same would be sufficient for their necessities. A failure on the part of the Government to render them simple justice at a time of pressing necessity may prove a costly experiment and be productive of grave results. In view of the circumstances herein set forth, I would recommend, if in accordance with existing law, that the entire appropriation, or so much thereof as may be necessary, amounting to $57,000, be expended for the benefit of these Indians during the first half of the fiscal year, and that Congress be asked at an early stage of its next session to provide by deficiency-bill for the last half, and that a liberal appropriation be made from their invested funds for their support and civilization during the next fiscal year. I make this recommendation in the hope that the loss of the present year may be partially overcome before entire confidence in the Government and its agents is gone.
Superintendent Nicholson also says:
The damage to crops by flood will render necessary a larger supply of food from other sources, and, owing to the failure of the expected appropriation, it will be a most difficult problem to keep these Indians quiet upon their reservation. For two years past Congress has appropriated, at the request of the Osages, an ample amount of their own tribal funds, and thus they have been subsisted and aided in settling themselves upon their new reservation. This aid should have been continued for the same purpose, so far as needful, and thereby all necessity taken away for them to leave the reservation in search of food and clothing. They do not need, neither do they ask, the bounty of the Government. The funds are their own, and the Government is their guardian. I recommend immediate action by Congress at its next session.
authority to use funds belonging to the Osages for their benefit failed to be given. I most earnestly hope that such authority will be granted Congress at an early stage in the coming session, the funds thus placed at the disposal of the office to be expended in the purchase of supplies to be issued only in return for labor, in the continuance of the manual-labor boarding-school, and in giving assistance in agricultural pursuits.
The removal of the Pawnees from Nebraska to the Indian Territory, begun in the winter of 1873, has been completed during the year, and the whole tribe are now upon a valuable reservation in the forks of the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers, on land ceded to the United States by the Cherokees for Indian occupation.
They are well pleased with their new home and have made praiseworthy efforts to establish themselves therein on a civilized basis. The exigency which led to the removal of the main body of the tribe in the, fall of 1874, the failure of the Forty-third Congress, in the hurry of its closing hours, to pass a bill authorizing the sale of the Nebraska reservation, and appropriating funds (to be reimbursed from the proceeds of such sale) to defray expenses of removal and establishment, and the consequent necessity laid upon the Department to proceed, with the approval of the President, but at great disadvantage, to furnish supplies, obtain employés, erect agency-buildings, and open farms, trusting to the next Congress to provide for the payment of the indebtedness thus incurred, were fully reported to Congress in January last, in H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 80. As already stated, action thereon was delayed until April, and in the mean time the full amount of indebtedness authorized by the President having been incurred, employés were discharged, the work stopped, and the Pawnees were compelled by hunger to leave their reservation and seek among border-settlements such scanty subsistence as they were able to pick up.
Notwithstanding all drawbacks and discouragements sixteen agency-buildings and twelve Indian houses have been erected during the year. Three hundred and fifty acres have been under cultivation. Two day-schools have met with exceptional success in securing a regular attendance of 100 pupils. Indian labor has been largely and effectively used. The cultivation of the agency-farm in Nebraska during the past season under contract will yield some revenue to the tribe.
The act of April 10, 1876, provides for the appraisement and sale of the Nebraska lands and for an advancement of funds (to be reimbursed to the Treasury from the proceeds of such sale) to carry on the work of putting the Pawnees into a condition in which they may reasonably be expected to support themselves by their own labor in civilized pursuits
I take pleasure in inviting attention to the reports of the agents for the Cheyennes and Arapahoes and the Kiowas and Comanches.
With the exception of the Arapahoes and a portion of the Kiowas, these are the Indians who last year surrendered unconditionally, after eleven months' hostilities; who were dismounted and disarmed; and whose ring leaders were sent to Saint Augustine, Fla., for imprisonment under military guard. Their complete humiliation has resulted not only in quiet and orderly behavior, but in manifestation of a decided disposition to enter upon a civilized mode of life.
The boarding-schools at each agency have been crowded and the number of applicants for admission has far exceeded the number that could be accommodated. One chief offered a pony for the privilege of
placing his child in school, but for want of room his request was refused. Other chiefs have rendered personal and valuable assistance to the teachers in bringing under the necessary discipline and restraint of school-life the 184 children in their charge. The marked success attending the year's effort is shown by the following extracts:
Last year the Arapaho school-boys (the Cheyennes had not yet sent their children to school) raised quite a quantity of corn, which was converted by the school superintendent into clothing and cattle. This spring Big Horse, White Shield, Bull Bear, and other Cheyenne chiefs placed their children in school, and with them gave robes to the superintendent to be exchanged for cattle, to place them on an equal footing with Arapaho boys, which was promptly done; and as a result we have a mission-herd, the property of the individuals who labor, amounting to over 25 head, to be kept at the mission until the boys are sufficiently intelligent and enlightened to take care of stock themselves, and at the same time the school is to have and does receive a benefit from the use of the milk, each boy milking his own cow. It is the agreement this year, as the Government had no farm-laborers, that the school-boys are to receive one-half of the corn on the 110-acre agency-farm, which they have plowed, planted, and cultivated in a systematic manner, and that the Government is to receive the other half in the field, which, I believe, will be sufficient to feed the agency-stock during the coming winter and spring, while the Indian boys intend selling their share and investing the proceeds in cattle and better clothing, as they did last year. The object is to establish this school on a basis that eventually will be self-supporting, and at the same time furnish its inmates a "start" in the world when they are at liberty to withdraw. The girls are taught in all the branches of the culinary and household departments, and some of them could keep a very fair house to-day if afforded the opportunity. They have also made shirts for the traders, the funds thus derived being expended by them under the oversight of the matron or teacher for extras, generally articles of clothing. All this labor has been done by daily or weekly details from the school-room, and each one has had equal advantages, indoors and out of doors.
Our school for the Kiowas and Comanches opened in November and continued through June. Our difficulty was not in getting enough children, but in confining the number to the capacity of the house. The parents and friends of the children manifested a great interest in the school; seldom a day passed that some of them were not there. On the last day a large number were present and showed great interest in the exercise gone through by the children, and seemed as proud of their success as anybody could be.
The proceeds of the sale of ponies confiscated by the military have been invested in 700 cows and calves and 3,500 sheep. These have been distributed, to the great satisfaction of the tribes.
It is to be regretted that the want of funds prevented the agents from taking all possible advantage of the industrial interest in farming which manifested itself in the early spring. Agent Miles says:
The reward for the winter's hunt of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes was only about 3,500 robes and the saving of a large amount of subsistence to the Government. After their return to this agency, and fully realizing that the buffalo were fast disappearing and the necessity for them to turn their attention to other pursuits than the chase for a means of support, very earnest appeals were made to me for farm-implements, both by Arapahoes and Cheyennes, and such other assistance as would enable them to engage to some extent in farming; and I feel assured that, could I have furnished them with plows, hoes, &c. three-fourths of the Indians now at this agency would have gone to work heartily, and, as the season has been very favorable, would have been successful, and consequently encouraged and stimulated to further effort. Owing to the absence of any great number of farm-implements and the ready cash to purchase them with, only a few could be accommodated outside of the schools.
Notwithstanding these obstacles, 1,026 acres have been cultivated by Indians at the two agencies, against 590 acres reported last year.
When it is remembered that the Kiowas, Comanches, and Cheyennes have hitherto been classed with the Sioux in wildness, intractability, and hostility, the following extracts will furnish gratifying evidence that the civilization of these tribes is not only practicable, but is already in progress, and will demonstrate the wisdom of encouraging by liberal assistance these feeble beginnings in civilized labor of a people who, by the extinction of the buffalo, will speedily be thrown entirely upon the Government for support, unless in the short interval they are furnished the means and are taught how to support themselves.
Last year was the first for most of them to put their hands to the plow. The Kiowas and Comanches sold near five thousand bushels of corn at $1 per bushel, either in trade or money. This year more of them engaged in the work than last. Some of the chiefs of each tribe, with their people, made good rails, and fenced in fields, ranging in size from three to twenty acres, which I had plowed for them, and they planted in corn, melons, pumpkins, and some vegetables. They are anxious for houses, and
say they want to settle down and give up their mode of constantly changing place. I am fully satisfied that the present is a tide in the affairs of these people which, if taken advantage of, a great many of them, not only the chiefs but the young men, would settle down and take good care of whatever improvements were made for them and relieve the Government from any anxiety of their ever going on the war-path again, and save the expense of keeping so large a force of soldiers in this country, and much sooner relieve the Government from the expense of their support than if the opportunity is allowed to pass unimproved.
Seventy-five acres were assigned the Cheyennes from one of the agency-fields, which was subdivided into small patches containing from 1 to 5 acres for each family, and was generally planted in corn, potatoes, melons, and various kinds of garden-produce. A more earnest effort I never witnessed put forth by any people than by the Cheyennes, so far as their means and knowledge extended, and as a result they have been quite successful, and have already received and are now receiving a fair reward for their industry. I have seen some of these Cheyennes, who could not secure the use of a plow or hoe, use sticks of wood, axes, and their hands in preparing the ground for planting and cultivating their garden-spots, so anxious were they to make a beginning.
Quite a number of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes have manifested a desire to exchange a portion of their ponies and robes for cattle, and in some instances for agricultural implements. Powder Face sold robes to the amount of $100 in cash, and then purchased cattle from George Washington, Caddo chief. Others of both tribes have made similar trades, and now have the cattle on hand. On the 1st of July we had on hand about one thousand head of cattle, and were obliged to night-herd, and, at my request, each tribe furnished six extra herders, who took their turns cheerfully without pay during the entire month of July, and until the herd was reduced sufficiently to corral without injury. I only need to say that these same young men whom I now intrust with the herd, four years ago would maliciously proceed to our agency-herd, without leave or license, and shoot down a few fat beeves, help themselves to a few choice cuts, and ride off to camp, defiant of our protests and efforts to protect the property.
These Indians are located upon lands in North Carolina, the title to which has for several years been the subject of litigation, growing out of the fact that title-deeds to lands purchased with tribal funds, instead of being made in the name of the Indian, were given in the name of W. Thomas, United States Indian agent, who purchased them in 1861.
Under act of Congress approved July 15, 1870, the title to that portion of these lands known as "Qualla Boundary" reservation, comprising about 75,000 acres, was awarded to these Indians by a decree of the circuit court of the United States for the western district of North Carolina, and is now held in their name. By later legislation, approved March 3, 1875, and August 14, 1876, 4,450 acres of land outside of Qualla Boundary reservation, and covered by said decree of the court, with 10,761 1/5 acres situated in Cherokee, Graham, and Jackson Counties, selected by said Indians in lieu of judgments obtained against said Thomas, have been conveyed in fee-simple to said Indians. They are now in the secure possession of about 85,000 acres of land, and are placed in a condition of comparative independence.
The number of agencies in Arizona has during the year been reduced to three. The abolition of the Chiricahua reserve and the removal of the Indians belonging thereto to the San Carlos and Hot Springs reservations have already been referred to.
The Papago agency was discontinued in March last, and the Papagoes placed under the charge of the agent for the Pimas and Maricopas.
Want of funds has compelled the discontinuance of an agency for the Moquis Pueblos. These Indians are self-supporting, but should be pro-
vided with a school, the teacher to have such care for the general interests of the tribe as has hitherto been exercised by an agent.
The Indians on the Hoopa Valley reserve, California, have been notified that they must go to Round Valley. Some difficulty will doubtless be experienced in overcoming their extreme reluctance to such removal, and the proposed change must be made the subject of further investigation by the office before a definite plan and time for removal can be determined upon.
The Alsea agency, in Oregon, has been abolished, but inadequate appropriations have placed the office in an embarrassing position and worked hardship and injustice to the Indians. They are required to leave their homes and cultivated fields and remove to Siletz, but no means are furnished to defray expense of such removal or to assist in their establishment in their new home.
Fort Belknap agency, in Montana, which has never been more than a feeding-post for the Gros Ventres and Assinaboines, who were considered too remote to be conveniently fed at other agencies, has been abolished, and the Indians belonging thereto have been ordered to report for rations and annuities at Fort Peck agency. The agent at Fort Peck reports that the Assinaboines give ready consent to the change and that several lodges have already gone to Wolf Point, but that the Gros Ventres refuse to come in such close relations with their old enemies, the Yanctonnais, and desire to remove to some other point on the Missouri more remote from the Sioux.
The agency established in North Carolina in February, 1875, among the Eastern Cherokees was abolished in August last. The educational interests of the tribe are now under the charge of the superintendent of public instruction of North Carolina.
The jurisdiction of the agent for the Pueblos has been extended over the Cimarron agency in New Mexico. It is hoped that this temporary arrangement will soon be followed by the removal of the Utes and Apaches, who now report at Cimarron, to some reservation where they may find a suitable and permanent home. The reservation set apart on the San Juan River by Executive order, in March, 1874, for the Jicarilla Apaches, has recently been restored to the public domain, in the belief that the majority of those Apaches could never be induced to settle thereon.
In 1874 Congress appropriated $300,000 for an experiment of enforced civilization among the two or three thousand of the Kiowas, Comanches, and Cheyennes who had surrendered, and were held captive by the military. Negotiations were entered in to with the Quapaws for the purchase of a tract of 40,000 acres lying in the northeast corner of the Indian Territory, and remote from the old hunting-ground; an agency was established, a good store house built, and a few hundred acres of land were broken and fenced.The captives were, however, transferred directly to their respective agents by the military, and it was deemed by the office unadvisable, if not impracticable, to undertake to collect them again and to force them to submit to removal not only from their homes but also from their friends and relatives. The "captive" agency was therefore abolished in April last, and about $200,000 of the fund will be returned to the Treasury. It is hoped that other Indians, perhaps the Poncas, will soon be induced to settle on this tract, who will receive substantial benefit from the improvements already made thereon. In that case, it will be necessary to procure legislation which shall authorize the purchase from the Quapaws of the lands which they have already signified their willingness to relinquish.
In the matter of the ejectment-suits of W.G. Langford vs. employés of the Nez Percé Indian Reservation at Lapwai, Idaho, certain expenses of rent, costs, and fees were unavoidably incurred by said employés in their defense at the trial of these cases.
This expense was necessarily incurred, owing to the distance from the agency of the proper United States district attorney, as well as the difficulty of communication with him or the Department, and to the exigencies of the case, which exigencies have been promptly and fully reported to this office. From these facts and the circumstances of the parties who were mulcted with the costs, who are hardly able to bear the same, and in view of the fact that by this course of action they were enabled to hold the agency-buildings, and thereby avert their destruction by the Indians, who would undoubtedly have burned them rather than allow them to pass into Mr. Langford's possession, Congress should be urged to appropriate the sum of $750 an amount necessary to fully reimburse the parties named.
By the determination by recent survey of the boundary-line between the Peoria and Ottawa Indian reservations, in the Indian Territory, it has been ascertained that a strip of country containing 230 acres of land, hitherto used and held by the Peorias as a part of their reservation, lies within the limits of the Ottawa reservation.
At the suggestion of the Ottawa Indians, this tract of land has been purchased and paid for by the Peorias, and it is now recommended that legislation necessary to perfect the purchase of said land be had by Congress at its next session.
Legislation is imperatively demanded for the suppression of the sale of liquor to Indians. Since the enactment of the Revised Statutes, the courts have decided that there is no provision of law by which persons selling liquor to an Indian off a reservation can be convicted or punished. I therefore strongly recommend that a law be enacted by Congress making it a penal offense to sell liquor to an Indian anywhere.
To enable the Department to extend its authority more fully over the various Indian tribes, in its administration of law for their welfare, protection, government, and peace, recommendation is made that Congress be asked to repeal the whole of section 2146 of the Revised Statutes, which withholds from the United States any jurisdiction in cases of crime committed by one Indian against the person or property of another Indian. This is essential for the proper execution of law and the maintenance of order on Indian reservations.
One-half of this tribe of Indians have left their reservation and are now living with the Osages, and are anxious to sell their lands, comprising 56,685 acres, and consolidate with the said tribe. Many of those
remaining on the reserve are opposed to this movement; but I am of the opinion that they could be induced to join the Osages or confederate with some other tribe. Their lands, comprising 56,685 acres, would make a fine reserve for the Poncas, whose removal to the Indian Territory has already been referred to. Recommendation is made that Congress be requested to authorize the Department to negotiate for the removal of the Quapaws and for the sale of their reservation to the Poncas or to such other Indians as it may be desirable to place thereon.
By act of Congress approved May 23, 1872, entitled "An act to provide homes for the Pottawatomie and absent Shawnee Indians in the Indian Territory," the Secretary of the Interior was authorized to select from the 30-mile square tract in the Indian Territory, known as the Pottawatomie reservation, 80 acres of land for each head of a family, or person 21 years of age, and 20 acres for each child.
These Indians have no annuities, depend on their own resources, and are prosperous; and they are justly entitled to as large allotments of land as are given the Pottawatomies, who, after becoming citizens, squandered their substance, and have now returned as Indians dependent upon the bounty of the Government.
I therefore recommend that Congress be asked to amend the law of 1872, so as to give to these absentee Shawnees and to the Black Bob band of Shawnees, who may be induced to consolidate with them, the same quantity of land as is allotted to the Pottawatomies.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
Hon. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.