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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter IX. — Geographical Phenomena. Soil, Climate, and Territorial Advantages of the Proposed Indian Colonies.

THE suitability and the amplitude of the territory selected as a refuge for the Indians, were topics often mooted, and as frequently denied. Situate on the great geological slope of the Rocky Mountains, in latitudes but seldom visited, except by the hunter and the traveller, information regarding this territory was not easily accessible. Being remote, and in a measure unknown, its condition was easily misrepresented; and there were not wanting some, who supposed that the tribes were not only to be removed west of the jurisdictions of the States and Territories, but also beyond the isothermal limits, where the absence of arable soils had effectually barred the production of forest trees. General William Clark, the veteran explorer, then Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, disabused the public of this notion, in a report which he made to the Government in the year 1825. "The great body of the cession," he observes, "lies west of Missouri and Arkansas, and is so extensive that, after leaving the country of the Kanzas and Osages, a district sufficient for their permanent residence, and after furnishing homes for the tribes, whose accommodation was the immediate object of the Government, and locating the Creeks, it will still leave enough to enable them to furnish permanent residences for other tribes in different States, who may be willing to remove to the West, in pursuance of the system for the gradual removal and collocation of the Indians.

"I find, from information derived from persons to be relied upon, that the country embraced in these cessions, is WONDERFULLY ADAPTED TO AN INDIAN POPULATION IN THE FIRST STAGES OF CIVILIZATION. Grass is universally abundant, and the winters, in a great portion of the cession, mild enough to winter cattle, horses, and other domestic animals, to subsist themselves without care from their owners. On all creeks and rivers, there are bottoms of rich lands, easily prepared for cultivation. The country is divided into woodland and prairie — but mostly prairie, and is well watered by springs and running streams, and is convenient to salt plains, and springs of salt water,

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from which an inexhaustible supply of salt can be obtained. It is also convenient to the great Buffalo range, from which supplies can be obtained, until they can resort to their own flocks." 581

In 1830, during a subsequent presidency, General Eaton, Secretary of War, thus indicates his concurrence in these views: "As it regards the inquiry relative to the soil, climate, and productions of the country, all the information that has been obtained from persons who have visited this portion of our territory, leads to the conclusion that, in nothing of these is it inferior to the country proposed to be abandoned on the east of the Mississippi. It is for the most part, an open prairie country, fertile and easy to be cultivated, with timber sufficient for all agricultural purposes, and which is vigorously and freely reproduced in the prairies when they are settled and trodden by the stock. The climate is mild and agreeable, and produces cotton to advantage throughout that portion of it where it is proposed to locate the southern tribes." 582

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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