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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
ATTENTION must now be directed to the working of the colonization plan. In the preceding pages, the history of the Indians has been traced from the period of the discovery of North America to that of the successful completion of the plan for their colonization west of the Mississippi; which may be considered as having been actually closed with the removal of the Cherokees in 1838 that people having been the last of the great tribes which opposed it although protracted to 1841. They were also the most numerous, and, perhaps, the most thoroughly instructed and intelligent, of the group of tribes formerly resident within the limits of the old States. Their migration was followed, in the sequence of time, by the removal of the small and advanced tribe of the Wyandots from Sandusky, Ohio, the Miamies of Indiana, the Sacs and Foxes of Iowa, and some minor bands inhabiting lower Michigan and the Maumee valley, Ohio.
Sixteen years, comprising four presidential terms, have elapsed since the completion of this colonial experiment, during which the policy of removal has been regarded by each successive administration as settled and approved, and as equally beneficial to the Indians as to the United States. From the period of the completion of their removal, the question has ceased to be a theme of discussion in American political circles. We may now inquire into their condition and prospects, in order to determine how far the expectations entertained have been realized. From the South there have been removed, of the Appalachian group, the Creeks, and their affiliated tribe, the
Seminoles, the Choctaws and Chickasaws, and the Cherokees. Of the widely diffused generic stock of the Algonquins, in the North, there have been transferred, the Delawares, Shawnees, southern Chippewas and Ottowas, Pottawattamies, Miamies, Weas, Piankashaws, Peorias, Kaskaskias, Mohigans, or Stockbridges, Munsees, and the Sacs and Foxes of Iowa and Missouri. The tribes of the Iroquois lineage, and speaking that language, which have migrated, comprise the Wyandots, Senecas, the mixed Senecas and Shawnees, and portions of the Cayugas; and of the Dakotah stock, the Quappas. These twenty-four tribes have been the objects of philanthropic solicitude for two centuries, during which period, they have received instruction in arts and morals, industry and manners. The effort has been continuous, from the earliest period of British colonial history, having been originated in 1644, by the apostolic labors of John Eliot, acting under the auspices of the London Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; and the new impetus which the work received from Edwards and Brainard has been continued to the present time. 685
All the means for the dissemination of knowledge, which the Indians possessed while they resided east of the Mississippi river, were transferred with them to the West. Their annuities in coin and kind were paid in the West, and their tutors in letters, mechanics, and agriculture accompanied them thither. Not only was there no diminution of the care or interest previously manifested for their welfare by the Government, by benevolent societies, and by individuals, but, on the contrary, they received increased attention, and were more amply provided with means. Every candid mind must admit that the results of their removal have been, in every respect, beneficial. It had been apprehended that the removal of the tribes to the wilderness, after having received instruction and made considerable improvement, would be attended with adverse results; that they would again resort to the chase to obtain the means of subsistence; and that, by contact with the wild, indigenous tribes of the prairies, they would acquire the manners and contract the vices of barbarism. This view appeared more plausible than substantial, and the apprehension expressed proved to be unfounded. Those of the tribes who had acquired industrious habits, and had for years practised them in the East, did not flag in their endeavors after their removal to the West. The territory is well adapted to the raising of cattle, hogs, sheep, and horses; the natural meadows, or prairies, spontaneously furnishing the most luxuriant pasturage. The convenience of dwelling-houses, out-houses, and fences having become necessary to the tribes, they did not attempt the experiment of living without them; and education became more important to them when they had business to transact, accounts to keep, and correspondents to answer. The remark of Apaumet, previously quoted, was no longer applicable, when the value and utility of knowledge was practically demonstrated.
Their condition may be assimilated to that of a valetudinarian on the banks of a
river, who, by the advice of a physician, is suddenly seized, and to his affright and conternation, plunged under the water; but who subsequently perceives, by the benefits derived therefrom, that the warmth and vitality thus generated are salutary and healthful. In like manner, the tribes who distrusted the remedy proposed to prevent their extinction in the States, have found that the attendant results agreeably disappointed their expectations. They have been compelled to improve. Jefferson, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, and their respective successors, had correctly foreseen that they must soon be surrounded and annihilated in the States, and wisely provided a remedy, which, though it seemed to them violative of their ideas of happiness, raised them to the dignity of men, and conferred on them the privileges of citizens and nations.
The detail of facts, however, will more clearly prove the truth of these assertions. In the autumn of 1838, the Rev. Mr. Fleming visited the office of the agent and superintendent of Indian affairs in Michigan. His attention having been directed to the removal policy of the Government, the character of the country, and the condition of the tribes, he stated, in a familiar and unpretending manner, the following facts: He had been one of the missionaries expelled from Georgia, after having labored there four years, under the direction of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He had acquired a sufficient knowledge of the Creek language to be able to preach in it, by first writing out his discourse. The order from the political authorities to quit that station had been abruptly given. He had since visited the Indian territories in the West, assigned to the expatriated tribes; and had been in the region of the tribes located on the Osage and Neosho rivers. He spoke highly of its fertility, and of the advanced state of the Indians who had emigrated; and described the belt of country lying immediately west of the Missouri State line, as decidedly the most fertile spot in that region. In reply to what has been alleged regarding its bleakness, he stated, that there was considerable wood of excellent quality on the streams; and on the hills, hickory, hackberry, cottonwood, cypress, and blackjack, which make excellent fire-wood. He bore testimony to the general excellence of the territory.
He stated that the first party of Creeks who removed from Georgia, immediately after the M'Intosh treaty, were the most degraded in the nation; but that recently, on the arrival of a large body of Creeks in the West, they found their brethren, who had preceded them several years, in the possession of every comfort, and decidedly more advanced than themselves. The Maumee Ottowas, so besotted when leaving Ohio, had already improved, had become planters, given up drink, and were listening to teachers of the gospel. The Shawnees were in a state of enviable advancement; they were thrifty farmers; possessed good habitations, well-fenced fields, and large stocks of horses, cattle, and domestic animals; and had public roads, ferries, schools, and meeting-houses. They dressed in the English style, most of them speaking English, and their horsemen were provided with superior saddles, and bridles. To the observer, the settlers present every appearance of thrift and contentment. The industrial and other statistics are furnished under the appropriate head.
In contrast to this exhibit may be placed the condition of the tribes east of the Mississippi, prior to their removal, which had been, from the earliest dates, adverse to every improvement. In 1607 and 1620 they were residing on their ancient locations, which they occupied long after the settlement of the European colonies. But they made no permanent advance; they appeared to be doomed to sink lower and still lower in the industrial scale. Each succeeding century but added its adverse testimony to that of the preceding. Not being able to withstand the shock of civilization, many of the tribes became extinct. South of the Chesapeake the Indian tribes were exterminated by their vices within one century. North of this geographical point there were still in existence at the time of removal, some of the leading and most vigorous branches of the great Algonquin and Iroquois stocks. Some of these yet occupied portions of the very territories upon which they had been first found. They had, to some extent, resisted the flood of sensual destructive agents, which had swept off so many of their brethren. Others had, at an early day, commenced their migration to the West, always, however, fleeing further into the wilderness, just in advance of the enlarging circle of civilization. As the settlements advanced, their policy was to make new cessions, and further removes, adapting themselves to the pressure, until the land they held finally passed from their possession.
At the time when their systematic removal was commenced by the Government, there still remained, within the States east of the line of the Mississippi and Missouri, 110,349 souls. 686 At the close of the year 1836, 45,690 of this number, comprising portions of nineteen tribes, had been transferred to the West. 687 At this time, there had been established for these tribes, in their new locations, 51 schools, at which 2221 pupils were instructed. In addition to this, 156 pupils, of an advanced grade, were instructed at the Choctaw Academy, in Kentucky, and four of the graduates were studying the legal profession in New York, Vermont, and elsewhere. 688
In 1855, the four southern, or Appalachian tribes, namely, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks, including the Seminoles, had an aggregate population of 62,176. 689 The twenty small tribes and tribal bands, located in the Territory of Kansas, numbered 13,481, 690 making a total aggregate population of 75,657. These tribes, protected on the west by a line of military posts, stretching from the Red River to the Nebraska, in a genial climate, on a fertile soil, and possessing agricultural habits, could not, it would seem, in all America, have been located in a territory more favorable to their advance in every element of civilization.
To determine the degree in which the several tribes, removed from the area of the old States, have availed themselves of these advantages, it will be necessary to refer to official records, and to details drawn from official reports and documents, for statements of their actual condition.
Chapter II. Geographical Area, Relative Location, and Advantages of the Tribes.
THE geographical position of the colonized tribes is shown by the accompanying map. 691 Located on a territory bounded by the Red River and the Nemaha, or the Nebraska, of Missouri, west of the limits of Arkansas and Missouri, they occupy an area between the 34th and 40th degrees of north latitude, and the 94th and 100th degrees of west longitude. First in the order of location, commencing on the south, are the Choctaws and Chickasaws, who own, together, 15,000,000 acres. Next, the Creeks and Seminoles, who possess 13,140,000 acres; then the Cherokees, who have 15,000,000 acres along the north banks of the main channel of the Arkansas river, with an adjacent tract of 300,000 acres, making an aggregate of 43,440,000 acres. These comprise the family of the Ausonian and southern tribes. Adjacent to them, on the east, are the Quappas and Senecas, and mixed Senecas, who possess, respectively, 96,000, 67,000, and 100,000 acres. The Indian colony is located on the great geographical slope of the Rocky Mountains, within the limits of the forest range; embracing, in some positions on its western borders, a portion of the great buffalo plains. Major Long, who, in 1820-21, conducted an exploring expedition across it from north to south, commencing about north latitude, 42°, and west longitude, 96°, passed through these vast grassy steppes and plains, where the bison feeds on the short sweet grass growing amid boundless solitudes. 692 Colonel Fremont, who crossed the north section of this slope, in 1842, from the mouth of the Kanzas to the foot and summit of the Rocky Mountains, gives the altitude of this plain, at the mouth of the Kanzas, at 1000 feet, and states that it has such a gradual rise, that he reached the first range of the Rocky Mountains without impediment to his teams; the barometer denoting an altitude of 8000 feet above the Atlantic. 693 Schoolcraft, who had, in 1819, passed the broad Ozark
range, tracing the Gasconade, Merrimac, White, and Osage rivers to their sources, and entered the level and fertile plains on the west, found it to be a tract of country characterized by exuberant fertility and sylvan beauty. 694
Geologically viewed, its surface consists of a drift deposit of sand, loam, clay, marl, and comminuted gravel, arising from the broken down silurian series, in which the leading strata of sandstone, limestone, and slate, are the parent elements. Over this, deposits of leaves, of the decayed forms of organic life, and of carbonaceous matter from the forests, have formed a rich mould, making the soil mellow and easy to cultivate. Much of it is level, or lying in gentle slopes, unencumbered with a heavy forest, difficult to be removed by the axe. It is, nevertheless, well watered, and there is a full supply of timber for building fences, and for firewood.
Among the advantages of the country may be mentioned the saline formation. Salt springs exist in many localities, and this geological trait is attended with the usual accompaniment of this formation, namely gypsum and coal. The discovery of efflorescent bodies of salt on the prairies, originated the once prevalent opinion that masses of rock-salt were deposited beneath the soil. Through these beds, which lie on gently sloping hills and in valleys, the Red river, the Washitaw, the Arkansas, and the Kanzas, flow out of, or from the direction of, the Rocky mountains, and, with their numerous affluents, water the entire country; the Missouri washes its borders for several hundred miles; the Red river bounds its southern line to the distance of six degrees of longitude; and the States of Missouri and Arkansas lie between its eastern limits and the Mississippi.
Geographically, this great tract of arable land is bounded by the Ozark hills, or mountains, a very broad midland range, resting on azoic rocks, extending from the Hot Springs of Arkansas, to the head waters of the River St. Francis, of Missouri. At both terminal points there arises a series of these rocks; that at the south, consisting of slate, schist, and quartz; and at the north, of granite, sienite, trap, and porphyry. Superimposed upon these, and frequently concealed altogether for a considerable distance, are the characteristic sandstone and limestone formations of the region. Through these the Red river, Washitaw, Arkansas, White river, and St. Francis, pursue their way to the Mississippi, producing rapids, but no striking falls. Connected with this central upheaval of the old rocky strata, are developments of mineral wealth, which it is not designed to notice particularly in this place.
Of the climatic phenomena of the Indian territories, thus bounded, we cannot speak from instrumental observations. It may suffice to observe that travellers, official agents, and missionary teachers, all concur in describing the climate as mild, genial, and favorable to the growth of all the varieties of cereals and esculents. The cotton plant thrives, and is cultivated in the southern portion. Wheat and Indian corn are
its staples; and grazing is nowhere more profitably pursued. Its water-power is sufficient for the purposes of mills and manufactories. That this region, possessing such a soil and climate, and abounding in natural resources, is destined to sustain a large industrial Indian population, can admit of little doubt; and, if the tribes are but true to the moral, political, and industrial principles they have embraced, their future history may be written in glowing language.
Regarding the numerous tribes of Indians who rove over the interior of the continent, between the Missouri river and the Pacific Ocean, and who are yet fascinated with the pursuit of the chase who yet reject the principles of civilization, and still delight to rob and murder it requires no spirit of prophecy to predict their progress, or their end.
Chapter III. Moral, Politcal, and Industrial Condition of the Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Cherokees.
A FURTHER and more detailed review of the present condition of the expatriated tribes, their numbers, advance, characteristics, and condition will enable the reader to judge of their present state and future prospects. At the period of the inauguration of the policy of emigration, many of the tribes who had sustained the shock of the colonial period, had dwindled away to mere remnants; others had been entirely annihilated. Such of the original littoral tribes as had not fallen victims to indulgence, idleness, and excess, had removed into the interior, retreating, from time to time, farther and farther into the wilderness, as civilization advanced.
The entire number of Indians remaining in the States and Territories, east of the Mississippi and of the Missouri, at the period of the official commencement of their removal, in 1825, was 110,000, exclusive of some 19,000, resident within the limits of the State of Missouri and the Territory of Arkansas. 695 The latest returns of the colonial population, in the Indian territories west of the Mississippi, give an aggregate of 95,657, exclusive of 7,355 persons of the indigenous tribes within the same territory, comprising principally the Osages, Kanzas, and Quappas.
Analyzing the return of the transferred tribes at that date, we find that the aggregate of the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks, with the affiliated Seminoles, is 82,176 persons, who occupy the principal locations south of the Territory of Kanzas. No census returns having been received from this quarter for several years, and the tribes having, meanwhile, been reported by the agents as increasing and prosperous, it may be estimated that the gross population of these four important tribes, together with the semi-segregated Seminoles, reaches, at the present time, if it does not exceed, 100,000. On these four native tribes, transferred from the Ausonian, or Appalachian range, the attention and expectations of the country have been principally centered during many years, as constituting the probable nucleus of a future independent Indian
government, west of the Mississippi. Having attained the ratio of Congressional representation, 696 it would appear due to their advance and character, that they should be received as a member of the commonwealth, or, at least, that the first steps toward their recognition as such should be taken.
Desire for applause has induced the wild hunter, for centuries, to concentrate his attention on the two only objects by which he could obtain it while in that state, namely, feats in hunting and bravery in war. The prospects are now reversed; the strongest incentives to the educated Indians in their present condition are mental and social distinction. If industry, arts, and education have not qualified them for these, then the efforts made for their elevation have been in vain. The great obstacle to the advancement of the Indian communities has been their innately suspicious character and the over-estimate they attached to independence. These have made them refuse to confederate. Perhaps, if we examine this tribal independence more closely, it may be found to resemble, in some measure, the cherished non-interference in communal rights. Tribal rights were strenuously maintained and supported by all the barbarous tribes; and it is conceded that these rights are more strongly cherished as they advance in knowledge, and pique themselves on their greater capacity for the enjoyment of them. Certain it is, that they have, thus far, opposed every project for political union. Legislative plans of this nature have been submitted to them, and urged upon them, without effect. It is a matter worthy of grave consideration, whether sufficiently minute attention has been bestowed upon the objects desired by the Indians, or such a discrimination made between tribal and general powers, as the case demands. Local and police laws properly belong where our own system leaves them, to the integral members of the compact; and it is found, as the system is developed, that the greatest importance is attached to these reserved rights. If the Indian communities could agree on the formation of a general Territorial or State assembly, on a basis similar to the Congressional ratio of representation, leaving to each division its own tribal council, and tribal reserved rights, it is apprehended the objections of the tribes would be obviated. The laws, imposing a tribal tax for the construction of roads, the erection of bridges, council-houses, schools, or churches, to establish public offices, and to award the punishment for offences, constitute so many items for separate action, on which every tribe, as with us every State, retains the invaluable right to determine for itself. The adjustment of a fiscal system, the designation of the powers and compensation of officers, the management of the general funds, and the regulation of federal officers, could be appropriately conceded to a general Indian government. To this government would also be confided the duty of making the laws by which the representatives in the Congress of the United States should be elected; and to it would justly appertain the supervision of the moral, social, and intellectual codes of the country, and the true development of Indian
nationality. Each tribe, or tribal district, would thus assimilate in power to one of the States of the Union. The Cherokee would no longer distrust the Choctaw, nor the Choctaw the Chickasaw; or a Chickasaw regard with jealousy a Creek or Seminole, or other member of the league.
A single territory, organized on these principles, would thus become the nucleus of a State. The plan of separate territories for each of the four tribes, reported to the Senate, is manifestly impracticable, even were not its provisions expensive in a four-fold degree, and some of its other features objectionable.
The industrial condition and means of these tribes are shown in detail, in the statistical tables, together with a digested exhibit of their moral condition. In an address delivered before an ecclesiastical board during the present year, by the Rev. C. Kingsbury, who has been a missionary among the Choctaws during forty years, that gentleman gave a very vivid account of the improved state of morals in this tribe. "My mission," said the speaker, who had grown grey in this benevolent service, "is among the Choctaws, west of the State of Arkansas. This mission was planted there thirty-nine years ago; then there was no gospel there not a church nor a school-house; no Sabbath, no written language. All the Indians were addicted to intemperance. Infanticide was common; witchcraft was practised, and every form of superstition and vice was abundant. Now there are fifteen churches, of the Old School Presbyterians, with 1660 members, all full Choctaws, twelve ministers, four licentiates, and one candidate. Two of the ministers are full Choctaws devoted and useful men. We have six boarding-schools, with 320 pupils, and pious teachers, where all the branches of good education are taught; habits of industry and principles of piety are inculcated. The native government is interested in this work, and has contributed $30,000 to the support of schools, having six besides those under the control of the missionaries. Then there are a large number of Saturday and Sabbath-schools; thousands of books have been printed and distributed, tracts and bound volumes, diffusing knowledge and religion among the people.
"The Choctaws give the best evidence of being a civilized people. In no part of this country is the Sabbath better observed nowhere is there a more temperate community. Thirty years ago they adopted a law excluding ardent spirits, and it is enforced. I have seen large assemblies of Indians on occasion of the annuity being paid to them, and, though liquor could be easily procured across the line, there was not a single Indian drunk.
"Though we have but fifteen churches, we have sixty places of preaching, and the elders hold divine service in them every Sabbath-day. At our last meeting of presbytery, 400 Choctaws attended, camped out in the cold, and remained interested to the close. The collection made among them for Foreign Missions was $125.25; one of the Indians giving $20, and two others $10 apiece. One of them said, ‘I remember when we gave only $3 at such a collection. Then we were poor, and carried our wood
on our backs; now we are better off, and can give more, and we must increase our gifts as our means increase.’
"Fathers and brethren, you have a noble band of missionaries there I do not speak of myself, for I am in the service of another Board and you must hold up their hands; some of them are ready to faint, and need help. Send them more men. We are told that many would go who are detained by their friends' opposition. Let them come. Your missions there are standing fair in the nation, and, with the confidence of the people, and enjoying the favor of God, they ought to be sustained with vigor, and will be crowned with still greater success." 697
Similar details could be furnished respecting the other three Ausonian tribes. The plantations and farms are well cultivated, according to our latest information, and the farms are well stocked and well fenced. Courts of justice and legislative councils are established, schools and academies cherished, churches built, and funds provided for orphans, mutes, and the indigent and unfortunate. A diurnal press is adequately sustained, and libraries encouraged. With these cheering indicia, it is not perceived why these rescued and instructed tribes should not attain a high state of prosperity and happiness. A tribe which has constructed an alphabet for the expression of its sounds, 698 and, in The Daughter of Tsaluh, has presented a brilliant evidence of proficiency in letters, grace, and manners, may well be expected to excel in learning and politeness. 699 Fifty-one schools, two academies, and 156 advanced pupils and students, at a single academy, denote an intellectual and moral vigor, and give evidence of high attainment. 700 Be it remembered that there are at this time sixty places of preaching, fifteen churches, and 1660 church-members in the Choctaw nation alone.
If thought and genius could animate a Pict, a Scot, a Celt, a Frank, and a Teuton, we are acquainted with no theory of philosophy which forbids their vital embodiment in the sonorous and graphic languages of these sons of the forest. Prometheus, it is asserted in mythological fable, invested with life a bull's hide, stuffed with bones; which so provoked Jupiter, that he deprived the earth of the use of fire. The vital spark was restored by the son of Japetus, who for this purpose visited the chariot of the sun. But, with the actual and practical power possessed by the United States, no Prometheus is required to say to the morally defunct Indian tribes. ARISE, AND STAND ON THY FEET; CONGRESS WILLS IT!
In closing this account of the present condition of the four tribes who occupy the most advanced position in the progress in civilization and refinement, the following summary of facts, derived from official sources, is submitted:
"The Choctaws," observes Mr. Armstrong, the western superintendent of Indian affairs, "have long since justly acquired for themselves, not only from the Government of the United States, but from the citizens with whom they have intercourse, a name for honesty and fidelity, at least not surpassed by any of our Indian tribes. They have, by a steady attention to their own business, since they emigrated to their present homes, greatly increased in wealth; they have not been unmindful, at the same time, of educating the rising generation, and they have, by these means, added to the general intelligence and standing of the nation. This favorable change is indicated more clearly on Red river than with that portion of the nation on the Arkansas. The wealth and intelligence of the nation are confined mainly to the two districts on Red river.
"The Choctaws may be considered as an agricultural and stock-raising people farms on Red river will compare with any in the States. They have great advantages over other tribes, as a portion of their country is located in the cotton region. The past year they cultivated this valuable staple to a considerable extent; they have eight or ten cotton gins, and shipped between 700 and 800 bales of cotton. This year some wealthy Choctaws and Chickasaws, who reside in the immediate vicinity of Fort Towson, have turned their attention more to planting corn. This change took place in consequence of the low price of cotton, and an additional market for corn at Fort Towson, by the arrival of a portion of the dragoons on the Red river frontier. The corn required by contract is about 20,000 bushels, which will be supplied within fifteen or twenty miles of the post, by Choctaws and Chickasaws. Many of the Choctaws live in comfortable houses, and, with very few exceptions, even the poorer class have good, substantial log cabins. They own large stocks of horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep: this constitutes the wealth of those who may be termed the poorer class. It is rare indeed to find a family that has not a good supply of stock. The richer class, in addition to stock, own, many of them, a number of slaves: these are engaged generally in cultivating cotton. Heretofore the Choctaws have been able to find a market for their surplus stock and grain among other emigrants; this they will not be able to do longer, as the emigration of Indians is over; the consequence must be, that the price of stock of all kinds, as well as grain, must be very low. The manufacture of salt is carried on at two points in the Choctaw nation. The works owned by Col. David Folsom, a Choctaw of respectability and energy, are perhaps the most extensive; about twenty bushels a day are manufactured, a supply equal to the demand, which no doubt will be increased as the article is wanted.
"The Choctaws have mechanics in the nation, in addition to those furnished by the United States. These consist of four blacksmiths, two of whom are native Choctaws, and all the strikers or assistants are youths selected from the nation, who, in a short time, will be able to render essential service. It is important that the nation should have mechanics of their own, as in a few years the treaty stipulations will expire, by
which they are furnished. It is expected, however, that the new school, which is soon to go into operation, will be able to furnish the nation with different mechanics, as it is proposed to introduce this system in addition to teaching letters. This, however, will be more fully explained in a report specially on schools. There is also a millwright, who has been engaged in erecting mills for the Choctaws. Trade is carried on at suitable and convenient places in the nation. The most extensive trading is at Doaksville, within a mile of Fort Towson. There are five stores at this place, three of which are owned, in part, by Choctaws; the other two are exclusively owned by citizens of the United States. The stocks of goods are large, and the assortments such as are usual in stores sugar and coffee are used by all classes in the nation, to an extent at least equal to the whites. It may not be uninteresting to state, that the village of Doaksville is one of the most orderly and quiet towns that you will find in the West. In addition to the five stores, there are a resident physician, a good tavern, blacksmith's shop, wagon-maker, and wheelwright; a church has also been erected, in which there is preaching usually once or twice every Sabbath, by the missionaries who reside in the neighborhood; a temperance society is also organized, which numbers a large portion of the most respectable Choctaws and Chickasaws, as well as our own population. I have been at this village a week at a time, without seeing anything like ardent spirits or a drunken Indian. These things certainly indicate an improvement in this section of country, highly creditable to the people, and will be pleasing intelligence to many of our own citizens.
"The Choctaws and Chickasaws, to a great extent, may be regarded as one people; they speak the same language, and have intermarried with each other, even before the emigration of the Chickasaws. By an arrangement between the tribes, the Chickasaws obtained what is now called the Chickasaw district of the Choctaw nation, making a fourth district, entitling them to an equal representation in the general council, which passes all laws for the government of the people. They enjoy equal privileges according to the treaty to settle in whatever district they may choose, and each to vote and be eligible to any office within the gift of the people. The only difference is, that each manages their own annuities or public moneys without any interference from the other. The country owned by the Choctaws, according to the treaty and the patent lately received from the Department, commences near Fort Smith, running up the Arkansas to the mouth of the Canadian, up the same to the limits of the United States, and with those limits to Red river, down the same to where a due south line, from the beginning near Fort Smith, will strike the Red river, which is the dividing line between the State of Arkansas and the Choctaws. The line from the Canadian to the Red river has not been run; it is important that this should be done, as that would show where the Texas line crosses Red river; this the Choctaws, who are more immediately interested, are particularly anxious to know. The limits thus set forth, embrace a country beyond even the imaginary wants of an Indian. It is doubted by
many whether the Choctaws would not have prospered more if they had been circumscribed by smaller limits.
"The Choctaws, as stated in my former reports, are governed by written laws and a constitution; elections are held annually for members to the general council. The nation is divided into four districts (one being the Chickasaw). Each district elects, by the qualified voters, a chief, who holds his office for four years, and is eligible for two terms. These chiefs receive a salary from the United States of $250 each, per annum, by treaty stipulation. The general council convenes on the first Monday in October, consisting of forty members; a speaker and a clerk is elected; the speaker is addressed as is customary in legislative bodies, and the whole business of the council is conducted with the utmost decorum. Each chief delivers a message in person to the council, recommending such laws as he may deem conducive to the interest of the people. As there is but one representative body, all laws that are passed by the council are submitted to the chiefs; if approved, the same becomes a law; if not, the bill is returned to the council, and if passed by two-thirds, becomes a law. The council-house is a large and commodious building, with committee-rooms, also seats for spectators. This building was erected under treaty stipulation. Much interest is manifested by the people in electing councillors, and also when they meet together; they usually remain in session from ten to fifteen days, and are paid a per-diem pay of $2. Judges are nominated by the chief of the district, and receive a small compensation; trial by jury is guarantied in all capital offences. There is no law enforcing the collection of debts. In their present situation, it is questionable whether or not payment should not be left optional with the debtor; this is understood to be the condition by every one who chooses to credit, and to a great extent these debts are paid.
"From this sketch, it will be seen that the Choctaws have materially bettered their condition by an exchange of country. They are fast approximating to our own laws and institutions. They feel a deep interest in the success and prosperity of our own people, as well as the perpetuity of our Government. They have school funds sufficient to educate a large portion of the people, beside annuities from the United States, and also an investment of $500,000, at five per cent., in bonds of the State of Alabama, for the benefit of the whole people. They have also other sources of wealth. Their laws are generally respected, and when violated, punishment is inflicted. It is very rare that acts of violence take place between themselves; every individual feels safe in his own property. Travellers pass through the nation with as much safety as they do in any country. I consider the location of the Choctaws as one of the greatest safeguards and protection to our own citizens against the wild or less friendly tribes.
"The Chickasaws, as I have stated, obtained from the Choctaws a participation in their country. The conditions upon which these privileges are granted seem to unite them as one people, except that each manages their own public funds. The Chickasaws number about 5000. They have settled promiscuously among the Choctaws;
lately they are beginning to move up to the district assigned them. This they did not do at first, owing to the scarcity of provisions and the exposed situation of the frontier. Many horses have been stolen by the tribes who reside near, and some of them in the Chickasaw district. This will now be remedied by the military post lately selected on the Washita, and at present occupied by a company of dragoons. This will give protection and encouragement to the Chickasaws to extend their settlements, and tend greatly to preserve order between the Texans and our Indians. The Chickasaws have obtained greater pecuniary advantages by the exchange of their country than any of the tribes. Their lands were surveyed and sold at a time when speculation was at its highest, and when the most enormous prices were paid for lands. The funds thus arising were invested for the benefit of the nation, after each head of a family had obtained a reservation. Some have profited by receiving large amounts; but in most cases, the money having been easily obtained, was as freely spent. It is, however, the home the Chickasaws obtained from the Choctaws that compensates them. They are now fairly settled in a country at least as fertile as the one they left, and removed, to a great extent, from the evils that were fast destroying them as a people. Their wealth, suddenly gained, gave them the means of gratifying their wishes by purchasing articles that could have been dispensed with. The consequence is, comparatively speaking, but few individuals have much to show of the wealth thus easily obtained. There are, however, some intelligent and highly respectable Chickasaws, men of wealth. As a people, they are friendly and well-disposed to our Government. They unite with the Choctaws in forming the fourth district, and come into the general council of the nation with a representation corresponding to their population. The Chickasaws have ample national funds to extend the mechanic arts, as well as education, among their people. This can best be done by concentrating them in the district assigned them. The importance of this is felt by the intelligent of the nation. Lately a house has been erected for their agent in the district assigned them. This will be the means of bringing around him many Chickasaws who otherwise would have remained away. That the Chickasaws have had many difficulties to contend with in a new country, is certainly true. They suffered much at first from the small-pox, which unfortunately got among them while emigrating. They have now become acclimated to the country, and are this year making good crops of corn. Some of the more wealthy are planting cotton, and, with few exceptions, the Chickasaws are getting around them small stocks of horses, cattle, and hogs, which, with care and attention, in a country so well adapted to stock-raising, will soon greatly increase.
"The Cherokees combine more intelligence as a people than any of our tribes. They have intermarried more with the whites, have had advantages of education, and, by their location, have had an opportunity of observing more immediately the customs and manners of a civilized people than any of the Indian tribes. There are many intelligent and well-educated Cherokees.
"The nation consists of about 18,000 souls, spread over an extent of country sixty miles square, comprising several varieties of soil. Estimating one warrior to every five souls, would give 3600. They are improving in intellectual condition: they have executive, legislative, and judicial departments; an organized government; a principal and assistant chief, elective every four years; a council and committee, organized somewhat upon the principle of the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States; the former consisting of twenty-four members, and the latter of sixteen, elective every two years. They sit annually, and are usually in session from three to four weeks. The judiciary consists of a supreme bench, a circuit court, and a district court; the first consisting of five members, the second of four, and the latter of eight. They have written laws, and a criminal code. The circuit court sits spring and fall; the supreme court once a year; the district court whenever an emergency arises. They have juries, and hear pleadings. The judges of the circuit and district benches are appointed more for their probity and personal worth than their legal attainments, and will compare, in point of moral worth, to any similar body in the United States. They are rigid in the execution of their laws; generally impartial in the administration of justice, as yet necessarily in a rude state. As many as four executions have taken place in one year.
"As a people, they are very tenacious of the management and regulation of their internal affairs.
"There are believed to be about 2000 professors of the Christian religion, consisting of Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians: the former, comprising much the largest class, may be considered the first class of Cherokees for intelligence and general integrity; there are about 4000 others, who might be classed among the first. Much the largest class of the Cherokee people are half-breeds, or what are known to be the middle class, who are ardent and enterprising, and passionately fond of gaming. When not under the influence of ardent spirits, they are hospitable and well disposed; but, when under such influence, their worst passions seem to be roused. The evil of introducing spirits among them, invariably carried in by the lowest class of whites, I do not hesitate to say, is the cause of all their troubles with the citizens of the United States.
"There are three missionary establishments located among them, of which a detailed report has been called for, and will be supplied. They have a school fund of their own, which they are wisely appropriating to the diffusion of knowledge throughout the nation, by appointing trustees to superintend the disbursements.
"The Cherokees, as a people, are not disposed to labor; but, within the last two years, there is a manifest change in this particular, both from necessity and inclination. They are now engaged in agricultural pursuits. There is no game within 150 or 200 miles of their limits. Their country is well watered, and supplies abundantly all the products known to that latitude, such as corn, wheat, rye, oats, tobacco, and hemp.
Within the limits of the nation, there are two abundant and valuable salt springs; one of them is leased to a Cherokee for an inconsiderable sum, but is not worked to much advantage, either to the proprietor or the nation. Stone coal of the finest quality abounds in two sections, adjacent to each other, in the nation.
"There is a small class, termed mountain Indians, who are ignorant, and but slightly progressed in moral and intellectual improvement; have few comforts, and plant barely sufficient for subsistence. Many of the Cherokees own slaves, and many may be called comfortable livers; all of them own stock cattle, yet raise little beyond their own consumption.
"The Cherokees have received from the Government of the United States large sums of money; some have profited by the money received, while others have lavished theirs away, leaving only a desire to be supplied, without any disposition of doing so by their own labor. These are evils which have nearly cured themselves, and, henceforth, each individual will be left to depend mainly upon himself for support. Their country is well adapted to raising corn, wheat, oats, &c., with the usual varieties of garden vegetables. Farms and neat houses are found in many parts of the nation, exhibiting signs of wealth and intelligence unusual in an Indian country. A large portion of the country is well watered. The country is divided into woodland and prairie. The lands are rich and very productive. Large stocks of cattle, horses, hogs, and sheep, are owned by the natives. Many have also paid attention to planting orchards, which are very unusual in an Indian country. Salt water is found in great abundance in the Cherokee nation. The Grand Saline, if judiciously managed, is capable of supplying a large portion of our own population with salt. Preparations are making to enlarge the manufacture of this necessary article. Lead ore is also represented to be found in the nation. Stone coal is to be found in several places. If the country was examined, it would, no doubt, exhibit great resources of wealth in minerals and salt water.
"The Cherokees are furnished by the United States with four blacksmiths and assistants, iron, and steel; also, a wheelwright and wagon-maker. Independent of these, they have mechanics of different kinds in the nation. They have also a large fund for education purposes, placed by treaty under the control of the national council. This, if properly applied, will go far to educate a large portion of these people.
"The Cherokees are governed by a constitution and laws adopted and passed by the people. Debts are collected in the usual way, by issuing executions; letters of administration are also granted on estates of deceased persons in the nation, and, indeed, all the forms and regulations usually observed in our own States. The Cherokees, in their government as a people, are in advance of any of their red brethren.
"Among the greatest evils that the Cherokees have to complain of, is the present mode of their trial and punishment for minor offences, committed (or alleged to be committed) on the persons of United States citizens, while in their nation, and upon their own soil; which broils are, eight times out of ten, provoked on the part of
itinerant citizens from all parts of the United States, tempted or induced there by gain. It is too much the habit abroad to cry out ‘Indian outrage,’ without a just knowledge of facts.
"All persons familiar with that portion of the Cherokees bordering on Crawford and Washington counties, in Arkansas, know they are industrious, intelligent, and neighborly disposed. The inhabitants of those two populous counties are distinguished as a laboring, intelligent, high-minded, and judicious people. It is not from them the difficulties occur, or complaints are made; but from a plundering, predatory class, upon whose oath, before a magistrate, the Cherokees are hunted down by the military, taken a distance of 200 miles to Little Rock for trial, and there lodged in jail to await slow justice. These are evils of no small import, and of every-day occurrence, and which produce angry and embittered feelings.
"The Creeks are more numerous than any of the tribes, numbering at least 20,000. The census of the nation has not been taken since the emigration, the annuity not being paid to the heads of families. As a people, they have less education and intelligence than either the Choctaws or Cherokees. Lately, they have given better evidences of a disposition to encourage education than at any previous time; and it is by these means that the Creeks are to be elevated. They possess as much natural capacity as any of their red brethren, and have given as strong evidences, since their removal, of their attachment and fidelity to the United States, as any of the tribes. They are a working people in crop time, making more corn by their own labor than is required for their use. In many cases, they work for their red neighbors. Many of the Creeks have separate fields; but their ancient custom of making a town field is still, to a great extent, observed. They raise large quantities of corn, melons, pumpkins, beans, and, lately, are cultivating the rice to some extent. It is said to grow well, and will be looked upon by the Creeks as a great accession to their living. They were accustomed to the cultivation of rice previous to their emigration. It is stated, by those who have the means of obtaining correct information, that the Creeks will make a surplus of from 30,000 to 40,000 bushels of corn the present year. They have a number of cattle, horses, and hogs, though not so large stocks as either the Choctaws or Cherokees. The Creeks reside generally in small cabins have paid but little attention to building. There are, however, a few wealthy and intelligent men in the Creek nation. It may be objected to the Creek country, that it contains an over portion of prairie; a considerable portion of this, however, is fertile. The bottoms are generally very rich, being heavily timbered, and the upland is very productive; altogether, the Creeks own a fine country. They complained that the country was sickly for several years after their emigration. They have, however, become acclimated, and now enjoy general good health. Water is scarce in the Creek nation. In the latter part of the summer and fall, the streams cease to run, at which time the only water, with few exceptions, is
found in large standing holes. Wells have been dug, and water obtained; but, to a common Indian, this is an undertaking of too much magnitude.
"The Creeks have four blacksmiths and assistants, with iron and steel furnished by treaty stipulations, and also a wheelwright and wagon maker. They have but few, if any, native mechanics, and rely mainly for their work upon mechanics furnished by the Government. The Creeks have quite a large annuity, which is paid to the chiefs, and by them divided among the different towns. This is done in accordance with existing laws, and their own request, which at least makes it satisfactory to the chiefs. It may, however, be observed that, although the whole annuity system, as such, is objectionable, the only equitable way of dividing it is to pay to the heads of families. The Creeks have commenced passing regular laws, which are recorded by the clerks appointed for that purpose. They do not elect representatives, their chiefs being the law-makers generally. This will be changed when the elective principle will prevail. So far as a change of government has been effected, it is decidedly favorable. I look upon the Creeks as the most powerful tribe of red people on this frontier. They were removed to their present homes, many of them against their own consent. From a series of wars in which they were engaged with our own Government, it may be expected that there are still some who entertain unfriendly feelings. These feelings, however, are gradually subsiding. The principal chief, Rolly M'Intosh, is a man of undoubted attachment to our Government. The same may be said of most of the chiefs. The certainty that the country they own is really theirs, does much to reconcile old feelings. Game has disappeared, and each has to depend on his own exertions, aided by the annuities afforded through treaty stipulations, for a support. Aside from this, the Creeks, with a moderate share of industry, have a country that will afford all the substantial of life, to enable them to raise their families. They have also limited means of commencing a system of education, which they desire to do in their own country.
"The late emigrants, or what are termed the upper Creeks, although much dissatisfied for a length of time after their removal to their new homes, owing mainly to their sufferings from sickness, and the great mortality that prevailed among them, are now a happy, healthy, and contented people, and are much in advance of the lower Creeks (or early emigrants) in the variety, quality, and quantity of their agricultural products, as well as in the management of their farms. They have larger and better stocks of domestic animals. They are likewise much in advance of the lower Creeks in domestic or household manufactures. They make quantities of cotton cloth from the raw material, planted and cultivated upon their own farms. They have also several useful native mechanics among them, such as carpenters, wheelwrights, loom-makers, smiths, &c., and all reside in good comfortable houses of their own construction. In short, I know of no people on this continent who are more happy and contented, or who enjoy
a greater plenty, than these people do, of all the necessaries of life; and I do not hesitate to say, that the present growing crop, if it meets with no disaster until it arrives at maturity, will equal three times the amount that may be required for home consumption.
"I have just returned from a tour of visitation and inspection, embracing all the upper towns; and I have derived great satisfaction in being an eye-witness to the improvements making by these people, and the many domestic comforts they have accumulated, and are accumulating, around them.
"The Seminoles have from time to time removed, until it is now understood the tribe have generally emigrated. The few remaining will doubtless continue the war with the same unsubdued spirit as heretofore, until the whole are removed. This is the opinion of those that are now west. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, the chief of each party, as they land at or near Fort Gibson, endeavor to settle away from the others. This is done by the chiefs, with the hope of keeping around them a party of which they are the head, fearing that if they become united, some other more favored leader will supersede them. By this means they are scattered not only in the Creek but Cherokee country. Micanopy, and other leading Seminoles, have settled on the Deep Fork of the Canadian, the country assigned them. Efforts have been made to concentrate the Seminoles at this point. This is difficult to do, and does not meet with much favor from the Creeks. They are willing for them to settle in any part of the Creek nation promiscuously. They give as a reason that the Seminoles themselves are not suited, from their present feelings, to settle in a body, and become quiet and orderly neighbors. They have many negroes that participated in the Florida war, who will endeavor to exercise an improper influence over the Seminoles. These objections are certainly entitled to great consideration; but, on the other hand, there is danger of the Creeks oppressing the Seminoles whenever difficulty about the right of property arises, and unfortunately there are too many fruitful sources of disputed property, especially about negroes. In many cases the Creeks claim negroes who are in the possession of the Seminoles. These negroes, the Creeks allege, ran away from them before and during the Florida war, and were either captured with the Seminoles, or came in under a proclamation from some of the commanders in Florida. These negroes are now with the Seminoles, having accompanied different emigrating parties. The question as to the right to these negroes should be adjudged as early as possible, as it is one now calculated to produce and keep up a bad state of feeling. That portion of the Seminoles who have settled on the Deep Fork of the Canadian have raised a surplus of corn, beans, pumpkins, and melons, all of which grow to great perfection, and a few have raised small patches of
entitled to the same as they arrive. To give a gun to a Seminole who so lately either came in, or was captured in Florida, appears all wrong; it is, however, a treaty stipulation, and is complied with without apprehension of danger.
"Whatever may have been the importance or distinction of the Seminole chiefs in Florida, they seem to lose their greatness in the crowd of other Indians who are engaged in the cultivation of the soil.
"They have a school fund sufficient to keep up a school. By this means the rising generation may be improved. But little can be done for those of maturer years, except to turn their attention as far as possible to the raising of corn and stock to support their families." 701
Chapter IV. State of the Minor Transferred Group of Tribes in Kanzas.
THE location of the colonized tribes is designated on the accompanying map. By the extension of the territorial sovereignty of Kanzas over the greater part of these tribes, they now constitute one of the social elements of that territory. The tribes have increased in their population, respectively, from 177 to 3200 souls. 702 They have secured to themselves large grants of territory, by the cession of surplus tracts in the Indian colony, and have thus procured a competency and the means of instruction; the sections on which they are located present some of the finest tracts to be found west of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and the attention they devote to agriculture ensures an abundant supply of the necessaries of life. This region is peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of their native grain, the zea maize, as also all the ordinary cereals and esculents. Horses, cattle, and other domestic stock thrive without the necessity of building houses to shelter them, or of cutting and storing hay for their winter provender. The twenty-one tribes who have been transferred from the old States and settled here, comprise the Delawares, Shawnees, Wyandots, Miamies, Weas, Piankashaws, Ottowas, Chippewas, Pottawattamies, Kickapoos, Sacs and Poxes, Senecas, mixed Senecas and Shawnees, Peorias, Kaskaskias, Iowas, Stockbridges or Mohicans, and Munsees, and portions of the Iroquois, forming together an aggregate population of 30,893. The indigenous tribes residing in the territory, who are in this manner furnished with examples of native industry to stimulate them to progress in civilization, are the Quappas, Osages, Kanzas, Pawnees, and Arapahoes, numbering 7358. The Otoes, Omahaws, Missouries, Cheyennes, and some other indigenous tribes, have not been enumerated.
These Kansatic tribes, distinguished from the Appalachian group, are the subjects of an experiment in civilization, which has, in the old States, been generally attended with depopulation and moral disaster. They are surrounded by a thrifty and enterprising white population, governed by a system of rigid laws, and energetically engaged in farming, stock raising, the mechanic arts, milling, manufacturing, and commerce.
The industrial character of the settlers affords to the tribes that practical species of tuition, which cannot fail to be effective. Some of the tribes are the recipients of large annuities, which are periodically disbursed per capita, on their own soil, in the presence of persons who supply them with articles, sometimes of utility, but more frequently of a character conducive to their demoralization and destruction. The influence of these periodical payments on the small tribes who receive annuities, is injurious, furnishing them with an excuse for idleness, and promoting a carelessness as to their future welfare, which prevents them from husbanding their resources.
The interspersion of the Indian and European races in the same social community, has not always proved destructive to the former; for, under this system, the Six Nations, or Iroquois, of New York, who were surrounded by a people stimulated by the same spirit of agricultural and commercial enterprise, eventually prospered. Their course has not, however, been steadily progressive. The losses they have experienced, since the close of the war of 1775, from the conjoined effects of intemperance, idleness, and disease, have been considerable; yet, the number of temperate and industrious persons among them, who profited by the example of their white neighbors, has been sufficient to enable the tribes, in a few years thriftily devoted to the pursuits of agriculture, to attain very nearly to the highest ratio of their former numerical population. 703 Their example may be advantageously presented to the small expatriated tribes of Kanzas, who find themselves enclosed within its territorial boundaries. The attempt to elevate them in the social scale, and induce in them a regard for industrial pursuits, and the supremacy of the law, is in a measure counteracted by a persistence in the agrarian practice of annually distributing their funds, per capita, or otherwise, which tends to impoverish and degrade them. By distributing their funds, the incentive to labor is taken away, while, at the same time, the proportionate share received by each one is very soon exchanged for ardent spirits, or other means of sensual indulgence. On the advanced frontiers, coin is too scarce and valuable not to make it an object of interest for all to attend, who have for sale articles which an Indian wants, and who consequently turn a willing ear to their solicitations. It is the business of the few, in an Indian country, or on the borders of it, who are in a position to do so, to uphold the cause of piety, virtue, thrift, and temperance. The many regard the experiment of reclaiming the tribes with complacency, and do not directly oppose it; but, being engaged in the conflicts of life and society, which frequently assume a formidable aspect on the frontiers, their entire energies are absorbed by the pursuit.
The condition of the tribes is represented by the local agents in the subjoined report, in which they are reviewed tribe by tribe, commencing with the southern limits of Kanzas, and proceeding north, into Nebraska. In the first place, respecting the Quappas, Senecas, and Shawnees, the agent says:
"It is a great gratification to be able to state, that the Indians in this sub-agency are decidedly in a better condition than they were at the date of my last report. They have generally larger fields; they have raised more corn; they are better clothed, and they drink less liquor.
"This is especially true of the Quappas. When I first came among them, these people were in a wretched condition, spending most of their time in drinking; sometimes the whole tribe together passing days, and even weeks together, in a state of intoxication. Literally every dollar they could raise went for whiskey. Many of them lived on roots, and they were often on the verge of starvation. In appearance, they were squalid and poverty-stricken, the greater part in rags, the children generally naked.
"During the past year they have been gradually changing for the better. They have become more industrious and more temperate. There was no drinking at their last annuity payment, a thing heretofore unheard of, nor for some time after, although they had plenty of money, and could get whiskey. Last summer, for the first time, they made hay. This year nearly all their fields were enlarged; their crops are larger than they have ever been before, and would have been still larger, had they not been deprived of the services of their farmer and blacksmith at a time when they were most needed. They are all well clothed, and have enough to eat. But, what is most astonishing, not a single instance of intoxication has been heard of among them for the last three months. It will no doubt be thought that this statement is exaggerated, but every one that has known the Quappas for the last eighteen months, knows that it is literally true.
"This great change is in part owing to the fact that the venders of spirits in the Cherokee settlements north of the Quappas, whence their supplies chiefly came, have, without an exception, abandoned the trade, in consequence of the stand taken against it by some of their more respectable neighbors. A great deal of credit, however, is clue to the Quappas themselves; for they could, if so disposed, get liquor from the whites; but they are an uncommonly docile people, inclined to listen to advice, easily managed, and, if properly encouraged and assisted, will no doubt continue to improve.
"The Senecas have also been less intemperate, but from a different cause. Their miller was directed, shortly after the date of my last report, to stop the issues of toll grains referred to in that paper. This deprived them of the means of procuring spirits, and, at the same time, had the effect of inducing them to raise more corn; their produce this year amounting to more than twice as much as the last year's crop. The tolls thus retained were applied in part to the discharge of the debts contracted for repairing the mill, and in part to the relief of such Indians as were destitute of provisions during the winter. Some of those among them who were, last year, the greatest drunkards, have become sober men, made farms and built houses for themselves, and in other respects set a good example.
"The band of mixed Senecas and Shawnees have never been as much inclined to intemperance as the other two bands, and there has not been so great a change among them. They continue to raise corn, wheat, oats, garden vegetables, &c., and, on the whole, are improving rather than otherwise.
"The country occupied by these tribes is high, rolling, healthy, and finely watered; springs in every direction, of the best water, sometimes gushing out of the solid rock in streams large enough to turn a mill. Where it is fit for cultivation at all, the land is fertile; much of it is hilly and barren, worthless except for the timber. The lands on the water-courses are of the best quality; well suited to the cultivation of tobacco, hemp, corn, and the small grains. The upland prairies are scarcely inferior. There is, in fact, a much greater quantity of good land than the present occupants will ever use. The heavily-timbered bottoms on the Pomme de Terre and the Neosho afford not only good winter range for cattle, but an abundance of marsh for hogs. The Quappas have a coal-bank immediately on the Neosho. The coal is bituminous, of good quality, easily obtained, and the supply is apparently inexhaustible. In the vicinity of this coal there are several tar-springs, or rather springs of sulphur-water and mineral tar, or petroleum, together, as the latter substance rises with the water, separating from it immediately after it issues from the earth.
"There are neither missionaries nor schools among the Indians in this sub-agency. The Senecas and Shawnees do not appear to wish for any. The Quappas, however, are anxious to have their children educated. I send you, herewith, their answer to the call made upon them by your order for boys to send to the Choctaw academy. This answer is entirely their own, and expresses their long-settled conviction. Considering the result of former efforts to educate their boys at that institution, it is not to be wondered that they refuse to send any more there, or to any other school out of their own country. They earnestly requested that their talk might be laid before the President.
"Although, as a general rule, the education annuities of an Indian tribe are most advantageously expended by combining them with those of other tribes for the support of a central institution, it is questionable whether it would not be better, with the co-operation and under the superintendence of some one of the missionary societies, to establish, with their funds, a school among the Quappas.
"One year's annuity, or $1000, would be sufficient, with the aid of the Indians, and of the mechanics employed among them, to erect suitable buildings, and procure the necessary stock and farming implements. The fund could then be easily made to support and educate twenty children. At the Choctaw academy there has been at no time more than four. Such a school, properly conducted, would set before the Indians the advantages of education in the strongest light, and keep them constantly in view. The teachers would scarcely fail to exercise a powerful influence. One excellent instructor is already secured to them in their farmer. The person that holds that situation at
present is devoted to their interests, and in other respects peculiarly well qualified to advance them in agricultural knowledge." 704
"The Osages," reports the agent, "have made but little perceptible improvement in their agricultural pursuits. There are, however, some ten or twelve families of Pa-ha-sca's (George White Hare) and Clermont's bands, that have fenced and ploughed their fields this spring. I received for them in April, ploughs, hoes, axes, and horse-gear, two hundred of each. The axes and hoes were divided among the people, as they were tools of general use; but the ploughs and gear I have, by request of the chiefs, stored, to be given only to such persons as give evidence of their intention to put them to immediate use. I have also received two hundred head of cattle and four hundred head of stock hogs, in June (since they left home on their summer's hunt), which I have not yet delivered. At the last delivery of stock, two years since, the bands of Clermont and Little Osage would receive none, assigning as a reason that they had not made fences, and were not ready to take care of them. The present issue, therefore, properly belongs to them, though I shall give a portion of it to each family that have made improvements. When I talk to them about going to work, they reply that it will be time enough when the chiefs' houses are built, which will determine where they are permanently to locate themselves. They are still living, with few exceptions, in large towns, where it will be impossible to make much progress in stock-raising or farming. Tab-hu-sca, the principal chief, is himself much opposed to the farming operations of his people. In fact, he is a bad man. I did at one time prevail on him to remove himself to a distance of three miles from his town, with about fifty head of hogs, believing many would follow his example. It was but a short time, however, until I found him collecting a small town around him, killing and feasting upon his little stock of hogs until the last were eaten. He has received the only wagon and team issued under the treaty of 1839, which he kept but a short time until he sold it. It is now owned by a half-breed, living near the line on the Missouri side. For this conduct I have given him a severe scolding, with a promise that he shall have no more farming implements. These people have raised but little else this year than corn, and not an abundance of that, their crops being short. They say. too, that they have made but a poor hunt this summer, having seen but few buffalo. This I do hope will have the effect to push them to raise more corn the next season. They have enjoyed excellent health the past year. They numbered at their last annuity payment, in April, 1302 men, 1222 women, and 1264 children; making, in all, 3788 souls. This difference from the strength of last year is in consequence of Sho-tal-sah-bas (Black Dog's) removal lower down on the Verdigris river, within the limits of the Cherokee country. He has made repeated promises to remove home, and I believe would have done so, but for the encouragement he received from the Cherokees to
remain where he was. These Cherokees, I believe, furnish Black Dog's party all the whiskey they require, with which the Cherokee country abounds. In consequence of his violation of these promises, I did not enroll and pay his people at the last annuity payment. Black Dog and his people so well understood this, that not one of them appeared at the payment. They have not, neither shall they, receive any portion of the farming implements or stock, until they remove, and give evidence of their intention to remain at home. This, I have no doubt, will be complained of, but it is in strict accordance with the language of the treaty and the instructions of the Department. He has about fifty lodges with him.
"The Osages have at length consented to adopt a short code of penal laws for the government of their people, though I have my doubts upon the subject of their execution. They forbid, not the introduction, but the sale, of ardent spirits in their country, under the penalty of the destruction of the spirits, and lashes on the offender. They meet in general council once in each and every year, and are to be assisted by their agent and interpreter for the purpose of law-making, &c.
"The chiefs have been in the habit of receiving for the tribe their annuity money. Never, until last year, was it paid in any other way. I did, however, after much time and trouble, succeed in enrolling and paying them by heads of families. Much of their money was spent among their white neighbors of Missouri, for provisions and whiskey. This encouraged many unprincipled men to establish themselves at convenient points near the line for the purpose of carrying on this infamous trade. They have been greatly disappointed this year by my paying the annuity money in such a way as to have it spent, under my immediate eye, for goods and provisions (the things they most needed), of which there was an abundance on the ground, and at fair prices.
"They are now coming in from their hunt. I have seen but a few of them. I shall go up in a few days, and make known to them the wishes and instructions of the Department in relation to depredations committed on the property of red neighbors; to all of which, I doubt not, they will cheerfully promise their assent, for these certainly are a very promising people.
"Their two blacksmiths have been engaged in making, and in keeping in repair, their farming tools, guns, and traps; upon the last two of which they mainly depend for a subsistence. The smiths, at times, when the Indians are at home, have as much work as they are able to do."
"Shawnees. This tribe own a tract of country twenty-five miles north and south, and one hundred east and west, bounded on the east by the State of Missouri, and on the north by the Kanzas river. This tract, in point of soil, timber, and water, is equalled by but few tracts of the same size in any country; there is, however, hardly timber enough for the prairie. The Shawnees have become an agricultural people; their buildings and farms are similar to those of the whites in a new-settled country; all their farms are enclosed with rail fences, and most of them in good form, each string
of fence straight, and sufficiently high to secure their crops, many of them staked and ridered.
"They all live in comfortable cabins, perhaps half or more of good hewn logs, neatly raised; they have outhouses, stables, and barns.
"It is impossible to state the number of farms or acres cultivated, or the quantity of produce raised by them; there is no family that I know of, but what has a farm of as much as five or more acres, and some have farms of over one hundred acres. They raise Indian corn, wheat, oats, pumpkins, beans, peas, Irish and sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnips, and many other vegetables. They raise horses, cattle, hogs, turkeys, and chickens. They depend on agricultural pursuits for a subsistence, and most of them raise an abundance, and many a large surplus; take the whole nation together, and they raise considerably more grain than they need for home consumption. The Shawnees have a water, grist, and saw mill, and a large meeting-house, to hold public worship in; they also have a council house.
"Delawares. The Delawares own a tract of country sixty miles east and west, and about twenty-four miles north and south, bounded on the south by the Kanzas river, and on the east by the Missouri river, or State of Missouri. The soil, timber, and water, on this tract are generally very good.
"The Delawares, like the Shawnees, depend mainly on their farms for a subsistence: their farms and horses are nearly or quite equal to those of the Shawnees. They cultivate Indian corn, wheat, oats, beans, peas, pumpkins, potatoes, cabbage, turnips, and many other vegetables in abundance; they raise a great many horses, cattle, and hogs.
"Kickapoos. The Kickapoos own a tract of country immediately north of the Delawares, about sixty miles east and west, by thirty north and south, bounded on the east by the Missouri river, or State of Missouri, and on the south by the Delaware country. It is gratifying to me to be able to state that the Kickapoos still persevere in agricultural pursuits. I am unable to state the quantity of land they have in cultivation. They raise a large surplus of Indian corn; they also raise beef and pork for sale. Their trader takes all the corn, beef, pork, hides, and potatoes, that they have to spare, at a fair price, for goods. This is a very good arrangement for the Indians; it is great encouragement for them to be industrious; goods at a fair price suit them just as well, if not better, than money.
"Stockbridges. This little band of Stockbridges, by permission, settled on the Delaware lands, near the Missouri river, and about seven miles below Fort Leavenworth, some time in February, 1840. Since that time they have built for themselves a number of neat log cabins I think the neatest hewn logs, and the neatest raised log cabins I have ever seen. They have opened several small farms, and have this year raised more Indian corn than they will need for their own use. They raise pumpkins, beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes, and many other vegetables, and have made good root
houses to preserve them, all of which they have done with very little means. They came here poor, without money, horses, or oxen. They bought a few yoke of work oxen, and a few plows, on credit. They have hired themselves about, and have got a few milch cows and a few hogs. I deem it proper to say, that they have been very industrious since they have been within this agency.
"Christian Indians. The Christian Indians came with, and at the same time as, the Stockbridges did, and settled among the Delawares; they built comfortable little cabins, and made small farms. I think this year they raised a plenty of Indian corn, pumpkins, potatoes, beans, cabbage, and other vegetables, for a subsistence. They have also worked for the white people, and procured some milch cows and hogs.
"I consider a large portion of the Shawnees, Delawares, Kickapoos, Stockbridges, and Christian Indians to be in a thriving, prosperous condition. These tribes are living in peace and friendship among themselves, and with their white neighbors, and with all other nations. It may not be amiss for me to state here, that a party of sixteen Delawares went out last fall, to make a hunt on the Neutral Ground, between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. While preparing to leave their camp, one morning in October, 1841, they were fired on by a large party of Sioux, who had surrounded them. Some of the Delawares were shot down; some of those that escaped the first fire, spoke to a Pottawattamie, who was with them, and told him to make his escape if he could; that they intended to fight by their wounded friends until they were all killed; so they did, and were all killed. The Pottawattamie got home, but was badly wounded. The Delawares say that the Sioux committed this murderous outrage on them without any cause or offence whatever, and they have not attempted to revenge themselves in anyway; but that they have a heavy charge against the Sioux for murdering sixteen men, for all the horses they had with them, riding-saddles and pack-saddles, guns, traps, blankets, clothing, and camp equipage. All these things the Delaware chiefs requested me to report to you.
"Kanzas. The Kanzas Indians are located on the Kanzas river, about eighty miles above its mouth. I regret that I have to say that they are making little or no exertion to better their condition. There have been considerable exertions made by myself and the Rev. William Johnson, late a missionary among them, to get them to turn their attention to agricultural pursuits. I visited them in March last, in company with Mr. Johnson, who resided for several years among them, understood and spoke their language well, had become personally acquainted with, and, from a correct, honorable, firm course of conduct, he had secured to himself almost unbounded influence among, them. We stayed several days among them; most of that time we spent in council with the whole nation, trying to get them to raise corn, &c., enough to subsist them during the year. They made very fair promises, and I think that they intended to comply with them at the time; but, unfortunately, Mr. Johnson, on his way down to the manual-labor school with eleven Kanzas boys, in company with me, at the crossing
of the Walkrusa, where we encamped for the night, was taken sick, and never recovered. The death of this man, whom I considered one of the best men I ever became acquainted with, was, I believe, the greatest loss the Kanzas Indians ever met with. The last services he performed were when he returned the eleven Kanzas boys to the manual-labor school, part of which he rendered in great pain. The Kanzas render many excuses for not turning their attention to agricultural pursuits the present year; the principal one is, they say, they were afraid to work, for fear the Pawnees would come on them and kill them all off.
"They have raised but little grain this year, not enough to subsist them. Their only dependence for a subsistence is on the buffalo, and what few deer and turkeys they can kill. They follow the chase.
"The Shawnees, Delawares, Kickapoos, Stockbridges, and Christian Indians, have no towns or villages. Each person, or head of a family, selects and makes his location where he chooses.
"Ottoes and Missourias. These Indians are in a most deplorable situation, notwithstanding that they have had the kind and benevolent hand of the Government extended to them for many years past, and that, during certain periods of that time (if we may judge from reports), they bid fair to follow the example of some of their more advanced red brethren of the west in the pursuits of agriculture and civilization, having been furnished with teachers, blacksmiths, and farmers, for these purposes; but the evil spirit found its way, through various channels, into their lodges, and generated among them discontent, jealousy and strife, which eventually terminated in butchery and bloodshed. This state of things produced in their minds a settled prejudice against the spot which they then occupied, on the north side of the river Platte, under the impression that an evil spirit hovered over and around them; and, acting under this belief, on or about the 1st of February, 1841, they, in a moment of drunkenness and riot, set fire to their village, which was soon reduced to ashes. Their farm, which was located contiguous to their village, suffered a similar fate; the greater part of the fences having been torn down and burnt, and the whole is now lying waste and uncultivated.
"They have totally abandoned this ill-fated spot, and settled, rather temporarily, in various lodges or villages on the south side of the River Platte. The lateness of my arrival last spring, and the multiplicity of duties I had to perform, prevented me from visiting their present location until the 5th of August last. The Indians at that time being absent on their hunt, I gave as careful an examination of the situation as time and circumstances permitted. The village of the Missourias stands on the prairie, on the bank of the Platte river. It appears, by former reports, that these Indians had abandoned the chase, and betaken themselves to an agricultural life; and I feel justified in saying, that they would, by this time, have made a fair progress in civilization and agriculture, if the persons employed as farmers for them had been industrious, and ardent spirits been kept from among them. As it is, they have failed; nor is it at all
surprising, under the circumstances. They have, as a necessary consequence, again returned to their hunting habits, not as a matter of choice, but of necessity; for their numbers have so much diminished, by their illicit traffic with the whites, and their stock of horses been so reduced, that their hunting trips are attended with but little success, as they can carry but a small quantity of meat from their hunting-grounds. The Ottoe villages, four in number, are located a short distance from the River Platte, from a point commencing five miles above its mouth, to eighteen miles up said river.
"The corn patches of the Missourias are in the open timber of the Missouri river bottom, at or near the mouth of the Platte. The frost having cut off their crop last spring, replanting became necessary; and, having to start on their hunt earlier in the season than usual, in consequence of their want of subsistence, their cornfields were, to a great extent, neglected. These causes combined, in addition to the want of rain in the month of July and early part of August, will cut short the crops of these Indians in their best patches to one-half, and, in many parts of their ground, to one-fourth of their usual produce. The crops of the Ottoes are altogether inferior to those of the Missourias; hence, without the assistance of the Government, they must experience a very distressing time next season, or, in the absence of such assistance, make an unusually long winter's hunt on the buffalo grounds; and, should they make a bad hunt, on their return, the complaints of the traders and frontier settlers, heretofore great, will be alarmingly increased; for, as a general characteristic, the Ottoes, when hungry, will kill stock wherever they find it, regardless to whom it may belong. I am informed that, a few years ago, they killed a milch cow belonging to their blacksmith, and broiled the meat at his own fire; and when asked if they were displeased with him, that they killed his cow, they replied, "No," but that they "were hungry."
"Such beings are difficult to civilize; yet, if we can succeed in keeping whiskey away from them, and once more get them on a farm properly prepared, with the necessary assistance at proper times, and in a proper manner, I think they can be gradually brought to attend to agricultural pursuits. The more reflecting of them admit that misery and starvation await them unless they change their course of conduct, while there are others of them that would bow submissively to any fate rather than betake themselves to manual labor. Could their agent have permission to use a portion of their annuities (with their consent) in the purchase of provisions for them, it would in some degree prevent the apprehended depredations on frontier stock. The twenty-two barrels of pork received as part of this year's annuity, would do much toward aiding them to make a crop next spring, if their present crop was even tolerable; as it is, the pork will do but little toward feeding some 900 persons.
"I am happy to report that both Ottoes and Missourias have cheerfully assented to the regulation of the department ‘for preventing depredations among the Indian tribes,’ provided the neighboring tribes shall place themselves under a like obligation; and they have recently entered into an agreement with the Delawares, whereby they have
mutually bound themselves to pay a forfeiture of $1000 for any murder committed by the Indians of either tribe on those of the other.
"I have not yet had an opportunity of submitting the regulation above referred to, to the Omahas and Pawnees; I however anticipate no opposition from either tribe to its adoption.
"The Omahas follow the chase as usual. They claim the country bounded by the Missouri river on the east, by Shell creek on the west, by the River Platte on the south, and on the north by the Poncas country.
"The Elkhorn, which runs in a southerly direction and empties into the Platte at about twenty miles above its mouth, is the largest stream which passes through their country. There are a number of small streams running in various directions, and mostly through prairie; but of their water-power I am not informed, except of that on the Papeo, a small stream running in a southerly direction, and emptying into the Platte, near its mouth; on this stream, some ten miles distant from this place, there are some water privileges. The southerly part of this country is claimed by the Ottoes, also from the Platte to a line running westward from the Missouri river, in the vicinity of the old Council Bluffs, to the Pawnee country.
"The country claimed by the Omahas is almost destitute of timber, except on the large and small streams, which have more or less, and at some isolated points, where are to be found groves of considerable extent. Their favorite village once stood near the Missouri river, and about one hundred miles above Fort Leavenworth. Several years since they were driven from this location by the Sioux, and since then have settled rather temporarily on the Elkhorn, a distance of about fifty miles from this, where they now are poor indeed, not using even ordinary savage exertion in the culture of corn. They greatly desire to return to their former village, where, it is said, they still have corn in caches. These Indians are so reduced in numbers, and have so few horses, that their hunting trips are attended with but little success. The present season they joined the Pawnee Loups on the hunt, and have been more successful. They are desirous of selling a portion of their country to the Government, in order to obtain a small annuity, and assistance in their agricultural pursuits. Should they not succeed in this arrangement, misery and starvation must shortly overtake them.
"They have an unsettled difficulty with the Iowas, which I had hoped to see adjusted last spring, but at that time the Iowas were not in readiness with their peace-making preparations: there is a fair presumption, however, that peace will shortly be effected between them. The Omahas are a well-disposed little band, and desire to live in peace with all mankind; but they say it is hard to be struck, and not to be allowed to retaliate.
"Should the Government purchase any portion of their lands, I would recommend that no portion of the purchase consideration should be paid in money, but rather be invested in goods and stock cattle, adapted to their present condition.
"The Pawnees. The four principal chiefs, with a number of their respective bands, have removed to their new homes on the Loup fork of the Platte; and although their farming operations commenced at a rather late period of the year, they will still succeed in raising a tolerable crop. There is still some little disposition, on the part of a portion of the tribes, to remain at their old villages; but this will shortly wear away, and, as the chiefs have requested to have their future annuity payments made at their new homes, I hope, in the course of the next year, to see the greater part of the four bands settled there in peace and comfort. The school, considering the short time it has been in operation, promises well, and I have no doubt will, in a little time, be in a very flourishing condition. The farmers have been indefatigable in their exertions, and, taking into account the short time that has elapsed since they entered upon their duties, have performed a large amount of labor. The time seems now to have arrived when the stock cattle, due under the treaty of 1833, could be advantageously given to these Indians.
"The Pawnees generally evince a peaceable and friendly disposition. They have an unsettled difficulty with the Ottoes, growing out of murders heretofore committed by the latter on some of their people, which I shall take the earliest opportunity to have settled."
Kaskaskias, Weas, Piankashaws, Ottowas and Chippewas, west, and Pottawattamies. These tribes constitute the charge of a separate agency in Kanzas. The agent reports their numbers at 200 Kaskaskias and Peorias, 100 Piankashaws, 200 Weas, 300 Ottowas, 50 expatriated Chippewas, and 2000 Pottawattamies. The agency of these tribes is located about forty miles south of Westport, in the State of Missouri. The agent says:
"These tribes have made but little change in their condition since former reports. They own some cattle and hogs, work-oxen, farming utensils, &c., and depend entirely on agricultural pursuits for a subsistence; and, if it was not for the ruinous practice pursued by those lawless individuals who are settled immediately on the line of the State of Missouri, and, in violation of the State laws (which are very severe), furnish them with whiskey, I am of opinion their improvement would be rapid.
"The Ottowas are still improving in agricultural pursuits; they may be said to have entirely abandoned the chase; all of them live in good, comfortable log-cabins; have fields enclosed with rail-fences, and own domestic animals. They have erected a good horse-mill out of their annuity, and many of them are making preparations for sowing wheat; and ere long, it is to be hoped, they will raise grain enough to supply themselves with flour and meal for their own consumption. The Chippewas are a small band, and are improving in their condition; the Pottawattamies, as a tribe, are very much improved. There are some of the bands that are about stationary, while others have made rapid improvement in their condition. The settlers on Sugar creek are notorious for sobriety and industry; they nearly all live in good, comfortable log-cabins,
have fields fenced with rails, and well cultivated, and have plowed and fenced a large quantity of prairie-ground the present season; while in the other settlements, the Indians have indulged in drunkenness, and idleness followed as a necessary consequence; which has thrown them behind the rest of their tribe, and many of their neighbors.
"The blacksmiths of the Pottawattamies, who are all the mechanics that are attached to this agency, have been appropriately employed at their respective duties the past year, in repairing all necessary work brought to the shops by the Indians, and manufacturing fanning utensils, &c., for them. All the tribes within this sub-agency sustain a friendly relation to all other tribes of their acquaintance. And I am happy to state that general health has prevailed during the two past years."
The Iowas. This tribe is located on the waters of the Namaha, a tributary of the Missouri, and their principal village is situated one mile above the mouth of the Great Namaha. Ten dwelling-houses have been erected by the Government, at a cost of $3000. The remaining houses, which, together, accommodate half the nation, have been built by the Iowas themselves. The report of the agent states,
"This nation is much given to intemperance, and while under the influence of liquor they act very ill toward each other, as well as to the whites; two of the best men in the nation have been killed in their bacchanalian rows in the last twelvemonth; one of them was killed on last Sunday night. It is utterly impossible for your agents to prevent the Indians from drinking at all times; I can keep the whites on their own side of the river with their whiskey, but it is easy for the Indians at any time to cross the river and obtain in exchange for their guns, horses, traps, blankets, or indeed anything, any quantity of liquor they may want.
"This tribe has a farmer, Francis Irvin, with whose help, and the labor of the squaws, they have raised a great abundance of corn (nearly 15,000 bushels), also, pumpkins, squashes, Irish potatoes, &c., &c. There are twelve or thirteen men among them who labor with their squaws during the cropping season.
"I most respectfully beg leave to speak of the missionary establishment at this place. I can truly aver that it is under the superintendence of as devoutly pious individuals as I have ever known, having nothing to prompt them to action but a sincere desire to do good to the red man of the forest. This establishment is under the control of the Presbyterian Board of Missions. If the Government would give a few thousand dollars in aid of education at this point, my opinion is, much good would be effected. I mean this: if there was a sufficient fund to establish a manual-labor school among them, I have no doubt it would effect more than anything which could be done for the civilization of these unfortunate people; the Iowas are not averse to having their children educated and instructed in the ways of the whites, but are opposed to sending their children abroad to be educated. Many of them have urged on me to have a manual-labor school, like unto the Shawnee school within Major Cummins' agency,
established among them. I have no doubt of their sincerity, and that, in six months from the commencement of such an institution, they would send fifty scholars, male and female, to school; this, in my opinion, is the only way in which they can be made a sober people. It is useless for me to scold them for their drunkenness; they confess it is wrong, but transgress perhaps the next day, or at least as soon as an opportunity should offer. It is utterly useless for me to try to keep them from whiskey; there is a set of lawless wretches settled on the opposite side of the river, in Holt county, who follow nothing else for a living but selling whiskey to the Indians, stealing horses, counterfeiting money, &c. The life of your agent has been threatened more than once, for his efforts to put a stop to this unholy traffic. On the 9th of this month, at night, I caught three men who were introducing whiskey into the Indian country, tied them, kept them for a few days, and took them to Holt county to be committed; instead of committing them, I had myself to leave in haste, to prevent a suit for the whiskey which I had destroyed. The offender, by false witnesses, could have proved that he was on his way to the Pacific Ocean with his barrel of whiskey and canoe, and merely stopped on the Indian side to cook a meal's victuals, get a little wood, or have a sociable smoke with his particular friends, the Sacs and Poxes, at midnight; or anything else that it was necessary to prove.
"I have made several efforts in the last twelve months, to have individuals punished for selling spirits to the Indians in Holt county; all of which, in the end, have proved abortive.
"The Iowas have petitioned me to ask the Government to rebuild their mill. It would be of great service to them, and, injustice, I am constrained to say it should be done by the Government. This mill never was such a one as it should have been; the workmanship was most shamefully slighted; the stones were of no use, not answering the purpose for which they were designed. I am of opinion that it would cost about $750 to put this mill in complete order; also, I believe, it would induce these people to employ a miller and blacksmith. They have also requested me to employ a farmer for the next year, and have named a man to take the situation for the present year. The individual named for their farmer for the next year, with whom I have contracted, and whom I recommended, is one who has lived long among these people as a missionary and teacher. He was the choice of the Indians, and I think the selection a good one.
"By the census taken by me on the 5th of September, you will find 470 souls; I am of opinion, however, that there were about thirty absent. The upper Iowas, or pouting party as they are called, are nearly as strong as the Iowas within this sub-agency. Some of them are moving down, and it is hoped all of them will eventually move to their proper homes. It has been unusually healthy among the Indians this year; not more have fallen by disease than by the knife: I mean adults. Bigamy is tolerated among these people. It is quite common for a man to have as many as three wives, all living in the same house or wigwam, in perfect harmony. The country inhabited
by them is a prairie, high and rolling, very rich, and finely watered, and has a sufficiency of timber for all farming purposes for centuries to come, if taken care of.
"The Sacs and Foxes are a proud, independent people, pursuing the chase during the hunting season. They are not so much given to intemperance as the Iowas, and entertain much more respect and love for the white man than do the Iowas. They boast often of their friendship to the whites, and their peaceable disposition toward their red brothers; not that they fear their brothers: they often say their great father will be angry if they strike.
"I have been deceived by these people in two respects; one with regard to their sending their children to school, and in their promising to take one half of their next annuity in goods. I have only been able as yet to get them to send three children to school, but they promise much better after a while.
"I am pleased to say, that since I have been here, not a blow has been given to a strange Indian, and many efforts have been made to get up war parties, but I have always been able to put a stop to it, and none have gone. I have had no trouble with the Sacs in this way. They listen, and say their great father will be angry, and he is right; that it is best to be at peace with all red and white men.
"The following shows the farming operations: One hundred acres broke and fenced in a very superior manner, staked and double ride red; sixty-five acres of which is in wheat, and is called sod corn; sixty-five acres being seeded in wheat; fifty bushels of Irish potatoes planted; ten acres in turnips; half an acre in watermelons. The corn will produce about thirty-five bushels per acre, about one-fifth of which will be wanted to feed work cattle this fall and spring; the remainder will be given to the Indians. The Indians have raised, at their village, with the help which was given them by the farmer and assistant in preparing for their crops, such as breaking up and planting, nearly, or quite, 2500 barrels of corn; also, potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, &c. There are seven men in this nation who devote the whole of the cropping season to labor, helping their squaws at all times to make and save the crops. The farmer has been too much engaged improving and making a new farm to give the attention to instructing the Indians in agriculture he should have done; the next year he will have more time. Our plan for farming operations another year is as follows: ninety acres of new prairie to be broke as early as possible in the spring and planted in corn and pumpkins; sixty-five acres in wheat; twenty acres in Irish potatoes; four acres in melons; one hundred acres fenced at the village with new rails, twenty acres of which will be put in timothy grass.
"In locating the farm near the mission, I had many reasons operating on my mind, making it in every way the most desirable situation. In the event Government should make an effort to establish a manual labor school among these people, they at once would have a farm amply sufficient for all purposes to commence with again. It is easy to keep the fences up; the Indians are afraid to pull them down, it is so near
the sub-agency. I omitted to say that I paid both nations their annuity on the 9th ult., which gave them great satisfaction; it is to be hoped that they may be thus early paid the next year. I think it best that the Sacs should have $2000 in blankets, &c., and Merrimack calicoes of a coarse quality, strouding, &c., the next year. The Iowas have agreed to take $2500 in goods the next year. They have not furnished me with an invoice, but will in a few days."
Eleven years after the date of these reports of the local agents, denoting efficient attention to their respective duties, and furnishing a detail of the great difficulties encountered in leading on the tribes to the commencement of a life of agricultural industry, the chief officer of the Indian Bureau at Washington determined to visit personally the colonized tribes. An extract from his report is subjoined:
"The condition of the Indians located west of Missouri and Iowa is not as prosperous, or their advance in civilization as rapid, as the official reports annually received from that part of the country would authorize us to expect. In several tribes are to be found some educated, intelligent men; and many are able, by the cultivation of the earth, to subsist themselves. Among these classes there are some sincere professors of religion; but the mass of the Indians are indolent and intemperate, and many of them are degraded and debased.
"The transplanting of these Indians, and the dedication of their present country to their use, and for their future home, was an emanation of the purest benevolence, and the dictate of humanity. Vast sums of money have been expended by the Government for the sustenance, comfort, and civilization of these unfortunate people, and the missionary has occupied that field of labor long and faithfully; but, notwithstanding all that has been done by the Government and good men, the experiment has measurably failed. Located generally on large tracts of land, separated into small and distinct bands, roaming at will, and wandering in idleness, the mass of these tribes are in a degraded state, with no hope of a considerable degree of reformation (even with such improvements as are practicable in their present management), without a change of residence. Their opinions, habits, customs, and pursuits, which present an almost insurmountable obstacle to their change from a primitive state, find now but little resistance; while the advice of the agent, and the efforts of the teacher and divine, are counteracted, to a very great extent, by influences of an adverse character, and which it is presumed will predominate so long as these Indians are permitted to remain where they now reside." 705
Chapter V. The Hunter Tribes.
A COMPETENT and careful observer has estimated that, from ocean to ocean, the United States was originally occupied by 105 tribes, all of whom were hunters, or more or less of a nomadic character; of these, the details which have been submitted in a preceding volume 706 make it apparent that the Indians located between the Atlantic Ocean and the summit of the Rocky Mountains were divided into sixty-nine tribes.
Of this number, to a greater or less extent connected with the events of our history, the condition and prospects of the four tribes composing the Appalachian group, viz: the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks, have been already noticed, and the deduction drawn therefrom, that they are prepared to enter on the career of civilized nations. From the before-mentioned sixty-nine tribes, there are also to be deducted the twenty-four expatriated tribes and bands located in Kanzas, who are more or less engaged in the pursuit of industrial arts, agriculture, and letters, and have made considerable progress in morals and Christianity: thus leaving forty-one tribes to be regarded as hunters, and as still adhering to the precarious pursuits of the Koossawin. 707
Agreeably to data previously published, the number of hunter tribes located between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, a scattered and diversified portion of the Indian race, comprises thirty-six; most of whom have small pretensions to speaking radically different languages.
It would be inconsistent with all history and observation, to expect that, without agriculture, the numerous hunter tribes, who subsist wholly upon the flesh of wild animals, should survive the era of the chase. Idleness, intemperance, improvidence, and indulgence, exert the most baneful effects on civilized society, which has every means at command for its support; but the operation of these vices in savage life produces dreadful results. From the Missouri river to the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and from the 49th parallel of north latitude to the river Gila, there rove tribes whose scanty
and uncertain subsistence is supplied by the flesh of the animals they kill in their excursions, or by the roots they dig in the prairies, or on the arable uplands. The yam, the
Being mentally and habitually infatuated with savage manners and customs, the predatory hunting tribes will long hover on the extreme frontiers, where they now are, pursuing with barbarous delight their career of plunder, robbery, and murder. The gorges and defiles numerously interspersed throughout the broad and lofty range of the Rocky Mountains, afford shelter for these wild nomades, where, like the original valley tribes of Peru, who occupy the fastnesses of the Andes, they seem likely to remain, in defiance of the civilized settlements which spread along its foot. Where hunter tribes, living on the plains or arable uplands, are finally surrounded by a civilized population, the only practical mode of influencing them is by the introduction of schools. To be effectual, these should be, as has been previously stated, of the most simple character, and calculated only for teaching the elements, without much display or expense. Central schools, of a normal character, in the nation, where higher branches have been taught to the natives, to qualify them for filling the posts of teachers, catechists, and evangelists, have effected much, and have been found to be most beneficial when conducted on the manual-labor plan. Academies should be established in the Indian territory, &c.
We have, in withdrawing so many of the young men from their friends, and educating them at our higher schools and colleges, unconsciously fallen into the error of adapting our efforts to a state of society which will probably not exist among the Indians for a long period. The youths are there taught various branches of learning, and at some of these institutions they obtain a practical knowledge of the mechanic arts, and an insight into the principles of agriculture. But when this course of instruction is completed, what are their young men to do? If they remain among the whites, they find themselves
avoided as members of a peculiar caste, and seek in vain for employment and encouragement. If they return to their country, their acquirements are useless, they being there neither understood nor valued.
The following review, by Colonel D. D. Mitchell, late superintendent at St. Louis, of both the tribes who emigrated to Kanzas, and of the wild nomadic tribes in the Missouri valley, derives additional importance from the long experience of that gentleman in the hazardous scenes of frontier life, during peace and war, and his familiar acquaintance with the Indian character; it is this fact that gives peculiar weight to his suggestions:
"Transferred Tribes. The condition of these Indians has been materially improved within the last few months, and could they consider themselves as being permanently located at their present homes, no tribe on the western frontier would advance more rapidly in all the useful arts of civilized life. But, looking upon themselves as the mere tenants at will of the Government, they of course could feel little or no interest in the improvement or preservation of their houses and farms. Iowa must ere long become a State; 708 and, among the first acts of State sovereignty, she will soon extend her jurisdiction over all Indians residing within her limits. The threatening difficulties which have already grown out of such a state of things, should admonish the Government to guard against it for the future.
"The large body of fine land now owned, and partly occupied, by the Pottawattamies of the Council Bluffs, I am induced to believe could be purchased without much difficulty, and at a fair price, giving other lands in part payment. 709 Lands such as those Indians would be glad to settle upon could be easily obtained on the south side of the river. As they must ultimately be removed, everything is to be gained by both parties, in having it done immediately.
"During the present year much has been done by the Department to better the condition of the Indians, both morally and physically. The proposition which was made, and unanimously agreed to, providing for the payment (out of their annuities) for all thefts or depredations committed, either among themselves or against the neighboring tribes, speaks well for the innate honesty of the Indians, and its operation up to this time goes far to show that its effects will be most salutary. The Indians, however, contend, with great force of reasoning, that this excellent regulation should be made equally binding upon their white neighbors; and here it may be proper to remark, that the greatest difficulties with which the agents, teachers, and missionaries have to contend, in their laudable efforts to cultivate the minds of the Indians, arises from the presence of crowds, and daily increasing crowds, of depraved white men, who have taken up their abodes in the Indian country. This worse than savage population is
composed of deserters from the fur traders on the upper Missouri, renegades from Santa Fé, discharged soldiers, and fugitives from justice. Such persons can only prey upon the Indians, or be tolerated among them, so long as they remain in their present ignorant and savage state; hence the unwearied efforts to thwart all attempts at civilization. Their residence in the Indian country is in open violation of law; but, being wholly irresponsible, they laugh at all attempts to remove them by a civil process.
"The circulars which have been issued by the Department to prevent the introduction and use of spirituous liquors in the Indian country, followed by the prompt movement of a company of dragoons to the Council Bluffs, and aided by the zealous activity of the several agents, have gone far toward the suppression of this iniquitous traffic on the frontiers. In the figurative language of an old chief, who was in this city not long since, ‘The sunshine, the approving smile of the Great Spirit, has cleared away the poisoned cloud which so long darkened our land. It has once more lit up our desolate huts and forsaken fields; its cheering warmth has dried up the tears of our women and children, who every night offer up their prayers of thankfulness to the Great Spirit in the skies, and our great father in Washington.’
"The arrangement which was proposed by the Department, to substitute goods in place of money in the payment of annuities, would have proved highly beneficial had it met the approbation of the Indians. The goods being purchased by contract, at the lowest market price, and issued out by the agents from time to time, so as to meet the wants of the Indians, would have been of more real benefit to them than four times the amount paid out all at once in money. The Indians, being destitute during the greater part of the year, are compelled to solicit credits from the traders, who, aware of the uncertainty of being paid, demand and receive the most usurious prices for their goods. The money which is not paid away to satisfy the traders soon finds its way into the hands of the whiskey dealers, who swarm like birds of evil omen around every place where annuities are to be paid. A question of grave importance here presents itself for the consideration of the Government, viz: whether the rights and privileges of guardianship might not, in certain cases, be exercised by the Department, when a measure is proposed clearly calculated to promote the happiness and welfare of tribes notoriously incapable of judging for themselves? Although some might grumble for the time, the salutary change in their condition would soon teach them to thank their great father for his fostering care.
"Hunter Tribes. The census of the different tribes required by the Department will be furnished by the agents and sub-agents, so far as their jurisdictions extend; those beyond, will be found, as near as can be ascertained, in the following table:
"The scanty population shown in the foregoing table occupy the whole of that immense region lying west of the border tribes, bounded by the Arkansas on the south, the dividing highlands between the Missouri and waters of Hudson bay on the north, and the Rocky mountains on the west. It is evident, from the ruins of villages scattered along the banks of the Missouri and its tributary streams, that these desolate plains once teemed with myriads of human beings. We have the authority of an intelligent British trader, who crossed over the Missouri in the winter of 1783, for saying that the population, even at that recent date, was perhaps a hundred fold greater than at present. The Mandans he estimated at 25,000 fighting men, and the Assinaboines at 40,000. A reference to the table will show the wonderful destruction of human life which war and pestilence have produced in this region in less than a century. The small-pox, which was brought over from the northern Mexican provinces about the year 1786, almost depopulated the country. There are many old Indians now living who bear its marks, and retain a vivid recollection of its horrible ravages. Again, in 1838, the same disease swept off at least one half of the prairie tribes. Hence the scanty population, which seems almost lost in the vast expanse of prairie by which they are surrounded. It is some gratification to know that a new generation must spring up before they can be scourged by another visitation from this fell destroyer; but there is another constantly among them almost equally destructive, viz: spirituous liquor.
It has been ascertained from sources entitled to the utmost credence that upward of 500 men belonging to those prairie tribes have been killed during the last two years in drunken broils, while the survivors, men, women, and children, are reduced to the lowest depths of poverty and degradation. The friends of humanity have, however, much to hope from the laudable and zealous efforts which we have reason to believe are now being made by the Government to save the wrecks of these once numerous and happy people.
"No advances whatever have been made toward civilization among the tribes on the upper Missouri; and so long as they continue the wandering life in which they so much delight, all efforts directed to that object will prove to be only a useless waste of time and money. While there remains such a vast extent of territory, covered over with innumerable herds of buffalo and other game, there seems but little prospect of their condition being materially changed. Generations will perhaps pass away before this territory becomes much more circumscribed; for if we draw a line running north and south, so as to cross the Missouri about the Vermilion river, we shall designate the limits beyond which civilized men are never likely to settle. At this point the Creator seems to have said to the tribes of emigration that are annually rolling toward the West, ‘Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.’ At all events, if they go beyond this, they will never stop on the east side of the Rocky mountains. 711 The utter destitution of timber, the sterility of the sandy soil, together with the coldness and dryness of the climate, furnish obstacles which not even ‘Yankee enterprise’ is likely to overcome. A beneficent Creator seems to have intended this dreary region as an asylum for the Indians when the force of circumstances shall have driven them from the last acre of the fertile soil which they once possessed. Here no inducements are offered to the ever-restless Saxon breed to erect their huts. Should the buffalo and other game eventually disappear from the prairies, there are spots of refuge in some rich little valleys on the banks of isolated streams, affording timber sufficient to furnish huts and fuel for the few wanderers whom necessity will compel to seek some other means of subsistence. Should this period ever arrive, a few domestic cattle might be introduced into the country, and the Indians would readily become wandering herdsmen the Tartars of America. Their peculiar habits and inclinations form them for such pursuits; they never can be made agriculturists or mechanics. The time may arrive when the whole of the western Indians will be forced to seek a resting-place in this great ‘American desert,’ and this, in all probability, will form a new era in the history of this singular and ill-fated race. They will remain a wandering, half-civilized, though happy people. ‘Their flocks and herds will cover a thousand hills,’ and furnish beef and mutton for a portion of the dense population of whites that will swarm in the more fertile sections of the great valley of the Mississippi." 712
The whole problem of the existence of the tribes is shrouded in that inscrutable fate which is but another name for the decisions of a wise and overruling Providence. That some of them will be reclaimed, and help to swell the multitudes who are destined to sing praises and hosannahs to the Highest cannot be doubted. Whoever has attentively perused the preceding pages, must have recognised this conclusion in the great and striking changes for the better which have occurred in the Ausonian tribes, who give the best evidences of progress in every element of civilization. These tribes have utterly and forever abandoned the chase. They have, to a great extent, embarked in agriculture, encourage education, practise temperance, and follow the precepts of Christianity. They are producers of more than they consume. They are in the high road to national wealth. Their flocks and herds cover wide plains, and may be said to wander over a thousand hills. In costume, in manners and customs, and in all the amenities of life, these Indians will favorably compare with the most promising adjacent communities of European origin. That others of the tribes, embracing some of the Kanzas group, who have been long under a course of instruction and moral training, but who have not yet attained their advanced condition, will be subject to great fluctuations, vicissitudes, and trials, ere they enter the circle of social progress, if they reach it at all, is equally clear. No prescience can anticipate the course of the nomadic, headstrong, murdering, robber tribes, who wander over the Missouri plains, climb the elevated ranges, and occupy the mountain passes of New Mexico, California, and Oregon. How many of these fierce tribes, of Tartaric habits, may, in time, turn an attentive ear to the voice of peace and instruction, cannot be predicted. But without the occurrence of changes of the most striking character, their ultimate destruction is certain. Ever since the discovery of America, it has been a question of considerable interest, whether any evidence of descent from cast-off fragments of Abrahamic stocks be traceable in an untoward race, whose physical features and peculiar traits of character so strongly resemble them. The divine denunciations against that people imply an utter annihilation of their nationality; while the pertinacity with which the Indian clings to the idea that he is the favorite of the Great Deity of the skies, and the faith with which he looks back to an ancient period, when he enjoyed high privileges and an exalted state, is a peculiarity undeveloped in any other people on the face of the globe; and there is scarcely one other, so poor, so wretched, so hopeless, so wilfully wrong, and so despised.
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
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