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