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Bensell to Hayt, 21 May 1879, in United States, Office of Indian Affairs, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880, National Archives Microcopy 234, Roll 627, NADP Document D108.
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Newport Ogn
May 21 1879

E.C. Hayt
Hon Commissioner of Indian Affairs

Sir
      For the last fifteen years the Indians of the Siletz Reservation have come to me with their grievances, imaginary or otherwise, and thru all the different systems tried by the Government. I have uniformly cooperated in the very best for all parties, my dealing with these Indians has been extensive and their confidence in my word and advice brings them to me at all times tho' I live 14 miles from the Agency. Only yesterday the 19th Alexander Ross exchief of all the Siletz Indians and chief of the Nult-Nat-Nees an Indian of excellent Character, both as a citizen and christian and a man of considerable intelligence and influence, came to me saying he wished to communicate with the Com. of Ind. Affairs, that on the 17th of May 79, at a Council held on the Agency the agent Wm Bagley proposed to throw off a strip of the Reservation containing


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400 acres more or less Commencing at the southern boundary of said Agency and extending along and up the coast to the Siletz River. The reason for this action is mainly because at Cape Foulweather just a mile south of the Reservation line a harbor has been discovered where possibly the proposed Harbor of Rafuge for this coast may be located and at which the railroad now in course of constructin will terminate connecting with the Willamith Valley. The surveyed line of this RR is within 6 miles of the Agency proper and runs parallel with it. The proposition Mr. Ross says was submitted to the Indians by the Agent and the vote was about equally divided except where voting against the [ratication] of said land constituted the real workers of the Agency men of character and independence. Mr. Ross says that until deals such as the Grand Ronde Indians have, are given to those wishing lands on the Agency his consent and that of his friends will not be given but they will oppose any further encroachments by the whites, and Mr Ross asks for himself and several hundred others, whom it will be possible for the government to give clear inalienable title to such


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lands on the Siletz as they desire. he says this RR will increase the demands of the whites and they feel uneasy, the want of this has already caused several Indians to take up land off the Reservation if they could be allowed to enter this land on the Agency thru' the US. land office and payment of fees they would be satisfied. That if such deeds are made, no objection will be found to white occupancy of any lands not taken by the Indians on the contrary they would recommend such action for myself and all right minded people and in behalf of Mr Ross and his friends I trust this will recive such attention as it seems to merit and believe me ever ready and willing to make the present system a success. I am requested to say that this is not written in opposition to Agent Bagley but simply to express the negative side and reasons as the Agent seemed to favor the proposition an early reply to this would be appreciated.

I am Very Respectfully
Your Obt Sert
R.A Bensell

To the Hon Com. of Ind Affairs
Washington
DC