Office Siletz Agency
Sept 9th 1871
I have the honor to submit the following as my first annual report of the affairs of this Agency. In making this, my first report, I may not be able to set forth all the facts, that ought to be known, in order to induce the proper kind of Legislation to secure the wants of the Indians upon the Reservation, and that kind to which they are justly entitled.
If we take the Indians upon this Reservation as a criterion by which to judge of the merits of the civilizing progress for the last sixteen years, there is but little to encourage us, for while a little improvement may have been made among a portion, in regard to apparel and ordinary work in the field, it is difficult conceiving of a people, who have sunk lower in the scale of morals and all the vices to which civilized or savage people can reach, than is found among these Indians. If there be an honest or virtuous male or female among them, it is an exception, rather than the rule. The child is educated from its infancy to steal. The women are bought and sold like cattle & as a general rule, the number of wives owned by a man, is limited by his means to purchase, the price ranging from ten strings of Aroquois shells of ten each, to five horses. The daughters are loaned, hired or sold at from twelve to sixteen years of age as inducements are offered, sometimes for one night, one month, a year or a bona fide sale, the purchaser casting
her off at pleasure, and when so cast off or divorced, the property originally paid, must be refunded, the feelings of the girl or woman are seldom consulted. If they have no parents, the nearest of kin, or if no relations, the head of the family or tribe to which they belong, make the sale & receive the purchase price, it is often the case, that after a woman has been thus disposed of and matters all settled, that another relation or tribal claimant makes a demand upon the purchaser and an additional amount must be paid.
This plurality of wife system and the recoginized right of the man to cast off the bands is a fruitful source of contention, for it is often done for the purpose alone of securing a return of the property or gifts originally paid, and one of the worst features of this degrading system, is that it extends to the whites, who have been their teachers in many of these debasing vices.
Considerable progress has been made in the surveys, but the dense growth of bush, fern and weeds & the circuitous course of streams with percipitous cliffs and mountain ranges, renders it a slow and tedious task. I have had detailed one & sometimes two persons to accompany the surveyor, to aid in marking lines and designating corners, yet with even this precaution, I fear it will be difficult tracing lines another season, as fires have been raging through the uncultivated portions of the Agency and in many ...