ALSEA INDIAN SUBAGENCY, OREGON,
August 10, 1872.
SIR: I have the honor to submit this my second annual report of the affairs of this agency.
This agency is situated on the southern portion of the coast Indian reservation, beginning at the north bank of the Alsea River, (at its mouth,) running south along the coast forty-five miles to the southern boundary; thence easterly to the summit of the Coast Range of mountains, distance about twenty miles; thence northerly to the north bank of Alsea River, and following the river to its mouth, at place of beginning. Upon this portion of the reservation are located the four tribes of Indians under my charge. viz, Alseas, Coos, Umpqua, and Siouslaws.
The Alsea tribe, numbering 107, are occupying lands along the Alsea River, on the south side; distance from the agency about ten miles. These people occupy their old original country, the land of their fathers. They have fine rich bottoms along the river, and subsist by farming, fishing, and hunting; their principal crops being potatoes, turnips, and carrots, of which they raise enough for their own use. They are in a healthy and prosperous condition, easily governed and obedient, and have made a fair advancement toward civilization during the past year, considering the advantages they enjoy.
The Coos and Umpqua tribes, numbering respectively 110 and 40, are located on the agency farm, are civilized, and are good and industrious people; all the younger ones having learned the use of all kinds of farming implements. These two tribes are somewhat dissatisfied by the manner in which the Government has treated them. They are constantly complaining of the wrongs done them in taking their country from them without due compensation. They claim that the Government has not acted in good faith toward them, and that they were persuaded to give up their lands, and were never paid what they were promised. If such be true, I hope, in justice to these people, steps will be taken to compensate them, and make good the promises made.
The Siouslaw Indians, numbering 50; are located on the Siouslaw River, about thirty miles south of the agency, and occupy the southern corner of the coast reservation. These people are rather intelligent, and well disposed. They have received but little assistance from the Government, from the fact that they are so far from the agency. They occupy the country formerly owned by their fathers; therefore are contented and remain at home. They farm but little, aside from raising what vegetables they use and a few oats for their horses; subsist chiefly by day's work and hunting, finding employment among the whites along the Umpqua River.
The foregoing will acquaint you with the extent of reservation occupied by the four tribes under my charge; also the general condition of these people.
I now call your attention to the general business and improvement of the agency during the past year, &c.
I have built for some of the most needy families ten comfortable board-houses, ranging in size from 8 by 10 to 16 by 20, as required to suit the convenience of the families.
I have also built for the Government a blacksmith and carpenter shop, 14 by 28 feet, and a large shed for the better protection of stock in winter; also a large building for the purpose of housing wagons and other farming implements.
The main farm has been separated by fences into seven different fields, making it more convenient for seeding both in fall and spring. These fences are built of posts and rails of the most durable kind, and in the most substantial manner; and in extent measure about three miles. Portions of the old fences rebuilt; and now everything is in a good healthy condition. I have for the Government and Indians about 35 acres of oats, 20 acres of potatoes, 14 acres of wheat, beside fair quantities of turnips and carrots. The above are not yet harvested. The hay crop is housed, and amounts to about 30 tons, mostly timothy. Beside this, the respective tribes have put up sufficient for their stock.
Last spring the Coos and Umpquas opened a road ten miles in length to a prairie up the Yau-hauts, (a small stream emptying into the ocean at the south end of the agency farm,) and planted and sowed small quantities of potatoes, oats, wheat, &c., and are much pleased with their prospects, and will seed extensively in the coming spring.
I supervise all the work myself, and employ none but Indians to do the work on this agency, and pay them the money heretofore paid to a white man, employed as superintendent of farming. By so doing, it not only teaches these people to labor, but distributes among them a thousand dollars per year, which is a great help to them in supporting their families.
These people during the past year have improved in morals and advanced in civilization, and I am proud to state have been very obedient and good Indians, considering the advantages they enjoy.
You are aware we have no funds wherewith to support a school; no appropriation to pay either physician, blacksmith, or carpenter; therefore these people labor under many disadvantages that Indians on other reservations enjoy. I have taught them the importance of observing the Sabbath, and succeeded in prohibiting all games of amusement on that day. I have forbid the taking in marriage of more than one wife, in every instance have accomplished my object. There are very few men now on this agency who have more than one wife, and they are very old.
There are many of the young men of this agency who are fully capable of taking care of themselves, if allowed all the privileges and freedom that we enjoy; they would be much better off, and no expense to the Government.
In my opinion, such of these people as are civilized should be released from the restraints and regulations of the Indian Department, and allowed their freedom.
I would most earnestly impress upon your mind the importance of establishing upon this agency a manual-labor school, as this is the only kind that could possibly result in any good, from the fact that most of the scholars would be furnished by the Alsea tribe, who are located some ten miles away from the agency farm.
I have from time to time called your attention (in my monthly reports) to the actual suffering condition of some twenty or more very old people, who are entirely dependent on the agent for subsistence. A portion of them are nearly blind, and should be cared for by the Government. I would therefore suggest that I be instructed to purchase for them from time to time such subsistence as will make them comfortable. This, in my judgment, is a duty the Government owes these old people, and I trust and hope it will not neglect to mete out to them sufficient to supply their bodily wants from day to day.
I would also call your attention again to the actual necessity of a dwelling-house at this agency, as the one now occupied for that purpose will be unfit to dwell in the coming winter.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commissary in charge Alsea Indian Sub-agency.
T.B. ODENEAL, Esq.,
Superintendent Indian Affairs, Salem, Oregon.