Weekly Corvallis Gazette
(Corvallis, Oregon), 15 February 1878, 2, NADP Document D176.
INDIAN INSPECTOR'S REPORT.
Washington, Jan. 26. In compliance with a resolution adopted by the senate Secretary Schurz has sent to that body a copy of the report recently made by Indian Inspector E.C. Watkins, embodying certain highly important recommendations for the consolidation of the Indians of Oregon and Washington Territory, and restoration to the public domain of vast areas of valuable land embraced in their present reservations. The recommendations, divested of the explanatory statement and argument with which Inspector Watkins supports them, are as follows:
First That all Indians west of the Cascade mountains in Washington territory be consolidated at Neah Bay and Puyallup reservation: the fish eating Indians on the former and the agricultural class on the latter.
Second That the Warm Spring and Umatilla Indians in Oregon be removed to Yakima reservation, Washington territory.
Third That all bands of Indians in the northern portion of Washington territory be consolidated on the Columbia river above the mouth of the Spokane.
Note Watkins recommends that all of the Colville reservation be restored to the public domain except a small strip 10 or 12 miles wide adjacent to the Columbia river as above indicated. He says the Indian now there should not be disturbed. They number about 3,000, and any attempt to move them, at present, would lead to serious trouble perhaps, and cause large expense. He also remarks that they occupy a country not now needed by the whites, and which will not probaby be needed for years.
Fourth That the Siletz and other Indians on the coast of Oregon be consolidated on the Grande Ronde reservation.
Fifth That before the reservations thus vacated are restored to the public domain, such Indians as are qualified for citizenship and desire it should be permitted to select homesteads from the land to be vacated.
Watkins states that the Yakima reservation embraces 800,000 acres, one half of which is excellent agricultural land, and that all the Indians now on it are located on seperate forty acre farms cultivating the soil and entirely self-supporting. The new commissioner of Indian affairs, Mr. Hoyt, disapproves Watkins' recommendations, that Indians who are farming and self-supporting on reservations to be vacated should be allowed and encouraged to remain in their present locations by giving them a title to their lands under an Indian homestead act.
Commissioner Hoyt does not concur however in the recommendation for consolidation accompanied with a provision for giving agricultural Indians individual proprietorship with titles absolutely inalienable, without which their general improvement cannot be anticipated. Sectretary Schurz in transmitting Watkins' report and Hoyt's letter takes occasion to express his own opinion that the proposed consolidstion of agencies would be of advantage to the government and the Indians and he therefore suggests that congress should enact such appropriate legislation as will enable the department to carry it into effect. Watkins' estimate of the total expense of removing and settling the various Indians in accordance with his plan is $210,000.