THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
SIR: I have the honor, in acordance with law, to submit the annual report of the Indian Bureau, accompanied with reports of eighty-two superintendents and agents. Only one agent has failed to forward his report.
The attention of the honorable Secretary is especially invited to the general encouraging tenor of these reports, conveying unmistakable evidence of a year of advance in the civilization of Indians. This testimony is entitled to great weight. It comes from competent witnesses on the ground, men of ordinary intelligence and common sense, speaking out of personal knowledge and experience of from one to five years. With few exceptions, abundantly accounted for by untoward circumstances, their testimony is uuiorm to the fact that the civilization of Indians is not only entirely practicable but is fairly under way. While public attention is being directed principally to the great Sioux tribe in its disturbed condition, the larger portion of the remaining 225,000 Indians who have passed the year comparatively unnoticed furnishes the field of labor from which the encouraging facts are gathered.
A comparative statement, made from statistics covering a period of five years, gives ample concurrent testimony to a steady progress year by year. The statistics of the present year, gathered with more than usual care, furnish important facts for consideration. By the number of Indians returned they substantially verify the counts and estimates of last year, making a total, as now enumerated, of 278,963. This population is determined by actual count of the tribes, with the exception of Navajoes, Papagoes, Pueblos, Mission Indians, roamers in Oregon, the Blackfeet, Piegans, non-treaty Sioux, and a portion of the Utes, in all less than fifty thousand, and for these fifty thousand, with the exception of not exceeding ten thousand, the estimates have been based on long acquaintance with the condition and habits of their tribes, and cannot be far from correct.
Taking labor which Indians undertake for themselves and its results as a standard of progress, the reports show fifty-two thousand six hundred and thirty-eight male Indians, representing not far from the same number of Indian familes, undertaking self-support by labor with their own hands. A portion of them have labored awkwardly enough, and with little profit to themselves, except that which comes from the effort, but majority of these laborers have procured the larger portion of their
means of living, as represented in a crop of 2,575,440 bushels of corn, wheat, and other sumIl grains, and 471,630 bushels of potatoes and other
vegetables. The fields under cultivation by individual Indians planting for themselves aggregate 329,327 acres, a larger ares by 12,432 acres than ever before reported, and nearly 200,00 acres more than were cultivated in 1871, a gain of 149 per cent. in five years, and over 550
per cent. in ten years. Additional lands broken and ready for cultivation next year aggregate 23,146 acres. Five years ago lO,329 Indian families were living in houses. This year shows 19,902, a gain of 92 per cent. The number of Indian children attending school during the year is reported at 10,598.
The school-reports do not show a gain in education equal to that shown in the products of labor. This is due partly to the want of increase of funds for school purposes, but more largely, I believe, to the accurate reports of the last three years respecting the school atttendance. The monthly report of each teacher furnishes the means of entire correctness as to the numbers above quoted. This report would have shown still more gratifying results but for the fact that for want of later returns the statistics for four civilized tribes in the Indian Territory are taken from the report of 1872. There is every reason to suppose that among these 42,000 people there has been a larger proportion of gain for three years past than among any other Indians.
For general information concerning the different tribes, and the condition of their agency affairs, reference is made to a summary statement given hereafter.
In my last annual report I ventured the statement that "except under extraordinary provocation, or in circumstances not at all to be apprehended, it is not probable that as many as five hundred Indian warriors will ever again be mustered at one point for a fight; and with the conflicting interests of the different tribes, and the occupation of the intervening country by advancing settlements, such an event as a general Indian war can never again occur in the United States."
During the year passing in review there has been less conflict with Indians than for many previous years. With the exception of the Cheyennes and Comanches, who at the close of the period covered by my last report had still refused to surrender to the military, there has been no hostile engagement with the United States troops, and complaint of marauding has been much less than usual. This act is significant. According to all experience in the management of Indians, this year should have been marked for bloody conflicts. White settlements have been brought nearer to wild Indians than ever before; many disturbing questions have arisen, and with the most warlike and powerful of all the tribes there has been a constant series of irritations which in any previous year would have raised the war-cry along a large exposed section of the frontier.
The Sioux have been many times represented as about to go out on the war-path; at other times they have been reported as disaffected by bad management of bad agents and goaded by desperation of hunger and cold to an outbreak. Nothing shows the utter want of truth in all these reports more clearly than the fact that when they were brought cheerfully to relinquish a cherished hunting and roaming privilege they requested that nearly all the $25,000 received in compensation for this relinquishment should be expended in cows, horses, harness, and wag-
ons. Such use of money indicates anything but a hostile intent on the part of the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Sioux.
It will probably be found necessary to compel the northern non-treaty Sioux, under the leadership of Sitting Bull, who have never yet in any way recognized the United States Government except by snatching rations occasionally at an agency, and such outlaws from the several agencies as have attached themselves to these same hostiles, to cease marauding and settle down, as the other Sioux have done, at some designated point. This may occasion conflict between this band of Indians and the soldiers. There is also a possibility that the Utes in Northern New Mexico, who are without a home, unsettled and insolent, and transiently fed at Cimarron and Abiquiu, may before long require coercion by force of arms. But neither of these bands can bring three hundred men into the field. I am led not only to repeat with increased confidence the statement made last year that a general Indian war is never to occur in the United States, but also to the opinion that conflict with separate tribes will hereafter be of rare occurrence, and only in the nature of skirmishing.
By the treaty of 1868 the Sioux retained for themselves the right to hunt in Nebraska on any lands north of the North Platte and on the Republican Fork of the Smoky Hill River. By act of Congress, March 3, 1874, $25,000 was appropriated for the purchase from the Sioux of the right to hunt in Nebraska. The negotiations for this purchase, undertaken by a special commission in 1874, having failed to obtain the consent of the Indians, were renewed during the visit of the Sioux delegation to Washington in May last, and resulted in an agreement signed by the chiefs and headmen in the presence of their tribe, a copy of which is herewith.
The treaty of 1868 also stipulated that "the country north of the North Platte River, in Nebraska, and east of the summits of the Big Horn Mountains, in Wyoming, should be held and considered unceded Indian territory, and that no white person or persons should be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same, nor, without the consent of the Indians first had or obtained, should pass through the same."
The distinction between the country assigned for a permanent reserve and that described as neutral territory seems never to have been clear to the Sioux mind; and when the northern boundary-line of Nebraska was surveyed, which by their treaty is made the dividing-line between their permanent reserve and the neutral country, they were surprised and troubled to find it running north of their present agencies and of the country which they have always regarded and intended to retain as their own; and they demanded that the surveyor's stakes should be taken up and moved south of the Niobrara River. The negotiations for the cession of this neutral country, in addition to that of the hunting-rights, was thus found to be involved in unexpected difficulty. The Indians attached large value to the rights they were surrendering, and declined to accept the sum appropriated by Congress, except upon the condition that the Department would present their claim to Congress for the additional sum of $25,000. This pledge was given to them by the Secretary of the Interior when they entered into the agreement above named, reference to which will show that the attempt to procure the reliquishment of all the neutral country resulted in a compromise by which the Sioux stipulate for themselves the right of occupation of that portion of Nebraska
lying west of the 100th meridian and north of the south divide of the Niobrara River. Good faith with the Indians will therefore make it necessary to lay this matter before Congress and ask for an appropriation in the sum of $25,000.
For a full discussion of the question of the future of the Sioux, attention is respectlfully invited to my last annual report, page 6.
It affords me no small gratification to find the observations and conclusions reached at that time upon this subject fully confirmed by the report of the Red Cloud investigating commission, after many weeks spent in the Sioux country in careful inquiry into the condition and prospects of these Indians. The problem for these people has not approached a solution during the year, unless it shall be found that the discussion arising from the Black Hills excitement and the investigation at Red Cloud agency have so awakened the public attention to the present necessities and pitiable condition of the Sioux as to lead to immediate, appropriate, and virgorous measures for their relief, by removing the Indians at the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies to the Missouri River, by driving out the squaw-men who infest the Indian country, and by compelling labor as a return for rations. These three essential undertakings will require for success three things: (1) Largely increased appropriations for the Sioux during the next two years, which may thereafter be steadily diminished till they cease altogether; (2) the most efficient and hearty co-operation of the War Department; (3) in order to afford a suitable location for Red Cloud and his people, the removal of the Poncas from their present reservation, which is a part of their Sioux country, and their consolidation with the Omahas in Nebraska.
Sooner or later these or other radical measures must be adopted, the only alternative being to continue to ration and clothe the Indians as idle and insolent vagrants and paupers. I do not believe it possible to subsist the Sioux many years longer upon the appropriations which Congress can be induced to make for feeding purposes only. The whole spirit of our people and of American institutions revolts against any process that tends to pauperism or taxation for the support of idlers. The bringing of these wild Sioux under such wholesome restraint would also be of a material aid to the process of civilization now progressing among other bands of the nation along the Missouri River, upon whom it has as yet been impossible to enforce proper discipline in the requirement of labor for rations, because of the proximity and example of Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies.
But the reports of agencies along the river, with the possible exception of Standing Rock, show that it is entirely feasible to civilize the Sioux, provided a suitable country can be found for their occupation and the Government and its agents are capable of continuance in well-doing. At Cheyenne River, bands of Sioux who three years ago were as intractable, as impatient of labor, and in other respects as far from the first steps of civilization as Spotted Tail's immediate followers are to-day, have been induced to erect log houses and open farms to such an extent that the agency is able to report 240 Indian families living in houses, 240 male Indians who labor in civilized pursuits with their own hands, and 138 children in school.
The report of the Crow Creek agent, as an account of a first successful year's effort in civilization, is equally encouraging. The reports of
the Yankton and the Santee Sioux are still more hopeful. Among the latter civilization is an accomplished fact, and if the Yanktons could plant crops with ordinary certainty of a harvest, they would shortly provide their own subsistence. Such progress indicates unmistakably that the difficulty of the Sioux problem does not inhere principally in the Sioux nature, but in the barrenness of their country and the absence of necessary control.
The public excitement mentioned in my last report occasioned by the discovery of gold in that portion of the Sioux reservation known as the Black Hills country, increased to such a degree in the opening of the spring season as to require action looking toward the purchase of this country from the Sioux proprieters and the opening up of the Big Horn Mountain country for settlement and mining. For this purpose, as well as for completing the negotiation for the relinquishment by the Sioux of their hunting rights in Nebraska, and Kansas, a large delegation of this tribe, composed of representatives from those agencies, was brought to Washington in May last for an interview with the President. It was not expected that this interview would conclude the purchase but that it would prove a preliminary step by which the Sioux tribe would become acquainted with the wishes of the Government and its purposes relative to their own necessities and interests. Accordingly, at the request of the delegation, the President sent a commission, of which Hon. W.B. Allison, of the United States Senate, was made chairman, to negotiate at a general council of the tribe in their own country. The commission has not yet submitted its report, but I am informed that the negotiations have failed on account of a wide disagreement as to the value of the rights to be relinquished by the Sioux. Meanwhile, notwithstanding the stringent prohibitory orders by the military authorities, and in the face of the large military force which has been on duty in and around the Hills during the summer, probably not less than a thousand miners, with the number rapidly increasing, have made their way to the Sioux country. A mining association has been organized, laws and regulations have been adopted for mutual protection, and individual claims staked out, in the right, to which they expect hereafter either to be protected by the Government or to protect themselves.
In this serious complication there seems to be but one alternative for the Government: either to so increase the military force and adopt such summary means as will insure a strict observance of the treaty-rights of the Sioux by preventing all intrusion, or to renew the effort of negotiation. However unwilling we may be to confess it, the experience of the past summer proves either the inefficiency of the large military force under the command of such officers as Generals Sheridan, Terry, and Crook, or the utter impracticability of keeping Americans out of a country where gold is known to exist by any fear of orders or of United States cavalry, or by any consideration of the rights of others.
The occupation and possession of the Black Hills by white men seems now inevitable, but no reason exists for making this inevitability an occasion of wrong or lasting injury to the Sioux. If an Indian can be possessed of rights of country, either natural or acquired, this country belongs for occupation to the Sioux; and if they were an independent, and supporting people, able to claim that hereafter the United States Government should leave them entirely alone, in yearly receipt of such annuities only as the treaty of 1868 guarantees, they would be in a posi-
tion to demand to be left in undisturbed possession of their country, and the moral sense of mankind would sustain the demand; but unfortunately the facts are otherwise. They are not now capable of self-support; they are absolute pensioners of the Government in the sum of a million and a quarter of dollars annually above all amounts specified in treaty-stipulations. A failure to receive Government rations for a single season would reduce them to starvation. They cannot, therefore, demand to be left alone, and the Government, granting the large help which the Sioux are obliged to ask, is entitled to ask something of them in return. On this basis of mutual benefit the purchase of the Black Hills should proceed. If, therefore, all attempts at negotiation have failed on the plan of going first to the Indians, I would respectfully recommend that legislation be now sought from Congress, offering a fair and full equivalent for the country lying between the North and South Forks of the Cheyenne River, in Dakota, a portion of which equivalent should be made to take the place of the free rations now granted.
In order to provide for the question of a fair equivalent for this country, by direction of the President, a topographical and geological survey of the Black Hills was ordered, the preliminary report of which, by Walter P. Jenney, mining engineer in charge, will be found herewith. It furnishes many interesting and important facts respecting a region hitherto almost unknown. Professor Jenney and his assistants are entitled to large credit for the conscientious diligence and thoroughness, which are apparent at every point in their work. The aid rendered by the War Department, by the courtesy of the General of the Army, and by Col. R.I. Dodge, commanding the escort, has been invaluable to the success of the survey. Without such aid, no satisfactory results could have been obtained, on account of the limited funds available for this purpose. The report confirms, in a large degree, the statements of travelers and explorers and the reports of General Custer's military expedition of last year, and shows a gold-field with an area of eight hundred square miles, and around this gold region, principally to the north, an additional area within the Black Hills country of three thousand square miles of arable lands, and this latter embracing along its streams an area equal to two hundred square miles finely adapted to agriculture, while the hillsides and elevations contiguous thereto are equally adapted to purposes of grazing, making the whole area of three thousand square miles of timber, grazing, and arable land of great value for agricultural purposes.
According to the findings of this report, if there were no gold in this country to attract the white man, and the Indians could be left to undisturbed occupation of the Black Hills, this region, naturally suited to agriculture and herding, is the one of all others within the boundaries of the Sioux reservation best adapted to their immediate and paramount necessities. I doubt whether any land now remaining in the possession of the General Government offers equal advantages; but it will be found impracticable to utilize the country Ibr the Sioux. So long as gold exists in the same region, the agricultural country surrounding the gold-fields will be largely required to support the miners, and to attempt to bring the wild Sioux into proximity to the settlers and miners would be to invite provocations and bloody hostility.
These facts respecting the country which the Sioux seem about to be compelled to surrender, for the sake of promoting the mining and agri-
cultural interests of white men, have an important bearing upon the question of compensation which shall be allowed for their lands; for it must be borne in mind that unless the Sioux Nation becomes extinct, of which there is no probability, the time is close upon them when they must have just such an opportunity for self-support as that which is now known to be offered in the Black Hills; and if, for the want of another such country, they are obliged to begin civilization under increased disabilities, humanity as well as equity demands that such disability shall be compensated by increased aid from the Government; and to avoid the perils of future legislation, or want of legislation, the compensation should be provided for and fixed at the time when we are taking away their valuable lands.
The fact that these Indians are making but little if any use of the Black Hills has no bearing upon the question of what is a fair equivalent for the surrender of these rare facilities for farming and grazing. They are children, utterly unable to comprehend their own great necessities just ahead; they cannot, therefore, see that the country which now only furnishes them lodge-poles and a few antelope has abundant resources for their nture wants, when they shall cease to be barbarous pensioners upon the Government and begin to provide for their own living. Their ignorance of themselves and of true values makes the stronger appeal to our sense of what is right and fair.
The true equivalent to be offered the Sioux, as helpless wards of the Government, for the Black Hills will be found by estimating what eight hundred square miles of gold-fields are worth to us, and what three thousand square miles of timber, agricultural, and grazing lands are worth to them.
These Indians have heretofore been the subject of much inquiry and effort for relief by the Department. In 1873 Special Commissioner Rev. John G. Ames made thorough inquiry into their condition and necessities, and made full report of the same. The measures suggested in that report and recommended to Congress for adoption not meeting with approval, Commissioner C.A. Wetmore, of California, made further inquiries as to the feasibility of a different plan for relieving their disabilities, and submitted his report in December, 1874. These reports furnished valuable information to the Office, from which, together with previous reports of superintendents and agents, the following facts respecting these Indians are compiled.
They have received the name of Mission Indians from their relation to the early Catholic missions on the Pacific coast, the first of which was established at San Diego in 1769, others following until 1804, at which time there were nine missions at different points lying along the coast between San Diego and San Francisco. The missionaries having semi-religious and semi-political recognition by the authority of Spain and Mexico, assumed control of the entire coast, and by degrees brought the Indians under subjection and gathered them in settlements around their missions, where they were instructed in agriculture and a low form of civilized life, and put to labor in cultivating large tracts of fertile lands, which they were allowed to occupy in common, under the direction and control of the padres. The original idea on which these missions were maintained seems to have been that so soon as these Indians should be brought, as converts of the church, into a condition for self-support, the lands which they were occupying and cultivating should be
allotted as their own. But the profitableness of the peonage and the docility of the Indians made any haste in the direction of individual rights unnecessary if not undesirable on the part of the missionaries. They were therefore continued in peonage and without recognition of their individual rights up to the date of the secularization act of 1833. At this time the Indian missions were the centers of industry and of wealth and of social attraction for the Pacific coast country. ln 1826, they were reported at twenty-one missions as numbering 25,000, and possessed of 365,000 head of cattle, sheep, and horses, and harvesting 75,000 bushels of grain. The "law of secularization" passed in the Mexican Congress treated all these Mexican lands, with their improvements, flocks, and herds, as the property of the church, and divided them up among a few Spanish and Mexican families. The Indians were scattered over the country, principally along the coast, upon the fertile, watered and then unoccupied tracts, and procured their living by herding wild cattle and horses, cultivating small patches of ground, and receiving employment from the surrounding whites, whom they accepted virtually as their masters.
In this way they gradually came into possession, and some have continued to occupy the best portions of the country without inquiry as to whether their homes were embraced in the boundary-lines of a Mexican grant or liable at any moment to be entered at the land-office in the name of some settler.
When the tide of trade and gold emigration swept over the State of California, these Indians were found practically without protection by law in their rights to the land on which they were living, and by suits of ejectment and cost of contingent fees it was comparatively easy the incoming American to dispossess all the Indians of Northern and Middle California. Thus made homeless wanderers, the process of vice and destitution by which they were carried away is fitly described as extermination. For the 4,000 or 5,000 who remained in the southern portion of Lower California this doom seems to have been postponed by the delay in the settlement of the country. Gradually, however, for the past eight years, Southern California has been filling up by emigration; Spanish and Mexican grants have been "determined" in such a way as to cover choice tracts wherever found; large ranches have been cut up and the desirable portions of public domain pre-empted; and thus all available agricultural lands have been seized or occupied by individual owners, who, in conformity to law, have become possessed of the lands on which the renmants of a few thousand Mission Indians are making their homes in San Diego and San Bernardino Counties. So long as the pre-emptors and purchasers did not require their lands for use or sale, the Indians were allowed to remain undisturbed and in blissful ignorance of the fact that the place they called home had by law passed to the ownership of another. Of late, under the increasing demands for these lands, writs of ejectment are being procured by which the Indians are forcibly dispossessed and turned adrift in poverty and wretchedness.
The Indians living on the tract of land known as Temecula, in the county of San Diego, have within the past two months been thus dispossessed. The Temecula ranch was confirmed by the district court of the United States for the southern district of California to Louis Vigues in 1855. No steps were taken to disturb the Indians until 1873, when a judgment was recovered in the city of San Francisco against these Indians, who were at that time living 500 miles away, all unconscious that any person was seeking their possessions: and on the 17th
of August last the owners, under Vigues, procured a writ from the court in San Francisco for ejectment of Indians and for the satisfaction of the costs by the personal property of the Indians. The execution of this writ has not only deprived the Indians of their homes and of their crops just maturing for harvest, but has taken their little personal property in satisfaction of cost of judgment. It is easy to understand the exasperation and despair produced among the Indians by such an order enforced by the authority of the State. Their remonstrance and threats under the provocation were interpreted to mean violence, and the aid of the United States military was evoked against them. Their forbearance and peaceful disposition were, however, soon manifest, and the fears of white citizens allayed. The agent has been instructed to procure, if possible, a suitable ranch which may be leased temporarily, with privilege of purchase; but the embarrassments under which the Department has labored for the past two years in its efforts to rescue these Indians from their present condition still continue. There are no adequate funds for their relief, either in purchasing small tracts of country, or leasing ranches, or for furnishing rations in adequate amount.
In 1870, on the representation of the agent, Lieut. A. P. Greene, United States Army, indorsed by the superintendent, B.C. Whiting, six townships were set apart for the permanent homes of these Indians, and the lands, by Executive order, were withdrawn from public sale. At that time a few settlers had made improvements of comparatively small value within these six townships. This tract of country, known as the Pala and San Pasqual reservations, was adapted to the Indians' wants, and contained lands sufficient to furnish homes for all the Indians in California, who were liable to be dispossessed of the homes they were occupying. But the setting apart of these reservations received the most strenuous, united, and persistent opposition of the citizens and press of California. The proceeding was represented as an enormous swindle upon the Government and a hardship and outrage upon the Indians, and numerous petitions and remonstrances, signed by leading citizens, were forwarded to the President. And the Indians thcmselves, for whose benefit alone the reservations had been created, were induced to ask not to be sent thither, but to be "let alone" upon the lands they were then occupying, and which they were left to believe would remain permanently their homes.
In accordance with this demand of public opinion in California, Commissioner Parker suggested to the Department the propriety of restoring the Pala and San Pasqual reserves to the public domain, which was accordingly done by Executive order of February 17, 1871, and this last opportunity of furnishing these Indians with homes by substituting public lands in California for those in the title to which the Government had failed to protect them was lost. A resistance to the public demand in strict conformity with justice to the Indians would have enabled the Government then at slight cost to have made ample provision for the Mission Indians. Thus matters remained until in 1873 the Department, anticipating for all the Mission Indians what has lately happened to the Temecula band, called the attention of Congress most earnestly to the subject. The necessary appropriation asked for this purpose not being granted, attention was again called during the last session of Congress to the same subject, and an appropriation of $100,000 asked for the Indian service in California, by which great relief would have been brought to these Indians; but that estimate was reduced in the bill to the usual amount granted for the other Indians of that State, leaving but a small amount which could in any case be used for the Mission Indians.
In my judgement, the best method of meeting the necessities of these, Indians will be to secure to them by withdrawal from sale all the public lands upon which they are now living. Under directions from the Office, the agent has employed a surveyor to indicate such boundaries as will enable the President to issue an Executive order making the proper withdrawal. This course, however, will provide for but very few of the Indians, from the fact that nearly all of the arable lands in that section of the country have been sought for and are covered by Mexican landgrants or entries in the United States Land Office. For the remainder, it will be necessary to purchase small tracts of land at different points upon which the Indians may locate permanent homes, and where they will be in the vicinity of the planters and ranch-men, who will give them profitable employment as laborers. For the purchase of these tracts and of the improvements which may be found within other tracts desirable for small reservations, an appropriation of not less than $150,000 will be required, and I respectfully suggest that the attention of Congress be again called to the importance of this subject.
Congress at its last session appropriated funds for an experiment of enforced civilization among the captives of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Cheyenne tribes of the Indian Territory. It was proposed to move a large number of these hostiles from three to four thousand away from their present surroundings, and from the buffalo range and easy opportunity for raiding in Texas, to a portion of the Indian Territory where they could be disarmed, dismounted, and prevented from returning to their old haunts, and compelled to undertake day-labor in return for the food and clothing furnished them by the Government.
In pursuance of this plan, a tract of country containing 40,000 acres was procured from the Quapaws, who have a reservation lying in the northeast corner of the Indian Territory. Such preparation as the season allowed has been made for the reception of these captive hostiles, in the breaking of ground and erection of buildings; but owing to objections raised by military officers, the execution of the plan is still in abeyance, and the Indians, with the exception of seventy, are at their former agencies. These seventy were selected by the military officers, as ringleaders in marauding and guilty of other enormities, for puuishment, and were taken by the War Department to Fort Marion, on the coast of Florida, where they are still held as prisoners. The effect of this treatment is most happy upon others of the tribe. It is the first wholesome lesson which these Indians have ever had in a settled purpose of the Government to compel them to cease from murder and marauding. I deem the delay in the proposed experiment of enforcing civilization by removing a portion of these Indians to Quapaw reservation as unfortunate; and it will still be more unfortunate if it finally be decided to abandon the plan, and thus surrender this most favorable opportunity of compelling Indians hitherto wild and idle, and often insolent in their demands for rations, to come to daily toil or suffer hunger.
No marked change has appeared in the condition of the five civilized tribes in the Indian Territory. They number 55,000, and occupy a country containing 62,000 square miles, or more than one square mile to a person. No statistical reports having been received concerning them
since 1872, the Office has no means of making a comparative statement of their condition, but there is abundant evidence that socially they are in a transition state. They feel the pressure of the white man on every side, and, among the full-bloods especially, there is a growing apprehension that before long the barriers will give way, their country be overrun, and themselves dispossessed. To the more intelligent among them, and especially the mixed-bloods, who are able to see that close contact with the civilization of the whites will help forward rather than retard their own civilization and prosperity, this outlook is not so full of apprehension. Indeed, it is probable that if the question were left to this class among the Indians, with primary reference not only to their own interests, but to the common welfare, they would regard the settlement of families of respectable whites in such numbers as to fairly populate the country as a contribution to the prosperous condition of the Indians, rather than otherwise; provided that before the pressure and competition of white neighbors is permitted, the Indians themselves should have first come into individual ownership of a homestead, without power to alienate the title, and with a fair acquaintance by experience of its value as a home. In other words, this people are now at the point in civilization where the next lesson can be given, not in councils or in continued isolation, but in the living example of a neighbor, who, by his skill and industry in cultivating the same soil from which they procure a scanty and precarious livelihood, comes rapidly into comfort and wealth. The time has not by any means arrived for throwing this country open to settlement, but the fact is before them, and should now be embraced in their plans for the future, that it is not possible for them and would by no means be well for them, if it were possible, by perpetuatmg their Indian nationalities, to live always outside the pale of United States citizeuship, and that no Indian country can exist perpetually within the boundaries of this Republic without becoming in all essential particulars a part of the United States: and they should at once begin to shape their affairs with reference to this fact, by taking their lands in severalty, and by using all possible means of giving their children such education as will prepare them for contact and competition with white men.
In order, however, to render such preparatory steps possible by the Indians, a long-neglected duty of providing adequate means for protection of life and property and punishment of crime among 71,000 people who are practically without law or means of justice should at once be undertaken by the United States.
Further effort has been made by leading men among these different tribes in the Indian Territory to procure the establishment of a consolidated government of Indians by Indians; but it has not succeeded, and this large population becomes more and more helpless under the increasing lawlessness among themselves and the alarming intrusion of outlawed white men.
The nearest United States court for this whole Territory is that of the western district of Arkansas at Fort Smith. The expense of making arrests by marshals, and securing the attendance of witnesses over the great distances of the Indian Territory, makes the court practically of little avail for protection or punishment. Meanwhile the country continues to afford an asylum for refugees from justice from the States and to invite the immigration of the very worst class of men that infest an Indian border. The need of this Territory to-day is a government of
the simplest form possible; and, in my judgment, a government similar to that provided for "the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio," (Stat. at L., vol. 51,) preliminary to the organization of a general assembly, would, l think, be the best adapted for the Indian Territory at present, both on account of its simplicity and its economy. It consisted of a governor, a secretary, and judges, who had power to adopt and publish in the Territory such laws of the United States, criminal and civil, as were found necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the Territory, said laws to be reported to Congress from time to time, and to be in force in said Territory unless approved by that body; the governor also to have power to appoint magistrates and other necessary civil officers.
The anomalous state of social and political affairs in this Territory renders some such form of government as above set forth much better adapted to the circumstances and necessities of the case than an elective and representative government could possibly be for several years. Of the seventy-one thousand, all but seven thousand have attained to such a degree of civilization as to be capable of appreciating and profiting by a government of this character, and the remainder being the wilder and wholly uneducated tribes could be readily brought to feel force in restraint and education. On the other hand an elective government for these people would bring together representatives from thirty-five different tribes, and any legislation or any discussion to be made intelligible must be translated into as many different tongues. But a more serious, and I think more fatal, objection would be found in the sectional and tribal jealousies, which have their strength in proportion to the ignorance of a people, and among these thirty-five tribes would render most, if not all, the enactments of such a representative body practically of no avail to govern its people or embrace its laws.
I believe the simple form of government above suggested can be made strong and effective and will prevent the experiment of a confederated self government, for which the Indians are not prepared, and which would be sure to result in anarcby and strife.
Great care should be taken, however, that this government be restricted in its powers that its sole function shall be to make and administcr law, for the prevention of intrusion, the protection of the rights and interests of the Indians as against all outside parties, and to define the rights and embrace the obligations of the Indians as among themselves; and this Governnment should be strictly prohibited from any attempt to confer rights or privileges upon any corporation whatever, or upon any individual other than the lawful members of the Indian tribes. By this method I deem it entirely feasible by appropriate legislation to provide an efficient government for the Territory to the great benefit of the people governed without encroaching upon the rights and privileges of individuals. If however, it shall be deemed inexpedient to provide such a government on account of treaty stipulations that each separate tribe shall govern itself; then I would respectfully recommend the establishment of a United States court within the boundary of the territory, with such a force of marshals as shall be sufficient for the execution of the process of court without calling for troops to act as posse.
These Indians occupy a most interesting and important position in the history of the country. They ought not to be left the prey to the worst influence which can be brought to them in the life and example of the meanest white men. They deserve such guardianship and care on the part of the United States as will secure for them the powerful aid to elevation which comes from the presence of law.
While some of the agencies are overcrowded with Indians, bringing more persons under the management of one agent than he can well control, there are instances where reduction of agencies by consolidation is both practicable and desirable. During the past year three agencies in Arizona have been put into one, to the increased economy and efficiency of the service. The effort to consolidate Siletz and Alsea agencies in Oregon, interrupted by the winter-season, will be resumed in the spring. Legislation was sought from the last Congress which would have permitted an important consolidation of agencies and reservations in Washington Territory, reducing their number by one-half, and effecting a corresponding saving in the cost of administrating agency affairs.
I respectfully recommend that this matter be again brought to the attention of Congress.
Further consolidation may be effected by combining the two Nevada agencies, and by sending the Poncas to the Omahas or the Indian Territory and the Hoopa Valley Indians, and, if possible, the Tule River Indians to Round Valley, in California.
Forty-four Indian agencies have been inspected during the year Additional service was required, and would have been rendered but for the inadequate appropriation for the traveling expenses of the inspectors. By act of Congress the number of inspectors was reduced from five to three, and the provision requiring agencies to be visited in rotation by different inspectors was repealed. The use of the force has been thus placed at the discretion of the Department, and the service of three made equivalent to that of five, as rendered under previous restrictions.
This force, however, is not sufficient to meet the requirements of thorough and frequent inspection. By increasing the number to five, with a sufficient allowance for mileage, the additional expense will be many times compensated in securing, increased efficiency of the service, and economy in the use of agency funds.
In my last annual report I laid special emphasis on the importance of securing for Indians the privilege of a homestead-act by which those disposed to abandon tribal connections and Indian life might be able to secure homes for themselves on the public land. By legislation of Congress a privilege looking to this end was procured; but in order to secure the highest benefit, such modifications of the Indian homestead-act are required as shall guard against the attempt of speculators who will seek to intluce Indians not yet prepared for a homestead to avail themselves of its privileges, with a view to secure an easy partition of the tribal funds, which in many instances are of such amounts as to make the prey to the avarice of his white friend and attorney.
1. By providing that the criminal laws of the United States shall be in force upon reservations and shall apply to all offenses, including those of Indians against Indians, and by extending the jurisdiction of the United States courts to enforce the same.
2. By declaring Indians amenable to the police-laws of the State or Territory for any act committed outside a reservation.
3. By conferring upon the President authority at his discretion to extend the jurisdiction of the State courts, or any portion of them, to any reservation whenever, in his judgment, any tribe is prepared for such control.
4. By providing sufficient force of deputy marshals to enforce law and order both among and in behalf of Indians.
5. By giving authority to the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe for all tribes prepared, in his judgment, to adopt the same, an elective government, through which shall be administered all necessary police regulations of the reservation.
6. By providing a distinct territorial government or United States court, wherever Indians are in sufficient numbers to justify it.
These recommendations failed to receive favorable action, and as a consequence the Department has had another year of experience in the effort to govern over 275,000 people without any law punishing crime committed among themselves. Several instances have occurred in which the State courts have been asked to receive an Indian prisoner arrested and delivered to them, and to try him for murder or other high crime; the evidence of guilt was abundant, but the Indian has always escaped punishment for want of jurisdiction of the court.
Practically the crime of murder, where only Indians are concerned, committed off a reservation and within a State or Territory, cannot be punished, either for want of jurisdiction or from indifference on the part of the local authorities. This state of immunity for crime by Indians is unfortunate for them and embarrassing to the service, and becomes increasingly so as a tribe approaches civilization, from the fact that every step in that direction loosens and disintegrates the old tribal government of authority by chiefs, and furnishes only anarchy in return.
Such legislation is absolutely required for the further progress among the Indians as shall modify radically their relation to the Government in the following particulars:
First. To make an Indian as amenable to law as any other subject of the United States.
Second. To encourage and, if necessary, to compel him to abandon tribal relations and act for himself as an individual.
So long as the Government allows an Indian to live without law, and furnishes inducements for him to remain one of a herd with only community interests, instead of coming under personal responsibility for good behavior, and individual rights of property, he will be found disabled and oppressed with needless difficulties. By appropriate legislation recognize each man no longer as a member of a savage tribe, but as capable of individual manhood, and on that theory provide for his necessities and capabilities, and a very important step has been taken in the advancement of the work which now lingers waiting for this aid.
The theory of Indian sovereignty has practically placed the Indians at a disadvantage in their relations to the several States where they are found. Being held by the State authorities to be neither citizens nor
paupers, nor criminals, nor wards in any sense, they come easily to be regarded on all hands as outcasts and intruders, and a normal prey for anybody strong or cunning enough to defraud them.
The most potent and sure remedy for this evil will be found in committing the Indians at the earliest day possible to the care of the State. It is not probable that State authorities will be found ready to accept this care with its responsibilities, except in cases where the Indians have attained to such a degree of civilization as to become self-supporting, and in other respects ready to mingle with the citizens of the State, and be subject to the same municipal control; or in cases where sufficient funds are provided for by the annuities or the tribes, or by the surplus lands within the reservations, or by special appropriation of Congress to meet all probable expenses incident to their care and preparation for citizenship. These conditions already exist among the Indians of New York, and Michigan, and North Carolina, and a portion of those in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
There can be no question that the interests of all parties concerned would be benefited by a transfer of the care of the Indians upon the seven reservations in New York to the authorities of that State, either directly, or by declaring said State the guardian or agent of the United States in their behalf. The funds belonging to these Indians, $4,000 per year, would then be disbursed under the care of the officers of the county in which the Indians reside, and could easily be applied for school purposes, support of orphans, or for meeting some other common want of the Indians, instead of being expended, as they now are, in the purchase of annuity-goods, amounting to a few yards of calico and cotton-cloth to each person. With the responsibility of these Indians thus assumed by the State, it is not at all probable that there would long remain in the heart of New York seven Indian reservations existing as separate kingdoms, one of them 40 miles long and 1 mile wide, within the laws of the State relating to highways, schools, taxes, and the collection of debts have no jurisdiction.
The interest which the authorities of New York have shown in the protection and education of the Indians within her borders, leaves no doubt as to the benefit which would arise to the Indians from coming under the immediate care and entire control of the State, among the first of which would be immediate steps to bring the Indians into citizenship, qualified or entire. What is true of New York is also true of Michigan, although not to so marked a degree. Four-fifths of the Indians within her borders are prepared for full citizenship, living in their own homes and farms; and the others are in such a condition of advancement as to be quite unlikely to receive any further Government aid than is provided in their treaty stipulations. It is, therefore, largely for the interests of Michigan as well as for her Indians, that she should take charge of this people; and that the treaty-funds still due them should be so expended through her local officers that the most benefit shall be derived therefrom in the direction of the civilization and preparation for citizenship of a people who are a part of her body politic.
The same is true of the Chippewas, Menomenees, Oneidas, and Stockbridges in Wisconsin. They belong within this State, and there is no prospect or proposal for removing them. The property of these Indians in annuities and lands, and the timber standing on their reservations is ample to create a fund which will secure the State against any burden of taxation in their future care and control; and it would seem fit that the State having them in charge, and obliged ultimately to bear whatever disability may arise from their presence, is entitled now to take charge
of their property, and so to manage it as to provide for the largest benefit to the Indians within her borders. What is true of Indians in Wisconsin and their property, may be said with some qualifications of the Chippewas in Minnesota.
I recommend that legislation be sought from Congress looking toward the divorcement of the United States and Indians as "citizens of a domestic sovereignty within our borders," and the transfer of the Indians and their property to the States where they reside, as rapidly as both the States and the Indians are prepared therefor; but the provisions of such legislation should be specific as to the States, and not in general terms.
A question has been raised in many forms during the year as to the expediency of transferring the Indian Bureau from the Interior to the War Department. In 1868 this subject was quite thoroughly discussed, and is treated of at length in the annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for that year. During that year, also, a peace commission was appointed by the President, under act of Congress, "to remove if possible the causes of war, to secure as far as practicable our frontier settlements and the safe building of our railroads, looking toward the Pacific, and to suggest or inaugurate some plan for the civilization of the Indians." This commission, composed of eight, three of whom were civilians of large acquaintance with Indian matters, and five military officers of high rank, and most familiar with the subject of which they treated, after visiting and making treaties with the most warlike and unmanageable of all the tribes, declared their opinion on the subject as follows:
"This brings us to consider the much-mooted question whether the Indian Bureau should belong to the civil or military department of the Government. To determine this properly we must first know what is to be the future treatment of the Indians. If we intend to have war with them, the Bureau should go to the Secretary of War. If we intend to have peace, it should be in the civil department. In our judgment such wars are wholly unnecessary, and hoping that the Government and the country will agree with us, we cannot now advise the change. It is possible that, in despite our efforts to maintain peace, war may be forced on us by some tribe or tribes of Indians. In the event of such occurrence, it may be well to provide, in the revision of the intercourse laws or elsewhere, at what time the civil jurisdiction shall cease, and the military jurisdiction begin. If thought advisable, also, Congress may authorize the President to turn over to the military the exclusive control of such tribes as may be continually hostile or unmanageable. Under the plans which we have suggested, the chief duties of the Bureau will be to educate and instruct in the peaceful arts in other words, to civilize the Indians. The military arm of the Government is not the most admirably adapted to discharge duties of this character. We have the highest possible appreciation of the officers of the Army, and fully recognize their proverbial integrity and honor; but we are satisfied that not one in a thousand would like to teach Indian children to read and write, or Indian men to sow and reap. These are emphatically civil and not military occupations.
"But it is insisted that the present Indian service is corrupt, and this change should be made to get rid of the dishonest. That there are many bad men connected with the service cannot be denied. The records are
abundant to show that agents have pocketed the funds appropriated by the Government, and driven the Indians to starvation. It cannot be doubted that Indian wars have originated from this cause. The Sioux war, in Minnesota, is supposed to have been produced in this way. For a long time these officers have been selected from partisan ranks, not so much on account of honesty or qualification as for devotion to party interests and their willingness to apply the money of the Indians to promote the selfish schemes of local politiciaus. We do not doubt that some such men may be in the service of the Bureau now; and this leads us to suggest that Congress pass an act fixing a day (not later than the 1st of February, 1869) when the offices of all superintendents, agents, and special agents shall be vacated. Such persons as have proved themselves competent and faithful may be re-appointed. Those who have proved unfit will find themselves removed without an opportunity to divert attention from their own unworthiness by professious of party zeal."
The wise expedient, recommended for ridding the service of unworthy agents already in office, was not adopted by Congress, but has been virtually put into effect by the order of the President requiring the nomination of all Indian agents to come from the several religious bodies of the country.
This opinion respecting the transfer to the War Department was rendered before any well-defined plan for civilization had been adopted, and at a time when the Indian service, under civilian management, was in its most unsatisfactory condition, and when open hostilities or a very precarious condition of peace existed among more than half the Indians of the country. That the conclusions thus reached by military officers of the rank and experience of Generals Sherman, Harney, Terry, and Augur were safe and wise, the experience of the last seven years has fully demonstrated. And if the civil arm of the Government was best adapted to the work required then, it is difficult to see how it can be otherwise now, when, with the exception of a portion of the Sioux lndians in Montana and Dakota, and three or four thousand vagrant Utes and Apaches in New Mexico, the whole Indian population is quiet, and, except under the most blundering and grossly unjust treatment, will cause no apprehensions of war or serious difficulty hereafter. At five-sixths of the Indian agencies no soldier is ever seen or needed. At one-half of the remainder, soldiers are only required to act as a posse to assist the agent in making arrests of turbulent men; and even this posse could be much more cheaply and efficiently provided by dispensing with soldiers and increasing the force of United States marshals wherever needed for the control and discipline of Indians. So far, then, as eleven-twelfths of the Indian agencies are concerned, the question of putting them under the control of the War Department has no more pertinency than that of putting the alms-house and city schools under the metropolitian police. A standing army and an ordinary Indian agency have no common end in view. On the contrary, whenever it is at all possible to control the Indians without force, the purposes sought to be accomplished under a policy of civilization are always materially hindered by the presence and example of soldiers. The first lesson to be given the Indian is that of self-support by labor with his own hands the last lesson which a man in uniform teaches. But more, and above all, the inevitable demoralization of intemperance and lewdness which comes to a reservation from a camp of soldiers makes it of the highest consequence that the connection of the Army with the Indians be kept
at the minimum consistent with their necessary control and the safety of the frontier.
For the wilder tribes who cannot yet be controlled, except either the presence or under the fear of cavalry and infantry, the question has a somewhat different aspect. If there are any tribes, or portions of a tribe, of whose civilization the Government for any reason despairs, and whom it is proposed merely to corral and ration from this time on until they cease to exist, their transfer to the War Department is eminently fit and desirable. But if it is proposed at some time and by some means to bring these wilder tribes out of barbarism into a condition of self-support, then the present condition of control by civilian agents, if abandoned for purposes of discipline through the military, must be resumed as soon as the Government is ready to pursue its main end in the management of Indians; and, in my judgment, owing to the entire incompatibility of the methods and teachings of the Army with this civilian service, I should regard it far better to continue even the wild tribes under the control of the civil agent and arrange for the required discipline and restraint by a hearty and thorough co-operation on the part of the military
The difficulty which this Bureau has experienced heretofore in dealing with lndians of this class in connection with the military service has arisen quite largely from the unreadiness of Army officers to furnish a force to act merely as a posse to a civil agent, and the want of acquaintance on the part of the agents with the requirements of military routine and regulations. This source of friction, however, among officials at the front is not serious, and can be largely overcome by the cultivation of a spirit of forbearance and by the common purpose of their superior officers, both military and civil, to bring the whole service of the country to its highest condition.
There is, however, a sphere of service now undertaken by this Bureau which might, to its great relief, be transferred to the War Department. The supplies of clothing and subsistence required to be purchased for the Indian service amounts to about $2,000,000. Much the larger portion of this sum is expended in purchasing for the Sioux and several other tribes a few articles in large amounts. The Indian Bureau has never had an adequate appointment for making such large purchases and for transportation of the articles to the distant parts of the country. The Quartermaster and Commissary Departments of the Army have such appointments in complete organization, through which the War Department would be able to purchase, inspect, and transport the goods and supplies required to subsist Indians, and fulfill the treaty obligations, with much more regularity and system than is possible for this Bureau as at present organized; and while a comparison of purchases made by the Army with those made by the Indian Bureau of the same article at the same place does not indicate that the transfer will on the whole tend to economy of funds, but rather otherwise, it will yet tend to allay suspicion, and will furnish checks and tests for ready application, whenever charges of fraud in the service are made, either on good grounds or for partisan or selfish purposes, or by persons of repute and acting in good faith, who are themselves victims of such purposes on the part of others. If it shall be deemed advisable to transfer this portion of the service to the War Department, rather than to furnish the additional clerical equipments necessary for its proper administration in the Indian Bureau, I would respectful]y recommend for the consideration of the honorable Secretary the procurement of such legislation as will allow the President in his discretion to direct that any portion
of this service of buying and transporting Indian goods and supplies be performed by the War Department. But, if the transfer suggested is made without lodging this discretionary power in the President, it should be limited in its operations to the purchasing and forwarding of supplies, of which the value of any one class of article at any one agency shalt exceed the sum of $1,000. This limitation is quite important in order to allow the disbursement through the agents of such limited amount of funds as may be required in purchase of articles for immediate use, in cases where delay would be damaging to all interests concerned.
Owing to inadequate appropriations, deficiencies have occurred in greater or less amounts annually. The largest deficiency was found in the appropriations of 1873 and 1874, of which there is a balance still remaining unprovided for, amounting to $495,001.23, for which the estimate submitted to the last Congress failed to receive action by that body. During the same year, $751,418.82 was covered into the Treasury as a surplus fund, not being applicable to meet the class of liabilities for which the expenditures creating the deficiency were made.
The existing deficiency is mainly composed of comparatively small sums, due to a large number of individuals for supplies or services actually furnished on the order of the agents of the Department. There is no dispute as to the justness of the accounts of these claims, and the failure to provide for their payment will be a perpetuation of hardships. The affairs among the Sioux, developed by the events of the year, have necessitated an unexpected expenditure, which will require to be met by a deficiency appropriation. The sum of $1,100,000, appropriated for their subsistence, is not sufficient to give them bread, meat, coffee, and sugar, and make suitable provision for transportation and issuing of the supplies at the seven different agencies. Possibly, if only beef and flour or corn were furnished, this sum would support life for them; but the cutting off of bacon, coffee, and sugar would be made the occasion of great complaint by the Indians. I have endeavored to reduce these luxuries for the Sioux to the minimum which their demands and the complaints of their friends would allow, and expected to be able, by subsisting the Indians on beef, to carry them through the year, by supplementing the amount appropriated for their subsistence with their beneficiary fund of $200,000; but the cession of the Black Hills has made an exigency which has involved the Department in a considerable outlay, which requires to be met by a deficiency appropriation. The cost of the very satisfactory geological and topographical survey, and the expense of the negotiations for the cession of the Black Hills, including, the presents to the Indians, together with that of the Red Cloud investigating commission, have caused an unexpected expenditure of nearly $75,000, which will require to be met by a deficiency appropriation. From the best judgment I am now able to form, all other deficiencies for the present year will not exceed the amount which will be saved to the Government by being carried to the surplus fund.
The relations of the Office to the Board of Indian Commissioners have been entirely co-operative, and of material benefit and assistance in promoting economy and efficiency to the service. The suggestions of the the Board, made on information derived by them by personal visitation of agencies, and other sources, have enabled the Office to act with a better