NADP Homepage
Gaither to Commissioner, 20 August 1889, in United States, Interior Department, Report of the Secretary of the Interior; Being Part of the Message and Documents Communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the Beginning of the Second Session of the Fiftieth Congress, vol. 2, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1890), NADP Document D139.
[Page 273]



      SIR: I have the honor to submit my annual report for year ending June 30, 1889.


      The census and statistics have been carefully gathered. I have used all employes in this work, collecting from each such items as was connected with his duties. The population is as follows:

Males over eighteen years of age .......... 201
Females over eighteen years of age   .......... 211
Males and females between the ages of six and eighteen .......... 90
Children under six years of age .......... 104

Total .......... 606

[Page 274]


      When I assumed charge of the agency on the 1st of April, 1889, the school had been closed for eight or nine months. The school was reopened, and by persistent letter-writing I obtained authority to employ a blacksmith and wheelwright. Thereby I was enabled to open the blacksmith and wagon shops. Authority was also obtained to employ apprentices in both the shops and sewing-room, thereby affording better facilities for industrial training than had been afforded during my acquaintance with the agency; fair progress has been the result in the school-room and shops.


      During the short time I have been in charge there have been about forty members taken into the Methodist Church and about the same number have been baptized into the Catholic Church. I have given all possible aid and encouragement to the church work, and have endeavored to secure to the Indians the privilege of religious liberty.


      After making a number of earnest appeals to the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs authority was granted to repair the saw-mill and planing machine and to employ a sawyer. Immediately after July 1, I commenced the work of repairing the mill, and am now ready to saw lumber for the first time in four years. We feel greatly encouraged that one of the greatest needs of the Indians can be supplied soon, and that they can in a short time have all the lumber they need for improvement.


      The grist-mill should be removed and repaired; it has been lying idle for years. The bolting-cloth has been entirely destroyed by rats. There is no flouring-mill nearer the agency than 60 miles; consequently the Indians can realize nothing from wheat if they raise it. This is a matter of serious import to the Indians. They buy all the flour they use except the small amount furnished by the Government to old and infirm. The result is that thousands of dollars leave the reservation each year for breadstuff that should be produced on the reservation, and would be produced if there was an opportunity to have the wheat ground into flour.


      Authority has been granted for the erection of a laundry building, and for the repair of the boarding and school houses. These improvements are badly needed and can now soon be made, since we have opportunities to make lumber; but there are other improvements much needed. A wind-mill, tank, and tower is very necessary to the security of the school buildings, and also to furnish an ample supply of water for ordinary purposes of the school and laundry.


      The Siletz Indians all wear citizens' clothes. Most of them speak and understand English enough for ordinary intercourse. Almost half of them read and write, and a number of the younger ones are fairly well educated. They all live in houses; their houses are all frame and box, no log. A fair proportion are painted, and some of them well finished and reasonably furnished. As a rule the more advanced class take considerable pride in their homes. The teepee, the blanket, and the moccasin are things of the past on this reservation.
      The agricultural lands are rich, very productive of all the crops grown in this latitude. Apples and pears and almost every variety of small fruit grow abundantly here. The Indians are engaged in the raising of oats, timothy, potatoes, garden vegetables, and almost every variety of fruit. Wheat is not grown extensively, for reasons above stated. They are gradually selling off their ponies and buying work-horses. I am glad to note that some of them are awaking to the importance of raising cattle, and pay more attention to stock-raising than heretofore.
      They are fairly sober, and industrious, quiet, and easily controlled, and are good laborers for wages. They are much sought after by white people on the outside of the reservation – in the hop-fields and elsewhere. While there has been no rapid advance in civilization I feel fully warranted in saying that our progress has been steady and bene-

[Page 275]

ficial. For further information concerning crops raised, lands cultivated, stock owned by Indians, and buildings erected by Indians, I refer you to the statistics accompanying this report.


      In the year 1887 the work of allotting was commenced on this reservation by Special Agent M. C. Connelly. Seventy-one complete allotments were made; the work was then abandoned. In my monthly report for April last I alluded to the anxiety of the Indians to receive the allotment authorized by law. On May 21 the honorable Commissioner writes and directs me to submit a report showing the surveys required to be made in order that the work of allotment could be completed on the reservation. On the 3d of June, 1889, I made my report to the Commissioner, showing, as nearly as possible from the records at this office, the condition of the surveys of the reservation, since which time nothing has been heard at this office in relation thereto. I take this occasion to repeat that the Indians are very anxious to have their lands allotted to them, and I believe that allotting their land in severalty will do more to inspire them with a pride of ownership and build them up more rapidly than any one thing that can be done for them.


      The court as now constituted is of material aid to the agent in the settlement of the many little difficulties that come up among the Indians, and its decisions have in the main been correct and satisfactory. The court has worked well as one of the means of civilization instituted by the Government on this reservation.

Very respectfully,
United States Indian Agent.