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STATISTICS OF INDIANS.

BY THOMAS DONALDSON.

THE SIX NATIONS OF NEW YORK.

The story of the Five, afterward Six, Nations, or, more properly, the league of the Iroquois, no matter how or when told, never loses its interest. The uncertainty and doubt surrounding most North American Indian history are partially removed from the Six Nations. They of all American Indians have best preserved their traditions. Besides, their system was so complete and their government so unique and so well fitted to the people that from the earliest European arrival they have been constantly written about. Their small numbers, compared with the enormous country they occupied and the government they originated, with their deeds of daring, will always excite surprise. Their league, tribal and individual characteristics, and personal strength of will, together with their great courage and prowess, account for their success in war and the methods which brought comfort in peace.

The Six Nations are to American Indian life what the Greeks and Romans in ancient history were to the nations bordering on the Mediterranean. Their generalship in war was of the highest, their civilization and cultivation, for their surroundings, the most advanced, and their economies of life the most applicable and fit of all the American race within the present boundaries of the United States and Canada.

They made war or peace with equal facility, holding with a death grasp to their old ideas and traditions, conquering and absorbing tribes, and getting the control and government of the country from the now Carolinas on the south to the lakes on the north and the Mississippi on the west. The Mohawk war-whoop was the terror of aboriginal life, and the signal fires of the Iroquois league, illuminating the hills and valleys of the Atlantic coast, meant danger to the outlying tribes.

Their phenomenal fighting capacity, coupled with the rapidity of movement and power of concentration of their fighting men, gave the impression of a vast number of warriors. It can be stated with almost a certainty that the league of the Iroquois since the advent of the European on the American continent and up to 1880 never exceeded 15,000 persons, and it never had an available fighting force of more than 2,500 men; and the astonishing fact is presented by the census of 1890 and the statistics of non-resident Iroquois tribes that the league of the Iroquois is stronger in 1890 than it was in 1660, when first estimated by competent Europeans. In 1660 it was estimated at 11,000; in 1890 it is 15,870.

Reports of late years as to the condition of the Six Nations of New York have been contradictory, and many of them were evidently manufactured and given out by interested parties when legislation to affect these Indians was pending. Considering the fact that no correct census embracing their actual condition had ever been made up to 1890, great care was taken in laying out the details of the work for a census and in selecting the agent to execute it.

It was early determined that a special agent should be appointed, to whom should be confided the entire work, both of enumerating the Indians and reporting on their condition. General Henry B. Carrington, United States army (retired), consented to undertake the work. His instructions gave him ample and full scope, and the whole energy and aid of the Census Office were at his command. His report, circumspect, careful, and full, with schedules duly returned, is the result of ten months of research, arduous labor, and actual residence with the Six Nations. During this time he visited each house on the reservations. The maps of the several reservations were made by him from data personally obtained, and the statements and conclusions in his report are the result of close study and research, combined with experience, ability, and integrity.

Mr. T. W. Jackson, United States Indian agent for the Six Nations, was appointed an enumerator for the reservations, and aided materially in the work. Portions of his annual report are given herein.

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SIX NATIONS RESERVATION, NEW YORK.

POPULATION AND AREA
Reservations Total Indian Acres
Onondaga 494

494

6100 Tonawanda 561 561

7549 TL Cattaraugus 1598 1582

21 680 Allegany 897 880

30 469 Oil Springs

640 Tuscarora 483

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STATISTICS OF INDIANS.

BY THOMAS DONALDSON.

THE SIX NATIONS OF NEW YORK. · The story of the Five, afterward Six, Nations, or, more properly, the league of the Iroquois, no matter how or when told, never loses its interest. The uncertainty and doubt surrounding most North American Indian history are partially removed from the Six Nations. They of all American Indians have best preserved their traditions. Besides, their system was so complete and their government so unique and so well fitted to the people that from the earliest European arrival they have been constantly written about. Their small numbers, compared with the enormous country they occupied and the government they originated, with their deeds of daring, will always excite surprise. Their league, tribal and individual characteristics, and personal strength of will, together with their great courage and prowess, account for their success in war and the methods which brought comfort in peace.

The Six Nations are to American Indian life what the Greeks and Romans in ancient history were to the nations bordering on the Mediterranean. Their generalship in war was of the highest, their civilization and cultivation, for their surroundings, the most advanced, and their economies of life the most applicable and fit of all the American race within the present boundaries of the United States and Canada.

They made war or peace with equal facility, holding with a death grasp to their old ideas and traditions, conquering and absorbing tribes, and getting the control and government of the country from the now Carolinas on the south to the lakes on the north and the Mississippi on the west. The Mohawk war-whoop was the terror of aboriginal life, and the signal fires of the Iroquois league, illuminating the hills and valleys of the Atlantic coast, meant danger to the outlying tribes.

Their phenomenal fighting capacity, coupled with the rapidity of movement and power of concentration of their fighting men, gave the impression of a vast number of warriors. It can be stated with almost a certainty that the league of the Iroquois since the advent of the European on the American continent and up to 1880 never exceeded 15,000 persons, and it never had an available fighting force of more than 2,500 men; and the astonishing fact is presented by the census of 1890 and the statistics of non-resident Iroquois tribes that the league of the Iroquois is stronger in 1890 than it was in 1660, when first estimated by competent Europeans. In 1660 it was estimated at 11,000; in 1890 it is 15,870.

Reports of late years as to the condition of the Six Nations of New York have been contradictory, and many of them were evidently manufactured and given out by interested parties when legislation to affect these Indians was pending. Considering the fact that no correct census embracing their actual condition had ever been made up to 1890, great care was taken in laying out the details of the work for a census and in selecting the agent to execute it.

It was early determined that a special agent should be appointed, to whom should be confided the entire work, both of enumerating the Indians and reporting on their condition. General Henry B. Carrington, United States army (retired), consented to undertake the work. His instructions gave him ample and full scope, and the whole energy and aid of the Census Office were at his command. His report, circumspect, careful, and full, with schedules duly returned, is the result of ten months of research, arduous labor, and actual residence with the Six Nations. During this time he visited each house on the reservations. The maps of the several reservations were made by him from data personally obtained, and the statements and conclusions in his report are the result of close study and research, combined with experience, ability, and integrity.

Mr. T. W. Jackson, United States Indian agent for the Six Nations, was appointed an enumerator for the reservations, and aided materially in the work. Portions of his annual report are given herein.

CONDITION OF THE SIX NATIONS IN 1890. ."The special agent found no places on any of the reservations for the sale of intoxicating liquors. Such places care unlawful and unknown. He did find, however, that intoxicating liquors were sold to the Indians by white

men or women living off the reservations. He found neither houses for immoral purposes nor gambling dens on any of the reservations. Houses for immorality are foreign to the social life and surroundings of these people, and gambling among the Six Nations is in the line of single risks, as opportunity offers.

The struggle now within the Six Nations for control of their government lies between the pagan and christian elements, and, in addition, they have to war with the wiles of the white man. Official corruption has been noted in the past among those high in authority, but this is now being rapidly remedied. The Six Nations are in most danger from without. The pagans, as used here (meaning the old party), are those holding to the faith of their fathers and opposing the white man and his methods. The christian element means those who accept christianity as a doctrine. As far as personal morals and the daily life of most of these people are concerned, the difference is merely technical, and consists in definition, the word of a pagan being considered as good as that of a christian, and, in the view that the state has nothing to do with one's profession of creed, among the Indians a self-reliant pagan is preferable to a dependent christian. In the league of the Iroquois the largest liberty of the person consistent with the safety of the league is permitted. From personal independence and sense of manhood many of the Iroquois have never departed. The reservation Indians of the west are the reverse of this. They look upon the nation and the great father as providers and dispensers of food and clothing, and lean heavily upon them and the public treasury. The Six Nations of New York have generally asked the great father, the Congress, and the New York legislature to let them severally alone. They have been in a measure let alone by the authorities, and the result is that they are self-sustaining and much further advanced in civilization than any other reservation Indians in the United States, and as much so as an average number of white people in many localities. They have borne the burdens of peace with equanimity, and met the demands of the war for the Union with patriotism and vigor. Envious Caucasians, hungering for the Indians' landed possessions in New York state, as elsewhere, have been active and earnest in efforts to absorb their substance. They have been kept from doing so thus far through the efforts of earnest and active fair-minded people, who have prevented their spoliation. The Six Nations have been charged with being pagans, heathens, and bad citizens generally, but investigation shows the latter charge to be false. In the matter of creed, among the Tuscaroras there is not a pagan family recognized as such. Among the Tonawandas and Onondagas very nearly two-thirds belong to the pagan party, several of the most influential men having recently left the christian party for personal and political reasons.

Of the Cattaraugus and Allegany Senecas, a majority belong to the pagan party, and of the Cornplanter Senecas and the Saint Regis Indians none are pagans.

In the battle for progress the christian party has taken the offensive or progressive side, and at an early day, if supported from without, may gain control. The difference between the pagan and christian is most marked in their material interests, the christian more readily grasping modern ideas and methods of life, with their educational incentives. As a rule, the pagan falls behind in the use of farm machinery, in advanced crop culture, in the education of his children, and matters of essential public spirit.

On all the reservations crimes are few, stealing is rare, and quarreling, resulting in personal assault, infrequent. Respecting the Saint Regis Indians, the only suits of a criminal nature for a long time grew out of resistance to the game laws, which stopped their netting on their own waters. The total local offenses during the year was 16 in an Indian population of 5,133.

As to whether or not the Six Nations are law-abiding, with the single exception of the matter of marriage and divorce, that is, with respect to the police laws, they are shown to be as law-abiding as the same number of average white people, and no communities elsewhere, white or otherwise, are known where person and property are more safe, or where male or female can walk unattended at night with greater security. Pauperism is unusual, and the tramp almost unknown. Still there is a select but small corps of loafers on each reservation.

Upon investigation, the Six Nations, as before stated, are shown to be further advanced in civilization than any other reservation Indians, western or otherwise. In this connection certain elements, perhaps heretofore ignored through lack of close inquiry, are striking.

The special agent calls attention to the gradual elimination of diseases resulting from white association in early times. This has reduced mortality and increased longevity. The growth of self-reliance is especially noticeable. This tends to greater diffusion of agricultural products, better homes and clothing, and the constant and growing conviction that their best interests lie in civilized methods.

The relation of poverty and property has already closely followed the relations of general society. There is scarcely any poverty among the Six Nations, but two paupers being noted on the schedules. The percentage of deaths under one year of age is low. The percentage of advanced ages without chronic impairment of faculties is beyond that of any like number of people in the United States. The family increase and surviving members of families, as at Saint Regis, preclude the possibility of general immorality in their homes.

The Six Nations Indians are not foreigners; they are Americans and persons within the meaning of the laws of the United States, and the school books used in their schools are printed in English.

Portions of the Bible, and especially hymns, have been translated into the Iroquois dialect, and at Saint Regis (Catholic) the Latin forms, psalter included, have been translated into Iroquois, the Mohawk dialect; but the Bible in many of the churches and the International Sunday-school lessons are in English. The adult Indians prefer to pray in their own language, their thoughts or desires flowing naturally without the mental abstraction necessary in finding the English word for their exact meaning.

LANGUAGE. The total Indian population of the Six Nations, exclusive of the Oneidas not on a reservation, is 5,133. Of this number, 2,844 speak the English language and 1,985 do not. The remainder are infants, absentees, or persons who refused to answer the questions of the enumerator.

The great number of the Six Nations who can not speak or read the English language is a drawback to their advancement. Officials are sometimes elected who can not read the laws of New York or of the United States, and almost a majority of this people are cut off from the information and advantages obtained through the reading of newspapers and general literature. This seems to be one of the greatest evils afflicting the Six Nations. The young, however, are usually brought up to read and speak the English language; but, as with other Indians, there is not much hope of change in this respect with adults of middle or advanced age. A compulsory school law for these reservations would aid the growth of the English language. There is no such law in New York for white people.

THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE SIX NATIONS OF NEW YORK. The total acreage of the reservations of the Six Nations is 87,327.73, with an Indian and adopted population of 5,203, or 16.78 acres for each person. The value of the whole is estimated at $1,810,699.60.

The law and facts show that the reservations of the Six Nations of New York are each independent, and in some particulars as much sovereignties, by treaty and obligation, as are the several states of the United States. The Saint Regis reservation, however, differs somewhat from the others. The lands within these reservations, of course, partake of and carry with them the conditions of the grant. These nations are anomalies, and, with the exception of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian territory, who are each known by treaty as nations, are the only ones of like character in the United States. They are in fact almost nations within a nation. They were created and grew more out of fear of the Indian and the desire to get rid of and keep him at peace at any price than as an act of justice. In Indian territory they are embarrassing to the national government and an eyesore to the people who desire to Jive there. In New York they are a wonder to the curious and the expectant haven of hope to many speculators.

The end of the century will probably see the so-called nations in Indian territory absorbed or dispersed and a marked change in the present Indian nations in New York.

The incidents of the enumeration of the Seneca nation showed a strong desire on the part of the advanced portion to break away from old-time ideas and to keep abreast with their white neighbors. The entire reorganization of the Iroquois Agricultural Society was a step forward. A more important indication in the same direction was that of the spring election in May, 1891, when nearly every person elected was able to speak and read the English language, and embraced among their number men of property and progressive tendencies.

The members of the Six Nations of New York residing on reservations or living in tribal relations do not vote at county or state elections, nor do they pay taxes to the counties or the state. They are therefore Indians not taxed. They have a constitution, and the Senecas have a charter from New York as well as their own. They are amenable to national and state courts or laws only in respect of crimes, except the Saint Regis Indians, hereinafter noted (a).

If the Iroquois, native or foreign born, want to become citizens of the United States they must renounce allegiance to their own people; but if those of the Six Nations in New York become such citizens they can not carry their real property interest with them so that it will be subject to levy and sale for debt on contracts. This, in fact, is at present a practical inhibition in their way to citizenship. The several reservations belong to them (Saint Regis differs somewhat from the others), and neither the state of New York nor the United States can legally break them up without the Indians' consent, or through conditions analogous to those of war. They have always been recognized as nations.

The several tribes and bands of the Six Nations differ somewhat in respect to land holdings and titles on or within the several reservations. A lien or preference, in case of sale, called the “Ogden Land Company's rights” hangs over the Cattaraugus and Allegany Senecas, but the United States extinguished it as to the Tonawanda Senecas. The title to these reservations is in the nation, and the members are therefore at common law " tenants

a There is no law for this, but by agreement and usage the Saint Regis Indians can sue and be sued in the inferior courts of the state of New York, and judgment is always enforced. They have no courts among themselves.

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