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3. A majority of the Indians are living on their allotted lands, both from choice and necessity, as in three of the tribes there are no unallotted lands for them to occupy, and in the case of the Prairie Band of Pottawatomies, who have surplus lands, allotments were made in every case to cover their houses and fields.
4. They are cultivating their lands to a less extent than beforo allotments were made
by personal labor. 5. Their lands are leased to a very large extent with discouraging and dangerous results. As at first proposed, the ill results might have been checked, but with the numerous modifications that have been adopted an agency is becoming a machine through which large sums of money are disbursed to immoral, dissipated, and utterly thoughtless persons, who have neither occasion nor disposition to resort to labor, and many of whom are without moral perception.
Yn Eguga 6. The benefits are that from 15 to 25 per cent of the Indians avail themselves of their rents for practical improvements, and place themselves within the sphere of actual civilization; 25 per cent will possibly not retrograde materially, and can, by persistent watchfulness and care, be brought to an appreciation of their responsibilities as men and women.
The evil results are, that the unrestrained use of more money than they need or should have will encourage their natural tendency to dissipation, gambling, and lewdness, and result in a slow but certain extermination of a large percentage of them. These views may be better understood, when I state that the average number of acres of land held by a Prairie Band Indian and his family is about 480 acres, worth, if in cultivation, from $2 to $2.50 per acre, while the lands of the Kickapoos, Iowas, and Sac and Fox Indians, bring $3 per acre cash. The allotment of lands was necessary to the individualization of the Indian citizenship and indiscriminate leasing, in my opinion is wrong and ruinous.
I have lived and worked thirty-two years among Indians, and have engaged in many struggles to protect their funds and to obtain more for them, but in view of present conditions I sometimes think that my whole course has been wrong, and that I should better have subserved their interests by taking their money from them and forcing them to labor for all that they required.
I respectfully refer you to my annual report and statistics thereto for further information on this subject, as I endeavored therein to candidly state the conditions existing throughout the agency. Very respectfully,
GEORGE W. JAMES, United States Indian Agent.
OMAHA AND WINNEBAGO AGENCY, NEBR.,
Norember 16, 1898. Hon. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C. Sir: In reply to your letter dated April 5, 1898, which was mislaid and under the rush of business forgotten, and copy of which has just been received with your letler of November 9, I have to say:
1. Nine hundred and fifty allotments have been made to Wiunebagoes; 960 allotments have been made to Omahas; total allotments at agency, 1,910.
2. One thousand nine hundred and ten patents have been issued. 3. About 1,200 Indians are living on their allotted lands. (This includes about 300 who live on the allotted lands of their relatives.)
4. Six hundred Indians are cultivating their lands or the lands of relatives. This cultivation runs from a partial acreage up to the full extent of the allotment, and includes raising of grain, corn, vegetables, and the harvesting of wild hay, and in quantities during the present year, about as follows: Wheat
.do.... 10, 000 Potatoes
1, 600 Other vegetables
1, 000 Hay.
tons.. Practically no stock is raised by the Indians. 5. The lands are leased to the full limit of possibilities under the law and regulations, and of 140,000 acres allotted 112,000 i acres are leased, with the result that the Indians have or should have an income from their allotted lands—Winnebagoes, $55,000;* Omahas, $40,000 *--and their tribal lands bring them-Omahas, $15,800; Winnebagoes, $4,000–divided yearly among members of the tribe, all of which is, in my opinion, a premium on laziness and a discouragement to industrious effort and self-support among the Indians.
Leasing of allotted agricultural lands should never be permitted. The Indians should be compelled to live upon their allotments and support themselves by cultivating the land. They can do it, but will not unless compelled to. Not one acre of allotted agricultural land should be leased to a white man, and it would be far better to burn the grass on the allotted lands than to lease them for pastures to the white
The Indians could use them to advantage for stock raising if they would. The mixing of the Indians with the class of whites who live upon and hang around an Indian reservation means the production of a mongrel race, embodying all the vices and none of the virtues of the dominant race; it means death industrially, morally, and physically to the Indian. Not a white man should be allowed within the limits of the reservation until the Government has so far advanced the Indian, by compulsion if necessary, in the industries of his reservation that they are a self-supporting community and all business and trades conducted by them. "If they are to be allowed to mix, let the Indians go among the whites-vot the wbites among the Indians—and he will then meet them as an independent, self-susporting individual, capable, through proper instruction, to transact his own business as between man and man and with the better class of whites; not as now, as an ignoramus in the hands of unprincipled sharpers.
6. The allotment of agricultural lands to Indians as at present made is a mistaken policy. If Indians have a reservation of agricultural lands it should be kept in its tribal form for purposes of control, government, and isolation from disreputable whites. It should be apportioned in uniformly suitable tracts in size, locality, etc., for future allotment. The Indians should be carefully selected, everything .considered, and assigned certain lands which they should understand is to be theirs if they prove worthy of taking it, otherwise it will be taken away from them and given to some other Indian who is. Under present laws the Indian is given an allotment; it is his, and can not be taken from him except by voluntary relinquishment. All the mistakes of a general and hasty allotment are perpetuated, while the Indian feels he is independent of the Government and can do as he likes with his land, and if he don't want to work it, be won't. The advantages of the former system or temporary apportionment subject to constant necessary revision over definite allotment, are only to be considered in all its phases to be appreciated.
The allotment of timber and mineral lands should be allowed only where, in case of the former, the laws or treaties compel allotment in order to protect the timber from decay or destruction by fire or wind. Otherwise, mineral and timber lands should be held as tribal property and developed, and products prepared for market by the Indians. No better school in the industrial arts could be given them than one in which every pound of energy was expended in their own interests and where industrial advancement meant constantly increasing revenue.
If the Indian can not be developed into a higher state of civilization on these lines, it is useless to try it under the present policies.
What a revelation it would be to our Mr. Indian if he could travel in the plane of average honor and virtue of the white man, instead of being forever brought in touch with the level of maximum vice, fraud, and deceit of the white race. Very respectfully,
W. A. MERCER, Captain, Seventh Cavalry, Acting Indian Agent.
LIST OF OFFICERS CONNECTED WITH THE UNITED STATES INDIAN SERVICE,
INCLUDING AGENTS, SUPERINTENDENTS, INSPECTORS, SPECIAL AGENTS, AND SUPERVISORS OF INDIAN SCHOOLS.
(Corrected to October 20, 1898.]
W. A. JONES, Commissioner.
1315 N street NW. A. C. TONNER, Assistant Commissioner....1916 Sixteenth street NW.
CHIEFS OF DIVISIONS.
Finance.—SAMUEL E. SLATER..
..1415 S street NW. Accounts.-WILLIAM B. SHAW, Jr.. 1418 Kenesaw avenue NW. Land.-CHARLES F. LARRABEE.
.1718 Oregon avenue NW. Education.-J. H. DORTCH.
..2931 Fifteenth street NW. Files.-LEWIS Y. ELLIS..
101 Eleventh street SE. Miscellaneou8.-M. S. Cook, stenographer in charge.
..946 Westminster street NW.
SAMUEL L. TAGGART..
SUPERINTENDENTS OF INDIAN WAREHOUSES.
ROGER C. SPOONER, special agentin charge..1602 State street, Chicago, Ill.
.77 and 79 Wooster street, New York, N. Y.
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF INDIAN COMMISSIONERS, WITH THEIR POST-OFFICE
DARWIN R. JAMES, chairman..
-226 Gates avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.
SECRETARIES OF MISSIONARY SOCIETIES ENGAGED IN EDUCATIONAL WORK AMONG
Baptist Home Missionary Society: Rev. T. J. Morgan, D. D., 111 Fifth avenue, New York.
Baptist (Southern): Rev. I. T. Tichenor, D. D., Atlanta, Ga.
Catholic (Roman) Bureau of Indian Missions: Rev. Joseph A. Stephan, 941 F street NW., Washington, D. C.
Congregational American Missionary Association: Rev. M. E. Strieby, D.D., Bible House, New York.
Episcopal Church Mission, Rev. John S. Lindsay, D.D., Fourth avenue and Twentysecond street, New York.
Friends' Yearly Meeting: Levi K. Brown, Goshen, Lancaster County, Pa.
Presbyterian Home Mission Society: Rev. Charles L. Thompson, D. D., 156 Fifth avenue, New York.
Presbyterian (Southern) Home Mission Board: Rev. J. N. Craig, D. D., Atlanta, Ga.