« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
money be taken from their annuity fund in the United States Treasury to complete these ditches, and the Indian Commissioner requested authority from Congress to do this last spring, but no action was taken. We can conceive no good reason why such a request should not be granted. We heartily join with the Commissioner in renewing the recommendation. A work so costly and important ought not to be left unfinished.
We greatly regret that so little progress has been made toward supplying the Pima and Papago Indians on the Gila Bend Reservation, Ariz., with water for farming purposes, which they so much need. We explained in our last report how their supply has been cut off, and their irrigating ditches constructed by themselves have been left dry. A plan for their relief has been proposed, and we urged Congress to appropriate a sufficient fund to carry it out, but all we could get was a grant of $20,000 for a preliminary survey, and an estimate of the cost of the work, the same to be expended by the Director of the United States Geological Survey. That officer bas taken some steps toward making the survey, but we fear his report can not be ready for consideration by Congress this winter.
PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES.
The board was represented at the opening of bids and awarding of contracts for Indian supplies and goods at Chicago, Ill., from April 27 to May 15, and in New York from May 17 to June 8. The total number of bids at the two lettings was 649, and the prices, though higher than the previous year for a few classes of supplies, were, on the whole, considered reasonable. We assisted the Commissioner in the inspection of samples offered, and in the award of contracts, remaining about three weeks in each city. An account more in detail will be found in the report of Commissioner Lyon, the chairman of our purchasing committee, which is as follows:
REPORT OF THE PURCHASING COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF INDIAN
Sir: The purchasing committee have the following to report from January 1 to December 31, 1898:
Bids for Indian supplies and transportation, as per advertisement, were opened April 27, 1898, at the Indian warehouse, No. 1602 State street, Cbicago, Ill., in the presence of Hon. W.A. Jones, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the secretary of the board of Indian commissioners, and a large number of bidders.
Three hundred and eighty-eight bids were received and opened, for beef, flour, corn, oats, barley, feed, hardware, school desks, furniture, harness, leather, agricultural implements, medical supplies, paints, oils, and transportation.
Mr. Roger C. Spooner was in charge of the warehouse as superintendent, and the following named persons were appointed as inspectors of the samples of goods offered: Gilbert Montague, for flour and feed; Mark Goode, for agricultural implements; Edward Devlin, for hardware; F. C. Hale, for harness; W. Bodeman, for medical supplies; E. Watson, for paints and oils; L. C. Bartley, for wagons; L. F. Crosby, for furniture.
On May 17 bids for dry goods, clothing, hats and caps, boots and shoes, groceries, crockery, lamps, etc., as per advertisement, were opened at the Government Indian warehouse, No. 77 Wooster street, New York City, in the presence of Hon. W. A. Jones, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, several members of the board of Indian commissioners, and a large number of bidders.
Two hundred and sixty-one bids were opened. Mr. Louis L. Robbins had charge of the warehouse as superintendent, and the following-named persons were appointed as inspectors of the samples of goods offered and to inspect the goods when received: Samuel S. Steward, for dry goods; P. F. Griffin, for clothing; Henry Lilly, for boots and shoes; David Towle, for hats and caps; Silas S. Carpenter, for hosiery
and notions; John N. Chapman, for groceries; Albert F. Cowen, for crockery and lamps; George A. Ferguson, for medical supplies; K. Joseph, for shirts and overalls.
Mr. Robbins, superintendent of the warehouse, reports that all the goods awarded to contractors, from bids opened May 17, have been delivered and shipped, with the exception of some table linen; that nearly all the goods delivered were equal to the samples from which the awards were made. In two instances goods were received at an allowance iv price, recommended by the inspectors, and that 22,237 packages, weighing 3,201,726 pounds, were shipped from June to December 1. He also reports that the expenses of the warehouse, cost of inspection of goods, salaries, and labor were $1,702.25 less than last year.
WM. H. Lyox,
Chairman Purchasing Committee. Gen. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners.
We have held our usual meetings, one in this city, when, besides transacting the business of the annual meeting, we had very satisfactory interviews and consultations with the President, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; another in New York at the time of opening bids and awarding contracts for Indian supplies; and a third at Mohonk Lake, where, by invitation of Commissioner Smiley, a large number of people interested in Indian matters met with us for the discussion of questions relating thereto. This meeting, now well known as 6 The Mohonk Conference,” continued three days and evinced unabated interest in the welfare of Indians. Reports were made by several religious societies of their school and missionary work, and the subject of education, its scope and purpose, received a large share of attention, A somewhat pessimistic tone seemed to prevail on account of the slow progress in the solution of the Indian problem, and some criticism was made of the Government administration of the Indian service. Some basis for such criticism may be found in the history of our dealings with Indians in former times, but during the last twenty-five years we have seen a steady improvement in the service, and its business affairs are now conducted as honestly as those of any department of the Government. Its educational work has been greatly extended and improved, and certainly much progress has been made in teaching Indians the habits and industries of civilized life.
It is by no means true that the administration of Indian affairs is still largely intrusted to men without knowledge or experience, and in many cases without character.” Nor is it true, as a rule, tható drunken men have been appointed to keep the Indians from drinking, lazy men to teach them industry, and corrupt men to teach them morals.” Such language may be a fine specimen of antithesis, worthy of a Macauley, but, like many highly wrought figures of speech, it contains more error than truth. It exalts into a rule a rare exception. We have had able and upright men in charge of Indian affairs. We have had many faithful and efficient Indian agents, and the superintendents and teachers of Indian schools have been, with very rare exceptions, earnest, selfsacrificing men and women. We all agree that it is desirable to push forward as fast as possible the work of education and of allotment, and as early as possible to close up the Indian Bureau itself, but a vast amount of work remains to be done. Two-thirds of the Indians are yet to be settled upon individual homesteads and to be supplied with facilities for making a living; and Indian funds, amounting to many mil. lions, must be properly cared for and distributed. So that, even if the schools were transferred to State control or to the Bureau of Education, the Government can not at present, and we fear not for many years, be freed from the expense of an Indian Bureau.
The one thing needed, as we have long felt and have often said, for the improvement of the Indian Service, is a permanent tenure of office by those officials who have proved their honesty and efficiency. No branch of the public service is more harmed than this by frequent changes, and in no branch is experience of greater value. The employees in the school service, and others holding subordinate positions, are now appointed under the merit system of the civil-service rules. But the Commissioner, the superintendent of education, Indian agents and inspectors are still subjected to change with every change of Adininistration. The agent can be of little use until he has gained the confidence of the Indians, and they are slow in giving such faith. When they find the officer in charge to be honest and efficient, they readily accept his advice and obey his commands. But toward new and untried men their attitude is that of suspicion if not hostility. In the Army and Navy we should have a very inefficient service if the officers were discharged every four years and men without training or experience appointed to command. The absurdity and injury of such frequent changes are equally great in the Indian Service. Dishonest and incapable agents must, of course, be removed. But we wish it might be understood as a rule of executive action that all who fill well their positions shall be retained as long as they are willing to serve, and shall be reappointed when their term of office expires, without regard to their political partisanship. Party politics should have nothing to do with their appointment any more than appointments and promotions in the Army. The Secretary of the Interior informs us that the Indian Bureau is now well manned. Our earnest desire is that no hazardous changes may be made. Our recommendations then are:
1. Permanent tenure of office in the Indian service. 2. The repeal or amendment of the act of Congress approved January 14, 1889, and a better system of managing the Chippewa timber interests adopted.
3. The early passage of the bill (S. 2888) to protect the Seneca Indians of New York from fraud and injustice.
4. The allotment of the New York reservation to individual Indians.
5. The rejection of the bill to restore Annette Island to the public domain, and the passage of an act granting a title in fee of that island to the Metlakahtlans.
6. That authority be granted by Congress to take from the annuity fund of the Crow Indians in Montana a sufficient amount to complete their irrigating canals.
MERRILL E. GATES, Chairman.
WILLIAM M. BEARDSHEAR.
RESULTS OF ALLOTMENT POLICY.
REPLIES FROM INDIAN AGENTS ON RESERVATIONS WHERE
ALLOTMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE.
CROW CREEK INDIAN AGENCY,
Crow Creek, s. Dak., May 2, 1898. Mr. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D.C.
1. That there have been 879 allotments made to the Indians of this agency.
4. That they are cultivating their lands to a small extent for the reason that crops are almost a sure failure by reason of the repeated droughts.
5. That there are none of the lands leased.
6. That, in my opinion, the allotment plan is disadvantageous in many respects, more especially in a country like this where agriculture is almost a failure. I would not like to discourage this plan here now for the reason that the Indians have all taken their allotments and are living upon them. But if these people could have been given a sufficient number of cattle to start a common herd among them, and the reservation fenced, I think they would have been in much better condition now than they are by trying to till the soil and graze whatever of stock they have upon their own lands. This is preeminently a stock country, and I think this industry will be the one that will eventually make these Indians self-supporting. They have been averse to taking their patents for the reason that they think they will become citizens then and will have to pay taxes and be amenable to all the laws of the white
Another serious drawback to the allotment system is that when they take their allotments in severalty they are regarded as citizens and the Indians of this agency, and other agencies that I am acquainted with are far from being ready to assume the responsibilities of citizenship. When the power of the agent to discipline the Indians of his agency is taken away, and such power is taken away when the Indian becomes a citizen, it instills a spirit of insubordination in him and makes him a more lawless and worthless character than he otherwise would be.
I think also that the leasing of certain allotments near the border of the reservation to substantial farmers would be a good thing for allottee and the Indians as well. Very respectfully,
JAMES H. STEPHENS, United States Indian Agent.
DEVILS LAKE AGENCY,
Fort Totten, N. Dak., May 6, 1898. Hon. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C.
1. Our records show that 1,158 allotments have been made.
4. There are 4,000 acres in crop this spring, and they would have put 2,000 acres more if we could have obtained the seed for them and rations sufficient to have kept them alive, some actually being reduced to the necessity of living on gophers.
5. The leases are few and confined to themselves in all but one instance, where a white man has rented for the present year; result not arrived at.
6. The benefits of the allotment system are, first, a wider knowledge of individual property rights, consequently some degree of personal responsibility (though the latter is not a marked feature of the present generation on this reservation); second, a tendency to fixed habitation and home building; the evils seem to arise from ignorance on their part and the selection, in many instances, of lands totally unfitted to agriculture; third, dividing the allotment into 40-acre lots, in some instances many miles apart, necessitating great inconvenience in the cultivation; fourth, alloting to children should be discontinued, the land being saved and allotted when the child becomes of age and has saved enough to cultivate it. Yours, respectfully,
F. 0. GETCHELL, United States Indian Agent.
SAC AND Fox AGENCY,
Okla., May 1, 1898. The BOARD OF INDIAN COMMISSIONERS,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: In reply to your inquiries dated April 5, 1898, I have the honor to submit the following answers:
1. There were 2,363 allotments made to Indians under this agency.
2. A patent was issued by the Department to each allottee and delivered to allottee by Indian agent, who would receipt for same in duplicate.
3. About three-fourths of the Indians under this agency are either living upon their lands or controlling them through lessees.
4. Not more than one-fifth of the Indians are cultivating their lands in person. 5. About one-half of their lands are leased and with the best of results, as a source of revenue to the allottee, and his contact with the white lessees is encouraging more of them to work themselves.
6. The benefits to the Indian in taking his allotment are numerous. It brings him more directly in contact with civilization. He observes more closely the advantages of industry and frugality as seen in his white neighbors. He is brought face to face with the advantages of education, sobriety, and religious habits of life.
When the Indians' lands are not allotted, they keep up their old tribal relations, live huddled together in villages, and seldom come in contact with the influences of civilization and enlightenment. Very respectfully,
LEE PATRICK, United States Indian Agent.
Mission TULE RIVER “CON” AGENCY, CAL.,
San Jacinto, May 12, 1898. Hon. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C. SIR: I have the houor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication bearing date April 25, 1898, and respectfully reply to your inquiries as follows:
1. The records of this office show that 361 allotments have been made to Indians of this agency. The location, number of allotments, and by whom made are detailed as follows:
2. Patents have been issued for Pala, Pechanga, and Sycuan. These patents, amounting to 117 for the three reservations named, have been delivered so far as possible.
3. Practically all the Indians are occupying the lands allotted to them.
4. Generally speaking, the Indians are cultivating their lands fairly well. They are proud of their lands and homes and by observing are improving each year. I regret to say in this connection that the present year is most discouraging to farmers