1873 Reports of the Commissioner Affairs and Indian Agent
"Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs," pp. 371-756. In U.S. House. 43d Congress, 1st Session. Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1873 (H.Ex.Doc.1, Pt. 5, Vol. 1). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1874. (Serial Set 1601)
[Oregon] Superintendent Odeneal and Agent Monteith were appointed a commission, under instructions, to make an investigation and hold council with the band of Nez Percé Indians occupying Wallowa Valley in Oregon, with a view to their removal, if practicable, to the Nez Percé Indian reservation in Idaho Territory. They reported this removal to be impracticable, and the Wallowa Valley has been withdrawn from sale, and set apart for their use and occupation, by Executive order. (pp. 386)
From: No. 36, Report of John B. Monteith, United States Indian Agent, Nez Percé Indians, pp. 613-614.
OFFICE INDIAN AGENT, NEZ PERCÉ INDIANS,
Lapwai, Idaho, September 9, 1873.
SIR: In compliance with the requirements of the Department I respectfully submit the following as my annual report:
During the past year the Indians have been unusually quiet; those living on the reserve having engaged largely in farming, manifesting greater interest than ever before, and the results of their labors showing greater progress in the art of husbandry; and if they continue to progress as rapidly as appearances now indicated they will, it will not be long before they will be in reality a civilized people and worthy of becoming citizens.
Those living outside the reserve are mostly non-treaties, and do not make much progress or advancement. They have given no trouble during the past season, and seem to have made up their minds to get along as easily as possible with all.
Joseph and band have spent the greater part of the summer in the Wallowa Valley and will remain there until snow falls.
The crops are much better this season than last, and those Indians who cultivated their fields will have plenty and to spare. Many such will find a good market for their surplus, having from fifty to one hundred bushels of grain for sale. The products of lands cultivated for the agency is in excess of that of last year. Will have an abundance of vegetables for the schools and nearly enough wheat for one year. . . .
There are many old Indians that have been cast off who will have to be cared for during the coming winter; a part of their subsistence will come from that raised at the agency.
The boarding school has been in successful operation until the first of July, when a vacation was given. Many of the boys were getting tired of being kept in school so long, and I thought it best to let them go home and help their parents through harvest, and by such means prevent them from getting dissatisfied and running away.
The scholars have made marked progress in their studies the past year; one is capable of carrying on a correspondence with friends living in adjacent Territories, and is now as good an interpreter as can be found among the Indians. The school will commence again the 15th of September with renewed vigor, and we hope to have many new scholars to look after. The schools will be divided; the one at Kamiah for the girls and the one at Lapwai for the boys, which will prevent some trouble we have had heretofore by keeping the two sexes together.
There has not been the amount of building among the Indians I hoped for this season. As soon as our mill is repaired I believe the Indians will bring along their logs, and we may yet be able to do something in getting out lumber and building for them this season. During the summer and fall I have caused to be erected at Lapwai one church and one hospital and dispensary, and at Kamiah one church and one boarding and lodging house for the school, all of which make a great improvement to the Government buildings. . . .
INDIANS LIVING OUTSIDE THE RESERVE.
The Department cannot too soon take the necessary steps toward those living outside the reserve. It should be decided who are to come on the reserve and occupy the suitable lands that can be found, so far as such lands will go, allowing each head of the family twenty acres, and the remainder allowed to take the same amount of land in the localities decided upon, and the same attached or considered a part of this reserve, that protection may be theirs, and prevent settlers from crowding the Indians off or interfering with their rights as now is the case. The treaty of 1863, as also the treaty of 1868, provides for the locating of all the Indians, and it should be done at as early a day as possible.
Some measures ought to be adopted whereby the Indians can be prevented from going to the buffalo country. A party has just come in with great stories of how they whipped a party of Sioux and captured mules, horses, &c., creating quite a desire on the part of many to go back next spring and try their hand at it. When they go they stay one year, consequently nothing can be done toward civilizing such, and by their example they keep others from settling down. If orders could be given to the military to turn back all Indians from this side of the mountains next summer, I think it would have the desired effect, and end all trouble in the future from that source. Many of the old Indians would rejoice at such a move. . . .