1893 Reports of the Commissioner Affairs and Indian Agent
"Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs," pp. 5-998. In U.S. House. 53d Congress, 2d Session. Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1893 (H.Ex.Doc.1, Pt. 5, Vol.2). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893. (Serial Set 3210)
Report of Warren D. Robbins, United States Indian Agent, Nez Percé Indian Agency, pp. 138-139.
NEZ PERCÉ AGENCY, IDAHO,
August 21, 1893.
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith my fourth and last annual report of this agency, with statistics accompanying the same, for the fiscal year ending June 30. 1893.
Census.The population of this tribe is 1,809, of which number 400 are estimated. There are 870 males and 939 females. An accurate census of this tribe for this year it has been impossible for me to compile, as myself and employés have been busily engaged in making the transfer of the public property under my charge to my successor, who relieved me on the 1st of this month.
Location.The Indians of this tribe live in five distinct settlements, which are scattered promiscuously over the reservation. These settlements consist of the Kamiah, North Fork, Meadow Creek, Lapwai, and Mission Indians. They are situated in small valleys, upon farms ranging in size from 5 up to 160 acres. At the present time will be found in these valleys pleasant little homes, with fields of ripe grain and fine gardens, which are evidence of industry, thrift, and comfort.
Agriculture.In this industry very marked advancement has been made by the Indians this year. They have realized a very fair yield of crops. Comparatively speaking, this industry is but in its infancy, and will not reach extensive or large proportions until the Indians have made the preliminary improvements on their allotted lands, which work they are at present engaged in, when they will be able to cultivate many more acres of land than they have do at present. In selecting their allotments they have chosen the most fertile and choice lands of the reserve, which will be, if properly cultivated, capable of yielding upward of 35 bushels to the acre. Undoubtedly this industry will be their chief revenue of support, and there are no reasons why they should not prosper and make a success of it. They are fast acquiring a knowledge in the use of the modern agricultural implements, which will make them practical and successful farmers.
Allotments.In all 1,905 allotments have been made upon this reserve. The alloting agent completed and closed her work in the early part of this year. Some dissatisfaction has been expressed by a great many of the Indians in regard to the way the allotment work has been prosecuted. The nature of their complaints is that the corners to their allotments have not been properly established, and in some instances not established at all. This neglect has been the cause of much dissension and ill feeling springing up among some of the allotted families, conflicting claims having arisen in constructing division fences, as no corners have been established to intelligently guide them. In an agreement for the cession of the surplus lands of this reservation, concluded at the agency last spring, the Government agrees to remedy this neglect or evil by inserting in the agreement a stipulation authorizing the employment of a competent surveyor, to be employed for two years, to inform or show the Indians the exact location of their allotted lands and establish the corners to the same. Since the close of the allotment work several applications for allotments have been filed by parties who claim tribal rights and desire to select their land on this reserve.
A pending treaty.An agreement was consummated here at the agency, the 1st of last May, for the surrender of the surplus lands of this reservation to the Government by the Indians of this tribe. The amount of the lands surrendered or ceded are 542,064 acres, for which the sum of $1,626,222 will be paid to the Indians in annual and semiannual payments, the first payment, amounting to $626,222, to be paid immediately after the ratification of this agreement by Congress.
About four months time was consumed in making this agreement. Commendation is due Messrs. Schleicher, Beede, and Allen, who acted on the part of the Government in making this agreement, for their patient and untiring efforts and the fair and impartial means which they used in bringing the agreement about. The agreement was opposed by some of the Indians, who own large bands of horses and cattle that roam over the reservation at large, feasting off of the fat pasturage the reservation affords and which for years has been a chief source of revenue to them. It was plainly evident to these Indians, who are greatly in the minority, that the emoluments derived from the present state of the reservation would be entirely cut off from them or greatly reduced if the surplus lands were disposed of; so, as a matter of course, they did all in their power to stop it, and even went so far as to concoct ill devised schemes to thwart it. But their efforts proved of no avail, for the majority of the Indians, who comprise the poorer class, understood the many benefits that would inure to them from the sale of their lands and readily came forward and signed the agreement.
Court of Indian offenses.The work of this court has been very light during the past year. The cases that came up before the court and were disposed of are enumerated as follows: Six cases of adultery, six of drunkenness, two of attempted burglary, and one of attempted rape. The judges, three in number, have proven themselves quite efficient in handling the business that came up before them. They have been of great help to me in many instances, and rendered invaluable service in tending or disposing of these cases, which if left to me would have consumed much valuable time that I devoted to more important business. In connection with the court work the police force has rendered valuable service, and has also been of great help to me in filling the school on this reservation with Indian pupils.
Improvements.The most important and extensive improvements made by the Indians this year have been the building of fences. Upward of 50,000 rods have been built, of which amount 40,000 rods were built of barb wire and 10,000 rods of rails and posts. A few new frame dwellings have been built upon the allotted lands of those Indians who could afford to make such improvements. The value of each of these dwellings ranges from $300 to $500.
Schools.The Nez Percé Agency boarding school, which has been in operation for over two years under my charge, was closed at the commencement of this year through orders issued by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, making it a department of the Fort Lapwai school, and to which school all the pupils and the property belonging to the agency school were transferred.
By making the agency school a department of the Fort Lapwai school the latter has been crowded to its utmost capacity. Supt. McConville, under whose charge this school is, after the transfer of the agency school to his charge, began immediately to enlarge the capacity of his school by erecting a large two story frame building, now used as a dining room and kitchen and the manufacturing department of the school. It is also his intention to erect a large and commodious building to be used as a dormitory for the boy pupils of his school, and he has about consummated his plans for that purpose. By the abandonment of the agency school, and the transfer of its pupils to the Fort Lapwai school, the latter school is afforded a full complement of scholars. For further details of the Fort Lapwai school I respectfully refer you to Supt. McConvilles annual report.
Conclusion.In concluding my report I desire to thank the Department for its many courtesies and the wise and valuable suggestions extended me in the prosecution of my official duties. I must also express my grateful feelings to the employés who have been under my charge for the kind and courteous manner with which they have always treated me, and for their promptness in discharging their duties.
WARREN D. ROBBINS,
United States Indian Agent.
Report of Ed. McConville, Superintendent of Fort Lapwai Indian Industrial School, pp. 415-416.
August 15, 1893.
SIR: In compliance with instructions I have the honor to forward herewith my third annual report as superintendent of this school.
Though in the years work there have been many trying and unsatisfactory conditions, on the whole the result has been quite satisfactory and encouraging. There has been shown a better disposition on the part of parents to place their children in school, as is shown by the increased attendance186 against 150 last yearwhile the children themselves have been more content, there having been but three runaways during the year, and the number remaining at the school during the vacation period has been double that of the preceding years. There is reason to believe that the older Indians are beginning to realize the necessity of education for their children.
Schoolroom work began September 1 with 90 pupils in attendance, and, with exception of legal holidays, was continuous throughout the fiscal year. This work has been highly gratifying, though greater advancement could have been made in the higher grades, which I hope to see done the coming year.
Band.The brass band, under the leadership of an Indian, has greatly improved since last year, and is a credit to the members as well as the school. It has had several requests to play at surrounding towns.
Industrial.The shoe shop and carpenter shop have also been in charge of Indian graduates, and the work, which has been mostly repairing, has been very creditably performed. The blacksmith shop has done much repair work to machinery, etc., and has aided very materially in laying the new irrigation plant. Each of the above industrial branches have three apprentices for forenoon and three for afternoon work.
The tailor shop has made throughout the year, besides repairs, 918 pieces, as follows:
Here girls have been taught to make clothing for themselves and boys as well, though there has been a dearth of large girls to properly assist in the work.
The sewing-room work has been very proficient; here all classes of repairing have been done, besides which there have been manufactured as follows:
Here, also, girls have been thoroughly instructed, so that they may properly make their own garments when at home.
Laundry.The work in this department has been carried on by the laundress, assisted by the larger girls, and has been quite tedious; but this will be obviated in the future by use of the steam laundry or washer recently allowed by the Department, and which we badly needed.
Kitchen and dining room.Here, also, the larger girls have lent very material aid in carrying on the work of this department, and here, also, the work has been carried on at a disadvantage, owing to the cramped and dilapidated condition of the quarters. However, on June 24 last, the new building to be used as dining hall and kitchen was completed, which gives to the school a splendid building, with dining hall and kitchen on the ground floor, and rooms for tailor shop, sewing room, and employés quarters above. This will allow these latter to be taken from the girls dormitory building, and will give to that building a capacity of accommodating 120 or more pupils.
Farm and garden.These have furnished according to estimation:
The coming year I hope to increase the acreage of cultivated land to approximately 200 acres. There is now a fine orchard of 1,300 trees of two years growth, which will soon bear sufficiently to supply the school. It can all be well watered by the new irrigation plant.
Stock consists of 8 horses and 40 head of cattle, for which we have abundant pasturagein fact, pasturage for many more.
Sanitary.The general health of the school has been far better during the past year than for any like period during my observation, there having been but one death at the school, and but few cases which would justify anxiety. This. I think due to the greater efficiency of those in charge of the sick, and to the greater freedom with which the pupils have reported illness at its beginning.
Improvements.During the past year there has been constructed a most excellent dining-hall building, as described under head of "kitchen and dining room." Also a complete system of water works, the Department having granted authority for cement, steam pump, etc., and the employés and pupils performing all the labor. The reservoir has an elevation of 240 feet above the school plant, and with additional fixtures added to the water system thorough and complete protection from fire would be afforded all buildings.
Needs.We yet need a new boys dormitory. The present quarters are inadequate, were formerly an old warehouse, and are poorly adapted to their present purpose. We also need a fire plug in front of each of the larger buildings, and a hose cart for use in case of fire. This would place all buildings under excellent fire protection, as the present pressure in the water pipes will throw a stream over any building on the grounds.
In conclusion I wish to thank the honorable Commissioner and the Indian Office for many prompt courtesies extended to me.
I am, very respectfully,
From: Report of Hal. J. Cole, United States Indian Agent, Colville Indian Agency, Washington, pp. 320-325.
|Males over 18 years||
|Females above 14||
|Children between 6 and 16 years||
|Persons not otherwise enumerated||
. . . Joseph's band of Nez Percés are the only Indians under this agency that receive clothing and subsistence from the Government. Some few of these Indians are industrious and are apparently willing to try and support themselves, but the majority are willing that the Government should continue to board and clothe them. . . .
Missionary work.The Presbyterian Board of Home Missions furnish two Indian missionaries, who preach to the Indians of the Spokane Reservation, of whom a large majority are members of the Presbyterian church. They have two very respectable church buildings, one near Chief Lots' and the other at Cornelius. Services are held every Sunday. These Indians take a deep interest in religion, and are always much pleased to have an occasional visit from some white minister. . . .