The Indian Question.
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
The annual report of the Commis-sioner of Indian Affairs has been sub-mitted. It shows that during the past year there has been among the Indians in general an advance in civilization which has had no parallel in any previ-ous year. In this the Ogallalas and Brule Sioux have taken the lead, and their progress during the past eighteen months has been simply marvelous. It is no longer a question whether the In-dians will work. Those who are anx-ious to do so are now largely in the ma-jority. From all except five civilized tribes in Indan Territory, there is a call for land in severalty. There is a largely increased desire for houses, agricultural implements, wagons, etc., and for citi-ens' clothing.
The following statistics show sub-stantial results of Indian labor during the year. They are much larger than ever before, and but for the severe drought in Indian Territory and among the Navajoes, the increase in crops would have been much greater, especially in the corn crop, which is less than last year.
By Indians, exclusive of the five civi-lized tribes of Indian Territory, 1879—Number of acres broken, 27,131 ; num-ber of acres cultivated,157,056 ; num-ber of bushels of wheat raised, 328,367 ; number of bushels of corn, 643,286 ; number of bushels of oats and barley, 189,054; number of bushels of vegeta-ble, 390,698 ; tons of hay cut, 48,333.
By the five civilized tribes—Number of acres cultivated, 273,000 ; bushels of wheat raised, 565,400 ; bushels of corn, 2,015,000 ; bushels of oats and barley, 200,000 ; bushels of vegetables, 336,000 ; tons of hay cut, 176,500.
The only sure way to make Indians advance in civilization under the best condition to promote their welfare, is to give each family 160 acres of land and to issue patents for the same.
The history of the Ute outbreak is given in detail, without disclosing any new facts. In reference to the removal of the Utes to some other location, the Commissioner suggests that a commission be appointed to visit the tribe and ob-tain its consent to remove from the State on the payment of the value of lands now occupied. The advantages to be obtained by moving them to Indian Territory are : first, there is an abun-dant supply of arable land for cultiva-tion ; second, immunity from white en-croachment ; and third, better security for keeping the Indians peaceful, as the Country is not adapted to Indian fight-ing, and everywhere offers; open fields for the use of artillery and all the appli-ances of civilized warfare, so that what-ever be the disposition of the Indians, if a resort to force should be necesary, it could be made effective in the interests of peace.
The Commissioner considers the en-actment of a bill extending the criminal laws of the respective States and Territories over Indian reservations of vital importance. The Indian police-men have shown the utmost fidelity to the Government, and have, when neces-sary, arrested even their friends and rel-atives, with absolute impartiality. Sev-eral instances are cited in proof of their fidelity. There is but one drawback, which should be removed by Congress ; that is, the inadequacy of pay, which by law is fixed at $5 per month. The Com-missioner recommends that it be in-creased to $15 per month.
The following local recommendation is made : "A penal settlement for the confinement and reformation of the more turbulent and troublesome individ-uals among the various Indian tribes, is a most pressing want. For murderers and the worst class of refractory In-dians, one settlement should be in Flor-ida, where it is far enough from Indian reservations to make any attempt at escape hopeless. Another settlement should be at some point in the North-west where considerable land can be found upon which Indians may be taught to work for their own support. The settlement should be guarded by a sufficient force to exercise perfect dis-cipline, and trades as well as agriculture should be taught, and when the time ar-rived for them to be returned home, the captives would have reached an ad-vanced stage of civilization. Outside of the Indian reservations men are every-where found driving a thrifty business in selling the latest and best patterns of arms and fixed ammunition to non-civi-lized Indians. The sales thus made are limited in amount only by the ability of the Indians to purchase. Previous to the late Ute outbreak, Indians were amply supplied with Winchester and Spencer rifles and fixed ammunition ob-tained from traders outside of their res-ervations. There is no statute against this crime, and the Commissioner recom-mends that legislation by Congress be especially directed against such sales, prohibiting, under a severe penalty, the sale of both fire-arms and fixed ammu-nition, and that further legislation, re-quiring non-civilized Indians to lie dis-armed, are only common sense and prac-ticable methods of putting an end to this dangerous traffic.
Among other recommendations of the report is one for the enactment of a law to prevent polygamy and to provide for legal marriages among Indians. For this purpose it is proposed to make civil magistrates of Indian agents.
The Ponches are reported as doing well on their new reservation. The progress of the youths trained in the In-dian schools is one of the most hopeful character. Exclusive of the five civil-ized tribes of the Indian Territory, there are now over 7,100 Indian children taught at agency schools. The five civi-lized tribes have 6,200 children at school.
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