United States. Board of Indian commissioners.o.

Annual report of the Board of Indian commissioners to the secretary of the interior .. online

. (page 9 of 28)
Online LibraryUnited States. Board of Indian commissioners.oAnnual report of the Board of Indian commissioners to the secretary of the interior .. → online text (page 9 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

He bought a dress for his mother and asked me to cut it out, as he had never been
taught to make dresses.

Question. Are you troubled with mauy squaw men?

Miss Collins. Not so much on our reservation, because an order was issued that
every white man should be legally married to any Indian woman with whom he waft

Question. Are the Indians ready to accept medicine f^om the white doctor?

Miss Collins. Yes; there is no difficulty about that now.

Question. Do the old medicine men have much influence at your agency ?

Miss Collins. Not very much ; the people are beginning to be too intelligent.
They understand that it was largely fraud and not much medicine.

Question. Do you think there is aa increasing desire on the part of the Indian to
go away to school?

Mbs Collins. On our agency, no. They have been discouraged from going away.
They are not going away as much as I should like to have them. We wish we could
send away a hundred every year. I heartily believe in the Eastern schools.

Digitized by



Question. Will you tell us about tiie tidket system im. regard to bosiness transac-

Miss COLtDfS. We hav^e a System of oheaji money on onr reservation* Every
Indian trader is allowed to make tickets and issne them with his name on them, 2&
eentSy etc., good in merchandise^ These are paid to the Indians at the beef issue for
the beef hides which belo&g to l^e Indian. They are reeeired for purchases madcr
at the stote; but the traders will never receive them for debt. I have always
opposed this system. When the Government orders that they shall be taken for
debt the system will soon be done away with. We waot the Indians to be inde-^
pendent and to be able to trade where they can do the best. The 75'Oent dollar i»
used all ov«r the reservation.

General Eaton. What is there in the way of sending the Indians to Eastern

Miss Collins. For what reason it is discouraged I can not say. I know that it is
discouraged on onr reservation. If there was more encouragem^it &om the agents
and oUier o^9eials it would be easier to send students away«

Question. Is it not understood that the superintendent at Washington favors the
policy of sending th^n East to the higher schools?

Miss COLLINS. I think it is understood. But when you send a boy or girl away
to school yon most have the parent or guardian go before the agent and state that
he is willing to have him go, and often it is too far for the parent, and often he does
not wish to go to the agents. It is impossible to make such men ride 30 or 40 miles
to say they are willing when they are not.

Question. Is there any attempt made to keep startles about the health of the
children ?

Miss Collins* The fignres are i>artially kept by the agency physician. I do not
think they have ever been kept very accurately.

Question. Does the fact that now most of the childrrai Uve hove any great infla*
ence upon the minds of the Indians?

Miss Collins. Yes; it has a very great infinence on the old-time Indians. When
they come to see that the Christian Indians have large families they begin to think
that the God of the Christians has something to do with it, and are more ready to
accept Christian teachings.

Question. To refer to the money system again, has this ticket system been estab-
lished by Government authority f

Miss Collins. I think it is permitted In Washington, but I do not think it is per-
fectly understood. They are made to believe that it is hard for us to get cash, so
these tickets are used. Here is an illustration of the way it works : A man owed an
ihdian and paid him in tickets amounting to $4. The man needed money, so I gave
him $4 in dash for his tickets, and thought that I was well enough known to have
money for them. I sent tbem to a trader with a note asking to have them cashed.
He cashed them, taking off 25 per cent.

Question. Is there compulsory attendance at school ?

Miss CoLUNs. The police go out and bring ill the children, but there is a good deal
of trouble because a large proportion of children are not fit to be in school on account
of Bcro^la and lung troubles. A short time ago a man and wife came with a little
giii so sick that if she was one of your children she would be in the best place that
could be found for her with the bedt medical attendance. This little cliild was
brotight to school by force and the parents' heaits were broken because they were
afitaia that she would die. As soon as the children are found to be sick in the school
they will send them out again. There should be in some way a medical examination
6rst, and only compel those children to attend who are able.

Question. Who compels them f

Miss Collins. The Indian agent, by dropping the names from the ration ticket,
tt makes an uncomfortable feeling among the Indians. They fdel that they are not
treated justly.

Question. Are there not extra rations for old and sick people?

Miss Collins. No ; not to my knowledge. I have never seen any.

Question. How far do the reservation schools carry the children in their studies?

Miss Collins. The most of our reservation schools Would n<»t be higher than the
lower classes of a grammar school, but they gain a great deal besides books — how to
Oare for the body, how to do housework, and many other things. They are kept in
school too constantly, too many bouts, and are compelled to rise too early. The arti-
ficial light is not good for their eyes in the night schools. All these things need
looking after. The children work too hard.

Question. Do they have training in morals and ideas of citizenship?

Miss Collins. I think they receive a little training in morals, not so much as they
otight, and often the example of laborers around the School will undo all that the
teaoher cui do^

Question, its the instruction merely in English?

Miss Collins. Wholly in English.

Digitized by



Question. How many persons are there in your agency?

Miss Collins. About 4,000, I think.

Question. You speak of the child's name being taken off the ration ticket. Ton
mean it is issued to the school, not to the home?

Miss Collins. It is issued to the school, but if the child goes home, after a long time
the parent may get it back again if he will work for it patiently and persistently.

Dr. Stimson. I knew something of the work in that neighborhood before Miss
Collins went out there, for, twenty-five years ago, in the days of Dr. Williamson and
the elder Riggs, I was there, and I knew the Indians. At that time I saw mills apd
engines unused, representing thousands of dollars, that had been out there for the
Indians. I saw houses for Indian chiefs, costing from $2,000 to $3,000, which had
never been occupied. That was the standard of progress which had been made by
the Government in its effort to civilize the Indian at that time. There was an intel-
ligent agent striving to do his best, but he found himself checked in his work, and
his work destroyed, and himself cast out by the machinations of selfish men who
were able to use the efforts of the Indian in the East to do the work of the devil in
destroying the work of good men. I know when Miss Collins came out there and
and how the Indians learned to love her as Winona. I shall not forget when Indians
first came to the communion service there wrapped in blankets. We need to go only
about half way back to that time to reach those public meetings when some of us
pleaded for citizenship and rights of property *for the Indians, and our ideas were
treated as chimerical. The progress which has been made in the short time which
has passed since Miss Collins undertook her work with vigor, intelligence, and
hopefulness deserves our hearty tribute.

Rev. Egerton R.Young was next introduced by President Gates as a Canadian
missionary who had spent a number of years among the Cree and Saulteaux Indians
in the Hudson Bay territories.

Address op Rev. Egerton R. Young.

work in CANADA.

My work for a number of years was in the far north in Canada. There the only
inhabitants are Indians, with the exception of the fur traders and their families.
The powerful Hudson Bay Company have been in existence for over two hundred
years. They obtained their charter from Charles I. On the whole, their treatment
of the Indians has been fair and honorable.

I went out to that land as a missionary in 1868. At the time my church called me
to this missionary work I was pastor of a flourishing church in the city of Hamilton,
in Canada.

One strong motive that caused my good wife, with me, to resolve to go to that far-
away land and isolated work was, if fur traders are willing to go and live in such
regions for the sake of getting rich in bartering their goods for the valuable furs of
the Indians, what is our religion worth if we are not willing to make equal sacrifices
for the spiritual and eternal welfare of the Indians?

We were two months and nineteen days on the journey. We often refer to it as
our honeymoon trip, as we had only been a short time married.

As St. Paul for a time was our nearest city, we were about 1,200 miles from civili-
zation. Our nearest post-office was 400 mUes away, and we waited six months for
our daily newspaper.

Our first habitation was a substantial log house. Soon after we had taken up our
abode in it we had a long talk with the Indians and tried to get into a good under-
standing with them. We told them that in spite of all that had been said ap^ainst
them as to their being thievish and unreliable and ungrateful, we were going to
trust them; and so, no matter how others had thought best to act toward them, our
plan was to trust them, and then see how they would act toward us. So we took the
fastenings off the windows, the bolt off the doors, and the keys out of the locks, and
were never particular afterwards in looking or fastening up anything. Grandly did
they respond to this confidence reposed in them, and never did we haTO stolen from
ns anything of the value of a sixpence.

While learning their language so as to be able to talk to them, we, as all the mis-
sionaries everywhere among them have been doing, introduced the study of English
into the schools, and now in our older missions all the children and many of the
older people can talk in English. At an old mission I lately visited among the
Oueidas I spoke to the children in Indian. At my words the children were amazed,
as they now know only the English language. Looking at this from the sentimental
side, it may seem a matter of regret that these Indian languages, some of them so
poetical, should be forgotten and entirely disappear; but if we are going to build
np a great, magnificent America, with its two great divisions — Canada and the United
States — ^let it be a mighty people speaking one language.

Digitized by



I woiild here desire to add my testimony to what has been well said on the subject
of the missionary being a medical man. To be able to administer to the sick and
diseased amone them gives him a marvelous influence for good over them.

Then the missionary who would be a success among the Indians must be a man
who is willing and able to put himself at their hes^ and show them that good,
honesty hard physical toil is not degrading. The pagan Indian hates labor. He
leaves it all to the women. He can be active enough when hunting or fishing, but
he simply abominates the ax and the spade and the hoe. *' Let the women do all
that work ! " is his cry. So the minister or missionary who would succeed must show
him by example that it is not degrading to toil.

But the grandest triumphs only come by putting Christianity first. Civilization,
with its many blessings, then follows very much more easily, and abides.

Long years ago we had a governor in Canada who tried to civilize a tribe of
Indians without the gospel. It was not a success. In spite of his feasting them
and pleading with them to go to work as they saw the white settlers doing, they
only hung the bright new axes around their necks as ornaments, and then made a
fire of the wooden plows and harrows and ate up the oxen sent among them for use.

That is a sample of the efforts to civilize without first sending the gospel. When
the gospel enters into their hearts, the very horizon of life seems to widen. Then the
once listless, careless, cruel tyrants go to the missionaries and say : ** Can not you
help us to a better life here alsoT''

Marvelous have been the real and abiding blessings conferred upon them. See
those northern Indians. They lived altogether by fishing and hunting, and the
missionaries and their families of those days had to live about as the natives did.
Fancy fish, twenty-one times a week, as the staple food for six months : then game
of various kinds, such as bear's meat, reindeer, muskrats, beavers, and an almost
endless variety of other things of that kind, the rest of the year!

Until the fertile prairies of Manitoba began to be cultivated and flour transported
into that northland,* bread was a thing unknown. In the petition in the Lord's
Prayer, ''Give us this day our daily bread," the intelligible translation is, ''Give us
this day something to keep us in life.'' So it was with the ordinary garden vegeta-
bles. They were unknown in many places. Fruits were never dreamed of. Once,
when on a missionary lecturing tour in Toronto, some Mend gave our only son —
then a little lad of about 5 years of age— an apple. He did not know what to do
with it. When told to eat it, he began at it very carefully, and when a piece of the
thin core got in between his teeth he threw the half-eaten part down on the floor
and exclaimed, indignantly: "I don't like this potato; it has too many fish scales
in it."

WeU, we rejoice to be able to report that a better state of things now obtains
there. The missionaries have helped them, and the result is the people are vastly
better off.

Some of my own experiments were interesting and suggestive. We have in the
far northland only four months in which there is any growth. The summer is short
and brilliant, the winter long and severe. At one place I succeeded in getting out
for planting some seeds of hardy vegetables, and also four potatoes. As the season
was half gone when my four potatoes arrived from the south, I only succeeded in rais-
ingfrom them some little ones about the size of acorns. However, we carefully packed
them away from the frost in our hot dining room, in cotton wool, and then, planting
them the next year, we obtained from them a large pailful of splendid potatoes.
These yielded the next year about 6 bushels. The next year the crop was up to 125
bushels. Then the raising became quite universal among the people. I did my first
plowing with dogs. Eight good dogs were able to draw my plow very nicely. With
my dogs I also harrow^ in my grain. They were the substitutes for horses and
oxen, and were of great use to me, as with them I traveled some thousands of
miles each winter on my long, long journeys to remote bands of Indians in the more
distant wilderness. So interested and pleased did those Indians become in their
efforts to cultivate the soil that a large number of them, under the guidance of their
missionaries, migrated some hundreds of miles south to a place called Fish River,
in the northern part of Manitoba. Here the Canadian Government has given them
a splendid reservation, 14 miles long and 7 wide.

I wish here to put in my most emphatic testimony to the kindly interest our
Canadian Government takes in the welfare of the Indians of our country. We have
never had in Canada an Indian war. We allow no Indian agent to swindle or rob
the natives. We punish most severely any man who tries to sell intoxicating liquors
to them.

I visited the Fish River Reservation in 1893. I was delighted with what I saw. I
spent a week in the house of one of the Indians. It was as clean as could be desired.
The food cooked by them was abundant and wholesome. In some of the houses there '
were Canada organs and sewing machines, and the native women and girls could
use them fairly welL When I worshipped with them on the Sabbath, I round them

Digitized by



waU dieesed in the garm^ite af oiviH^Uiioii ; and thej w«re derout a&d Attentive
lutttners as I preached to them the old gospel that they Btill ky^e |m m the days of
yore when it lifted ih^a np out of ^xa &rknes« and soperstitioii of paganism inta
the light of Christianity.

Their old habits and customs are now almost things of the past. Hiey love to
imitate the whites in varioas ways. At one choreh a bride of a far trader came to
clinrch with a pretty little lace y^l that reached just below h^ nose. The Indian
^irls, who had put tl^ir Inxariant hair up in nets, when they saw this veil, daring
prayers dragged their nets forward o^er their heads^ end hitched them on their noses
in imitation of the white lady.

This constant watching on their part made as carnal to erer set before them a
^ood example.

Marvelous has been the transformation wrongnt among them. They ean be saved.
Pity that the great people of this great ecmtinent did not set about the work earlier!

Well, we will rejoice at what is now being done. We all thank God for Mohonk and
£9r Mr. and Mrs. Smiley. May the good work go on ; and while the educating and
civilizing work is making sueh glorious strides, let us, as Christians, net forget that
if we want to have a real ajid abiding eivilization and uplifting of these Indians, we
must send them the Bible and the knowledge of the great truths of the gospel as
therein recorded. Then the work will not be in vain, and neither will it be easily


Wednesday Evening, October 14.
The conference was oaUed to order at 8 p. m., and Mrs. Mary L. Eldridge, field
matron, from New Mexico, was introduced*

Addbess of Mrs. Eldridge.

It is always best to remember that our Navajo Indians are not fed or supported
by the Government in anyway, but are self-supporting. They have for many years
lived upon the products of their herds of sheep. The men used to own ponies and
great flocks, but the fall in the price of wool has left them without any means of
subsistence, and they are now going through the transition from herders to farmers.
Five years ago my friend Miss Raymond and myself were sent by the missionary
Society to work among the Navajoes. When the request went to the agent for a
locality for us, he said, ^* Put those women just as far from the agency as you can;
we don^t want missionary women watching us and reporting.'' So we were sent into
the very northern part of the reservation, where we had about three-fourths of an
acre of land. Back of us rose two mountains 500 or 600 feet high. South was a river,
and our open side was toward the plains. We were there when it was very cold, but
a tent was given to us, whieh we lived in for six weeks. In the meantime the
Indians came about us and Informed us that they had no use for white people, and
the quicker we got off the better it would please them. It was not a very encourag-
ing beginning. Then a few weeks' serious illness broke out among them, and as
they had been growing very poor for two or three years and were not able to employ
a medicine man^ they came to us for help, and we were able to help them by giving
them medicine. At the end of six weeks we found that we were to be allowed to
stay, and so we built a small house of rough timber, and in that we stayed through
the winter. The Indians gradaally came 1^ us raoi-e and more, and in this way we
:ot hold of them. The Navajoes are very independent Indians. They are very
lard working men and women. They were just finding out that they could not live
longer on the proceeds of their flocks and were wondering how they' should subsist.
Nothing can be raised there except by irrigation, and we made them understand
that they must take out water upon the lands and raise their own corn and wheat.
Soon after, we found some of our men had begun working to dig a ditch. The ditch
t^as to be 8 or 9 feet deep at the head, and a mile in length, before the water would
be available for irrigation. For tools they had only an old ax, a broken-handled
shovel, and a pick from some white man, and with these three tools they had begun
work. About that time money was sent to us by the Cambridge Association — some
$75 — with which we bought tools for the Indians. They kept up this work all winter
and well into the spring, bnt it was not completed in time, and i^ey raised little
that year. The second year they raised a very good crop of com and some wheat,
which they out with their batcher knives and cleaned in the old-time way sueh as
we read about in the Bible. Following out this plan of putting in the ditches and
getting something for the people to eat, ditches were put on both sides of the river
and gardens made and homes started. Tb^re are not, however, enough irrigation
ditch^ yet.

We have had some enrious experiences among these people. One man came to onr
place two years ago Mid wanted to have ns take his boy of 16 in hand, beoaose he


Digitized by



would not work. He wanted one of ns to whip his hoj. We Mked how maeh the
uoy had to eat every day. He said he had a handful ofparched com in the morning
and another at night. I issued flour and coffee to the man and told him to take his
boy home and feed him well and then put a shovel in his hands. If he worked well

f,U the forenoon, to give him a good dinner, and if he worked poorlv, to give him very
ittle, and if he did not work at all, to give him no dinner. The ylan worked to
perfection, and the man came up the next week and said his boy was domg splendidly.

The people are in|;enious in all kinds of work, the women especially. They do
hot, as a general thing, work in the field. They herd the sheep. The sheep belong
to the women, and the ponies to the men. They spin well, and make the yarn from
which they make the hlanketa. The weaving is very primitive. The beams are
stretched between two trees, and this primitive loom is carried about with them
when they move from place to place. They devise their own patterns for the
blankets. One of the blankets I have for sale here took a woman one hundred and
twenty days to weave ; and I do not suppose her work counted for more than 25
rents a day. The spinning of the yarn would certainly have taken another hundred
days. The Navajoes are now trying to make homes. That is their strongest love*

About 45 miles southwest of our place is a wash eoming down from the mountaiuB.
Two years ago, when they had a good deal of snow, they built a rude dam and made
a reservoir in which the snow water was held and carried by side ditches on to the
«and; and for miles up and down there were nice crops of com, wheat, melons, and
squashes. This year there is not a bill of com there, and nothing raised at all in
that vicinity. On the north side of the reservation the white people have taken out
ho ditches from the irrigation fund. All that has been done has been done by Indians.
•We have had the service of no surveyor.

Five years ago if we had talked to them about allotments they would have been
very angry. Now they are anxious to have homes and allotments.

That part of the country has been a rendezvous £07 criocdnals of all kinds, people
trying to get away from arrest. They sell whisky to our Indians and gamble with
them, and it has been very hard on that account. The only power we nave in th^
matter is the moral power which we can exercise. These Indians with whom we
associate every day it is comparatively easy to keep straight, but where they are
oniles away it is difficult. The question of the Utes being settled in our vicinity is
a very serious matter for us. Those Utes who would not take allotments of land are
to be brought down within 8 miles of the Navajo Indians. They are ration-fed
and they are to be placed in a location where they will have to be fed always, for
they can do nothing whatever with the land. We object very strongly to having
them placed so near our Navajoes. Of course our Indians are not all good, and the
bad ones will be made worse to be among the Utes, where they can gamble and get

The Nay%]oes are a reverent people. They will not accept a statement as to our
belief very readily. They want to know our proof. They say we can not see the

Online LibraryUnited States. Board of Indian commissioners.oAnnual report of the Board of Indian commissioners to the secretary of the interior .. → online text (page 9 of 28)