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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
Office Indian Affairs, November, 24, 1835. Sır: In compliance with your order of 4th September last, I have had the honor to present an estimate of the amount required by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the ensuing year ; also, the estimated amount of current expenses of the Indian department for the same period, ex clusive of the expenses of emigration, and also an estimate of the sums required for the payment of annuities due to individual Indians and Indian tribes, and for the fulfilment of treaty stipulations for the coming
Those estimates were referred to in several papers then submitted, and marked A, B, and C.
Such other statements as might seem to comport with the spirit of your requisition are herewith added for the purpose of communicating specific details of our Indian concerns under the superintendence of this Department.
In the paper marked D will be found the amount drawn from the Treasury, and remitted for disbursement under the different heads of appropriation for the first three quarters of the present year ; also, the amount of the accounts rendered for the corresponding period, under their respective heads, together with the balances remaining to be accounted for according to the books of this office. The remittances for disbursement form a sum total, as there appears, of $1,075,693 66 ; accounts have been rendered for the amount of $817,238 35; and the sum of $258,455 31 is still out, remaining to be accounted for in ordinary course. It lies in the hands of officers having the charge of paying Indian annuities, or clothed with other specific pecuniary trusts. It not unfrequently happens that unavoidable causes prevent regular and timely transmission or reception of documents required by the regulations of the Department for the rendering of accounts, without culpability attaching to the agent in the smallest degree. Among such causes are extreme distance, disbursements not completed, mischance of conveyance, and other incidental circumstances precluding complaint and admitting apology.
All material information in relation to the Indian schools, participating in the benefit of the annual appropriation of $10,000 for the civilization of the Indians, is communicated in the paper marked E, together with the particular disposition of the education funds set apart for that object in treaties with the Indian tribes. With a wish to bring this interesting subject more under general notice, there is incorporated in this statement whatever has come to the knowledge of the Department from societies and institutions co-operating in the same beneficent purpose. The cause of humanity finds an advocate in every feeling bosom, and the sentiment is as universal as grateful, that education and civilization march
hand in hand in the progress of improvement, civil and religious. The number of Indian children taught at the schools included in this report cannot be given with accuracy, inasmuch as returns have not yet been received from all the teachers. It is supposed to be about seventeen hundred.
There are, besides, one hundred and sixty-three Indian scholars at the Choctaw academy in Kentucky, the education expenses of whom are defrayed from funds provided for this special object under treaty with several of the tribes. This academy has heretofore steadily increased in reputation, in proportion to its extensive usefulness; and is now progressing successfully in the adoption of mechanical education, superadded to the common elementary branches of tuition.
In a former report, this topic was adverted to, and arguments that spontaneously presented themselves were then introduced in support of the views there taken in relation to the subject of Indian instruction in the mechanical arts, as a material part of the system of education. These, in fact, must become, if not the first, the principal step in the ladder that leads from the aboriginal to the civilized state. However agricultural may be the prevailing disposition or pursuit of any mixed community, nothing is more clear than the position that all cannot be agriculturists. Diversity of inclination, physical adaptation, and especially the positive requirements in society for the productions of mechanical skill and labor, set at nought so illusive an opinion. Employments must be found in a wholesome condition of society, suited to different tastes and capaci
But fitness for employment presupposes instruction and acquaintance with the several branches in which it is exercised, by us denominated trades. Apprenticeship only can produce able workmen ; and it is believed that the mechanic arts can be the more readily grafted on the Indian stock through the means of mechanical instruction as a part of the system of education patronised by the Government.
These suggestions are offered under a firm persuasion of the capability of the Indian to take his station, through the ameliorating process of letters and the arts, by the side of the civilized man. And surely all will admit that there is a well-founded claim on our sympathies in behalf of the Indian race, when it is considered that our territories were once the hunting grounds of their forefathers, and that our cities occupy the forher sites of their wigwanıs and villages. Humble instruments in the bands of Providence, let us lend our aid to the red man's helplessness, and assist him to ascend where civilization spreads its wide expanse, Creative of new impulses, and affording a more genial home to his affectors, a richer harvest for his exertions, and a brighter atmosphere for his intellectual vision.
Suitable measures have been adopted for the execution of the treaty oncluded at Chicago with the united nation of Chippewa, Ottowa, and Pottawatamie Indians, and a considerable portion of them are now on the way to their destined home in the West. The residue may be expocted to follow speedily, so that the entire number may probably be gregated in their new domains in the course of the ensuing season. Kanwhile, the commissioner appointed to investigate some of the indidnal claims under the treaty has presented his report, which has given eral satisfaction, and they have been paid, with the exception of those da lowed by him, and of which, by his appointment, he was constituted six arbiter.
never to return.
Major J. Brookes has succeeded in concluding a treaty with the Caddo Indians, by which they cede their land in Louisiana to the United States, and agree to remove, at their own expense, beyond our territorial limits,
This alternative may possibly save the small remains of the tribe from total extinction—a fate that seemed to be impending on a continued residence in their present location, surrounded by a population that operates on the children of the forest like miasma on constitutions unused to its baleful influence. The treaty and journal of proceedings are herewith communicated.
A treaty has also been concluded by Governor Stokes and General Arbuckle, with the Camanches and Witchetas, two of the three nations of Indians of the great western prairie. It is confidently expected that the Kioways, the third nation, will also become parties to the treaty, and there are good grounds for believing that it will have a salutary tendency in repressing a long-indulged spirit for depredation, and in preserving peace among all the Indian tribes west of the Mississippi. The treaty and journal of proceedings are herewith transmitted.
Major Francis W. Armstrong was associated in the commission with the above named gentlemen. He had left home to attend the council, but was suddenly arrested by disease, which ended in death before he could reach his destination. By this unhappy ever, the Government lost a meritorious and efficient officer, and the Choctaws were deprived of a faithful, able, and devoted agent. It affords me a melancholy opportunity of stating a matter highly creditable to the deceased, in which the good done will live after him, and consecrate his memory. In one of his communications to the Department, he informed that the Choctaws had then recently condemned to death, and actually executed, two of their tribe, on a charge of witchcraft. Such, it seems, had been the practice among them in preceding times, showing the unhallowed influence of the superstition, and its concomitant horrors. Immediately on being apprized of the shocking transaction, he convened the chiefs in council, and prevailed upon them to abolish the custom, under penalty of death for being instrumental thereafter in such execution, and of the lash on whoever should prefer a charge of witchcraft against any of their tribe. To his decision and firmness may be ascribed the termination of a superstitious custom, that triumphs in the weakness of human nature, gives a sort of legalized sanction to the most barbarous acts, and calls for the immolation of innocent victims, as an acknowledgment of its paramount authority.
There has been no intermission of exertion to induce the removal of the Cherokees to the west of the Mississippi, in conformity with the policy adopted by the Government in favor of the Indians, and to which they form almost the sole exception. There can be little doubt that bad advisement, and the intolerant control of chiefs adverse to the measure, have conduced to the disinclination of a large portion of the nation to emigrate, and avail themselves of the obvious benefit in the contemplated change ; another portion has viewed the measure in a more favorable light, and en listed in its advocacy with much warmth. Such a diversity of sentiment could not fail to create collisions and animosity, and the effect has been, so far, a prevention of the requisite unanimity to bring the question to a favorable issue. In this state of things, a provisional treaty has been made with John Ridge and other influential members of the nation, favorable to the cause of removal, and by them submitted to their brethren in May last. No ac
counts of their final decision have yet been received. The provisions of the treaty are so liberal, and the disadvantages of continuing among the white population, that has entrenched itself on their borders, and even interspersed itself among them, are so glaring, that its cordial and speedy adoption might reasonablý be anticipated. All proper efforts have been made by the Government to ensure this result, under the conviction that its acceptance would lead to their tranquillity, prosperity, and happiness.
Indications of a contumacious and hostile spirit on the part of the Seminoles excited apprehension that they meditated resistance to the fulfilment of their late treaty, and that their removal could not be effected without compulsion. To intimidate the disaffected, and quell a spirit of turbulence, a military detachment was ordered to repair to their country; and they were expressly assured that a compliance with their treaty, made by them with much caution and deliberation, and after an exploring party of their chiefs had examined the land allotted for their residence in the west, and passed upon it their unqualified approbation, would be enforced by the Government. It is gratifying to add that they have subsequently seen their interest and obligation in a clear light, and that they are busily engaged in preparations to remove during the ensuing spring.
The Creek Indians are beginning to wake from their long-indulged lethargy, and a general spirit of emigration is manifesting itself among them. From recent communications, much confidence is entertained that a considerable portion will be in readiness to proceed to their western home in the course of a few weeks, and that they will be followed by the residue of the nation within the coming year.
It is respectfully suggested, as a matter of extreme importance, that early appropriation should be made for the annuity money due to the different tribes, that the publication of proposals, in those cases where goods are to be furnished, may be issued in sufficient time to ensure competition in the most eligible markets, and that thereby the most suitable articles may be procured on the most reasonable terms. In addition to this obvious advantage, much benefit would accrue to the Indians, and their convenience be materially promoted, by the early transmission of their goods and money, so that distribution and payment might be made in the months of June and July, before the commencement of their sickly season, and avoiding the interference of a later period with their hunting campaign. Complaints have been repeatedly made by the different tribes of injury sustained by them through the long-delayed payment of their annuities, owing to protracted appropriation
The year has passed without any marked event of a general character to communicate. The period has been a pacific one, with little of violence or bloodshed to record; and the Indian condition is decidedly on the improvement, so far as relates to their previous characteristic traits. The exclusion of ardent spirits, where it could be effected, has done much good; and on this exclusion, and the substitution of other pursuits for war and the chase, must depend their gradual growth and eventual proficiency in civilization a consummation earnestly desired by every philanthropic mind. All which is respectfully submitted.
ELBERT HERRING. Te the Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of War.
ESTIMATE of the sums required for the current crpenses of the Office
of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1836.
For compensation to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs
5,700 00 800 00
OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
November 18, 1835.
ESTIMATE of the gums required for the current expenses of the h
dian Department for the year 1836.
$13,500 00 10.000 00 7,800 00
pay of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, and the several Indian Agents, as provided for by the act
of 30th June, 1834 For the pay of sub-agents, allowed by the same act For the pay of interpreters, allowed
by the same act
of annuities, while on visits of business with the superinten
dent and agents, and when assembled on public business For the necessary buildings required at the several agencies,
and repairs thereof For postage, stationery, rent, and fuel for offices For contingencies, Indian Department
1,000 00 5,000 00
2,000 00 3,000 00 4,000 00
OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
November 18, 1835.