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COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
THE YEAR 1866. 1.
Extract from report of the Secretary of Interior. The voluminous report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs exhibits in detail the condition of this difficult and important branch of the public service. The numerous treaties recently negotiated with various Indian tribes have greatly augmented the labors of the department, and the constant pressure of emigration into the Indian territory produces conflicts of interest which require judicious management to adjust and control. The Commissioner sets forth the terms and stipulations of those treaties. The Indian tribes of the southwest have resumed their former friendly relations with the government, and it is hoped that they will succeed in fully adjusting the differences which have heretofore existed among them in consequence of the different attitudes they were induced to assume towards the United States during the rebellion.
There are before the Senate some important treaties with the Indian tribes in Utah, Kansas, and Dakota, to which the attention of that body is respectfully invited. Several treaties recently negotiated with Indian tribes in the northwest will be submitted to you at an early day, to be laid before the Senate for its consideration and action. It is believed that, should they be ratified and faithfully executed, peaceful relations will be established with powerful tribes occupying a vast extent of country, who have recently been in hostility to the government.
The Commissioner suggests the necessity of further negotiations with some of the Indians in Kansas, with a view to their removal from that State; and also with the Indian tribes in Idaho, New Mexico, and Dakota, for their removal to and settlement upon reservations to be set apart for their exclusive occupancy and use. These suggestions will receive the early and careful consideration of the department. Collisions and hostility have been of less frequent occurrence between the whites and the Indians during the past year, than has been generally believed. Occasionally, depredations have been committed, and raids made upon emigrants and settlers ; but these are believed to have been greatly exaggerated, either by the fears of the inexperienced and timid, or the cupidity and selfishness of interested and designing speculators. Peace appears to have been the rule, and hostilities the exception, between the Missisippi river and the Rocky mountains.
It has been the settled policy of the government to establish the various tribes upon suitable reservations and there protect and subsist them until they can be taught to cultivate the soil and sustain themselves. It is no doubt the best, if not the only, policy that can be pursued to preserve them from extinction.
Numerous recommendations looking to the amelioration of the condition of these wards of the government, are contained in the Commissioner's report, and will no doubt receive the attention of Congress.