« ZurückWeiter »
INDIAN TRIBES. 23
aries and government agents. They wear no dress but the blanket. Their crops are short, and the houses built for them by government have gone to decay. Of the Iowas and Sacs nineteen girls and seventeen boys were last year at school. They live at the school, under the care of the teacher. There is not in the Iowa reservation one adult professing Christianity, and the reports of those in charge of them are truly disheartening. The Kickapoos are next south of them on the Missouri river; their condition is better than their neighbors', and the agent seems to consider that it will improve with the stoppage of their annuities, which, by treaty, were to cease last year. Two hundred and eight Winnebagoes have lived on the same agency, but were to remove last spring. Two hundred and fifty Pottawatomies have also homes on the Kickapoo land; but were to remove in the spring to their own reservation south of the Shawnees. The Delawares, Wyandots and Shawnees hold the lower valleys of the Kanzas, and the rivers which flow into it. Among them are six missionary stations; and four circuit preachers attempt to preach the Gospel to them. Of these stations, the Friends' Shawnee Labor-school has won an honorable name from its patient and successful care of the children confided to it. It is more than fifty years since the Friends first labored for the civilization of the Shawnees. In this school there are forty-nine scholars, and a good farm is connected with it. About twenty-five scholars are at the Delaware school, twenty at the Baptist Mission; and Mr. J. ohnson, the superintendent of the “Indian Mission'' established in 1851, reports that he has as many as he can take care of It is understood that they prove effective work-people on his valuable farm. The Shawnees, Delawares, Pottawatomies and Wyandots, hold the best parts of Kanzas. They are addicted to liquor, which they obtain from traders of their own nation. Half of them, it is said, are drunkards, and the estimate that a quarter part are Christians, made by Mr. Robinson, the agent, must be made with reference to some very low standard of Christianity. South of the Shawnees, as has been said, are the Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi, the Ottowas, and the Chippewas (of Swan Creek and Black River). There are emigrant tribes also. The Sacs and Foxes numbered, in 1853, two thousand one hundred and seventy-three persons, who draw from the government, annually, seventy-one thousand dollars in money, forty kegs of tobacco, and forty barrels of salt. Twenty thousand dollars of this annuity, with the salt and tobacco, ceases after 1862; the rest is a perpetual payment. They are a roving people, supporting themselves chiefly by the chase; but they have had the sense to agree to “spill" all whiskey, or other liquor, brought into their country. This is the tribe in which Keokuk and Black Hawk were chiefs, in their war against the United States.
INDIAN TRIBES. 25
The Chippewas are but five families, holding thirteen Sections of land, and drawing a perpetual annuity of three hundred dollars.
The Ottowas are a farming people, honest, industrious and prosperous. They receive a perpetual annuity of two thousand six hundred dollars. Their land is good, lying on the Osage river. These two little communities have a surplus of their crop for sale. The Ottowas are increasing in numbers. They are now two hundred and forty-seven, which is forty-two more than they were six years ago. The influence of Rev. Jotham Meeker, supported by the Baptist Union among them, seems to have been of enduring and real value. x
These comprise all the tribes removed by the government into the territory of Kanzas. The government cannot fairly be charged with intentional cruelty or neglect to them. The annuities awarded to them by treaty have been large, and have been paid; and attempts have been made to initiate them in the arts of civilized life.
But it appears to be the universal impression now, among those concerned in the management of these tribes, that the payment of a money annuity to them is anything but an advantage. It renders them improvident, indolent and dissolute. The most energetic officers fail to keep liquor from the tribes. The Indians themselves go for it to the white settlements in Missouri; and the strictest prohibition of the trade in it is of no avail.
In Michigan, and in some of the reservations which have now been named, it has proved that where each Indian family has had its own house and farm, and the same stimulus has thus been brought to bear as an inducement to labor which acts among the settlers themselves, they really fall into the habits of civilized life, and, in some instances, redeem themselves from those vices which have seemed almost inseparable from savage life on the borders. It is to be hoped, indeed, that, by such a policy, and the care of the new government now to be established in Kanzas, these remnants of the Indian tribes may be saved from a further downward progress, and secured the blessings of improvement, like that which has been made by two of the smallest
communities of their number. With the exception of the little community of HalfIBreeds, on the Nemaha rivers, all the tribes now described are in KANZAS, whither they have been removed from old homes. We proceed to speak of the tribes, of which the names are given above, which retain their aboriginal position within the borders of these two territories.
The map will show how extensive the regions are which they occupy. NEBRASKA is bounded on the north by the parallel of 49°, the northern boundary of the United States; on the south by the parallel of 40°, which separates it from Kanzas. Its eastern boundary is the (northern) White Earth river and the Missouri, which divide it from Minnesota and Iowa; and its western, the ridge of the Rocky
INDIANS IN NEBRASKA. 27
Mountains. KANZAs extends three degrees, or two hundred and eight miles, further south. Its eastern boundary is the state of Missouri; its northern, the line of 37°, which divides it from the Cherokee reservation; its western, the Rocky Mountains.
We have given a general catalogue of the native Indian tribes which are now scattered over this vast domain. We proceed to speak of their different characteristics in more detail, beginning with the tribes in the northern part of Nebraska, and speaking in succession of those further south.
North of the valley of the Mississippi river are the head waters of some streams which flow into the British possessions. The tribes of Knistinaux or Crees, of Ojibwas and Assineboins, hunt on these waters, and frequently pass further south into the territory of Nebraska.
The Crees are the most northern branch of the great Algonkin Lenape family of Indians. Their language is a different dialect from that spoken by the New England Indians and the Delawares, with which, however, it agrees in its basis. Their hunting-grounds extend as far north as Lake Athapasca, and as far east as Hudson's Bay. Mr. Catlin speaks of those who reside on one side of the frontier of Nebraska as “a very pretty and pleasing tribe,” about three thousand in number. They cultivate the soil with SOIsle SUICCéSS. r
The Ojibwas are a section of the great Chippewa race.