The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Correspondence of the Oregon Superintendency
News articles and Southern Oregon-related correspondence with the Oregon Superintendency for Indian Affairs.

Click here for Superintendency correspondence 1844-1900.

    August 21, 1899.
    SIR: In compliance with official instructions, I have the honor to submit the following report of this school and agency for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1899:
 ( table p. 309 )
Population of tribes (including pupils away at school).

    The sanitary reports for 1899 show number of deaths, 8; births, 5. Besides these, there were 3 deaths off the reserve, and 10 dropped on account of moving away, making a total decrease of 16 from last year's report. Of the 382, 5 are over 90, 12 over 80, 20 over 70, and 33 over 60 years of age.
    The majority are industrious and self-supporting. A great many of the women make baskets, for which they find a ready sale in Portland at fairly good prices. This year quite a number have engaged in gathering chittem bark, for which they get from 2½ to 3 cents per pound, many of them gathering 100 pounds per day.
    For crops raised, see statistics herewith submitted. From the looks of the grain and acreage sown I have estimated 35,000 bushels of oats and 7,000 bushels of wheat would be harvested, but am sorry to say that from the present outlook this will nearly all be lost on account of continued and unseasonable rains; also there were many tons of hay lost on account of these rains. A majority of these people farm their own lands, and quite a number farm land belonging to the old people. Nearly all have a garden; all have horses; a great many have cattle and hogs, and a few have sheep. All live on their own allotments in good frame houses; in fact, the Indians of this reservation are advancing toward civilization as fast as could be expected.
    They all have a desire to see their children educated, all showing a willingness to send them to school. To encourage and help them I purchase all the wood, hay, and beef needed for school and agency from Indians, arranging it so that all have a chance, limiting the amount so that no one has the advantage over another. All those that are able are making their own living without any help from the government except that obtained through the saw and grist mills, blacksmith shop, and medical attendance, which, of course, is a great help, and of which they all take advantage. To the old and infirm a little four, beef, sugar, and coffee is issued during the greater part of the year.
    There has been no disturbance during the past year, no quarrels or difficulties among them, but what I was able to settle without any trouble; in fact, the past year has been free from any trouble whatever caused by Indians.
    The sanitary condition was about the same as in the past.
    The agency employees consist of one sawyer and apprentice, one blacksmith and apprentice, all Indians. All faithfully discharged the duties of their several positions the past year. And right here I wish to say in behalf of the sawyer, who also runs the grist mill, that the Indians, as well as myself, are well satisfied with his work, many of them telling me that they now get more flour, and better, than they did under former millers, from the same amount of wheat.
    Grand Ronde school.--This school for the past ten months has had an average attendance of 90 pupils. They have made good progress in their studies, have been industrious, and well behaved. The boys under the direction of the farmer and industrial teacher have been very faithful in their work on the farm and garden, taking care of the school stock, etc. The girls under the direction of the matron performed the different duties allotted to them cheerfully and well, taking into consideration that all of our pupils are small, averaging in age but nine years. I think we have had a very successful year. In the three years that I have had charge of this school I have transferred 22 of our largest pupils to the Chemawa Indian Industrial School.
    The sanitary condition has been good, no sickness of a serious nature occurring during the year.
    The land on the school farm used for grain had become so foul that I considered it best to summer fallow it, and it is now in good shape for sowing this fall.
    The garden I estimate will produce of potatoes, 300 bushels; peas, 6 bushels; beans, 8 bushels; carrots, 60 bushels; beets, 4 bushels; turnips, 40 bushels; rutabagas, 30 bushels, and 700 head of cabbage.
    Our buildings are all new with the exception of the school building proper. This building needs some repairs, which I hope to do this fall. I have just finished raising it, putting in new foundation and some new flooring, all the work being done by Indians. In my last year's report I stated that this building could not be repaired and that a new one was needed. This statement was made after having a competent carpenter examine and report to me as to what it would cost to put the building in good condition. This summer I had another carpenter examine the building, and from his report concluded that I would make the needed repairs. The worst trouble was the foundation and windows. The first has been remedied; the windows I will have to estimate for; then with a couple of coats of paint the building will answer for some time yet.
    The employee force consists of two teachers, one matron, one seamstress, and one cook (whites), one industrial teacher, one farmer, and one assistant cook, all Indians, with three Indian assistants. All are capable and efficient and have worked in perfect harmony the past year.
    I herewith submit statistics both as to school and agency.
    In conclusion, I wish to express my gratitude to your office for the kindness and many courtesies shown me during the past year. Very respectfully,
    Superintendent and Special Disbursing Agent.
    September 26, 1899.
    SIR: I submitted the annual report of this agency on August 30, last year. An effort to secure a more accurate census as well as a great amount of miscellaneous work has postponed the report this year until a later date. I am gratified to be able to report satisfactory conditions on the Klamath Reservation and a year of good progress and faithful labor on the part of the Indians and employees.
    The Indians are more and more becoming an agricultural people and devote very little time to their former methods of providing food. Little hunting is done except in the fall of the year when the annual incursion is made into the Cascade Mountains in search of wild fruits and game. This usually consumes the greater part of the month of September and a portion of October and is participated in by a large number of both whites and Indians.
    A police force is maintained in the huckleberry country during this season to preserve order and prevent the spreading of fires. No party of Indians is permitted to go on these excursions into the forest reserve without being duly instructed as to our game laws and fully impressed as to the importance of preventing the starting of fires. I am quite certain that the destructive fires which annually devastate large areas of our timber lands are not usually traceable to our Indians; nor are they responsible for the ruthless slaughter of deer for the hides and hams. In fact, hunting is no longer habitual with them, and they devote the major part of their time to labor upon their farms and stock ranches, in teaming or laboring for white employers about the reservation.
    Haymaking is now being pursued with great vigor throughout the reservation. The wild grasses about our lakes and along our streams make excellent hay, and the Indians are determined to prepare an ample amount of forage for their animals for the ensuing winter. The season of 1898 was cold and dry and hay not abundant, and as a result, the loss of cattle last winter was considerable. The present summer has again been very frosty and grain is almost an utter failure on the reservation. The Indians had a considerable acreage sown to wheat and oats, but have again been disappointed. The wheat was only fit for hay on the agency farms, but we have a field of oats, approximating 30 acres, which has so far escaped a frost and from which we hope to realize a fairly good yield. Timothy sown last fall is looking nicely and promises to make excellent meadow; but we shall not be able to realize the full value of either our school or agency lands, nor, indeed, of the arable lands of the reservation generally, until by a proper system of irrigation they can be improved. The Klamath Reservation is an ideal stock country. All grasses cultivated in temperate climates will flourish on our alluvial lands, and with a rational system of irrigation hay enough could be produced not only to winter all the stock the reservation lands will provide pasture for, but thousands of animals in addition. The irrigation of our sandy uplands, now too dry for successful culture, will enable us to grow alfalfa and domestic grains, as such lands will undoubtedly prove less frosty than the lowlands hitherto cultivated by the Indians. The season has not been cold enough to prevent a luxuriant growth of wild grasses, and a careful estimate of the amount of hay put up by the Indians for their own animals amounts to 8,000 tons.
    As a great stock ranch the Klamath Reservation, with its more than 2,000 square miles of alluvial bottom lands and highland pastures can hardly be excelled. The present problem is how to get rid of 3,000 or 4,000 almost worthless ponies and to substitute for them the cattle which would soon make the Indians prosperous. I am confident that the cattle industry is worthy of every possible encouragement, and that a liberal percentage of the indemnity the Indians are hoping to receive from Congress for their erroneously excluded lands could well be employed in the purchase of cattle and the necessary machinery for use in taking care of them.
    Irrigation.--Authority having been granted to begin a preliminary irrigation survey of the reservation, Eugene B. Henry, a competent engineer, was, under your authority, placed on duty May 20 last with two assistants, and has been almost constantly in the field since that date laying out an irrigation system which when completed will add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the value of the lands on the reservation. Some extensive areas, as the Modoc Point country, embracing 15,000 acres of as fine land as there is in southeastern Oregon, and another favored locality of some 40,000 acres of bottom lands lying on Sprague River between our two agencies, will be included in the areas covered by ditches Mr. Henry is now surveying. The last-mentioned locality, of some 40,000 acres or more, will be irrigated from the Sycan River, or north branch of Sprague River, and will necessitate the digging of a ditch several miles in length, which the engineer is now engaged in surveying. On extensive works like this some assistance may be needed from Congress, but on the minor ditches, and in much of the work in excavating the larger ones, I think the Indians, properly organized and directed, will do much of the work.
    The first ditch surveyed by Mr. Henry will convey the water of Crooked Creek from its source within 4 miles of the agency across several sections of rich bottom lands, upon which a number of Indians have allotments, into the school and agency farm, through Council Grove, where the great treaty was made with the southeastern tribes of Oregon in 1864, and over the highlands of the farm now much in need of irrigation. Notwithstanding the lateness of the season, I yet hope to get this ditch under way this fall, so that it can be completed in time for use next spring and so that its prompt completion may prove a salutary object lesson to the Indians.
    Roads.-Only a multiplicity of matters needing attention have prevented me accomplishing much road work with the Indians throughout the reservation. Most of the essential features of the road regulations as to enrollment, setting apart districts, etc., have been done, and the ground work has been laid for a very efficient road system. Taking personal charge of a varying force of from 25 to 40 men, a half month's time was consumed in the improvement of the Modoc Point road, by far the worst road on the reservation. The substantial improvement made evinced the industrious spirit of the sons of a warlike race and proved the practical character of our road regulation. This work was assisted by generous donations of food supplies by white people of Wood River and Klamath Falls, white settlements near the reservation, and by the county court in furnishing powder and fuse and two practical men to use them.
    The bridge over Williamson River on the road between Klamath and Yainax agencies, also some small bridges, should be repaired this fall, and lumber and some other material will be required in this work, as well as the assistance of mechanics from the agency.
    Klamath boundary question.--Paramount to other questions affecting the treaty Indians of this reservation, and which is hoped may soon be brought to a final adjustment, is what is known as the Klamath boundary question. I will very briefly refer to some of its principal features. By the treaties of October 14, 1864, and of August 12, 1865, these treaty Indians relinquished to the United States an area embracing approximately 20,000 square miles, lying in southeastern Oregon and northern California (see Revision of Indian Treaties, pp. 432 and 805), in consideration of the reservation to them of an area approximating 3,500 square miles, the description of which will be found in the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Snake treaty of October 14, 1864, one of the treaties above referred to. The boundary, as natural to Indians, was largely designated by the mention of physical features, and in this case by mountain chains and peaks not generally difficult to recognize. A survey of the boundary was made by a government surveyor in 1871, but his boundary line only conforms to the treaty description at a few points and largely ignores the natural features, preferring direct lines of survey to the angular and difficult mountain summits.
    The Indians for years complained of the injustice of this boundary, which excluded approximately 1,000 square miles of their reservation, and on June 10, 1896, Congress, with a desire to do justice to these people, made an appropriation to defray the expenses of a commission which was charged with the duty of investigating this matter upon the ground and of reporting fully the result, with recommendation for Congressional action. This commission (see Senate Doc. 93, Fifty-fourth Congress, second session) ascertained the area of excluded lands to approximate 617,490 acres, which they determined to be worth 86.36 cents per acre, or $533,270. The commission recommended that one-fourth of this sum, when appropriated, should be paid to the Indians per capita for the purchase of cattle, wagons, and mowing machines, and that the remainder be placed in the Treasury until such times as the Indian lands become alienable, and to draw interest, the interest to be paid annually to the Indians per capita.
    As a result of this report the Secretary of the Interior, under date of January 26, 1897, submitted to the Senate a copy of the report of the commission with the recommendation of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that a portion of the funds when appropriated should be made available for irrigation and drainage purposes for the benefit of Indian allottees and the schools, in addition to their disbursement in part for the purchase of cattle, wagons, and mowing machines, and that $350,000 should be placed in the Treasury to draw interest at 5 percent, the interest to be paid to the Indians annually per capita.
    When this matter came up for Congressional action it was suggested that a survey should be made to ascertain with more certainty the area of the excluded lands, and Congress promptly appropriated $10,000 for this purpose. This survey commenced too late last autumn for completion before the mountains were blocked with snow, but was finished by W. C. Elliott, the contractor, during the present summer, and is now being examined in the field by Mr. McLeod, a government inspector of surveys. Mr. Elliott is not yet able to submit data showing the actual area of the excluded lands, but will do so at an early date. He states, however, that he had no difficulty in following the boundary as described in his instructions, and that he is confident that the area as given by the commission is approximately correct.
    The McConnell treaty.--On December 27, 1898, under the authority of Congress, W. J. McConnell, United States Indian inspector, completed a treaty with the Klamaths, Modocs, and Yahooskin band of Snake Indians on the Klamath Reservation, by the terms of which the Indians agree to relinquish their right to the erroneously excluded portion of their reservation, the actual area of the excluded lands to be determined by the survey just completed, in consideration of a payment to them of 86.36 cents per acre, the value fixed by the boundary commission. It is stipulated that the amount due them, after the payment of legal fees of attorneys, and until Congress further provides, shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States, drawing interest at 5 percent, the interest to be paid to the Indians annually per capita. It is further provided that the Indians shall from time to time, through the United States Indian agent and Commissioner of Indian Affairs, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, ask to have such sums paid to them per capita as their needs may require.
    Twenty-eight years have elapsed since the survey was made which excluded from the Klamath Reservation probably not less than 600,000 acres of land justly belonging to these Indians, and certainly a generous government ought to render them justice without further delay. On their part they have proven faithful to their treaty and are industriously developing the area left to them, which is but a small tract indeed in comparison with the vast domain they gave up when they entered into treaty stipulations with the government.
    The Indian police and judges.--Through an acquaintance with Indian tribes, embracing almost the entire period of American settlement upon the Pacific Coast, I have been personally cognizant of no system of reservation control so effective as that afforded by an active force of Indian policemen and a court of resolute and intelligent judges. During the year many cases have been tried, usually of the character known in our regulations as "Indian offenses," and I am confident that not one decision has been rendered which was not equitable and judicious. These men, though Indians, are business men of character and standing among their people, and their work is a great help not only in the progress of their people in civilization but to the government authorities who are charged with the care and elevation of our Indian tribes, and $8 a month in the way of salary, without either clothing or food, is a small compensation. Fifteen dollars a month, with clothing and subsistence, the same as the police officers receive, would certainly be a more appropriate compensation for them.
    On or about June 16 last, Dr. George Modoc, an old Indian medicine man, was murdered within about 20 miles of the reservation, near the town of Bonanza in the white settlements. The position in which the body was placed and other evidences indicated that the homicide was not committed by a white man. However, a careful investigation, intended to supplement the work of the state authorities, was promptly made, but nothing really tangible as to the identity of the murderer was in evidence. Considerable feeling has been aroused at times in regard to this matter, especially between the Pit Rivers and Modocs, the latter suspecting that certain members of the other tribe were responsible for the murder. I do not anticipate any serious trouble over the matter and feel that through the measures we have on foot the truth will yet be known.
    Undoubtedly the murder was a result of Indian doctoring, a reprehensible thing but hard to stamp out; especially when tribes outside of the reservation, subject to no agency control, practice it with impunity and are only too glad to influence their friends on the reservation to do likewise. All the authorities on our reservation, including of course our Indian judges and policemen, are charged to vigilantly guard against this evil and to bring promptly to trial any person accused of practicing the nefarious work of the medicine man.
    Klamath boarding school.--The capacity of the buildings of this school, according to the rules, is only sufficient for 110 pupils, although at times during the last several years the number has been largely in excess of this. During the last year the enrollment for the first quarter was 122; second, 102; third, 102; fourth, 110. Average attendance for the same periods 41, 86, 95, and 104. Having sent a class of 10 to Chemawa from this reservation, graduated 10, and had during the second quarter much sickness, the average ran down toward the end of the calendar year. This was about made up, however, before the close of the term. We are now rapidly filling up the school and I confidently expect the attendance to pass the maximum during the month of October.
    On account of the decrease in attendance last year we lost our industrial teacher, but as the maximum was so near reached in the last half of the year, and because we shall exceed it easily this year, I hope we shall have the place restored, or the place of disciplinarian instead. There are so many large boys and so much work for them around the grounds and on the farms that an efficient and practical man to be with them is a necessity.
    The improvements needed in this school heretofore mentioned, i.e., two flues and other needed improvements in boys' dormitory; a cow barn sufficient to contain hay for 50 cows; a water system for use and fire protection, and an electric lighting system, are all important. The improvement of the boys' building is a necessity, as it leaks badly and smokes dreadfully, the single chimney being required to convey the smoke of 12 or 14 stoves. Water is so abundant that fire protection and electric lighting could be provided without great expense. The approximate figures furnished by the new superintendent for the improvements mentioned are as follows:

( table )

    Detailed estimate carefully made by competent mechanics can of course be submitted if desired.
    Yainax boarding school.--This school, which is an extremely promising one, is situated 40 miles east of this agency, at Yainax, near the lands of the Piutes and Modocs and the Sprague River band of Klamaths. The authorized capacity of its buildings is 100. Enrollment, first quarter, 89; second, 98; third, 111; fourth, 105. Average attendance for same period, 29, 88, 93, and 101.
    This school has but one ancient building for dormitory, school rooms, and boarding purposes, and its greatest need is a good dormitory building for girls. Having that, its present building could be improved so that it would afford ample room for school rooms, boys' dormitory, and for some other purposes. The attendance could be easily increased to correspond with increased capacity. At the suggestion of the Commissioner I submitted estimates last year for a building of this kind, and I suppose construction was not authorized on account of insufficient funds. Two sets of estimates were submitted, one upon a plan furnished by the Commissioner and the other upon a plan similar to that of the girls' dormitory in the Klamath school. The estimates aggregated $5,274.25 for the first and $6,148.21 for the second plan mentioned.
    A spring, evidently coming from a great depth, as it is not affected either in volume or temperature by surface conditions, and furnishing about 50 inches of water, supplies the school with water for all purposes. A pressing need is the elevation of this water into a tank, with necessary appliances for its use in the buildings and for fire protection.
    The steam sawmill at Yainax, which was an ancient and well-worn structure, was destroyed by fire on June 16 last. As per your telegraphic order, a careful investigation was made of the matter, but it did not appear that the fire was the result of carelessness on the part of the employees. This was a serious loss to the school, as a large amount of lumber was destroyed which was required for buildings in process of construction, and much more was desired for improvements contemplated. The Indians, just beginning work on their newly allotted lands, had a number of frames of barns and houses up and were in great need of lumber to enclose them. I have already written you more fully on this subject, and hope to be called upon to submit detailed estimates for a portable steam mill which can be removed from place to place on the reservation where pine forests will afford lumber adjacent to the various Indian settlements.
    Industrial apprentices.--I was much gratified that the Indian Office so promptly authorized the appointment of three paid apprentices in each of our Indian schools. The plan works admirably, as our practical working force is increased by the plan, and deserving young men are encouraged to remain with an instructor long enough to become proficient. I would like very much to have the number in each school increased to five or six. The expense at $5 a month would not be much, and I believe the benefits would much more than justify the outlay.
    Pit River question.--I have heretofore called attention to the fact that approximately 1,000 Pit River Indians, along the course of Pit River in California and not far southeast of our reservation, are without agency control, and their 300 school children practically without school facilities. The Indians contributed toward the erection of a building for a day school in their country several years ago, and a school of that character was opened and conducted for a time. It was not successfully managed, however, lacking perhaps in its remoteness the supervision of an agent or superintendent.
    I think good results would probably be secured by placing these people, as far as practicable, under the supervision of an agent, and by the establishment of a boarding school at Hot Creek, which is a central point in the Pit River country. In suggesting this I would not disparage the success of the independent school at Fort Bidwell, which is too distant from the home of the Pit River tribe to make it generally available to them, and which might be eventually developed into a training school for the advanced pupils of many of our schools in the vast region between the Rocky Mountains and Cascades.
    The Piute question.--On August 12, 1865, a treaty of peace was made with the Wallpahpe Snakes (or Piutes), at Yainax Agency, by which these Indians were to receive at once a payment of $5,000 in supplies and goods of various kinds and an annuity of $2,000 for five years and $1,200 for ten years. Subsequently, in the autumn of 1869, the warlike Piutes under Ocheho were also located at Yainax to partake jointly with the other Piutes of the meager provision made for them in consequence of their relinquishing to white occupation a domain extending from Nevada to the Blue Mountains, in Oregon.
    Being nomadic and uncivilized, they could not make a living on the reservation, having neither subsistence, implements, nor instruction sufficient to enable them to accomplish anything in the way of cultivating the soil. At first 500 people or more, they gradually drifted away from the reservation to pursue a precarious living on the sage plains of Oregon and Nevada, so the number remaining on the reservation is much less than it was twenty years ago.
    Some provision has been made for a small band of them at Camp Bidwell, Cal., where some lands have been allotted to them, and their children are in school. There are numerous other stragglers about Camp Harney, in Oregon, and even as far east as Fort MacDermott, in Nevada, who ought to be returned to the reservation, at least in the event of the tribes finally receiving the sum claimed by them for their excluded lands.
    Fort Bidwell Indian School.--Although not subject to the supervision of this agency, this school is mainly attended by pupils who belong to Chief Ocheho's band of Piutes, who were originally located at Yainax, on this reservation. The location of this school is a good one, the land fertile, and the climate admitting of the cultivation of fruits and garden vegetables. A number of Pit Rivers are in attendance, and there is a good prospect of increasing the attendance from the same tribe. The location of this school is rather remote, and it is seldom visited by inspectors or supervisors.
    The Old Chiefs.--Out of the 26 chiefs and headmen who signed the great treaty of 1864, only 5 remain. These men are in every case old and poor, and need care and support. They have always been loyal and true, and were our allies in the days of trial and danger incident to the Piute and Modoc wars, and are justly deserving of some measure of relief from the government. If means can be provided to afford them food and a small gratuity of, say, $10 each per month, it would certainly be generosity well bestowed.
    Beneficiary appropriation.--Congress appropriates annually $5,000 for the benefit of the treaty Indians of this reservation. This sum, which amounts to less than $5 per capita, must suffice for the payment of farmer, sawyer, clerk, blacksmith, and for various tools, implements, and supplies furnished these Indians. In view of the fact that many of these people, whose lands have been lately allotted to them, are very poor and that a little assistance to enable them to improve their lands, and thus sooner place them in a position to be independent of governmental help, would be desirable, I would suggest that their appropriation be increased to $10,000, especially if Congress fails at its next session to make an appropriation to compensate them for their excluded lands.
    Census.--The census lately made of the reservation Indians, not including the treaty Plutes referred to as not now residing on the reservation, is as follows:

( tabel )

    The whole number exceeds the aggregate of last year by 73, a result mainly due to more careful work in taking the census and to the returns of wanderers from the reservation. As to the tribes, the following list is only approximate, as these are rapidly changing in relative number by intermarriage. The Klamaths and Modocs, naturally of the same blood and speaking the same language, are now practically a single tribe:

( tabel )

    Hospitals needed.--No provisions have yet been made at either of our schools for hospital facilities, and these are much needed. The buildings are already so crowded that there are no suitable sick rooms in any buildings we have, and in cases of epidemics especially we are at a great disadvantage. A plain building at each school, with only four or five rooms, would be a great help, with a suitable attendant at each to keep the house in order and assist the physicians in taking care of the sick.
    Visitors.--We have had the pleasure this summer of having with us for brief periods Dr. Merrill E. Gates, secretary of the Board of Indian Commissioners; Maj. R. H. Pratt, superintendent of the great Carlisle Indian School, with Mrs. Pratt and daughter; Miss Estelle Reel, national superintendent of Indian schools, and Col. A. J. Duncan, United States Indian inspector, all friends of the red man and champions of our Indian schools. Their personal observation of conditions on this reservation was gratifying to those charged with the conduct of affairs here, and will no doubt result in promoting the well being of the service.
    I submit herewith the reports of the superintendents of the Klamath and Yainax boarding schools
    United States Indian Agent.
    July 1, 1899.
    SIR: I have the honor respectfully to submit the following report of the Klamath boarding school for the year ending June 30, 1899:
    This school is located near the Klamath Agency, and is about 30 miles north from Klamath Falls, the county seat of Klamath County, and about 85 miles from Ager, Cal., the nearest railroad station. The cool dry atmosphere, the clear bubbling springs and rippling streams, the beautiful silvery lakes, the large pine forests, and the lofty snow-capped mountains make this a most delightful place in summer.
    The industrial training in this school consists of farming, gardening, stock raising, carpentering, shoe and harness making, lumbering, blacksmithing, tailoring, laundrying, and general household duties.
    Farming and gardening.--On account of the cold, dry climate, farming and gardening are not very profitable. This can be materially improved by irrigation, which will assist crops in maturing in much shorter time than without irrigation. There are about 70 acres under cultivation this year on the school and agency farm, but the prospects for a crop are poor on account of having frosts nearly every week to the present date. Nearly all garden vegetables have been killed by the cold weather and there will be a very small crop raised this season for next winter's use.
    Stock raising.--The school herd, which consists of about 80 head of cattle, is a credit to this reservation. A large part of these are thoroughbred Durhams, which have been well cared for and kept in excellent condition.
    Shops and sawmill.--In these departments the usual amount of instruction was given and some of the boys became very eflicient workmen.
    Sewing room.--A large amount of work was done in the sewing room, where more than 1,500 articles, including about 220 dresses, were manufactured. Material for about 25 dresses was purchased by parents and brought to the sewing room to be manufactured into dresses of the latest style, to be worn by their daughters on special occasions during the summer vacation. More than the usual amount of mending was done, but it was necessary in order to properly teach economy in clothing.
    Laundry.--A large amount of work was accomplished in this department under rather unfavorable conditions.
    Schoolroom.--Efficient work has been done in this department, and I believe but few reservation schools can show better trained literary workers. I here insert the report of Frank G. Butler, the principal teacher.
    "The attendance for the past year has not been so good as the preceding year, but judging from the number of children just becoming of school age the prospects for the coming year are better.
    "The same course of study has been pursued and steady progress noted. Esthetic development has been prominent in all grades, and especially in the primary department, where a great deal of kindergarten work was done. Several pupils attended the Chemawa school this year, and others desire to enter a training school.
    "All holidays have been observed with appropriate exercises. Current events have furnished unlimited object lessons of patriotism and devotion to our country. Sunday school and church services have been maintained throughout the year, and a literary society part of the time."
    The health of the school children has been good, with few exceptions, and this assisted us in retaining most of the children until the close of school, which made the work more profitable than it could have otherwise been. Though the general attendance was not as large as last year, yet the increase of the average attendance even to the last month shows the work to have been appreciated by the children and parents.
    General management.--Considering the short time that I have had charge of this school, I leave this subject for the agent.
    Needed improvements.--A complete system of waterworks is very much needed, and could be put in for a small sum. A large hay and cattle shed is very much needed. A general system of irrigation for the farm is an absolute necessity to assure profitable farming and gardening. An electric light plant, though not an absolute necessity, would in my estimation be a saving of funds and a great insurance against loss by fire.
    The school year closes with a general good feeling between employees and children, and much of this is attributable to the untiring, conscientious zeal of our agent and united efforts of the school employees.
    Thanking the Indian Department for its assistance, I remain,
        Very respectfully,
    (Through O. C. Applegate, United States Indian agent.)
    Yainax, Oreg., July 1, 1899.
    SIR: I hand you herewith the report of the Yainax Boarding School for the year ending June 30, 1899.
    Attendance.--Supplies were allowed this year for 100 pupils and estimates made for the same number next year. The capacity of the school, determined by the rule laid down in Circular No. 20, is 80. Something over 100 were accommodated last year, but the average attendance this year was only 96, although 66 girls and 55 boys were enrolled during the year. With proper accommodations an attendance of 115 or 120 could be secured.
    The decreased attendance is due to a considerable amount of sickness throughout the year on school and on reservation, transfers to Chemawa, runaways to Bidwell, the habit of many families roaming over the surrounding country and delaying their return.
    The Piute tribe.--A number of the Piute children came in in the fall half starved and demoralized. It is the custom of most of this tribe to roam over the country for 50 or 60 miles to the east during the summer and fall, some of them in search of work. Two years ago there were some supplies to issue to them and they remained nearer home, but last year nothing was issued and there is a growing tendency to spend very little time here. For this reason some school children remained out of reach of the police. Some of this tribe ran away and were taken into school at Bidwell, where a larger percentage of the pupils is of their own tribe. Most of the children are bright and industrious.
    The influence of the summer vacation is against progress, and in my opinion but few of the Piutes should ever be allowed to take their children away from the school except for a few days at a time. It is my intention to give passes to these people with greater care, and I think now that we have two policemen of this tribe the practice of leaving the reservation without a pass can be limited.
    The Pit Rivers of our reservation have connections in California, but their habits are more settled. Many of the Modoc families spend a portion of the year 30 miles to the south of Yainax (Tule Lake), and in some cases there is delay in getting pupils into school, but no unusual trouble this year.
    Accommodations.--Employees have comfortable quarters; the pupils are crowded, but an effort has been made to render their quarters more pleasant. Before the loss of the sawmill it had been planned to relieve the pressure in the boarding house by the erection of one or two small schoolhouses this fall and winter. The boys are much in need of a good clothing room, and the smaller ones should have a play room by themselves. The best way to secure more room for all purposes would be to erect a dormitory for the girls where drainage could be secured from the kitchen. Good discipline by acceptable means bears a relation of dependence to the sufficiency, healthfulness, and pleasantness of the quarters furnished.
    Some means of raising water to the height of the building should be provided. A hydraulic ram was estimated for. If, as Governor McConnell suggested, this should prove to be an artesian country, a deep well might furnish the water. All the water available is not first-class for drinking purposes.
    As a precaution against fire, the old roof, which is rough and full of holes, should be replaced by a new one which could be painted often. Two of the flues are defective and an additional flue is needed in the boarding house.
    Subsistence.--The school table has been improved by carrots and beets raised in school garden. A large amount of rutabagas was raised as usual, but the cooked carrot is much more palatable. The school herd now contains 26 cows, and during the spring sufficient butter was made to supply the table.
    It is to be regretted that the area of the school farm has been decreased by the allotment of 260 acres of pasture land to an Indian. Sufficient land should have been left to support 200 head of cattle, so that during the winter months, when the difficulty of getting good beef through the contractor is great, the school could supply itself.
    The farm.--Enough lumber was sawed this spring for 2 miles of board fence, but most of it was destroyed by fire at the mill. A new garden was laid out and the fence partly made when this occurred. A total of 1½ acres was carefully planted to hardy garden crops. The garden suffered much from severe frosts during June, but some of the crops promised to do fairly well; it is conveniently irrigated with water from the spring, which has a temperature 63° F. at all times.
    Farm work is hindered by lack of sufficient good horses. The present season there will be 150 tons of hay to cut, an increase of 35 over last year and 50 over the year before. Most of this is native grass. The fall-sown rye did poorly because not sown early enough. The spring-sown rye did splendidly because sown almost in the mud of early spring. Wheat and oats sown this spring are not so good. A small plat of blue grass sown a year ago is doing better than timothy alongside of it. A patch of Jerusalem artichokes is in their second year, and promises to make a good hog feed. They resist all but the severest frosts during the summer.
    The water furnished by the numerous springs in the meadow has been carefully spread out over the dryer portions and the ditches cleaned out, so that the land can be dried when cutting time comes.
    In the old barn a shed has been fitted up with stanchions, so that the cows can be milked more satisfactorily. A new barn 56 by 96 feet was begun, but the loss of most of the lumber makes it impossible this year to build anything but a narrow hay barn (24 by 96 feet) without the cattle sheds. To accomplish even this, several employees will have to sacrifice a portion of their vacations.
    A milk or dairy house, 14 by 18 feet, has been built.
    Sawmill.--The loss of the sawmill by fire on June 16 has interfered with progress in many ways. A guardhouse had been planned and a good beginning made on its construction. This structure is very necessary in order to secure discipline by approved means, both to the school and reservation, and lumber and nails for its completion during the month of August should be allowed.
    There are patches of good timber in several places at this end of the reservation and a number of fair locations for a sawmill with water power, but a large amount of labor would be required to make a dam, and a portable mill would be preferable. The old mill consumed a vast amount of time in repairs and required a large number of men to run it, so that lumber often cost the Indians more than it was worth. A little mill that can be moved from place to place would be desirable. Lumber is essential to the progress of the Indians. They cannot haul it from the agency.
    Education.--Some of the time of the superintendent has been consumed in work of construction and for renovating the old building. An effort has been directed toward rendering the course of instruction in and out of the schoolroom more practical by introducing laboratory methods. This should be a continuation of the kindergarten work into the higher grades with more design to it and a closer relation to their practical needs after leaving school. Facts and words learned by actually doing work remain in the possession of the pupil longer than when obtained from print.
    Very respectfully,
    United States Indian Agent.
    August 14, 1899.
    SIR: I have the honor to submit my annual report at the close of the fiscal year 1899.
    Population.--The census roll accompanying this report shows a population of 492, an increase of 7 over last year. This is accounted for by including the returned individual Indians and families that have been absent, some of them for many years.
Number of males over 18 years of age 165
Number of females over 14 years of age 152
School children between 6 and 16:
    Males 48
    Females 42
Number of births 17
Number of deaths 41
    The cause of this excessive mortality is fully explained in the phyician's report attached hereto.
    Education.--We have only one school on the reservation, the Siletz Boarding School, located at the agency. The progress of the school has been materially interfered with by so much sickness among the children during the past year, running the average attendance down to 51, and the constant and continued nursing has been correspondingly hard on the employee force, yet I am pleased to say the conditions have changed for the better. The health all over the reservation is good and with the new hospital building completed and the contract let for a large and commodious dining hall and kitchen with domitories on the second floor affording ample accommodation for all our school children, and the betterment of the water system which now gives an abundance of pure spring water, we are confident of making a better showing for the coming year.
    Indians.--The condition of these Indians is very good. They are intelligent and reasonably industrious. The following table enumerates their principal earnings for the year, with annuity added:
Beef and salmon sold to school $   626.55
Earned picking hops 2,100.00
Fish sold to cannery 3,250.00
Wood sold to school, agency, and employees 869.00
Hauling supplies and merchandise 542.11
Sale of hay, grain, stock, and wool 1,900.00
Sale of chittum bark 2,500.00
Lumber sold to government and others 1,581.27
Laboring for white neighbors, making shingles, etc. 230.00
Annuity 5,856.06
    The peeling, preparing, and sale of chittum bark (cascara sagrada) is growing into quite an industry among these people. It is found all over the reservation and the price, 3 cents per pound, makes the work of preparing it very profitable.
    The oat and hay crops now coming on look well, but the acreage is much below last season, due partly to the late spring and partly to the trouble they experience some seasons in getting it thrashed. The two thrashers that are owned by them are very old, badly worn, and often poorly managed. The fault is not wholly with the machine, for the majority of the Indians are so anxious to go to the hop fields about the close of the harvest that it is difficult to keep enough here to finish up the threshing. For these reasons we do not raise near the quantity of grain on this reservation that we should. The soil is very fertile, and with a little work produces large crops. All raise potatoes enough to supply their families, and many of them market hundreds of bushels every year. Other vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, beans, and peas are raised in abundance. In fact, the home life of the most of these people is very similar to that of a farmer in moderate circumstances. They have a reasonable pride in their dress and general appearance.
    Missions.--The missionary work is carried on at this reservation by the Methodist Episcopal and the Catholic churches. Each maintains Sunday school and holds services nearly every Sunday. During the past year their expenditures have been: Catholics.
Catholics $370.00
Methodists 300.00
    Public roads.--The roads on the reservation are kept in very good condition for mountain roads, comparing favorably with those on the outside.
    Court of Indian offenses.--This court has done a gocd work the past year in maintaining law and order. The bitter fight that was waged against it the previous year has about subsided and all cheerfully obey its mandates, which in the main are very just, and without which it would be impossible to maintain order and enforce the payment of small debts.
    Improvements.--I have been enabled the past year, through the liberality of your office, to make some improvements of a substantial character. A hospital has been constructed with all the modern conveniences, at a cost of about $2,200, and is sufficiently large for our purposes. Six hundred dollars have been expended on the betterment of the water system. A 4,000-gallon concrete tank has been placed at the spring. The pipe is laid 18 inches under ground, except where it crosses ravines, and there it is properly trestled and boxed in sawdust. It now gives an ample supply of pure spring water for all purposes.
    The contract has been let for a two-story building, 30 by 60 feet, the lower floor to be used as kitchen and dining room, the upper as dormitories; cellar, 27 by 30 feet, rock foundation, and modern throughout. When completed, this will give us ample room to accommodate all the children of school age on the reservation.
    Besides these, we have built over 2 miles of new fence and repaired others on the school farm. A cottage has been constructed for the agency clerk, a small jail built, and an old house moved to a more fitting location and fitted up for a courthouse. Repairs to the school barn have been made, a vegetable house built, and 200 loads of gravel have been hauled onto the roads around the agency and school.
    Needed improvements.--Now that we have plenty of water, a system of water mains should be laid around the school building for fire protection. A small building is needed near the dormitory to house the steam engine while heating water for bathing purposes. The rooms in the old dormitory building that are used for dining room and kitchen, etc., will require some change when the children are moved to their new quarters. The agency buildings all need more or less repairing and painting properly to preserve them, and it will require about $1,500 to make these improvements.
    In general.--There has been a noticeable improvement in the moral tone of these people the past year. Their intense, bitter opposition to the Indian court has been reconciled in a large measure. There is also much less whiskey drunk and brought onto the reservation. The gambling or Indian game of schy is not indulged in so extensively.
    They are all very much interested in the measures now before Congress to pay them their annuity in full, to give them the right to lease their lands for five instead of three years, and to allow them to probate the land of deceased relatives and dispose of the same if they wish to. In my judgment all of these measures are for the best interests of these people.
    My thanks are due your office for considerate and liberal treatment during the year just past.
    United States Indian Agent.
    July 5, 1899.
    MADAM: I have the honor to submit my first annual report of the Siletz boarding school.
    Attendance.--The enrollment for the year reached 80, an increase of 3 over last year. The average attendance has not been so good, owing partly to the fact that 12 of our pupils were transferred during the year. It requires much tact and some force to keep pupils constantly in attendance here.
    Health.--The health in the school and on the reservation has not been good. The winter was unusually long and severe. Early in the year we had an epidemic of fever and influenza, which was later followed by whooping cough with complications of pneumonia, thus giving us a full year of sickness. It was necessary for the employees to act as night nurses during the greater part of the year. One fatality occurred at the school and four children were withdrawn and afterwards died. This long-continued sickness decreased our attendance very much. The agency physician, Dr. Turner, gave the school special attention.
    Industries.--The industrial departments have made good progress. The sewing room turned out a large amount of splendid work. The success in this department is due to the untiring efforts of the seamstress and the industry of the girls placed in her charge.
    In the kitchen the girls have had good training in all that pertains to cooking, dairying, etc. We have taken care of the milk of 18 cows, and during the year we have made 951 pounds of butter. The last few months the tables have been furnished with butter at each meal and much is being packed for winter use. The children also have all the milk they care to drink. The kitchen was supplied all year with lard from our school hogs.
    We are not as well equipped for the training of the boys as of the girls, as we have no shops of any kind. Under the industrial teacher the farm and garden have been well cultivated, and we have been well supplied with feed from the farm and with vegetables and fruit from the garden and orchard. The boys are also trained in the proper care of the stock. This spring we planted a large amount of rhubarb, small fruits, and some ornamental trees, all of which are growing nicely. We have had but few large boys and have had difficulty in getting our work done and in making improvements. The Indian assistant allowed us the last part of the year took charge of the cattle, and, beside assisting in other ways, he has reconstructed the fences of the farm and garden so that our fields are now well arranged for crops, pasturage, and summer fallowing.
    Literary.--The progress in the schoolrooms has not been satisfactory. Sickness has interfered and interest has been lacking. Our school is English-speaking and our work should rank higher. Constant change of teachers in the lower room has impeded the progress there.
    Improvements.--A new water system has been completed and the new hospital is nearly finished. We also expect to have a new dining hall the coming year.
    Needs.--Our buildings are lighted with lamps, which give a poor quality of light and are more expensive and dangerous than a good acetylene gas plant, and I recommend that such a plant be located here when the new dining hall is completed.
    An engine and boiler are needed very much. We have been constantly troubled the entire year with our wood sawing on account of having no engine, and we have been unable to use our system of ring baths, as we have no means of heating the water. This need should be supplied before the beginning of the next school year.
    In connection with our new water system the sewer from the hospital should be connected with the main sewer. This should be done at once, and provision should be made for the sewerage of the new dining hall so that the entire system may be completed when the building is finished. We have an ample supply of water and we need a system of large pipes with hose connections, so placed in each of the principal buildings--hospital, schoolhouse, main building, and dining hall--that in case of fire we could draw directly from the main with a good pressure.
    With our present improvised system our hose is connected on a complicated ¾-inch pipe and the pressure is insufficient.
    I have called the attention of the Indian Office to the fact that we need more male employees to maintain good discipline with the boys. I gave the boys' discipline special attention and was ably assisted for a short time by male teachers, and I hope my recommendation in this matter will not be overlooked. We were fortunate in having a good assistant matron this year.
    Employees.--Many difficult tasks have been laid upon our small employee force this year, chief of which was night nursing. I am glad to say that the employees generally responded cheerfully to these extra duties and were found to be responsible in the discharge of the same. There were many changes in the positions of matron and teacher this year. This has been detrimental to our work. The present matron is a woman of ability and refinement and her influence for good has been materially felt. The sixth change in the teacher of the lower room was made July 1.
    Conclusion.--In general the school has made good progress during the year. The boys and girls have worked faithfully and have been very trustworthy. A spirit of good will has pervaded our work the entire year, and has generally made pupils and employees cheerful in the discharge of their duties. The deportment of the children has improved very decidedly.
    In closing I wish to thank Agent Buford for the advice and support he has given me in the work, and the Indian Office for the liberality accorded us.
    Very sincerely, yours to serve,
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington 1899, pages 309-320
Last revised January 30, 2021