Title: Pleased with the Talk

Periodical: New York World

Date: February 11, 1891

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But They Still Insist that the Former Promises Be Fulfilled.

They Want Cattle so They May Go to Stock-Raising—They Tell How Nice It Is to Work for Buffalo Bill—And They Want Their Children Appointed to the Offices at the Agencies.

THE WORLD'S special correspondent visited the Indians after the council held with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs yesterday, and found that they were well pleased with the promises and encouragement given them by Commissioner Morgan; [1] more especially the Indians from Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, Lower Brule and Crow Creek agencies.

They feel that the Commissioner is doing all he can to have the treaties enforced. The Ogallallas and Brules will have their talk on Wednesday. They are now busy consulting as to whether it would be better to reduce their talks to writing, as proposed Monday afternoon.

THE WORLD published on Monday some of the leading questions which will be asked by the Ogallallas, which were translated from the Dakota language by G. C. Crager, and these questions will be handed to the Commissioner. It is, however, apparent that there is something of a misunderstanding between the Ogallallas and Northern Sioux. The Northern Agency Indians are continually asking for schools, while the Ogallallas and Brules are asking that they first be properly fed and clothed, that they get what was promised them in exchange for their lands. They, too, want their children educated, and they also want those who are educated and qualified therefor to be allowed to take positions on the agency which are now held by white men and that those of Indian blood shall receive the same pay for the same work as the white men. They want nothing but plain schools, which in due time can be taught by Indian graduates. They want a ration to be issued to these schools for each pupil in attendance, so that the children can be fed there.

The Commissioner said yesterday that he could not furnish all the Indians with work, but that they must, as the white people do, seek employment wkerever they can find it. One of the chiefs commenting on this to-day, said: "Why do they object to our men seeking money, clothes and food by doing work with Buffalo Bill that we can do without an effort? Ugh! this makes me smile. Buffalo Bill does not take school-children, farmers or students for the ministry. He takes men who know how to ride and shoot, and when they come back they know much abaut the world and they tell us about it; tell the school-children what is true in their books; tell the old men how the world goes on; tell the would-be warriors what they would have to fight against; and it makes such good men as Maj. Sword, American Horse, Rocky Bear, Red Shirt, Lone Wolf, Stand Fast, Black Heart, Yankton Charlie, No Neck, &c., and the many men who stood firm by the Ogallallas in favor of peace and against war by the knife, gun and pistol. These chiefs are still loyal to their race and willing to fight the battle of their people by appeal, by eloquence and by argument with the white chiefs in Washington.

"Not one of the men who have travelled with 'Long Hair' (Buffalo Bill) deserted the Government in the late troubles, and not one of them but will argue to the last for justice to their people before the authorities here. They have been taught that that is the proper way to appeal to the white man's chiefs, and not to go on the warpath. Is that not good employment? 'Long Hair' pays us from $25 to $50 a month in cash, besides clothing, food and attendance. The police on the agency only get $10 per month and they furnish their own horses.

The Indians from Pine Ridge and Rosebud Agency have agreed to tell the Great Father that it would be far more expedient to have cattle sent there instead of so much seed and and agricultural implements. They could then go to stock raising, and in a few years they would have something. It would also give work to their young men. The treaties promises them a great many things, which have not come. "Now," they say, "let us have such an understanding that these councils shall not end as all the others we have held, but that the promises shall be kept. If we receive not all, let us receive a part. We want to work, we want to till the ground and raise cattle, and we will do so if the Government will give us the assistance it has promised us.

"We learn from the newspapers that there is much snow in our country now. It is very cold there: We wonder how our people fare. Are they starving for want of food? Are they freezing for want of clothing? Instead of all this talk let the white chiefs act. That is a wise man's part."

The Indians feel highly grieved that Gen. Miles, who is and has been proved to be their friend, has not been sent for. "Why are they afraid to send for him?" the chiefs are asking. "There are some important facts we wish to prove by him. But we must abide by the decisions of the White Chiefs."


"The white chiefs keep telling us that they are building schools and churches for us. Who pays for them? Does not the money come out of our appropriations? We know that the different religious denominations will build schools and churches for us and that they will be glad to do it. They are interested in us. The white friends in the East who want to help us will build our schools and churches.

"Let the Government give us those things they have promised us. Give us cattle so that we may start in stock raising and we will come out all right. This mission house in charge of Father Jute on our reservation was not paid for by the Government. The Catholic Church built that. The Episcopal church built there was built by the money furnished by Mrs. Astor, of New York.

"We have met several of the Great Councillors who have gromised to be our friends and will introduce resolutions in Congress for our relief. That is, that we be allowed to receive employment from others, off the reservation, whereby we can earn money to help us buy cattle and other stock."

There is a bill to be introduced to the effect that the friendly Indians and those of Indian blood who have suffered by the depredations in the recent troubles be reimbursed by a special appropriation for that purpose.

The next and largest council will be held in the Commissioner's office Wednesday morning, when the Ogallallas and Brules will lay before the Commissioners their greivances. Several Senators and Congressmen have signified their intention to be present, and will question the Indians. The matter of civilian or military agents will be again laid before the Indians.

A mass-meeting will be held in the Congregational Church Wednesday [?] for the Indians.

Note 1: Thomas Jefferson Morgan (1839-1902), Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1889-1893. [back]