INDIAN TRIBES, Olympia Wash., August 20, 1878.

Sir:  In accordance with the requirements for the Indian Bureau, I have the honor to submit the following as my third annual report, being for the year 1878, ass the United Stated Indian agent for the 1,731 Indians belonging to this agency.


The Indians of this agency belong to five reservations and eight scattered bands not belonging to reservations.  In obedience to your Circular No. 6, of January 23, 1878, as explained by you letter of March 14, 1878, I forwarded to you, under date of 7 of June last, a carefully ascertained census of the Indians belonging to said five reservations and to seven of said bands.  The census of 1 of said 8 bands, viz, the Lewis River band, was not ascertained for reasons stated; nor have I yet been able to ascertain with the desired certainty the names of each head of family and
numbers in all families, as this band is widely scattered upon the different fork and confluence of Lewis River.  But, as near as I can ascertain, this band numbers 104.  This will make the whole number belonging to said 8 bands
598.  The whole number belonging to said 5 reservations is 1,133, bringing the whole number belonging to this agency up to 1,731.



By direction of you circular of instructions of July 10, 1877 (which is the same this year), my annual report for last year contained  “such general information as in itself afforded to any on who inquired for the first time respecting my Indians a fair and truthful picture of their condition.”  that condition has been so little changed during the year that has passed that any person desirous of knowing the present condition of the Indians belonging to this agency is, for all practical purposes, referred to my annual report for 1877, which I thing it unnecessary to repeat.


The Indians belonging to this agency are very peaceable and well disposed towards the whites.  Notwithstanding some of them are badly treated at time by evil-disposed white men, they never undertake to redress such wrongs, but either tamely submit or complain to me.  I invariably examine and redress their wrongs and see that justice is done them as far as possible.


Since the termination of annuities in this agency in 1875, the greater part of the Indians belonging to it depend almost wholly upon obtaining means for the purchase of their clothing, bedding, mechanical and farming implements, and most of their subsistence, by labor for the whites in
slashing and clearing up land (at least two-thirds of the timber lands west of the Cascades that have been cleared have been cleared by Indian labor), harvesting, hop-picking, logging, working at saw-mills, gathering oysters,
fish, & c.  Very few of them depend wholly upon the product of their farms for procuring all the necessaries of life; but this few is gradually increasing on the Puyallup Reservation.


The statistics herewith enclosed are of the Puyallup Indians and reservation only, as I had no blank for the other four reservations.  But the Puyallup statistics are the only ones worth forwarding, as they alone show encouraging progress and improvement over last year.  The Nisqually and
Shoalwater Bay Indians are just about where they were last year as to progress.  There has been decided retrogression with Chehalis and Squaxin
*       *       *       *       *       *

The habits, barbaric ideas, and vices of the adult savage are to a great extent fixed and unchangeable, and, like the gnarls, crooks, and imperfections in a grown-up tree, cannot be much changed by culture.  But as the fruitage of a grown-up tree may be greatly increased and improved by
pruning, fertilizing, & c., so the adult savage may, by the all transforming power of Christianity, be made a new creature by its benign influence, and be thereby purified and shielded from the deadly vices of the white man and
the superstitions of his own race, his conscience awakened, and his perceptions opened to his responsibilities to God and his fellow-beings.


The salutary influence of Christianity and constant presence of efficient Christian teachers is signally illustrated at the Puyallup Reservation of this agency.  At the beginning of 1876, the Rev. M.G. Mann came to the Puyallup Reservation as a missionary from the Presbyterian Board of Domestic missions, and has been constantly there, either in that capacity or as teacher of the industrial boarding-school, up to the present time, and has preached to the Indians and had a Sunday school regularly every Sunday, visited their sick, and buried their dead with Christian funeral service.
He has been efficiently assisted in his Christian labors among these Indians by Mr. John Fleet, a consistent Christian, who has been a government employee on that reservation and resided there with his estimable wife and
family over ten years.  The result of these labors has been the establishment of an Indian church of over one hundred and sixty consistent members, a full Sabbath-school, Christian marriage of nearly all adults, and the strict observance of the marital ties; discontinuance of gambling,
drunkenness, buying and selling women for wives, incontinence, superstitious rites and incantations, called temanamus, over the sick; settlement of personal disputes and difficulties among themselves by arbitration or by the
counsel, & c.; decrease of Idleness, increase of industry; more at home, less gadding about, & c..  Please see annual report of teacher, herewith enclosed.


Children can only be improved in correct knowledge and habits by the constant presence, instructions, and example of good parents or teachers, and when deprived of such parents and teachers, progress in everything good
ceases, and the good they may have learned is soon forgotten and supplanted by evil.  Uncivilized  Indians are eminently children, and after civilization and Christianity have been made to take root among them, these highest virtues can only be kept alive and in vigorous growth by the constant presence and culture of active, zealous, Christian teachers.  This truth is strikingly illustrated by the
past and present status of the Indians of the different reservations belonging to this agency.  As has been shown, upon the Puyallup Reservation, where the Indians have for years had the constant presence and active efforts of zealous, Christian teachers, civilization and Christianity have taken root and have vigorous life and growth.

Upon the Chehalis Reservation, in 1872, after I took charge of the superintendence of Indian affairs of this Territory, I had good boarding-school buildings constructed and a good school under efficient teachers started, which with other employees was kept in operation there till June, 1875, when for want of funds the school and all employees there were discontinued.  During that time, civilization and Christianity commenced taking root among the Indians of that reservation.  They commenced cultivating larger patches of ground and to discard their vices and heathenish rites.  A Methodist church of over 40 Indian members was organized, and a Sunday-school, and for a time there was considerable
manifestation of Christian life and zeal among them.  But active decadence in civilization and Christianity commenced with the discontinuance of the school and employees.  Agricultural products of the reservation rapidly diminished, gambling, superstitions, and other vices revived; the Christian seed sown proved to have fallen by the wayside and on stony ground, and all traces of the church organization soon disappeared, “and their last state is
worse that the first.”

As there never have been any employees on either the Nisqually, Squaxin, or Shoalwater Bay Reservations since I took charge, there has been no change among the Indians belonging to these reservations from their native barbarism, except that they all wear clothing like the whites; some
of them cultivate patches of land and have a few cattle, and many indulge in the white man’s vice of gambling, drinking, use of tobacco, and incontinence in other matters.  Either inertia or decay in morals and numbers is with the Indians belonging to all of said four reservations; and such is the case with the Indians of every reservation on this coast where there are no missionaries or government employees. All experience demonstrates the fact that it is just as impossible for Indians to civilize themselves without
teachers as it is for white children to culture themselves in Christianity and knowledge without parents or teachers.

*       *       *       *       *       *


The only Indian school within the limits of this agency is the
industrial boarding-school at the Puyallup Reservation.  By the direction of the department last year this school was limited to 25 boarding pupils.  This was unfortunate, as 50 boarding pupils could be accommodated in the school buildings there.  This last-mentioned number is only about half the Indian children of school age belonging to the Puyallup Reservation, all of whom ought to be passing through the civilizing mill, the industrial boarding-school.  Within the limits of this agency there are fully 200
Indian children of school age, seven-eighths of whom are growing up in the ignorance and barbarism of their parents.Who is responsible for this?  Surely not these children, or their poor, ignorant parents.


1ST  That ample provision be made for the compulsory education of all Indian children within the limits of this agency, at one or more industrial boarding-schools.  This provision might be made at the Puyallup Reservation
by additions to the boarding-school buildings there, so as to accommodate, say, 150 pupils; and by fitting up the boarding-school buildings at the Chehalis Reservation to accommodate 50 pupils.  The buildings at the last-named reservation are sufficient in capacity to accommodate 50 pupils if properly fitted up.
2nd If no school is to be allowed at either the Chehalis, Nisqually, Squaxin, or Shoalwater Bay Reservation, I would recommend the discontinuance of said four reservations, after giving titles to all Indians on said reservations for the lands upon which they have made permanent homes and
improvements and substantially complied with the home- stead laws;  and that the residue of the lands of said reservation remaining after the granting of said title be appraised at their fair value and sold to the highest bidders, at not less than their appraised value, on ten years credit, one-tenth payable in hand and the balance payable in nine annual payments, with interest at the rate of 8%.  On deferred payments.  The money thus obtained to constitute a school fund for the support of the one or more industrial boarding-school.  All Indians not owning lands on or off the reservations to be moved to some reservation where their children may have the benefit of a school, and adult Indian the benefit of Christian instruction in morals and directions in their industries.

3rd  That titles of such a character as may be thought best to be to all Indians who have taken claims on reservations and made permanent homes and improvements thereon. This is a matter I have urged so often in annual and monthly reports, and in letters, and the department must be so well informed as to my views thereon as to render it superfluous to say more on this subject at present.  (See Report Commissioner Indian Affairs for 1877, pp. 190, 191, and 193; for 1876, pp. 137, and 138, and for 1872, pp. 329 and 330.)

4th  that the criminal laws of this Territory be extended over all reservations and Indians the same as over the whites.  Also the civil laws, except as to taxation.

5th  I again call attention to “the blunder in the Medicine Creek treaty” mentioned in my two last annual reports, and ask that in some way it be rectified.  (See Report Commissioner Indian Affairs for 1877, p. 194, and
for 1876, p.138.)
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, you obedient servant,
United States Indian Agent.


August 10, 1878.

SIR:  The industrial boarding-school has been maintained on this reservation since July 1, 1877, at which about 30 scholars were in attendance.  It is but justice to them to say that they learn well, and that they have made commendable progress in writing, reading, and arithmetic, and they have demonstrated the fact that Indian children have capacities very little inferior to white children.  The great drawback to their more rapid advancement, and indeed, to that of the whole Indian race, is their addictedness to use their native language.  The teacher has lately made such rules and inaugurated such measures as will tend to entirely exclude their language in social intercourse.  The school and the church have been the centers of civilization, progress, and light, radiating throughout, and extending to the most distant and darkest corners of the reservation.

The Indians have made an advance all along  the line this year.  They are materially more prosperous than they have ever been before in houses, cattle raised and brought, in lands cleared and cultivated, and their efforts during the past year give proof that they intent to derive their subsistence chiefly from the products of the soil.

Of their own accord they have done away with all manner of gambling, and they have condemned  and abolished the practice of making tamanamous or incantations and other heathen rites heretofore used in cases of sickness.
They now entirely depend upon the limited supply of medicines dispensed to them from the dispensary at the school.

At this time while the country is troubled and startled on account of the atrocities committed by hostile Indians east of the Cascade Range of mountains, our Indians are plying their lands and cutting their hay.

The Puyallup tribe decidedly on the increase, due to immigrations from affiliated tribes and to the increased number of births in excess of deaths during the past year. The Indians care very little now for their tribal relation, and are independent of each other, each family living by themselves upon their allotments of 40 acres, which they all cultivate to some extent.

A bona-fide title to their lands cultivated by them as their
homesteads, and they themselves citizenized, would at once transform them from being aliens and from the danger of being enemies into sure friends of our government.
I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
General R.H. Milroy,
United States Indian Agent.

Hoodoo Indian Doctor June 7, 1889

June 7, 1889 Washington Standard

The hoodoo Indian doctor, from Yelm Prairie, who received a wound in the wrist sometime ago, is in town. The death of an Indian girl was attributed, by her father, to the hoodooing of the doctor. To avenge her death, the father attempted to kill the doctor, but only shot him through the wrist.

Nisqually and S’Kokomish Agency, Washington Territory, August 16, 1886.

Nisqually and S’Kokomish Agency, Washington Territory, August 16, 1886.

Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith my sixteenth annual report, giving an account of the progress made, and a description of the present condition of the Indians under my charge. Under the blessing of Heaven, prosperity and a good degree of thrift and advancement have attended the efforts made, and peace and quietness tendence of the agent. Their courts of Indian offenses dispose of all of their own civil and criminal business except the difficult cases, which are reserved for the assistance of the agent in his occasional visits to them. They are quiet, orderly, and generally sober; live on, cultivate, and are gradually improving their farms, and are, considering the state of their health, reasonably industrious. They send their children of school age to the other schools belonging to the agency.


On each of the other three reservations, viz, the Chehalis, Puyallup, and S’kokomish, is located a boarding school, which differ only in size, but are all conducted under the same general rules and regulations. The usual attendance is about 80 at the Puyallup and 40 each at the Chehalis and S’kokomish schools.  It has been the custom to have ten days vacation at the close of each quarter, and an annual vacation of one month during September, making altogether two months of vacations and ten months of school during the year. These schools are each of them in charge of a head teacher, who has also an industrial teacher, a matron and such other female assistants as are necessary. It is usual for the rising bell to be rung shortly after 5 a.m., breakfast at 6:30, school hours from 8 to 12, dinner at 12:15, work hours from 1 to 5, supper at 6, study hours from 7 to 8, then prayers, and retire shortly after. Singing is daily practiced in all the schools, and a good Sabbath-school is conducted, in which all the school employees take part and assist.

In each school five of the older scholars of either sex have been selected, who have received $5 per month as apprentices. These have been detailed to take the charge of a certain number of scholars or a certain kind of work. This encourages the older ones to do their best and stimulates the younger ones to become competent to fill their places. It also enables us to retain willingly in the schools the older scholars, whose assistance is of great benefit to the school.

There is a good farm, well stocked, connected with each school, upon which is raised all the hay, grain and vegetables needed by the schools. At S’kokomish is a large fruit-bearing orchard, which annually produces hundreds of bushels of apples, &c. Young orchards have been set out on the other two reservations, which are coming on in good shape, and will bear in a few years. Neatness, order, system, and regularity are practiced and taught by all the employees, and a good moral as well as religious tone is given to all the instructions. Many of the boys have become quite efficient in general farm work, also in carpentering, and painting, and many of the girls excel in house and dairy work, also do remarkably well with the needle and the sewing machine.

At Jamestown, near Dungeness is a day school, which has generally numbered about 20 scholars in attendance. These scholars compare favorably with their white neighbors in scholarship and general deportment. The breaking down of the police regulations in that vicinity (it being off from any reservation) has been severely felt, and has materially diminished it’s own attendance and usefulness. A Sabbath-school has been kept up regularly in connection with this school during the year.

Thus from 175 to 200 children belonging to this agency have been provided with good school facilities, besides from 30 to 50 who have gone from here to the Indian training school at Salem, Oreg. At least four-fifths of the rising generation of this agency will, with their present opportunities, have a fair common school education, and will, when grown, be better fitted for the full rights and duties of citizenship than the more intelligent half of the foreigners who come to our shores.

During the year a teachers’ institute has been organized, composed of the teachers and employees of the several schools, which meets in rotation at the different reservations semi-annually, at which the most effective methods and means are discussed for the elevation of the young and the success of the school. It is proving very beneficial as well as enjoyable to those attending it.


During the year patents have been issued to the Puyallup Indians for all the land on their reservation. This is very valuable and is yearly becoming more so. Most of the Indians fully appreciate its value, and are grateful for the boon. Strong opposition was made by the railroad and land companies interested to the granting of these patents, and great credit is due to the administration for it’s fearless and efficient


A Letter on Behalf of Leschi’s Widow, 1915

Introduction: In 1915 the Superintendent of the Nisqually Agency appealed to his superiors to provide a modest income to Leschi’s Widow. His letter appears below.


Cushman Indian School.
Tacoma, Wash. Feb. 3, 1915.

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Washington, D. C.


I have the honor to invite attention to the enclosed affidavit of Mary Stillman, who says she was formerly the widow of Chief Leschi of the Nisqually Tribe of Indians, who was killed by United States Soldiers about 1854.

The killing of this Indian is a matter of history which has caused a great deal of comment by some of the older citizens of this state and by nearly all of the Indians in Western Washington, who believe that Leschi was murdered for the treason that they do not think he was guilty of the crimes to which he was charged.

There is on file in the Indian Office a report regard to the killing of Chief Leschi.

Mr. Ezra Meeker who has written a book concerning the early history of Washington wrote several letters to the Office requesting a copy of this report and was several times advised that it could not be found, but when he made a trip in his ox wagon over the Oregon Trail to Washington, D. C., about 1908, I made a thorough search of the old records from the State of Washington, and found the report for him, and I would be very glad to have this report considered in connection with this affidavit. If there is any way possible to render this old lady assistance, I hope the Office will do so at an early date because she is in very destitute circumstances, and in fact is living on the charity of another Indian.

If the Office could find some way to furnish such things that will make her few remaining days more pleasant I believe it will have a good influence among the Indians who regard the killing of Leschi by the soldiers as unwarranted.

Very respectfully,


Reading About Indians at the Cushman School, Stereotypes Abound

Introduction: In 1849 Francis Parkman, an American author, published a novel entitled The Oregon Trail. The book dealt with Americans moving west and contained vivid scenes of pioneers, mountain men, and Indians. The book was also on the reading list for Indians attending the Cushman School in Tacoma at the turn of the century The following are descriptions from the novel which dealt with Indians. For Native Americans attending this school this would have been a vision of their culture through the eyes of the white majority.

Reading A. – p. 58
The permanent winter villages of the Oawness stand on the lower Platte, but throughout the summer the greater part of the inhabitant are wandering over the plains,-a treacherous, cowardly, banditti, who by a thousand acts of pillage and murder, have deserved chastisement at the hands of the government.
Here every summer passes a motley concourse; thousands of savages, men, women, and children , horses and mules, laden with their weapons and implements, and innumerable multitude of unruly wolfish dogs, who have not acquired the civilized accomplishment of barking, but howl like their cousins of the prairie.

Reading B. – p. 138
Even the bet of them-we handed to each a tin cup of coffee and a biscuit, at which they ejaculated from the bottom their throats, “How! How! A monosyllable by which an Indian contrives to express half the emotions of which he is susceptible.

Reading C. – p. 140
But in truth the purchase of a squaw is a transaction which no man should enter into without mature deliberation, since it involved not only the payment price, but the burden of feeding and supporting a rapacious horde of the bride’s relatives, who hold themselves entitled to feed upon the indiscriminate white man.

Reading D. – p. 145
This fierce spirit awakens their most eager aspirations, and calls forth their greatest energies. It is chiefly this that saves them from lethargy and utter abasement…

Reading G. – p. 234
I immediately repelled their advances by punching the heads of these miniature savages with a short stick which I always kept for the purpose; and as sleeping half the day and eating much more than is good for them makes them extremely restless, this operation usually had to be repeated four or five times in the course of the night.

Reading I. – p. 236
Their offspring became sufficiently undutiful and disobedient under this system of education, which tends not a little to foster that wild idea of liberty and utter intolerance of restraint which lie at the foundation of the Indian character.

Reading K. – p. 88
Except the dogs, the most active and noisy tenants of the camp were the old women, ugly as Macbeth’s witches, with hair streaming loose in the wind, and nothing but the tattered fragment of an old buffalo robe to hide their shriveled limbs.

Reading N. – p. 70
There were a mongrel race;

Reading S. – p. 142
Indians cannot act in large bodies. Though the object be of the highest importance, they cannot combine to attain by a series of connected efforts.

Letter: Nisquallies as Farmers, 1914

Introduction: In this letter the local agent comments on the success of local Indians in their continued development as farmers.

Circular Letter. No. 900.

Cushman Indian School.
Tacoma, Wash., Oct. 22nd, 1914.

The Honorable
Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Washington, D.C.

In response to the above cited circular, I respectfully transmit herewith report of Mr. W. C. Miller, Farmer in Charge of the Skokomish Reservation, dated October 16, 1914, in regard to the fair held at Shelton, Washington, recently and at which several Indians of the Skokomish Reservation exhibited farm produce and other articles.

At the county fair held at Roy, Washington, recently Peter Kalama a Nisqually Indian took some prizes for farm products.

There were no purely Indian fairs held on any of the small reservations under this jurisdiction of this agency during the past year, but I am of the opinion that more enthusiasm will be worked up among these Indians another year in regard to fairs, and that more will exhibit in competition with their white neighbors.

The reservation in this jurisdiction are small and it would not be practicable for the Indians of two or more reservations to unite in an exclusive Indian Fair, and I presume that the Indians will continue to exhibit at the various county fairs in competition with the whites.

It must be borne in mind that very few of the Indians under this jurisdiction have in the past devoted much time to agriculture or stock raising, but have earned their substance by fishing and logging and it is only recently that any effort has been put forth in an agricultural way.

Very respectfully,
Supervisor in Charge