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ContentsPrevious: 8. Yakima Affair

Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883) by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins


APPENDIX.


Omaha, Nebraska, April 3, 1883.

To all whom it may concern.

This is to certify that Sarah Winnemucca, now Mrs. Hopkins, acted for my department and troops in the field as guide and interpreter during the Piute and Bannock war of 1878. Her conduct was always good, and she was especially compassionate to women and children who were brought in as prisoners. After this war she worked as interpreter and teacher for quite a time near Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory. In this capacity she gave abundant satisfaction to all who were interested in Indian children. She always appeared to me to be a true friend to her own people, doing what she could for them.

Since my departure from Washington Territory and her marriage with Mr. Hopkins, I have had no further knowledge of her except from the public press; but she is probably endeavoring to do something for the upbuilding of the Indians as well as earning her own living.

Oliver O. Howard,
        Brevet Maj.-Gen., U.S.A.

 

New York City, April 5, 1883.

This is to certify to whom it may concern.

That Sarah Winnemucca was instrumental in bringing her father and his immediate band of Piute Indians out of the hostile Bannock camp near Juniper Lake, Oregon, in 1878; after which she remained with General Howard’s command and rendered good service as scout, guide, and interpreter, and in inducing members of her tribe to come in and surrender themselves. She is intelligent, and appreciates the position of her people, and is not insensible to their destiny.

C. E. S. Wood, U.S.A.,
Aide-de-Camp and Adjutant-General of troops in the field,
Bannock and Piute campaign, 1878.

 

Office of Inspector of Cavalry,
Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Missouri.
Chicago
, May 8, 1883.

To Mrs. Sarah Hopkins (Sarah Winnemucca), 74 Temple St., Boston, Mass.

Madam,—In acknowledging the receipt of your note of the twenty-sixth of April, it affords me much pleasure to state that I do not hesitate to concur with Gen. O. O. Howard in indorsing and commending you to the favor and consideration of the philanthropic people of the country.

Wishing you success in your present endeavor, I remain yours sincerly,

James W. Forsyth, Lt.-Colonel.

 

1606 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, Cal., April 19, 1883.

Mrs. Sarah Hopkins (ne Sarah Winnemucca), care of First Lieut.
                C. E. S. Wood, U.S.A., 61 Clinton Place, New York, N.Y.

Dear Madam,—I duly received your note of the 7th inst., and do not know that I can better comply with your request than to send you, herewith, a copy of the official papers concerning yourself, kindly given me by the Assistant Adjutant-General at Hd. Qu. Dis. Pacific; and by to-day’s mail a copy of the printed copy of the report of the General of the Army of last year, containing my last annual report of Oct. 14, 1882. You will see that in my last official act before being retired, Oct. 15, I endeavored to have justice done your people in exile on the Yakima Reservation.

All the papers sent will, I think, show that the army have tried to be just to you and yours.

I am very truly your most obedient servant,

Irvin McDowell,
Major-General retired, late commander of Div. Pacific and Dept. Cal.

 

That Gen. McDowell did his best “to be just to” my people, may be seen by the following extracts from the army reports he sent me with the above letter, with marginal notes in his own handwriting.

Oct. 14, 1882.

“Before relinquishing the command I now hold, I am constrained to ask the attention of the war and interior departments to the case of certain Piutes who were taken away from their tribes and homes in California, and carried to an Indian reservation among a strange people north of the Columbia River. Their case is fully set forth in the accompanying papers,” and he says in a marginal note in his own handwriting, that these “accompanying papers he alludes to were left out of the printed report, no reason being given.” He continues: “It will be seen, as it appears to me, that the reasons which caused the refusal of my application to have these innocent and suffering people sent back to their tribe and homes, have been mere questions of administration, of convenience and economy, while I submit their return is a matter of good faith and mercy. The Indians in question (and a list of them is herewith) were not hostile. They had done nothing meriting punishment. During the war they were carried away from their homes, because it was easier to move them during hostilities than to have a force to protect them at their homes. They are held in exile against their wills. They are kindred to Winnemucca and his children Natchez and Sarah, who perilled their lives and were indefatigable in doing everything for the whites and the army. I am thus earnest, and may, perhaps, be thought importunate, in arguing this question, because it arose under my command and by officers acting under me, and those people and their families and friends look to me to see their wrongs redressed. I have had visits from Natchez and Sarah, and messages asking me to have these people sent home. They have no representative, no newspaper to speak for them, and, even if they could get their cases before the courts, are ignorant of the way to bring it there. I beg the proper officers may look again into this question, not as a matter of convenience to the service, but one of justice to unfortunate and innocent people.” On page 123 in this Army Report is a letter from James B. Wilbur, United States Indian agent of the Yakima Reservation, to which those 502 Indians had been sent against their will, in which he says: “Their atrocities, committed without the slightest provocation when they took up the hatchet, deserve no favor.” To this Gen. McDowell writes a marginal note, saying: “The Indians whom it wished to send back to their home did not commit atrocities as stated.”

Gen. Miles, commanding at the headquarters of the Columbia, Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory, writes: “To the Assistant Adjutant-General, Presidio: I am informed that the Piute Indians, who have for the last two years been resident on the Yakima Reservation, have recently moved southward to near the Dalles. They send word they wish to rejoin Winnemucca. This matter has been the subject of correspondence between the interior department and the military authorities for the last two years. I believe a portion of them will attempt to rejoin their friends in the south, even without permission. From all the information I have been able to gather upon the subject, I am satisfied the best disposition for these people will be to send them, under safe escort, to Winnemucca’s reservation, and I request authority to make such disposition.” Under date of Jan. 7, 1882, he had already written to division headquarters, as follows: “Many of the Indians taken from Malheur agency by the military and placed on the Yakima Reservation, were always loyal to the government. Since they have been on that reservation they have been living in a wretched condition, with very insufficient food and clothing. I doubt the wisdom or loyalty of this course on the part of the government officials; and, as I understand their reservation has been, or is to be given up, it would, in my opinion, be an act of justice and good policy to promptly restore these peaceable Indians to their people,—those known as the Winnemucca Indians near Camp Dermot, or to the Warm Spring Reservation, where they have friends. This action, if prompt, may prevent an outbreak in the spring. In this connection, I enclose a copy of a recent communication from the interior department on the subject.”

Other officers express a similar opinion to that of Gen. McDowell. On page eighteen of the Army Report is a letter relating to the return of the Piutes from the Yakima Reservation to their home in Nevada, from Major A. M. Randol of the First Artillery, to the Assistant Adjutant-General of the Headquarters M. D. P. D. C., Presidio of San Francisco, Cal.:—

Winnemucca, Nev., Aug. 15, 1882.

Sir,—I have the honor to report that I have just had an interview with Natchez, who, in reply to the questions contained in your communication of the 12th inst., says that about forty-three lodges had left the Yakima Reservation and crossed the Columbia, with the intention of returning to Fort McDermitt or Winnemucca, but that the agent had sent an Indian sheriff after them, who had taken them all back to the reservation, where they now are; that none of these non-hostile Piutes have returned to their old homes. He further says that he has received several letters complaining of their destitute condition, and requesting him to try to have them returned to their old homes. He gave me the last letter he received from Lewis, which I herewith enclose, and which he wishes returned to him when you shall have finished with it. This letter contains about all that Natchez knows about the condition of his people at the Yakima Reservation. He says that if it be decided to let them return to their old homes, that he will go after them and select the good from the bad; that he would like to see Gen. McDowell, and hopes he will send for him to come to the Presidio as soon as possible, so that if his people are to return home they may do so before the weather grows cold, etc. He further says that Oytes and his six lodges (about one hundred people) are hostile, and should not be allowed to return.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. M. Randol.

 

Here is Lewis’s letter (corrected in orthography).

July 1, 1882.

My dear friend Natchez,—It is long time since you have written to me. I hope you did not forgotten us. Are you trying anything for my people towards going to their old home? The Piutes have nothing to eat at the Simcoe Reservation. My people there are willing to go to the old home in the fort, if the government should let them go, and will never to fight again. You try hard and come to see us right away; or do your people don’t care for my people any more? Legon (Leggins), the chief, is almost blind, and Oytes don’t want to go home to Camp Harney. My people want go, about forty-three lodges, and Oytes six.

Yours truly,

J. J. Lewis.

 

Headquarters Mil. Div. Pacific and Dept. of California,
Presidio, San Francisco,
Aug. 12, 1882.

Official copy respectfully furnished to Maj. A. M. Randol, First Artillery, who will stop at Winnemucca or Wadsworth and Lovelock stations on the Central Pacific Railroad, at whichever place Natchez, an influential Piute, is; and read him this communication, and inquire if he knows anything about the movement of his people, who were not engaged in the Bannock war, southward from Yakima Reservation. If any, how many of these non-hostile Piutes have returned to their old homes; how many of these non-hostiles still remain north of the Columbia river, and their condition, etc., and report fully all the information furnished by Natchez.

By command of Major-General McDowell.

J. C. Kelton,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

War Department, Washington City, July 22, 1882.

To the Hon. Secretary of the Interior.

Sir,—I have the honor to invite your attention to the enclosed copy of a telegram from the Commanding General of the Military Division of the Pacific, dated the 19th inst., stating that he is informed by the Commanding General, Department of the Columbia, that the Piutes who have for the past two years been resident on the Yakima Reservation have moved southward, and have sent word they desire to return to Winnemucca.

General McDowell concurs with the latter that the best disposition of these people would be to send them under escort to the Winnemucca Reservation, and requests authority to do so.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Wm. E. Chandler,
Acting Secretary of War.

 

Department of the Interior, Washington, July 29, 1882.

To the Hon. the Secretary of War.

Sir,—Acknowledging receipt of your letter of 22d inst., inclosing copy of telegram from Gen. McDowell, to the effect that the Piutes, residing for two years past at the Yakima Reservation, Washington Territory, have moved southward en route to Winnemucca, and requesting authority to send these Indians under escort to the Winnemucca Reservation, as in his opinion the best thing to do. I have the honor to invite your attention to the report of the Commissioner of Indian affairs, of the 28th inst., on the subject (copy enclosed) setting forth the reasons why these Indians should remain at the Yakima Reservation, in which I concur.

Very respectfully,

H. M. Teller,
Secretary.

 

Department of the Interior,
Office of Indian Affairs,
July 28, 1882.

To the Secretary of the Interior.

Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by your reference, of a communication from the Hon. Secretary of War, dated 22d inst., calling attention to a copy of telegram from the Commanding General of the Military Division of the Pacific (Major-Gen. McDowell), dated the 9th inst., stating that he is informed by the Commanding General of the Department of the Columbia, that the Piutes, who have for the last two years been resident on the Yakima Reservation, have moved southward, and have sent word they desire to return to Winnemucca.

Major-Gen. McDowell concurs with the latter, that the best disposition of these people would be to send them, under escort, to the Winnemucca Reservation, and requests authority to do so.

In reply, I have the honor to respectfully report that no supplies have been provided for those Indians at any other point than at Yakima, and that there are no funds to do so. The agent at Yakima has been authorized to purchase $2,000 worth of cattle for the Piutes of that place, and I am of the opinion that the best interests of the Indians will be subserved by keeping them there.

I have the honor to report that the following telegram was sent to agent Smith of the Warm Springs agency, Oregon, this day:—

[Tel.] “If Piutes come to your reservation, you must send them back to Yakima, and if they refuse to return, you must not feed them.”

Also the following to agent Wilbur, at the Yakima Agency: “Do all you can to have the Piutes return to your agency. I have telegraphed agent at Warm Springs to aid you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. Price,
Commissioner.

 

General McDowell’s appeal, it will be observed, was written after the foregoing correspondence between the office of the interior and the various army officers who were acquainted with the subject, and Father Wilbur of the Yakima Reservation. The reasons for and against the people being sent back to their homes, and all the counsels upon the subject, were known to Gen. McDowell; and still, at the late date of October, 1882, he gives it as his opinion that the government can only do justice to the banished Piutes by restoring them to their own country. He acknowledges the inconvenience of doing justice to them, but still thinks it the duty of the government.

I know now, from the highest authority, that the government was deceived by the agent, Renehart, who said the Indians would not stay at the Malheur Reservation. After being driven away by starvation, after having had every promise broken, falsehoods were told about them, and there was no one to take their part but a woman. Every one knows what a woman must suffer who undertakes to act against bad men. My reputation has been assailed, and it is done so cunningly that I cannot prove it to be unjust. I can only protest that it is unjust, and say that wherever I have been known, I have been believed and trusted.

Those who have maligned me have not known me. It is true that my people sometimes distrust me, but that is because words have been put into my mouth which have turned out to be nothing but idle wind. Promises have been made to me in high places that have not been kept, and I have had to suffer for this in the loss of my people’s confidence. I have not spoken ill of others behind their backs and said fair words to their faces. I have been sincere with my own people when they have done wrong, as well as with my white brothers. Alas, how truly our women prophesied when they told my dear old grandfather that his white brothers, whom he loved so much, had brought sorrow to his people. Their hearts told them the truth. My people are ignorant of worldly knowledge, but they know what love means and what truth means. They have seen their dear ones perish around them because their white brothers have given them neither love nor truth. Are not love and truth better than learning? My people have no learning. They do not know anything about the history of the world, but they can see the Spirit-Father in everything. The beautiful world talks to them of their Spirit-Father. They are innocent and simple, but they are brave and will not be imposed upon. They are patient, but they know black is not white.

 

Fort Boise, Idaho Ter., August 31, 1878.

To all whom it may concern.

This is to certify that Sarah Winnemucca has rendered most valuable services during the operations of this year against the hostile Bannock and Piute Indians. About the commencement of hostilities, she went for me from my camp to that of the hostiles, distant about a hundred miles, and returned bringing exceedingly valuable information concerning their number, location, intentions, etc., and she also succeeded in getting her father, the Piute chief Winnemucca, with many of his band, to leave the enemy and go to Camp McDermitt, Nevada, where they remained during the summer campaign.

R. F. Bernard,
Captain First Cavalry, Brevet Col. U. S. Army.

 

Central Pacific Railroad Co.,
Supt.’s Office, San Francisco
, Feb. 13, 1878.

Mrs. Sarah Winnemucca.

Dear Madam.—Yours of the 12th to Mr. Towne received. Mr. Emmons, our agent at Lovelock’s, said that Natchez applied to him for passes for himself and others (including you) from Ogden to San Francisco, and I sent them to him a few days ago. You had better see Natchez and get your pass, and if you will show this letter to our conductors, they will also allow your sister to ride to San Francisco with you on the pass. If you should not be able to see Natchez and get your pass, our conductors will let yourself and sister ride to San Francisco, by showing them this letter. When here, and you want to go back, call and see me.

Yours, etc.,

E. C. Fellows,
Asst. Gen. Supt.

 

Headquarters Battalion of Cavalry,
Camp on Fayette River,
Sept. 5, 1878.

During the late campaign against the Bannock Indians Sarah Winnemucca has been with the various commands in the field, and has to my knowledge rendered very valuable service. She is entirely trustworthy and reliable.

In my opinion she is deserving of great credit for her conduct during the campaign.

Geo. B. Sanford,
Brevet Col. Cal. Maj. 1st Cavalry.

 

Camp Harney, Oregon, October 28, 1878.

To all whom it may concern.

During the campaign against the Bannock, Piute, and Weiser Indians this summer, Sarah Winnemucca has rendered the troops valuable assistance, from the beginning of June until the tenth day of October (when she brought one hundred and ninety-five Indians from Camp McDermitt to Camp Harney). She has been constantly in the field, enduring hardships that strong men succumbed under. Her efforts in the beginning of the campaign in getting her father and a large portion of the hostile Indians deserve great praise. She is now employed as interpreter at this post, and fulfils her duties to the satisfaction of all parties.

Thos. M. Gregor,
Capt. First Cavalry.

 

Vancouver Barracks, Nov. 7, 1879.

Mrs. Sarah Winnemucca,—I have promised to put in writing some opinion as to your capabilities, and it gives me great pleasure to state that during the Bannock campaign of 1878, and also later, you have displayed an unusual intelligence and fearlessness, and loyalty to the whites in your capacities of scout, interpreter, and influential member of the Piute tribe of Indians. Probably very few will ever know how much credit is due you for a successful ending of the war in the surrender of the hostile members of your tribe, and their subsequent settlement on the Yakima Indian Reservation; but it is with sincerity I say that in my opinion you were of very great assistance to General Howard and Agent Wilbur.

I am very truly your obedient servant,

C. E. S. Wood.

 

Vancouver Barracks, Wash. Ter.,
November 7, 1879.

To Gen. B. Whittelsey, Indian Commissioner Rooms, Washington, D.C.

Dear General,—Please do what you can to assist Sarah Winnemucca to have a fair interview with Mr. Stickney and also with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, should her people send her to Washington. She was of the greatest assistance to us during the campaign of 1878, and has since been working hard for her people. They are on the Yakima Reservation partly—partly on the Warm Spring Reservation, and the remainder in Nevada, near Fort McDermitt.

Sarah is going now to see the chief, her father, and then may go on to Washington with some propositions. Mr. Wilbur, the Yakima Indian agent, thinks Sarah is now a Christian, and wishes me to assist her to prosecute her journey to Nevada, which I have gladly done. Of course she knows but little of city life, and your advice and kindness will be invaluable to her.

Very truly yours,

O. O. Howard.
Brig. Gen. U. S. A., Columbia Dept.

 

Oreana, Humboldt Co., Nevada, Dec. 31, 1879.

Hon. Wm. M. Evarts, Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir,—The bearer of this, Miss Sarah Winnemucca, leaves here for Washington in behalf of her people. I have lived among them in my mining pursuits for something over a year, and have found them industrious, painstaking, self-sustaining, and dignified in their daily life; quick to see and learn, and intelligent enough to see why they have been the victims of the convolutions of the reservation plan as managed by the agents here. The community do not desire to have them removed, and they seem to have passed the point of needing “reservation” care. While their story of right and wrong may be outside of your official responsibility, I know it is a matter near your heart. Miss Sarah can tell better than any one else why her kindred should be let alone. As a citizen, I can say they have shown by their daily conduct that they deserve to be. She deserves the attention of our best ears at Washington.

Respectfully yours,

Roger Sherman Day,
(Son of Sherman Day of New Haven, Conn.).

This letter is unsolicited.

 

Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 1880.

At the request of Mr. J. M. Haworth, of the Interior Department, the following statement is made concerning the services rendered the government by Sarah Winnemucca during the Bannock campaign in 1878. About the 12th of June, 1878, Captain R. F. Bernard, 1st Cavalry, was encamped with his company on the Winnemucca road near Sheep Ranch, I. T. While there he was directed by General O. O. Howard, commander of the department of the Columbia, to send Sarah Winnemucca into the hostiles’ camp to communicate with the Indians, and endeavor to bring in all or a portion of her tribe, offering her a reward should she succeed. Sarah Winnemucca accepted the offer and went into the Indian camp, and succeeded in bringing out Chief Winnemucca and a portion of her tribe. She also furnished valuable information concerning the number of Indians and the position of their camp.

The reward offered was $500 (five hundred dollars).

John Pitcher,
Lieut. First Cavalry.

 

Office of Indian Affairs, Washington,
March 29, 1880.

Sarah Winnemucca, Lovelock’s, Nevada.

Madam,—By reference of the Honorable the Secretary of the Interior, I am in receipt of your letter dated the 21st ult., in which you request that your people be furnished with subsistence until such time as they can be removed to the Malheur Reservation, Oregon, and you are advised that this Department is powerless to grant your request, no funds being at its command to meet such expenditure; but here is a large quantity of subsistence supplies at said agency, from which issues will be made at once upon the arrival of your people at that point; therefore, it will be for their interest to remove at as early a day as possible.

Very respectfully,

E. J. Brooks, Acting Commissioner.

 

Washington, Jan. 26, 1880.

Sarah Winnemucca, present,—You are hereby appointed Interpreter for the Piutes at the Malheur agency, Oregon, at a compensation of $420 per annum, from this date. The agent has this day been notified of your appointment.

Respectfully,

E. A. Hoyt,
Commissioner.

 

Headquarters of the Columbia,
Vancouver Barracks, W.T.
, June 17 1881.

To all who may take interest in the bearer of this letter, Sarah Winnemucca, I desire to say: During the outbreak known as the “Bannock War,” Sarah Winnemucca served with General Howard as a scout and guide, and rendered valuable service, as I know from my Rersonal experience. After the capture of “the hostiles” she devoted herself to the interests of her people, the “Piutes,”—going with them from Fort Harney, Oregon, to the Yakima Reservation, then to Washington City, ever intent on trying to accomplish something for their good. For the past year she has held a school for the Indian children at Vancouver Barracks with marked success. I have known Sarah Winnemucca for a number of years, and have never known her to do or say a thing that was not perfectly upright and womanly. She is honest, true, faithful, and worthy the respect and esteem of all good people. I earnestly recommend her to the kindly regard of all who wish well to her race.

Edwin C. Mason,
Lieut.-Col. of 4th Infantry, Assistant Adjt.-General.

 

West Point, N.Y., Aug. 6, 1881.

Dear Sarah,—I enclose you a letter to the Chief Clerk, Indian Bureau, whom I know. I have your account for transportation made out in good shape, in duplicate, and send it with my letter to Mr. Stevens, and I guess you’ll get a favorable reply.

I cannot help you in the tradership for your brother-in-law. The agent on the Reserve must recommend him.

We are quite well, and Mrs. Howard will be glad to hear from you. Sincerely your friend,

O. O. Howard.

Sarah Winnemucca, Salisbury, Madison Co., M.T.

 

West Point, Oct. 1, 1881.

My Dear Sarah,—What are you doing now, and how are you getting on? I write to ask you as a favor to me to please to write me out a description of the way the Indian young men and women do their “courting,” and the marriage ceremony, and also the burial of the dead. You told me at one time, but I have forgotten. If not too much trouble, please also write me a description of that flower festival you say the Piutes have in the spring-time. Please ask Mr. Symons to give you the paper, pen and ink.

All here are very well. Yours truly,

C. E. S. Wood.

 

Presidio, San Francisco, California, Oct. 5, 1881.

To the Commanding General, Department of Columbia,
        Vancouver Barracks, W.T.

Sir,—The Piutes on the Yakima Reservation, who desire to return to their people, have been given permission to do so by the Interior Department; but Sarah Winnemucca represents that they are afraid to travel through the white settlements, without the protection of troops. The Division Commander, therefore, desires that whenever the movement of a command is ordered from their neighborhood towards Fort Boise you notify these Indians, and that they be safely conducted there.

Very respectfully,

J. C. Breckenridge.

By command of Major-General McDowell.

 

West Point, Jan. 9, 1882.

Dear Sarah,—I congratulate you upon your marriage. I hope your husband will be very kind to you and make you happy, as I doubt not you will try to do for him. He will tell you where you can apply for the Montana matter. I do not know. When your history is done, I will gladly aid you all in my power, though I have not much time to spare here. With the best wishes from Mrs. Howard and myself, I remain

Yours truly,

O. O. Howard.

 

[Editorial of Boston Transcript, July 6.]

A Dastardly Attack.—Sarah Winnemucca (Mrs. Hopkins) has been made the object of a villanous attack (calling in question her private character) in a paper called the “Council Fire,” whose obscurity would render the article harmless had not marked copies been circulated through the mails among the people to whom she is appealing for defence for her distressed people against the Indian-agency jobbers who have been robbing them. The elaboration and ingenuity of the means employed to break down her reputation indicate that the attack comes from persons accustomed to working upon public opinion. At once, upon the article in the “Council Fire” coming to her knowledge, Mrs. Hopkins wrote to U. S. Judge Bonnifield of Nevada, and received the following reply:—

 

Winnemucca, Nev., June 19, 1883.

Mrs. Sarah Hopkins (ne Winnemucca),—Yours of 10th inst., with an article from the May number of the “Council Fire,” is received. In reply, I take pleasure in saying that I have known you personally and by reputation ever since 1869. Your conduct has always been exemplary, so far as I know. I have never heard your veracity or chastity questioned in this community.

I handed the article or editorial of the “Council Fire” to the editor of the “Silver State,” and send you herein his reply. I also mail you a copy of the “Silver State.”

Your people have just closed a week’s “Fandango” at this place. Nearly all the captains were present, besides a number of Shoshones and Bannocks. There were present about four hundred in all. Hoping you may succeed in your war upon the corrupt Indian ring, I am yours, etc.,

M. S. Bonnifield.

 

The Indian Bureau Alarmed.—Sarah Winnemucca, the Piute princess, is lecturing in Boston on what she knows about Indian agents. She is throwing hot-shot into the camp of the “peace policy hypocrites,” who plunder the red man while professing to be his best, truest, and only friend. She knows by practical experience, acquired at several Indian agencies, that the Indians, with the exception of the head men, are cheated out of their annuities, and not infrequently driven to the war-path by the inhuman treatment of those who are paid by the government to care for their corporeal as well as spiritual wants. She is aware that the Indians at the Malheur Reservation, many of them members of her own tribe, joined the hostile Bannocks in 1878 because they could get nothing to eat at the agency, and were starving when the hostiles, loaded with spoils, invited them to join them. She also realizes the fact that the only time that the Piutes received what the government provided for them was when the military at Fort McDermitt were intrusted with its distribution. Now, because she states, before an audience in Boston, what the whites in Nevada and on the frontier generally know to be facts, the “Council Fire,” the Washington organ of the Indian Bureau, roundly abuses her, and styles her the “Amazonian champion of the army.” Without attempting to refute or disprove her assertions, which it undoubtedly knows would be futile, it endeavors to break their force by attacking her character. It adopts the tactics of the ring organs generally, and instead of showing wherein she has misrepresented the Indian agents, it contents itself with slandering her, ignoring the fact that it is the Indian Bureau system, not Sarah Winnemucca’s character, that the people are interested in and that is under discussion. She was with General Howard during the Bannock war, and though he had an opportunity of knowing more about her reputation for truth and veracity than the “Council Fire,” he approves her views of the Indian question, and countenances her expos of the hypocrites, who, while pretending to be the truest friends of the Indians, cheat, starve, and abuse them, and apply the appropriations made by the government for the care of the Indians to their own uses. What Sarah Winnemucca says of Indian agents in Boston she has asserted before large audiences on this coast, where the Indian policy of the government is thoroughly understood, yet no agent has had the hardihood to publicly deny her statements through the newspapers or before an audience west of the Rocky Mountains. As she states, the true peace policy in dealing with the Indians is to place them under the care of the military, who, so far as experience teaches, deal fairly with them, giving them all that the government appropriates for their use, and holding their chiefs responsible for their good behavior. The “Council Fire” ought to know that scandalous charges against this woman, based on false affidavits of rascally Indian agents and their paid tools, are not arguments, and are no answer to her indictment of these agents, the truth of which is not questioned by persons conversant with the Indian agencies.



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