Journal of the Rev. S. D. Hinman, Missionary to the
Santee Sioux Indians.
Taopi, By Bishop Whipple.
[Edited by Henry Benjamin Whipple]
"God is no respecter of persons; But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him."
In the recesses of the western wood,
Into its very heart,—by all forgot
Save Him who made me,—would it were my lot
To bear the burden of its solitude;
And in some wild and unfrequented spot,
Sharing the Indian hunter's cabin rude,
To lead, in glad return, a willing guide,
His humbled spirit to the Crucified;
And in the solemn twilight hushed and dim,
The forest people often gathering,
To make the green and pillared arches ring,
Not with the war song, but the holy hymn.
So might I live, and leave no other trace
Where I had made my earthly dwelling place.
DR. WM. CROSWELL.
In publishing the following instructive, encouraging and deeply interesting Journal, written by the Rev. S. B. Hinman at the Santee Indian Mission, and Bishop Whipple's pathetic address made at the funeral of Taopi, it is evidently proper that an historical sketch of the Mission should accompany these papers. The preparation of such a sketch naturally devolves upon one who has the official supervision of the Mission under the sanction of the Board of Missions and of Bishop Clarkson, with the approval also of Bishop Whipple and the Rev. S. D. Hinman.
Ignorance concerning Missions to Indians and the consequent lack of faith in them render an account of the origin, progress and prospects of the Church's Mission to the Sioux nation very important, especially at this extraordinary juncture in Indian affairs.—It is always instructive to trace as far as is possible the preparation of God's agents who are to lay the foundation for a great Missionary work, therefore let us briefly consider the characters engaged in this Mission. First, a man of purity of character, ready sympathy and fervid eloquence, was made wise in the things of this world by a mercantile training, and then called of God to enter sacred ministry. The Spirit of Christ first incited him to preach the Gospel to the poor slave, and then in another sphere to visit the homes and workshops of mechanics, to make himself thoroughly acquainted with their avocations, and then to draw them to a free Church, where they were cordially welcomed and won to Christ. Called to a higher sphere, he was consecrated to the Bishopric nine years since, at which time the first Missionary Bishop of our Church, the Patriarchal Kemper, invoked God's blessing upon him, asking for and receiving the willing pledge that he would ever be the Indian's friend. It is universally known that Bishop Whipple of Minnesota has more than fulfilled that pledge by unflinching boldness and fearlessness in exposing the wrong doer, and by the most pathetic pleadings for that poor, despised and down-trodden people.—Not only to congregations of his own religious body, but to all who were willing anywhere to listen to his fervid and melting appeals, from the President of the United States down to the most humble listener.
In pleading with and caring for the Indian, Bishop Whipple has braved the summer's heat and the winter's cold on the rivers and prairies of the far West. His exposure to the biting frost and the drifting snow during the last winter, to carry succor to a starving tribe, almost broke him down, and has evidently shortened his noble career; still he says that the heart-felt gratitude of starving Indians more than repaid him for all His toil.
Time and again has it been vouchsafed to Bishop Whipple, as to few other mortals, to enter into the deep significance of Isaiah's prophecy concerning the great Bishop and Shepherd of our souls. "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied."
His deep interest in the Indian caused him to be sneered at, ridiculed and persecuted, but so uncomplainingly did he bear it, that it may be recorded of him, as of another Great Apostle to the Gentiles, ''The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the Grace of God."
Second. At the same time the Holy Spirit was inciting Bishop Whipple, when a Deacon and a Presbyter, to preach the Gospel to the poor, the same Spirit was directing a young man, then in a New England school, to read about Missions to Indians, until his interest in them had so deepened as to lead him to Faribault in Minnesota, where he hoped to teach them the revealed way of life. He found Indians in that vicinity with whom he had frequent intercourse, but as his time in the school was occupied in teaching while children, he was frustrated in his chief design, and was about to return to his home sadly disappointed.
At this juncture Bishop Whipple assumed the charge of the Diocese of Minnesota, and by his overflowing Missionary zeal the long cherished hopes of the youthful Hinman soon became a reality. He had self-denying faith, because he believed that he was called of God to work among the Sioux Indians; but he was constantly driven to the foot of the Cross by persecutions of every kind, by perils of reputation and of life from his own brethren, and by exposure at times to hostile and infuriated savages, when they were goaded to madness by grievous wrongs done to their people. When even his Church lacked faith and all men forsook him, a little band of holy women ministered to him with unwavering confidence in the Mission. His perfect knowledge of the language and habits of the Indian, his holy zeal and his firm belief in the peculiar adaptation of his Church to promote the civilization and christianization of the Indian, pre-eminently fit him for the work to which he has so evidently been called of God, and in which he has been so abundantly prospered.
Third. Of Bishop Clarkson, in whose jurisdiction the Mission is now located and who manifests the most tender and watchful parental care over it, and the deepest interest in its success and extension, little need be said, as his noble record has been written in the history of our Church, and his character has not yet been traduced by the deluded or sordid people who cry for the extermination of the Indian, and strive to silence or defame the Indian's friend.
The Mission of our Church to the Santee Sioux Indians was commenced in October, 1860, under the following circumstances. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions had a successful Mission to these Sioux Indians at the ripper Agency in Minnesota, but there were twenty-five hundred at the lower Agency, some thirty or forty miles distant from schools or religious teachers. The Government Superintendent, Major W. J. Cullen, had partially civilized some of them by inducing them to part with their scalp locks and to become self-supporting, by the erection of houses and by stocking farms with money received from the sale of their hunting grounds. It became apparent, that without Christian teachers, they could not bear the persecutions by uncivilized Indians and rise to the higher forms of civilization; therefore he besought Bishop Whipple to establish a Mission at Redwood. Young Mr. Hinman, then a Deacon, was consequently sent there, accompanied by his wife and Miss West, as teachers, and their labors continued for two years, when the great body of uncivilized Indians, who had been waiting in vain for their promised Government subsidies, finding that they had been defrauded, came, after the Indian custom, to claim food from their more prosperous brethren. They had waited so long and their craving for food was so intense, that like hungry wolves they devoured all animal food, and then as an army of locusts they ate up every green thing, even sucking the juices from the corn stalks to their very roots. Maddened by the stupendous frauds that had been perpetrated upon them, and goaded on by intense hunger, they, like fiends, perpetrated the fearful massacre which in 1862 swept hundreds of the frontier settlers to an untimely grave. This was a dark and dreary period for the Mission, many believing that the Minister and his teachers had been massacred, and many more affirming that the so-called Christian Indians had been their betrayers and murderers. It subsequently appeared however, that the Missionaries were respected and their lives saved by the most hostile Indians, even when, on the war path. The partially christianized Indians brought high honor to their religion, by being faithful allies to the whites and saving hundreds of the captives. The names of Wabasha, Taopi and Good Thunder long live in the country's history, giving indubitable evidence of what Christian teaching can do for savage man.
Out of the five thousand Sioux who were living quietly in Minnesota before the frauds and delays that culminated in the massacre, some eighteen hundred, who were peacefully inclined, were after that event collected at Fort Snelling, and soon they sent beseeching messages to their Missionaries to come and give them religious instruction once more.
The Rev. Mr. Hinman went to them and watched over their temporal as well as their spiritual interests with ceaseless vigilance, making arrangements with the Government and with the army officers for location after location on which to establish these Indians as a permanent abiding place. At one time farms were rented for many of them, but insuperable difficulties were presented either by white settlers, speculators in land, or by too great proximity to hostile Indians, and so hope after hope dawned, but soon faded away. The faithful Missionary plead for his helpless wards at the scat of Government through influential friends, and then in person, aided by the presence of the Indian Chiefs. This little band of Christian Indians, headed by their Missionary, visited Philadelphia, and excited so deep an interest that an Association was formed for their relief, chiefly composed of members of the Society of Friends, through whose agency large contributions of money were made for the benefit of these loyal Santee Indians. The writer of this sketch was Chairman of the Committee, and in that capacity held the pleasant intercourse with Taopi that the Christian warrior remembered five years afterwards, just as his life was ebbing out.—They visited the Elm on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and under the shadow of that descendant of the William Penn Treaty Elm, Taopi learned that there were true and brave hearts that would pray and watch for the opportunity of doing justice to the American Indian.
In Bishop Whipple he ever found the living illustration of the truth of the assurance there given, buoying him up during his life und cheering him in the hour of death, with the confident hope that his wife and children and brethren would be cared for.
These Indians were at length moved to a reservation at Crow Creek in Dakota, and there they gladly erected two large log Churches in which their children were taught, and where they worshipped their God and Saviour. It soon became apparent, that owing to drought and the barrenness of the soil and the scarcity of game, they would all perish, unless Government supplies could be largely furnished. They had been induced to go there by the pledge of support, but as the promise was only partially fulfilled, notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of their Missionaries, their suffering became intense, over three hundred starving in a few months, including all their young children, so tenderly loved by the Indian.
After three years of this fearful trial and suffering they were removed to their present location in Nebraska on the Missouri River, at the mouth of the Niobrara, where they have remained until now, deeply anxious to know their fate. Politicians and land speculators have visited them from time to time, assuring them that they would soon be moved again, but their Missionary inspired them with hope by his work of faith in erecting a beautiful and commodious Mission House, School and Chapel. This confidence, shown by a man of God in whom they trusted and who had remained with them in all their troubles, induced some of them also to build and to begin the work of cultivation with such rude implements as were within their reach.
In the good providence of God the Peace Commission employed the Rev. Mr. Hinman, owing to his perfect familiarity with the language and the confidence of all the Indians in him, to visit some of the uncivilized Tribes that were being moved into the new Territory which adjoins the present location of the Santees. Through Mr. Hinman's influence the Peace Commission inserted in their Treaty with, the Sioux, a clause that will enable the Santees to remain permanently on their present reservation, and there to acquire a title to farms immediately, and to citizenship within three years. This is briefly a history of the origin of the Church's Mission to the Santee Sioux Indians; dark and disastrous as it seems to have been, yet now all is hopeful.
Its progress in spiritual things has been steady and satisfactory beyond the highest hopes of its projectors. The most faithful preaching seemed at first to have little effect, but when the Missionary went from lodge to lodge, showing kindness to the sick and troubled ones, and especially when he taught their children a better way of life, the hearts of the mothers first, and next of the fathers and husbands, were by such means prepared of God to receive the good seed of His word. At the end of two years, eighteen adults were sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in their right mind, as was evidenced during the massacre, when they were so strongly incited to forsake the Christian faith, and to revenge the fearful wrongs to their brethren. At Fort Snelling the work of grace was still more apparent, large classes were prepared for Holy Baptism, and the conjuring Medicine men came and laid their charms and heathen weapons at the feet of the beloved Bishop. The good work went on even during the three years of fearful suffering on the upper Missouri in Dakota, and in June last Bishop Clarkson thus testified to the Mission as it now is: "I really think there is nothing in our day on this continent more interesting to visit than this Santee Indian Mission. It is impossible for a Christian man to spend a single day among the monuments and the results of this heroic Christian effort, without the profoundest emotions of gratitude and the deepest feelings of wonder and of awe. Nearly all the oldest members of Mr. Hinman's Indian congregation have been confirmed and are Communicants—over two hundred and fifty out of a population of one thousand souls. Think of that, and contrast it with the statistics of any Christian community anywhere. I entreat those who love Christ's word and who are interested in the melancholy condition of this Pagan race that is passing to a heathen grave within an arm's length of our boasted Christianity, not to allow this Mission to be crippled for want of means. Mr. Hinman, with one Indian Deacon and two or three candidates for the Ministry now at his side, can very readily extend his operations almost indefinitely."
This testimony is of inestimable value, because it comes from a thoroughly intelligent eye-witness, who was not the founder of the Mission, and whose surroundings, as Bishop of Dacotah and Nebraska, were more likely to prejudice him against, than to prepossess him in favor of Missions to Indians.
The "civilization and Christianization" of any nomadic Indians, under the very unfavorable circumstances in which they have thus far been placed, should inspire their friends with faith in a larger Divine blessing hereafter; for the work already accomplished is as much a miracle of grace as was the continuous flow of water from the flinty rock, by which another wandering people learned to know their God and Saviour.
The American Indian is naturally reverent; he has neither the ability nor the disposition to utter an oath, for there is not a word in any Indian language by which even the slightest disrespect to the Great Spirit can be expressed. He never invented any intoxicating drink, and his women are so chaste, that in some tribes certain death follows any breach of the marriage tie. Whilst our highly favored race, that claims to have a Divine revelation containing the purest moral precepts, sends to the Indian, emissaries that breathe out fearful curses against their God and Saviour—that freely indulge in intoxicating drink, and induce the Indian to partake of it, in order to cheat him out of his lands, and skins and furs, and that corrupt his women under false promises, filling them with most loathsome diseases.
After such an introduction to so-called Christian civilization, is it not a miracle of grace that any spiritual progress has been made with the American Indian?
The fertile soil of our vast prairies was formed or enriched by the debris of devastating floods; so the mire and dirt of immorality cast up upon our Western frontier by the great tidal wave of Christian civilization, although a festering mass of irreligion, may, by an inscrutable Providence, be used to stimulate a spiritual growth. The action, first of winter's frost, and then of summer's heat upon the seed-pod and its frail infolded germ, seems to be needful to cover the prairie with bloom and nutritious verdure; so after their fearful wrongs and sufferings, the Sun of Righteousness is even now stimulating into a spiritual bloom and growth, some of the very people that seemed so likely to perish.
The accompanying address by Bishop Whipple exquisitely pictures this spiritual bloom, not only in dying Taopi, but also in the Wapashaws and the Good Thunders, with other Christian warriors who, in parting from their Father, received his blessing, each one of them kissing his wife, and saying, "to meet you in heaven, I hope." The journal of the Santee Mission testifies to the steady growth of spiritual verdure; and the following extract from a recent letter written by the Rev. Mr. Hinman shows that this verdure is spreading to the regions yet beyond, and that even death serves to stimulate the missionary spirit in the breasts of the living. "My Catechists have done nobly, and are now much interested in the Yankton Mission which they undertake next week. Matthew died during my absence, full of faith, and for days longing to go where his children had been called before. All the young men here look upon him as a saint indeed. It is so blessed to think of these young men, holy, earnest and truthful, putting us to shame in their simplicity of faith—and yet they are Indians, and might have been almost fiends, but for God's mercy in establishing and perpetuating this Mission. Matthew wore his cross on his heart when he died, and it was a matter of doubt among the Indians whether or no it should be buried with him—but Christian Taopi, who prayed with him daily, said, 'No, when a man dies his work lives, and among heathen a son inherits a father's medals and charms. This Cross must bear Matthew's holy life and work to a successor, who will make it a living sign of salvation to our people.' "
Whilst this paragraph was being penned, the heavens were glowing with the exquisite Aurora of April 15th, bringing to mind the beautiful imagery used by an Indian Chief in addressing his great Father at Washington.
"If you will only lift up the drooping spirits of your red children, by giving them succor and teaching them the better way of life, their thanksgivings for you and yours will ascend to heaven, just as the Aurora kindles its light on earth, and streams upwards through the cold and dark night towards the home of the Great Spirit."
The PROSPECTS of this and other Missions to Indians will be briefly considered under three heads. 1st. Governmental action as bearing on the civilization of Indians. 2nd. Capacity of American Indians for Christian civilization and their disposition towards it. 2nd. The character of religious instruction best suited to this peculiar people.
1st. Governmental action thus far, although generally well intended, has been most unfavorable to the promotion of civilization among the Indians. Making treaties with tribes as independent sovereignties was a most lamentable perpetuation of the error of clanship that kept Scotland so long in barbarism and bathed it in blood, and that has in this country been fraught with much evil. The late fearful rebellion sprang from the same pernicious principle, so prolific of evil; and if our Indian tribes now possessed the same power of combining in opposition to the general Government, that so-called, sovereign States possess, our Western frontier would this spring be one great charnel house, and all railroad facilities would be indefinitely postponed. Treaties which allow Indians to retain large tracts of laud to provide game for their support must, of necessity, be broken; for even if our Government had the disposition, it would be utterly powerless to keep such treaties by checking the tide of emigration that sweeps on in search of gold or other lures. Another great hindrance to civilization arises from the rich political patronage afforded by the large appropriations annually made to fulfil the stipulations in these treaties. With the increasing cost of conducting political campaigns, new treaties, removals and increased appropriations become necessary to assist in defraying the expenses of the victorious party, or to reward its orators or schemers. Thus the claims for party spoils by political victors render every attempt to civilize the wild Indians utterly abortive.
It is alleged and believed that these Indians now receive a very small proportion of the appropriations, and that the way in which they get this small share, with the frequency of political changes, tends rather to pauperize than to civilize and ennoble them. Many politicians are no doubt fully possessed with the belief that if their political party does not prevail, the country will be ruined; therefore, as the Indian has no vote, patronage must be extended to others who can aid in saving the nation from impending ruin.
It is due to the dominant political party to say, that its leaders now see and abhor the evils resulting from the present system, and that they promptly accepted and cordially supported a proposal recently made by a committee that visited Washington, because, in their judgment, it gave the promise of benefiting the Indian, even at the sacrifice of valuable political patronage.
A paper at the close of this publication renders further remarks under this head unnecessary, as it gives interesting particulars of the causes that led to recent Governmental action, that is favorable to the Indian. It will be encouraging to all philanthropists to learn that the present Administration has firmly resolved to exercise a paternal care over the Indian, and because of past national wrongs, to give the Red-man privileges and aids in lands, farming implements and temporary support, that were never accorded to the white or to the black race.
2nd. The capacity of American Indians for Christian civilization and their present disposition towards it, is now so evident on the part of many tribes, that it affords the most hopeful feature of the present time. This favorable disposition is fully testified to in this publication, by five witnesses who have viewed the subject from different stand-points; each witness being eminent in his department. Two of these, Bishop Whipple and the Rev. Mr. Hinman, have already been sufficiently referred to. The Hon. Henry M. Rice, long a Senator from Minnesota, and the founder of the city of St. Paul, resided so long with the Chippeways and the Sioux, and enjoyed their confidence so fully, that to these Indians he became a sort of demigod, to whom they looked in all their troubles. He negociated merciful treaties with them, but as human governments are much more likely to be moved by political than by charitable considerations, he became hopeless of checking the tendency to political corruption, and the consequent deterioration of the Indian; therefore his testimony in favor of the system about to be inaugurated by the present Administration has high value.
Major Cullen, a large-hearted man, and an ardent sympathizer with the Indian, acted as Government Superintendent in Minnesota for several years; and he has latterly been serving in the same capacity in Montana, to which place he was urgently called to quell Indian outbreaks. Indians look upon him as their true friend. Mr. T. R. Brown lived with Indians over forty years as a trader, and then a Government Agent, he speaks their languages and therefore had the closest personal contact with them; his letter is able, instructive and encouraging. He and Major Cullen were removed for political considerations; and this removal caused, as is believed, the fearful massacre in Minnesota, by which nearly a thousand persons were killed.
The schools and Mission to the Santee Sioux have most satisfactorily revealed the brightness and intelligence of Indian children, and their remarkable interest in Christian civilization. The women are also smart, industrious and hopeful, quickly acquiring the art of reading and writing, and evince great aptitude for handicraft. They become intelligent and firm Christians, often sustaining their more desponding husbands, and are skilful in teaching others in Sunday School, at Mothers' Meetings, and from lodge to lodge, where their Christian hymns and prayers edify and draw down a blessing upon many of their sisters.
The young men are readily inspired with hope, and then they become active workers and zealous Christians. One such has entered the sacred ministry, whilst others as candidates or catechists, are putting their white brethren to shame by their Christian zeal and efficiency.
The following extract from a familiar letter to one of the candidates now in the Mission House, in Philadelphia, shows the firmness and faith of young men, and the ordeal through which they pass. "I went to-day with friend Christian Taopi to pray with Pay-pay's wife, who was very sick, and while we were there, and when we were just ready to read—the Bible being already open—Satan came also and behaved very furiously against us. War Club, an old conjuror, came in and said, 'The time was when I speedily cured the sick, and was honored, but now what do you boys mean by your books—what can paper do? Put up your book, or better, throw it in the fire and go away, and do not think yourselves men.' After saying this he left the house, violently shutting the door. We remembered the words of the Saviour, 'fear not those who can kill the body,' and we knelt down and prayed, and though the woman seemed near death, now to-day she is better, and all our people feel that God has notably answered our prayers."
A deep gloom has settled upon the old Indian warrior and hunter, rendering him almost hopeless; and yet, when he acquires confidence in the good intentions of the Government, and in the sincerity of those who offer to aid him, he improves in Christian civilization beyond the most sanguine expectations of his friends. The confidence of the writer of this sketch strengthened when he saw seven such men in "Washington, resisting successfully the temptations that surrounded them at the time of the recent Inauguration. These men are the Chiefs of the bands of the Santee Sioux Indians, sonic of them scarred warriors, and yet no other Christian gentlemen could have conducted themselves with greater propriety.
3d. The character of religions instruction best suited to the American Indian. It is apparent that the efforts thus far made to extend the saving influence of the Christian religion to the Indians in their nomadic condition, have generally been so unsatisfactory as to dishearten most of those who have undertaken this work. This should not be surprising or tend to check Christian efforts when Indians become settled, and the civilizing process has commenced; for God's ancient people, the children of Israel, did not participate in the privileges connected with the rite of Circumcision and the Passover, until their wanderings had ceased, and they had reached their reservation.
Influenced by occasional intercourse with our race, the Medicine man or conjuror is fast losing his hold upon this people; but whilst this is a preparation for the Gospel, yet when freed from the restraining influence of superstition, the Indian will fast degenerate, unless the benefits of our holy religion, are brought to bear upon his heart and life.
The Indian is naturally reverent, tranquil rather than emotional, and possessed of a remarkable taste for music; these characteristics indicate the kind of religious instruction and public worship best suited to him. His mind is so filled with natural imagery, that his religious teacher is deeply impressed with the mercy of God in making His first recorded revelation to man in a primitive language, which is so simple and pictorial, that a child of nature can readily understand it. The heroic and loving deeds recorded in the Bible impress the Indian deeply; therefore, Bible Classes and other similar modes of teaching have high value. The Indian loves his children so tenderly, and has so firm a belief that after death they go to the home of the blessed, that he naturally inclines to a Church where the lambs are carefully folded, and the parents assured, by acts as well as words, that it is not God's will that one little one should perish. Unless the Church aids in teaching and training his children in the ways of godliness, and shows kindness to the sick, the Indian, cannot look upon her as a tender mother. He naturally thinks, that as the dear Saviour blessed children and healed the sick when on earth, so the Church should be specially careful to imitate Him in works as well as in teaching. At the Santee Mission his sons are trained to lead the praises in their Church, this pleases the father, and makes him hopeful that his boys will have a higher aim than the chase or the war path, and arrangements are made for the erection of a hospital in which the sick will be cared for by trained Christian women.
A reverent public worship is evidently best suited to the Indian; he takes deep interest in a liturgical service which he can either read or commit to memory; chanting the Psalter and singing solemn Hymns afford him great delight. The peculiar adaptation of the order and the worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church to these home heathen, has been fully demonstrated through a series of years. At the Santee Mission all the public services are as orderly as in any congregation of intelligent white people; the sermons and addresses are always extemporaneous, and the Catechists are frequently employed in giving religious instruction on these public occasions. Candidates for Holy Orders and Catechists are first trained to instruct the ignorant in private, and to comfort the sorrowing and the sick, and then to address small worshipping assemblies, and afterwards to exercise their gifts in public. The Church's system has been so thoroughly wrought out at this Mission, that the public, services and the private instruction go on with perfect regularity and efficiency during the absence of the ministers, though all the male helpers are Indians. Young women are also trained to serve as teachers; and mothers who have reached maturity, and have earned a good degree, are trained to conduct worship in the lodge, and to instruct at the large weekly Mothers' Meeting that has been productive of much good.
The prayers of these Christian Indians, made at the lodges and in social meetings, are so appropriate, earnest, and full of faith, that they forcibly bring to mind the promise made through St. James, "The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him." It has been demonstrated that the distinctive teachings of the Church have high value, as thereby the Indian acquires a positive and intelligent connection with a thoroughly organized religious body, instead of the loose adhesion that exposes the young disciple to be drawn back into heathenism. The perfect harmony and cordiality that have always existed there between the Missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for foreign Missions and those of the Episcopal Church, prove conclusively that the destruction of that which is distinctive in the individual, the family, or the Church, is not necessary to promote the tenderest brotherly love. This historical sketch has been extended far beyond the original design of the writer, but he has been led on by the new-born interest in the subject.
TO THE FRIENDS OF THE SANTEE INDIAN MISSION:
I am very thankful to be able to tell you, whose faith and prayers have for so long a time been our strength and our success, that to-day our Mission in all its present work, and with all that we propose for it, is given into the charge of the Domestic Committee of the Board of Missions. The success of Missions to the Indians is no longer a question, and the Church acknowledges her duty to the heathen of our own land.
We have now here, in a population of fifteen hundred souls, one thousand baptized persons, three hundred and thirty-seven communicants, two hundred children in our care, four young men preparing for the Sacred Ministry, two candidates for Holy Orders, and one native Deacon.
We have a substantial Mission House and a beautiful Chapel, the gift of a Christian child whose dying wish was "to tell the heathen of Jesus' love."
We need yet more room for our schools, but most of all a hospital, where we may bring the sick and aged and the better minister to their wants.
Above us on the Missouri river, and only separate from us by the Niobrara, is the now Indian territory, now set apart for all the northern tribes. And they are even now being gathered in and located on their new tracts of land. They earnestly desire to have schools and Christian teachers. Their language is allied to the Santee, and we are training young men (natives) who will he sent out as evangelists to their own people.
Our Mission is now in its ninth year. It was begun and has been built up in the face of great difficulties. But God has been very kind to us and given us many friends.
We would not take from any other work, for everywhere success is calling for greater faith. But we surely owe a great duty to these poor, foolish, savage Indians. All do not feel an interest in them, but in every congregation there are some who do think of them, and feel that we ought at least, to try to befriend them, and to teach them, and if God's will to save some of them.
We ask then of all such, and of all who wish us God-speed in our Mission, that they aid us by their prayers, their influence, and their alms, and promise that the work shall not be neglected nor given up.
I am, dear brethren, sincerely yours,
All offerings should be sent to MR. WM. WELSH, Superintendent of Mission, 1122 SPRUCE STREET, PHILADELPHIA, or to REV. DR. TWING, 17 Bible House, N. Y., and they should be marked "for Santee Mission."
Special offerings should be designated, "for School," "for Hospital, "for Library.''
Missionary Boxes or Packages may be sent, freight pre-paid, to Rev'd S. D. HINMAN, marked, via. Chicago and North-Western B. R, care J. H. CHARLES, Sioux City, Iowa.
The Post Office address of the Missionary is Santee Agency, Nebraska.
SANTEE MISSION, 1869.
The First Month.
We begin to-day the new year, the ninth year of our Mission to these poor Indians. And we begin again, as usual, without means for carrying on our work, or pledges for our support; but we have sure confidence that our Lord will not fail those that work for Him.
What years have these been! and through what, and how great perplexities and dangers has God brought us!
We pray that we may be more thankful, and that we may grow more and more into the likeness of His dear Son. We have reason to be thankful, for God alone has boon our shield, and He has covered our head in the day of battle. We have reason to be thankful and take courage when we look at our work.
We found these people utter heathens, in garb, in foolish superstition, and heathen in sin and savage cruelty.
Now how changed, in costume—like whites, in habit—all outward signs of heathenism gone, and host of all, very many of them truly converted to the knowledge and the obedience of the love of Jesus, the only Saviour. For all this we can heartily rejoice.
To-day I have sent out our annual circular appealing to the friends of the Mission, and of the Indians, still to help us, and work for us and them.
Our only trust is in the faith that God shall give us all in the Mission of the gospel of his dear Son.
I have also had a talk with Andrew Huntka, a Christian Indian, belonging to the new part of the Reyata Band. They desire a Catechist appointed to lead them in village service, and to look after those who are still careless about Christian worship. They have selected a very active young man, who, after much thought and counsel, has consented to give himself to the work.
To-morrow I have a meeting of all my Catechists to take counsel in regard to the matter.
It is the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord, the Festival of the Holy Name Jesus. We have just had our evening prayer. Very many young people were present. I tried to tell them the deep significance of this blessed name, Saviour. But how weak are all our words when we speak of Him! How unfeeling and far away our thoughts, when we try to comprehend and tell how much is meant when we call Jesus the Saviour of mankind.
During this coming year, may God grant to all of us renewed earnestness, and the eloquence of hearts burning with the love of Jesus, His dear and only Son.
Meeting of Clergy and Catechists according to appointment. Present: Missionary Deacon Paul Mazakute (Iron Shooter), Christian Taopi (Wounded), Philip Johnson, Joseph Wapashaw (Red Standard).
We discussed, first, the new Catechist, for the Reyata Band, Owancas (Scarlet all over). He was reported to be a young man of good repute, never having any bad name, except at one time from trouble with his wife, who is said to be a woman of very bad temper, and bad family connection. They are lawfully married. We instructed Philip and Taopi to visit them at their house, and talk with both of them, especially in regard to their former trouble, and report at a meeting at dark this eve.
We next talked over our catechetical school, and selected new young women for teachers on Sunday afternoons, and the Catechists were instructed to visit and tell them of their appointments, and urge them to undertake the work, and then to report at the adjourned meeting.
We finally discussed the suppers and dances that are being held and given here this winter. They are gotten up by white men, but the women invited are Indian, and many of the young men are also invited. These dances were formerly, when the Indians were at Crow Creek in Dakota, a disgrace to humanity.
But lately they have been said to be well conducted, and we have been told that we have no right to forbid the Indians to have sports, and to fault them for what whites do without censure. I stated the case to our meeting, and showed the danger of forbidding all sports, as we had been obliged to stop all Indian games, for they either pertained to their heathen religion, or were games of chance, and we had, as yet, not been able to make any substitute for their dances or sacred feasts. I remembered, too, the accusation brought against the first missionaries to the Sandwich Islands, of making religion too austere.
I spoke also of the whites having their children taught how to dance, as Paul had seen them at the East. I then asked if we ought to forbid our communicants from attending well conducted dancing parties among the whites, and suspend those from the communion who disobeyed. I had fairly stated the case, and most favorably for the offenders. Paul said, "As far as I am able I will oppose these dances, I know enough of it." Philip said, "Last week an Indian was struck by a white man at one of them, the white man was jealous." Christian said, "They are bad and exert no good influence." Joseph said, "Last night, New Year's, they had whisky, and some were made drunk, and there was almost a general trouble." So the point was settled. The Church at the Yankton Agency was also spoken of, and it was agreed that as the Yanktons numbered 2500, the Church should not seat less than 500.
At eve we had another meeting. All present. The Catechists reported all the newly appointed teachers as cheerfully assenting to act. The new Catechist also consented, and his wife confessed her fault. She said their little child had been taken from them because the Great Spirit know that she was bad at heart, and not fit to bring up a little one for Him. And that the attentions and instructions of our Catechists during his sickness had brought her back again in penitence to the Saviour. They had both taken communion together at the last administration, and had made new resolves and asked for new grace.
While we were met, a young Indian came to bring word that one of my Choir Boys, David, was very sick, and that as his mother and all his near relatives were a\my, he had neither care nor medicine. I sent Philip and Christian down right away, and promised to follow with medicine. The house was nearly a mile away, in the edge of the wood. It was very dark and I lost my way, but at last came upon some Indian lodges in the midst of the wood, and found the way to them by the sparks from their fires. A young Indian came out and kindly guided me to the right trail. I found Philip and Christian already there, and David very sick, with no one to care for him and no medicine. I gave him medicine, and provided to have him taken care of by the Catechists. A young man, a cousin of his, who was present said, "we wish to ask you to read, and sing, and pray with him, we have books, but no candles." It was quite dark in the room (a rude log cabin), so I asked Philip to pray with and for him. We all knelt, and he asked in his behalf God's mercy and forgiveness.
I am always struck with the beauty and simplicity of the prayers of our Christian Indians, no vain repetitions or useless rhetoric; but simple faith and earnestness. I came home promising to see him in the morning.
We greatly need a hospital!
Arrived at home I found a poor woman who had come to us for counsel and sympathy. She had been badly beaten by a cruel husband, a desperate young Indian, he had beaten her because she refused to go with him to the New Year's dance. She said she loved him and could not leave him, she had tried to bear with him, and make him better, but now she complained bitterly of his continued cruelty, and seemed heart-broken, and almost discouraged. We have no law here. Paul was already with her when I came home, and we could only advise her not to be hasty in what she determined, and that we would sec him, and call him to account.
Paul is very happy to be at work again in our catechetical school.
We have decided to have our children's festival on Epiphany.
January 3d. Second Sunday after Christmas.
At Morning Service, Clergy and Choir all present, and a good congregation. I preached from the Gospel for the day, on the deep significance of the name Jesus, Saviour. There was an unusual number of women present. I baptized a little boy of five months; he was named Martin; and he is the first of that name among the Santees.
At two o'clock we had Litany and catechetical school. A large number present. The new teachers did very well. The singing of the children was very spirited. After service took a walk to get a change of scene and fresh air. Went with Joseph Wapashaw to the site of our new Burying-Place. A beautiful view of the Mission-House and Chapel. It seemed too good to be true, that we have such goodly buildings for our worship, and our far off home. Evening Prayer at 6 o'clock; Paul preached a very earnest sermon from Heb. 2-3. "How shall we escape," &c. His appeal to his own people, to remember all their troubles, and sickness of heart, and to appreciate the advantages and blessings which the gospel now brings to them, was very touching. And his allusion to the gift of the Holy Spirit, to give power to the speaker, grace to the hearer, and victory to the word, the life of our holy religion, without which blessed gift we speak and hear and do in vain, was very appropriate and effective, for their heathen religion has been one of works only. The congregation was large; many men present.
David is better and was in his place to-night, much to my surprise, but, he said he could not stay away. Poor people! the Church and our services here are the only bright things they see.
A man came after the service and told me that he and his wife had now determined to come to Church every Sunday, and to prepare for Confirmation and Communion. Thus, one by one we are reaching this whole tribe.
January 4th Monday. Clear and beautiful like Spring.
Went to Agency and secured lumber for finishing our Church seats. A family of whites, our only neighbors off the Reservation, nearer than ten miles, came to visit us. In the afternoon I took advantage of the weather, and walked over to Paul's farm, where I found him and two young Indians, very busy getting out logs for his new house. He will have a beautiful place; there are many trees; and a stream of pure water comes out of the bluff, near by, and runs almost around his plateau of land, before it finds an opening in the hills to let it out toward the river.
I made one call at the house of a Christian Indian, but the man was away. The children were all looking forward to the festival.
The mail to-night brought us a promise of a Missionary box from Reading. I am very thankful that God is putting it into the hearts of Christian people to think more of these poor Indians.
This winter many are almost naked. The little children suffer most of all, as oft-times the only blanket in the family has to be worn by the mother, who must go for wood and water.
January 5th, Tuesday.
This morning I went down the river, beyond the Reservation, to attend to the settlement of my last year's accounts. There is a small store there where the Indians trade, and where I scud them with their orders for charity or for work. This store was broken into on Sunday night, and nearly all the goods taken. This is the third robbery within six months. At first it was thought to be Indians, and I had great difficulty in saving an Indian woman from arrest on that account last fall. It was now ascertained that it was done by vagabond whites from the Dakota side of the river.
The proprietor was very much excited about it yesterday, and came up to the Agency and Mission-House. Being very nervous he forgot and neglected to lock up his store. It was open all day, lie away, and the Indians were going and coming to trade, some of them thought he had given up his business in a fit of temporary insanity or disgust, as an Indian would be likely to do under the same circumstances. But, though the building was visited by Indians all day, he assured me that nothing, nothing at all had been taken. And it is a very general observation with us that the Indians here are more reliable than the whites that stray so far from civilization and a settled life.
This afternoon I have been busy with my estimates for the coming year. They appear large, but they are really very small when the cost of living, and all our charities are taken into consideration. And certainly these poor people, neglected, abused and robbed, are proper subjects for Christian charity; and every American ought to blush with shame, if he be not willing to give them every blessing that they need.
Our expenses are very great, but I have tried to show my faith and sincerest interest in the work. To it, I and mine have given all we have.
I have also been much engaged to-day in preparing for our Epiphany services and rejoicings. Many have signified to me their wish to come to Holy Communion. We are very careful with our Indian communicants, to teach them the dignity and the blessing of this communion with the Saviour, lest they should come without knowledge, or with superstitious awe and faith, as to a heathen rite. We try to teach them truth and love, not mingled with fear or superstition, and to believe that very many of them will have glorious places at our Saviour's next appearing.
We are done with our preparation for our Epiphany, having all of us worked this evening on the last things for the children's tree.
May God bless them in their joy, and us in our ministries for them.
January 6th, Epiphany.
We had service at dawn, the administration of the Holy Communion, a goodly congregation, and many of them from afar. I spoke to them of the blessings that come to us through this gracious manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, and his full adoption of us all as children of His Father, and inheritors of His glorious promises, if we only have faith to lay hold of Him. And also of the offerings we may all bring to the meek and lowly Jesus, more prized by Him than mines of gold, or clouds of incense, or most precious balm, the offering of ourselves, our souls and bodies, on the altar of consecration, obedience and unfeigned love to Him who is our only Saviour and our King.
Many came to Communion, and nearly all who were hindered at Christmas came now to renew their vows and faith for the service of a new season of holy joy.
After service, Mrs. Hinman, and the Catechists and I were engaged nearly all day in preparing our list of names and directing last preparations for our Evening Service and Festival. We all enjoyed the work most heartily.
It is a real pleasure to work for the joy of those who are so friendless, and have so little ever to make them glad at heart, and almost no one to care for their happiness or misery, their weal or woe. How few there are in this laud who know or care how these children live or die, or whether or not they all grow up as warring Ishmaels, and perish without knowledge of goodness or of God.
This afternoon I visited a sick man some distance from the Mission. He is a man advanced in years, who has for some time been receiving Christian instruction, and preparing to come to Holy Communion. He had been looking forward expecting to make his first communion to-day, but last night was taken suddenly and seriously ill. It was a great disappointment to him, and he felt very sad, but full of hope and thankfulness that God had been good to him, and yet spared his life. All his family are now communicants of the Church.
This eve we had our Service and festival for all the children. It was a glorious sight and yet sad. The Chapel was full of young faces, and all with joyous eyes. The tree filled the centre of the Choir, brilliant with its lights and decorations, and gifts. Even the boughs on the screen were ladened with strange tempting fruit for the little ones. The boys and girls sang their best carols, and one composed, both words and music, by Geo. Dowanna (Singer) their leader. We had something for every child. But it was pitiful to sec their poverty, many almost naked. How they live at all through the winter I do not know. I was sorry I had not more clothing for them. I had bought yesterday all the calico that could be had here for the smallest children, and I am sure they will appreciate their new whole garments. We let them go early, and yet many lingered to enjoy the beauty of the scene, and the older Indians came in as happy as children to see the strange sight. We are all very tired, but it has been a blessed day for us.
Just now our new Catechist elect has been here with his wife to tell me of their sincere purpose to live for Heaven. He said, God gave us a little child, and because He loved it He has taken it home. The good words of your young men who prayed with us, and advised us, and finally committed our darling to the ground, touched our hearts, and their earnestness made us ashamed. We have prayed daily since for God's grace and help, and if it be His will, I am ready to devote myself to His service in the Mission here, and my wife has promised in all things to help me to be faithful."
This pleased me much for their sake, and also because it shows how humble instruments may avail for Christian work, if only we have sincerity, and faith, and earnestness, with singleness of purpose, the love of Jesus and His joyful service.
God grant that we may have many glorious manifestations of His love and grace during this year, now fairly begun.
January 7th, Thursday. Still beautiful, but to-night a little colder.
A very dull day after yesterday's excitement. Took a long walk and found everywhere smiling faces, and pleasant words about last evening's pleasure, and all the older persons complaining that our Chapel is too small, and that they are shut out from the pleasure and interest that they wish to take in all our efforts for the instruction and well-being, and pleasure of the Indian children.
I found my sick man asleep when I called, and I did not disturb him, but was much moved by a little girl entirely blind; she cannot be more than five years old, and wanting for all the care that we would gladly give to all so afflicted, if we had only the place to care for them.
I saw a face to-day so sad that I knew the woman, who is one of our most sincere Christians, must be suffering for food. Her only son, who has been very bad, is now a confirmed invalid, and she has only the trifle that the Government gives them for the support of a large family. I had nothing for her with me, but I resolved that on my very first opportunity, I would do something for their relief.
To-night the mail brings me five dollars for charity, and I am rejoicing at the prospect of the bright and thankful face that will greet me when I go to-morrow with flour and rice for their unexpected relief.
The mail to-night has brought us also many kind words from friends in Boston.
Paul's address there interested them all and much, and made them see what a real work God's Holy Spirit had wrought here, even among heathen Indians.
May He in mercy hasten the day when we shall deal righteously with all these tribes. I know we cannot suffer while we are here engaged. But we do long for the time when our plans completed, we can he fully equipped for attempting, at least, all that we feel ought to he done for bettering the condition of the Indians, and for their salvation. Many of them now appreciate truth, and love the way of peace that the Gospel reveals, and I cannot believe that their temporal salvation is at all impossible, or difficult, if we could only all feel it to he our duty to find out how badly off and despised they are, and then try by law, and by Christian kindness to lead them to a knowledge of the better way.
Therefore I say that Bp. Whipple's maidy statement of the wrongs Indians have suffered, though it be called one-sided and warped, is just what the men of this nation need to bring them to right thoughts and understanding, and judgment about this whole question of our dealing with, and care of and for the Indians.
January 8th, Friday.
We have been busy getting ready for the mail. Had a good many applications for charity. This sudden cold makes the children feel the necessity of warmer clothing. Some came here today almost naked, and fairly red with the biting frost. I was glad our Christmas boxes had enabled us to relieve them. We always give to all that ask, and I always feel badly when I must refuse.
But the great event to-day has been the birth of a little daughter to Paul. He has two little boys, and now a girl, and they are very happy.
I took time this afternoon, after my writing, to walk three or four miles, and visit all the sick. Poor Walker is dying, day by day growing weaker. He was very grateful for my gift. His is a sad case. He left his mother's house, because she reproved him for his sins and misdoings, and now like all prodigals, he is glad in his misfortune to be taken back.
The man mentioned on Epiphany, I found well. He had been able to work again to-day, he was very glad to tell mo how well he felt, and to thank mo for my visit. A mile further down I found old Kangi Sapa, (Black Raven) very sick, and having now great pain in the face. He was formerly our crier, before we had a Church-bell, and takes credit for all the success of the Mission. He says his voice is strong, and to-day he said, ''I helped the Great Spirit when the work began, and I was well and happy, but ever since I stopped working for Him, I have been unable to get about, but I am getting well now, and I am going to be as active as a young man in all good words and works."
His nephew, Wakinyanoyate (Thunder Nation), has also been sick, and gives Paul all the credit of his recovery.
It is very pleasant for us to see the Indians so thankful for all we do for them. It is Christianity that teaches them thankfulness.
I called at Good Thunder's, but the family were all away, and I came home over the hills, enjoying the grand view of the frozen river, and the valley fringed with the gray, cold-looking cotton-woods, and then flanked here and there with warm tinted chalk bluffs. I got home after dark. Passing by the end of the village I heard singing, and stopped to listen. The sound came from a back lodge near by, and I drew near and looked in at the single light of glass which served as a window. It was Dowanna, my choir leader. He was seated on a stool in the centre of the lodge, surrounded by Indian girls. His voice was leading, and they were singing very sweetly that Grand Missionary Psalm, "Let all nations praise Thee, O God, yea, let all the nations praise Thee."
Just before, passing through a ravine in the gathering darkness, I heard an old woman, somewhere on the high bluffs above, wailing out their harsh and hopeless chant of sorrow and mourning, "Mi-chin-shi, ta-ta-a-ta-a-a-a. My child is dead, dead, dead." And ending at each repetition with an outburst of grief, and sometimes with spasms, and prostration, rolling upon and clinging to the earth.
The contrast in everything between these two chants shows out most clearly the joyful, thankful spirit of our most holy faith.
January 9th, Saturday.
A day of preparation for Sunday. A good many applications for food and some that we could not relieve. We are so far away from supplies that we have to give with caution, lest our own large household should suffer. Yet still it will sometimes happen, and we are always willing to bear our part of self-denial or hardship. I have translated two hymns to-day, one "Abide with me," the other "Nearer, my God to Thee," one of the dearest hymns in our language, and in Dakota it is very solemn and beautiful.
A Chief called just at dusk to talk about the fire-water that is being brought in now that the river is frozen. The other day an Indian was made drunk against his will and then his head was split open by the same parties that furnished the whisky.
This traffic is carried on very slily by renegade whites and part Indians, and the end is always outrage and suffering. We have comparatively little trouble here as yet, but the Indians wonder why we have no laws against such iniquity.
This evening we had a choir meeting of our girls and boys. Mrs. Hinman was able as of old to lead them. We practiced "Nearer to thee," and it was very touching to hear the sweet familiar words in the strange Indian tongue. Last time I heard the hymn was at the Church of the Advent, Boston. I was then much impressed with its solemn sweetness, and promised myself that it should be sung in our own dear Chapel here, and now the promise is being fulfilled. After the singing we gave out the clothing that we had for the boys and girls, and they went home with glad hearts.
I know of nothing that interests our Indians more, and has a better influence upon them, than the sacred psalms, and Christian hymns that we teach them. This is especially the case with the young.
On a pleasant night the Indian villages resound for hours with the joyful music of their songs of praise. Our hymnal, heretofore, has been imperfect. No one can dream of the comfort and power of music to awaken every holy emotion, and glorious aspiration, until he has heard a Christian hymn like "Rock of Ages" or a "Psalm of Praise," sung by the earnest voices of a whole congregation of those who believe in Him who "inhabiteth the praises of Israel."
May we ever look to Him as the reality of all our thoughts, our labors, and our hopes.
January 10th, First Sunday after Epiphany.
Clear, bright, and beautiful.
Morning Prayer, and Ante-Communion, at 10 1/2. Large congregation, some going away for want of room. I preached from the second Lesson. The Epiphany at the baptism of Jesus—and the teaching of His baptism, a contrast between real and pretended revelation, between the teachings of God and Christ and those of sorcerers,—the promise to the faithful followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, and the gift of sonship. The congregation was very attentive, and I tried to be earnest. I saw some heads hung for shame.
At 2 P. M., Litany and catechetical school. Large attendance, both teachers and learners seemed interested and pleased. We sung "Nearer to Thee."
After Service I went with my little Harry for a walk. We went to the burying-place on the hills overlooking the Mission, and to the grave of our dear friend, and glorious example, George Wapashaw. The grave is honored by the Indians, and many little graves are now clustered around. It is an old Indian custom, (and we have not forbidden it, for all nations are tenacious of their piety for their dead) to set aside at every meal a plate of food for the missing one, this is placed in the centre of the lodge or carried to the grave, and it is the portion of the first poor person coming, or passing by. It is a beautiful custom, because it unites tender memory of the dead, to compassion and charity for the living. Therefore we have not thought it right to forbid it.
I mention this now, because I was much touched to-day by finding many little graves strewn with cedar, and the sugar-plums and bon-bons that the children prized so much at our late festival. They had been quietly placed there as childish memories of little brothers and sisters no longer hereto share their joy. Harry says "they love their little brother, that's the reason they put them there, a'int it, papa, and God loves them too, don't he, papa?"
Evening Prayer at 6. Chapel crowded, delightful Service. Paul preached from Phil, iii, 13-14, "Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended, &c." I was more struck than ever with the power of his preaching, and appeal to his own brethren after the flesh. It shows what a wonderful advantage a native has over any foreign minister, be he ever so earnest. We must have a native ministry, and I have no confidence in the stability or right judgment of any foreign work, until they have such help, and lay such foundation. Religion can never nourish as an exotic, be nations ever so like in speech, and every mark that distinguishes men. The time of war and trouble will come, the foreigner be driven off, or rendered helpless, and his influence be destroyed, and of all the work that has cost self-denial, and years of labor and much money, there will be scarce a vestige or trace. But a native ministry, sincere and earnest, will gather native strength. They understand their own people, their character, their habits, and their besetting as well as their less heinous sins. If truly faithful, and heartily, entirely and cheerfully devoted to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, they, and they only can be physicians skilful to deal with the infirmities of their own race. Make sure of your man, be satisfied that the conversion is real, that the Christian religion is understood and heartily embraced, and God will bless the prayers and work of such an one with success above that awarded to the evangelists who first preached to him, or to the doctors who translated the word of God in his difficult tongue.
The Lord's Day here is the busiest of the week, but it always brings to us a holy joy, and a visible ten-fold reward for all our labors.
January 11, Monday.
Our day of rest after the duties and excitement of Sunday. I omitted to mention the baptism of an adult yesterday, a woman who has long delayed coining to Christ, but who has for some time been desirous of baptism. It is believed that there are but ten un-baptized adults in all our tribe.
They are a quiet and orderly people, and we try now to add earnestness and zeal to their professions.
I took a long walk among the lower villages, and looked in upon the Indians in their homes and at work. Their houses now compare favorably with those of the white pioneers, and the men are making good progress at learning all kinds of work.
The women now we find at home, engaged with house duties or sewing. Coming home late, I went with Mary after dark, to see poor Walker (Marpiyahnihda, Passing Cloud). He is failing fast, and we have no place to properly care for him. His mother had just got home, having been to Yankton, twenty-five miles, to expend the trifle we had given her for food. By going to a town they avoid the extortion of the traders here.
We next went to Wapashaw's and found the house crowded with Ponka Indians, a tribe living near by on the upper side of the Niobrara. They are the only Indians in this vicinity who do not speak the Sioux. They have been under treaty with the Government for ten years, and yet are, if possible, more squalid and miserable than of old. They were almost naked, many of them having no clothing but a buffalo robe and moccasins.
Wapashaw, our head Chief, asked them why they had come.
One who spoke Sioux replied:
"We have hoard the Santees have six bands." Wapashaw says "yes.'" Then the interpreter, "Then we have come with six pouches of tobacco for the six chiefs." Wapashaw said: "Perhaps you expect to dance here." "Yes we suppose so." Wapashaw then said, "Then I must tell you that we have given up all those customs, we are no longer wild men, we have now a higher trust. We have no horses for you, and if you dance at our doors, none of our people will give you food. It is true that we are Indians, and that we grew up with all these foolish customs, but for a long time we have given them up, and we are trying to live like men. Sometimes wild Indians come here and dance, but it does not please our people, it makes us feel foolish and crazed." Wapashaw then asked if their agent had not told them how they ought to live.
They answered, "No, their agent always gave them a feast, and presents for the dancers who visited them."
I then told them plainly of the Indians' only hope, that they must become industrious and wise, or perish. They assented to all I said, and looked at me with sad wondering eyes, astonished to hear a white man speak an Indian language, and give them good advice. Poor fellows, they are ruined unless speedy measures are taken for their relief and instruction.
The mail brought us kind words from Boston and New York friends, and notice of another box of clothing from Boston, for which we are most thankful.
Bishop Whipple also writes full of love for the Indians. Surely God has raised him up to be their defence, and ministering angel.
January 12, Tuesday.
Been engaged to-day in writing for the mail. I find this the most trying part of my duties; it is easy and pleasant to work, where there is so much to do, and where we find such willing listeners to our words, but it is very hard to write to others about what one is trying to do, and to tell of successes which, are in reality but God's blessing upon His own work. It seems so akin to selfishness, and glorying in one's own strength and influence, that I always shrink from writing about the Mission work, or from telling it by word of mouth. If it is God's work, and if done according to His will, and in His way the blessing is assured, and there is no room for personality, and no right in its bearing the name of any human instrument, for God is no respecter of persons, and in our superlative weakness one man is as another before Him and each and every one utterly unworthy to minister for Him.
I have planned and begun an enlargement of our rude and temporary school-house, and hope before many days to have room enough for all our children. The buildings are of rough logs, but they will be warm and comfortable. The greatest trial is to our teachers, their health must suffer, for here especially, all the buildings used for congregations of adults or children should be largo and well ventilated.
Mrs. Hinman has been working for others all day, and has made the hearts of some widows glad by gifts of warm garments sent by our Philadelphia friends.
I have visited two sick persons to-day, and had a long talk with one. He was very thankful for the improved moral tone of the whole tribe. He called my attention especially to the conversions being made among the older men who have been most tenacious of Indian customs and manner of thought, and to the increasing number of men advanced in years who are becoming regular attendants upon all the Services of the Church.
He was rejoiced at the effect of this upon the young men who were becoming more serious and sedate. Formerly they made night hideous with their revels, but now it is as quiet here at night as in any village of whites.
Standing Soldier complained to me of the bad conduct of two members of my choir. He said he had talked with the choir leader, and told him to choose his boys and girls from the whole tribe, and take only those who were quiet and gentle, and devout, that the men of the congregation had determined to have no Catechists, or teachers, or singers who were not in all things a pattern for their people, whom we were trying to teach and lift up. I am very thankful for such a determination, it is worthy of all imitation.
January 13th, Wednesday.
At work all day constructing chimney and fire-place in schoolroom. I find our Indians always ready and willing to work, but they are so unskilled and ignorant of proper ways and shapes, that they need constant supervision and help.
Mrs. Hinman finds the same difficulty in her department, and it adds much to our care, and occupies much time, because we have always to keep everything that is going on in mind. This of course will be changed in time, and it is part of our duty to teach our people how to work, and in every way how to improve their condition. Willingness to work and readiness to learn are great steps already accomplished. When we went first to Redwood, it was almost impossible to get any of them to work, or even try to improve their situation.
I am thankful to notice each day the new hopes that the best of our men have for the future. The stolid indifference and sad dejection so common, almost universal, among the Indians, are giving way to cheerfulness of spirit, and brighter anticipations.
To-day Wanmdipun (Eagle Fan) came and seemed so happy, because their uncertain way of life and thought had now given way to certain reward of daily labor, and a sure trust in the living-God.
I sometimes think the Christian Indians prize their faith in the new found Saviour, and the privileges of membership in His holy Fellowship, more than we, because the world of comfort it opens to them is now, and their faith is so much more simple, confiding and childlike.
We have just come from the last Communion of this holy season. To-day, the octave of Epiphany, closes the joyful homage that we have been paying to our new-born Saviour. The Chapel was crowded to overflowing, and all seemed so earnest in prayer and so attentive to the words I spoke, that I myself was much moved. I spoke from the answer of the child Jesus to His parents, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" The business, that as new "made members of Christ and children of God," must throughout this year, and every day be our chief concern.
Over a hundred came to Communion, among them, the last of those who had been hindered at Christmas and Epiphany.
So we turned our faces from our Christmas joy, and now are looking forward through these weeks of preparation to a holy Lent, and farther off to a glad and happy Easter. Some of us will never see it here, but may the dear Saviour grant to bring us all through the grave and gate of death, to be gathered at His right hand, and then to be ever with Him, to minister to Him in His everlasting kingdom.
January 14th, 1869.
Clear and beautiful.
Another day at building, and we are nearly done.
Paul also has his new house almost finished. It is quite large, and the young men generally have taken pleasure in helping him.
My translations and writing confine me so constantly that I find the out door work does me much good. It is really a pleasant feeling to be right tired, and anxious for bodily rest.
We had our Thursday afternoon Service at Pay-pay's house. The building which is quite large, for this country, was filled with our Christian women. I thought of the friends who were praying with us, and we asked God's best blessings upon them all.
The mail this evening brought us no tidings. We miss so much our letters and papers; they are our only communication with the outside world.
Poor Walker is very low. When Miss West went there yesterday, he asked for an English Prayer Book, as he had first learned of the Great Spirit in our language. It seems a pleasure now to him, to recall the years spent at Faribault, and he often mentions the kindness of Dr. Breck, and of good Bp. Whipple and family. When I went to him this evening, I found an Indian Doctor, who had been called to see him. The Government Physician has charge of three tribes, and is often absent, and so some of the Indians have undertaken the practice of medicine in their simple way. They do their patients no harm, and some of their remedies are very good. Standing outside the lodge, I heard the Dr. speaking, and stopped to listen. His remarks were on the practice of medicine, and the remedies the Great Spirit had given them, in roots, and herbs, and minerals, "remedies that though used in the heathen practice of the old medicine men, yet God had intended for His children everywhere.'' He said, "we ought to be thankful for these, as well as food, and light, and heat; that God gave them, and He could make them powerful for good, and that therefore we ought always to ask His blessing and help, before we try to help one whose life or death are in His keeping." He then knelt down and prayed that "God would bless his patient—keep away from him all evil, and give him the strength and comfort of his Holy Spirit—would bless the means used for his recovery, or if He called him home, take away all fear, and give him holy light along the dark and lonely way." (Seeing me coining in he said,) "O Lord one of thy ministering servants is here with us, bless him also; though he is strong, strengthen him more and more with Thy Holy Spirit; though he is wise, give him yet more and more of heavenly wisdom; bless all the words of his mouth, and all the work of his hands, and grant that the congregation of which he is the shepherd, may be ever glorious through all divine gifts, and ever full of newness of life through all good works."
I am thankful to be able to think that my people are so prayerful. Always believing in prayer and trustfully asking God's blessing upon every hope or undertaking.
January 10th, 1869. A bright beautiful day.
Writing for the mail, and superintending our building. In the afternoon took a walk. Found the Indians improving the day by outside work. Some cutting wood, some getting out fencing, and others repairing their houses. Every time I go out I notice the improvement in their manner of life. Tables, chairs, and white dishes and table ware are now common, and to-day I find several trying their skill at making bedsteads, and some already up. I was much amused at an old woman's ghost story; I asked her age, and she said, "I don't know, all the nation knows that I can remember no farther back than the time I was killed, and nearly earned away by ghosts." And she went on giving all the particulars of the adventure, which happened years ago at a Lake, which I well remember near Faribault; she seemed to believe it all, but the Indians present, who know better could not restrain their laughter.
Pay-pay was here to-night, glorying in his new log house; which he said could hold sixty men at their cottage services, and I have just come from a service held there. The service on Friday evening is especially for the young men, and is intended to give them a knowledge of the Bible and its teachings. We also try to teach them the duty and necessity of prayer, and to ask God believing that they will receive what they ask in humble faith and trust in Him. The services are quite informal and very hearty. The only prescribed forms being the Lord's Prayer, and Creed which we always use, and the other devotions and hymns are at the will of the Catechist who conducts the Services.
The Lecture is plain and practical, and we teach often by question and answer. We feel the need and the blessing of these informal services, because it brings us in direct contact with the mind and heart of our people, and because it teaches them not to rest their faith upon the Ministry, or the Sacraments, or the Ritual of the House of Prayer, but to make their own calling and hope the subject of thought and heartfelt prayer. The meeting to-night was very interesting, and I feel that very many of their prayers are heard and answered.
Dowanna, the chorister, came to mo very diffidently, after the Service, to tell me that he was writing a book which was now nearly done, a history of the religious and superstitious customs of the heathen Dakotas. He is to bring it to-morrow for me to read and revise.
The Indians excel in writing, as in speaking; they have a natural simplicity and beauty of style that is very attractive, and their figures and similies are always well drawn, and to the point.
It is a wonder to me how readily they learn to read our language; little fellows will read correctly page after page of their school books, and be able to spell every word, and yet not comprehend the meaning of a single sentence. I judge them therefore to be good at imitation, but not quick of comprehension, and to have very little ingenuity at inventing any new means or ways.
January 16, 1869.
The day of preparation. A busy day with us, and among the Indians called "the floor-washing day," because all the Christian Indians on this day put their houses in order and prepare their clothing for Sunday. This custom has become general, and now also they cut their wood and do their trading on Saturday, so that Sunday is really a day of rest. I have been writing in our new Hymn book, revising Dowanna's history (which I found really very creditable), superintending our new building, and visiting among our people. I find many things to make me sad. Enemies of all good works always busy for evil, and then when these things are discovered by the Indians, and we are questioned about them, we cannot but blush for shame to think of the years of ignorance and squalid misery that these people have endured because of our wrong doing.
This evening a Yankton Indian (Flying Pipe), the head soldier of the chief called Feather in Ear, came to see me.
He had walked forty miles to be here to-morrow. He said his people were looking this way for help, because they could see the light here from far. He wanted me to tell him candidly what was to be the fate of the Indians. He said if the present mode of caring for them were to be continued, they might as well give up all hope at once.
They had now been ten years in charge of the Government, and they were really worse off than when they made their treaty. Their present agent had been very kind to them, but was powerless to help them, and was now going away believing that nothing could be done to better their condition. His wife also had been like a mother to them, feeding the hungry and even teaching their children, but now she too was giving them up, and there seemed no hope. But he had seen light here, and had come to beg that we would be their friends, and establish a school and hospital at their agency.
He ended by saying "our old men are foolish and ignorant, and our chiefs are bought up for a trifle, but I know that we have many young men who are not bad, and who earnestly desire to learn a better way of life.
We know that you have benefitted and lifted up the Santees, come now and help us."
January 17, 1809.
At Morning Prayer congregation large. My Yankton friend came late to Church, and could not get inside the door.
I preached from the Epistle for the day, a practical sermon to our Catechists, and teachers, and chiefs, and to all Christians on their duties in their several stations and callings.
It was one of the few services of the year without a baptism. In the afternoon catechetical school as usual, and a large number present. One of our Indian teachers was absent, but she came just at evening to tell me that she had no shoes or moccasins to wear, and had borrowed a pair for the Evening Service. At Evening Prayer, the Chapel was more crowded if possible than ever before. Imagine a church with every seat full, and then an extra adult and two or three children crowded into each one, then the aisle and all the space before the Chancel occupied by persons seated on the floor, and the entrances both from the house and from outside also filled, and you have a picture of what we call a good congregation. When we have a square foot or two of room to spare, the congregation is considered small.
Paul preached from Mark vi. 6, on the duty, comfort, and blessing of prayer, and urged the Christians to commune with God by prayer, not only at stated times, but also while at work or at rest, or as they walked by the way.
I am made continually sad by the opposition and jealousy that our work provokes. If we could only be let alone, and be allowed to quietly mind our own business, and to do it, it would be a happy life, but as it is and we work day by day alone, far separated from friends whose kind words and prayers, and alms given of God sustain us and all around us, and near about us—the words that do reach our ears are unkind and full of mis-judgment. And we cannot answer nor stop our ears, but must work on. If earthly helpers were our trust, we must bear up and wait for the comfort of their encouragement, but as it is we go about our daily work, and some word of kindness from a poor body we have befriended, or some prayer by the bedside of a trusting child, and all is forgotten; and as are our days, so God sends us strength of heart, and oftentime great peace and joy.
And these too are the feelings that our Sabbaths bring us after the sameness of the routine of six days of work. But it sometimes brings an awful feeling when we look upon such success as that of this Indian work.
St. Paul felt it when he said "Lest while I preach to others, I myself should be a cast-away."
And when I look over these large congregations apparently devout and earnest, I sometimes ask myself with fear, after all are not many of these poor people indulging a vain hope, and am not I to be held responsible for their ignorance and delusion? And I can only answer by comparison with work in other fields, and by more earnest prayer and endeavor to make everything that we do here as plain and practical as possible.
January 18, 1869.
A very busy day preparing for the Christmas term of our school. The building is at last ready, but we have all worked hard.
I have had too a long talk with the warden of our congregation. He represents the opinion of the Indians, and thinks the time has come when the Government should do away with the tribal system here, and abolish the office of Chief, and as far as possible put these Indians on the same footing as white men. I agree with him fully.
Those petty divisions and many chiefs keep the Indians in perpetual unrest, and provoke numberless jealousies, for where there are many heads there must be a strife for the mastery.
The opinions of my warden are of some weight, because he himself is the son of a Chief, and according to present custom would succeed him.
Yesterday was my thirtieth birthday. And as I look back, the whole past seems full of mis-conceptions and mistakes.
Yet I suppose it is the history of every life. We learn by experience; and at thirty years perhaps our real work begins.
Some peculiarly blessed may make their work tell in younger years, but it must usually take the practice) and experience of many days to teach us how to work and economize all our material and our power. And we look forward to still other years to be passed and lived for the one object of bringing lasting blessings upon these Indians. It is impossible to waive thought of self and personal comfort when we look forward to the future, and yet I suppose such thoughts ought not to be entertained, but that the work to be done and that to be perfected ought to fill all the vision. May it indeed be henceforth a single service. And then the past—the mistakes to be avoided—the work to be better done—and all the blanks to be kept filled up with active work. All this will require caution, and wisdom, and steadfast purpose. May we be rightly guided; have new wisdom and strength and ability to use our experience aright. That so year by year we may grow up to be more and more fitted for such serious and earnest and blessed work.
Our mail brings us good tidings from our Philadelphia friends, and the kind words that always make glad hearts.
January 19, 1869.
First day of school for winter term. We had looked for a small attendance. Many of the Indians are away, and many of the children so poorly clad that they cannot come any distance in cold weather. Our two rooms were crowded and we heard our classes with difficulty. I am assisted by Miss West and Philip. One of our Indian teachers declined to serve, as she felt that she ought to be a learner. I feel very much the need of more teachers, and of those that will work conscientiously and from the love of the good that they may do.
I have every care and my candidates to instruct, and my writing and visiting. But when I leave the school the interest flags, and any one who works for aught but from a sense of duty soon tires of the monotony and necessary sameness of the school-room duty, and so becomes worthless for missionary work.
We have to get up interest in the school-room; get the children to attend, furnish books and teachers, and keep up among the children as far as we can, the desire to learn. In all this we have no encouragement from without, except such as we have created, and no one in the whole country cares one straw whether these Indian children are taught or not, and very few would care to have them different or better than they now are. So there are obstacles enough to discourage any, and hard and thorough work to discourage those who would be at ease; and then the ignorant and unattractive, and oftentimes offensive condition of those to be taught, to drive away every vestige of romance.
It is work indeed, and if we cannot get the helpers willing to bear their part of the burden, the work must stop here, and it is possible we must depend on native help.
We need more than any can well know the encouragement of all those who would do these people good.
January 20, 1869.
At work in school and out much as usual. I think I have never known our children to show so much interest.
For some time their school has been an amusement for them, and a pleasant change in the monotony of their daily life. But now they take hold with a zest and seem really anxious to acquire knowledge.
But as they now are, and have been heretofore, what a life they lead! Nothing to do in childhood and youth, no discipline, and no training for any future calling or work.
Exhorted to abandon hunting, and with no means or encouragement to open farms, no education to any trade, merely subsisted and played with by the Government, hundreds of Indians are fast becoming mere beggars, and their children growing up without knowledge of any honest or manly way of obtaining a livelihood.
All our treaties are more or less imperfect or defective, and do either too much or too little for them; and they are usually so loosely worded, that monies may be mis-applied and sometimes all sums expended for subsistence only; and so every retiring agent leaves his Indians in the same condition that he found them, or perhaps more badly off. And all the agencies are temporary rude buildings, not adapted for any of the purposes for which they should be designed, for the improvement and lasting benefit of the Indians. Wapashaw came to night and gave me one of his long sensible talks about the condition of his people. It always does me good to hear his wants and hopes, for they are all good. And I wonder at his patient waiting. For years his people have been improving and becoming christianized, and in every way more and more like whites. And he has been trying to get them settled and located on farms, and at work, planting and caring for stock.
All who hear his appeals are impressed with his earnestness and good sense, and still he has not as yet been able to make the proper authorities believe that an Indian needs aught but scarlet blankets, scalping knives, and paint.
And the idea that an Indian should want a home, honestly and really secured to him as his own for himself and his children, seems to be looked upon by most persons, and by many who ought to be better informed, as simply preposterous and ridiculous.
But we begin to have better hopes.
January 21, 1869.
School very interesting, all seemed eager to learn.
This afternoon had school for work. Miss West is teaching knitting, and is much pleased to find the girls so apt.
I visited one of my boys suddenly taken sick. He is a member of the Choir, and has not been absent during the entire year. I found him very low, with a burning fever.
I could do very little for him, and only pray for the time when we may have a hospital where we can care for our sick.
Coming over the hills as our bell was ringing, it was a pleasant sight to see the Indian women gathering from every direction for the Thursday prayers. These meetings, entirely conducted by the Christian women, have been kept up uninterruptedly for over two years, and the interest has not flagged, and the numbers and earnestness have constantly increased.
Arrived at the Mission, I found a Yankton chief (Dolurio), who had come down from Fort Randall to consult with me, and as he said to pray to me to hear him for his people. He began with the usual Indian compliments:
"Koda, (friend) you are small in stature, but your name has grown large, so that you seem to us like a pine tree of a ravine, tall and straight. You are a boy in years, but we know that your words reach the cars of the Great Father who sits in Washington, You have a good work, and although these Santees were very bad, you have washed them and made them appear good, and now have at least saved half of them.
You have God's work, and He gives you His strength, and so we look upon you as sacred, and through your work you seem to us like a Son of God. Come and help us—go from nation to nation.
When one has been blessed, come on to yet another, and before you die you will lead our people to a great salvation. Our people want you. Part of them are very bad. But many long for peace and wisdom. We are foolish, we are deceived like children. They tell us our agents and traders are foolish men, and that therefore we are deceived. No! It is because we are foolish and have no teachers, that we are driven about from place to place, to find a place to be buried in. We know you can help us, and I am sent by four Chiefs, four Head Soldiers, and eight sons of Chiefs, to pray you and the brethren of your Holy Fellowship to build up a Mission among our people.
Our folly and ignorance and wickedness are sending us fast to the grave, but you can save our children, and even make some of us better and happier now. "I am going home with the good words you have given me, and if necessary, will bring all our Chief-men down to beseech you, and to hear your words, we come to you because we know you, and we believe what we have heard, that yours is a Missionary Church." (Earnest and good words.)
Kind words again by mail, and an offering from a friend in Newport, R. I.
January 22d, 1869.
Much interest in school; we reviewed all the studies of the week, and I was well satisfied with the good progress made.
I have three Yankton Warriors as pupils; they have come down to learn to read and write their own language. One of them is above forty years old, and yet they learn very rapidly, and seem to think nothing of going back and forth, to and from their own Agency forty miles, every week.
I am very much interested in them and their people, and long for the time when we can establish a School and Mission in the midst of their villages.
I went to see my sick boy. Philip also went, and we were both astonished to find him almost well. Yesterday we were both alarmed about him. But to-day he said ''My grandmother wanted to bring the conjurors hut I would not consent, and now God has made me well. "
This evening I have had a long conversation with the Agent and Trader. Both are very kind men, and really try to do all they can for the Indians. We are all very anxious for a new treaty, to give us no doubt as to our permanent home, and to better provide for the advance of the Santees in Christian civilization. Our present arrangement is a bad one, and these Indians, now well advanced in civilization, are treated in the same manner as the wild Sioux of the plains. The Government attempted to feed them, and not provide for their instruction in work, or otherwise, and the system has a very bad effect. It encourages idleness and rewards it. The wonder is that our Indians have made any advance.
But I really think now that very many of them are really and sincerely in earnest, and so they improve under disadvantages and neglects.
I do hope there will be no mistakes or imperfections in our new treaty. There certainly are no Indians on this river who are so far advanced as these, and none who so well merit some encouragement in the improvement they are trying to make.
On my way home last night, I passed for a mile through the Indian village, and though it was a most beautiful evening, every where it was as quiet as in any well regulated community.
Among wild Indians night is made hideous by their hooting, and the conjuror's rattle, and the drum, and voices of the dancers. Three years ago even, we had much of heathenism here, but now all seems changed, and very many who were the most determined heathen are now become earnest and trustworthy Christians.
Saturday, January 23d, 1869.
A visit from the Yankton Chiefs. One was hero two days ago, and to-day he returned bringing his comrades.
They were very eloquent, and very earnest in all they said. They are like men praying for life. Their corn crop of last Summer was a failure, and a large part of the year's annuities had been expended for them in advance during the year '67. This winter the prairies are all burned, and there are no buffalo north of the Platte. So they are left without money, or food, or game.
Their Agent has thus far plead in vain for relief for them, and now has gone to Washington to resign, because he can no longer do anything for the Indians, and they were almost threatening his life. I asked the Chief, Pte-wakan-ina-jin (Sacred Cow), on what his people were living; he replied, "on bark and roots." They are greatly troubled and believe they can get no relief, until they have a Missionary, and so attract the interest of good people in their welfare. They said again and again, ''We are dying—we pray for our children's sake, and yet it is possible that you may save some of us before we go." Speaking of a man who had robbed them they said, "never mind, he is dead—we do not think that he can make God blind with the money he took from us." Another said, complaining' about how little their real wants were known and understood, "The Great Father sends us men with wooden ears and wooden hearts."
Speaking of an interview with the Commandant of a Fort, one said, "I told him we heard he was sent there to prevent thieving and drunkenness, and lying, and murder, and we regarded him as a brave man, and a soldier, and we were afraid of him." "But now they know that he did not try to prevent these things, and they no longer feared him, because they could not regard a man as brave, who hesitated to do his duty, because it was difficult and hazardous."
And so all Indians now feel that they are left without protection, and without law, and that no one can aid them, or save them unless he can make good people feel how miserable they are, and how thankful they can be for any disinterested kindness.
I do hope that before the Summer is gone, we can begin our work among these people, who are so desirous to have a Shepherd. They must be in earnest, for I have given them nothing, and give them nothing when they come, except to relieve their absolute wants, and yet every week some of them walk the forty miles, merely to hear our words, and ask our advice as to what they ought to do, to make their future brighter for them.
Septuagesima Sunday, Jan. 24th, 1869.
Large congregation. I preached from the second Lesson, St. Matt, vii., 13th and 14th. Many were present who have been absent at work for some weeks, and it was very pleasant to have them come into the vestry after Service to shake hands, and tell us how glad they were to worship once more in their own House of God. I received too, the following letter, which was brought to me after Service. I translate it to show that Indians can be steadfast, although not under the eye of their Pastor. True religion every where is the love of God, which no man taketh from us.
SIOUX POINT, DAKOTA TER.
January 17th, 1869.
REV. S. D. HINMAN:
Father, to-day I will write you a letter. My friend, it is Sunday, and therefore I remember you. I wish you to hear how I am living here so far away from the Mission. I have not seen you for two years, but I always remember you. My friend, I am yet always holding fast to the Great Spirit, and I want you to hear it, and to help me with your prayers. For many winters now you have given to me the words of God, and I will never throw them away. If I can only make them mine I will be happy. My friend, together with my wife, from a glad heart I shake hands with you. My friend, when you see this letter, I wish you to give me one. I am John B. Wapaha (Hat).
The writer is a young man, one of our first converts, and the first one of our congregation married in Church. He is active, intelligent and earnest, and even while living in an Indian camp, has always been an example for the young men of the tribe. And now they always speak of him as one whose love and obedience to his Saviour no one can doubt.
At 2 P. M. Catechetical School, and Litany. Full and interesting. At Evening Prayer, another overflowing and attentive congregation. The singing was most praiseworthy, filling the whole building with waves of sound. Paul preached from ii. Cor. iv. 18. ''While we look not at the things which are seen," &c. It is hardly necessary to say it was a good sermon. When you judge a sermon not by its merits as a composition, but by the truth which it declares, and the believing earnestness of him who preaches it, it makes a different, and a better standard.
It is high time that the Sermon Paper, and by the page system of preaching was given up for more apostolic methods.
This evening also I received a letter from a young Yankton, whom we taught to read three years ago, but who is now living among his people some sixty miles up the river, saying, "That he always remembered Paul and me, and our words, and asking us if we really believed that there was any hope for his people." He says, "We are going fast to destruction, getting worse and worse every day, and it does not seem right that the Church of God, and the Apostles of His Word, should tell us we must wait, and wait, and wait, and this too, when men are dying here every day, who are bad, because no man has taught them what goodness is, and because they have never heard the Saviour's name."
January 25th, 1869.
Festival of the Conversion of St. Paul.
All busy with school, and this afternoon I had a long talk with some of our principal men. They are very anxious for the future, and are much afraid that their new treaty will further the ends of bad men, and encourage idleness among the Indians.
There is such a general misunderstanding of Indian character, and ignorance of their real wants, that it is well nigh impossible to get any very satisfactory arrangement for them.
This afternoon, while some of my young men were practising their chants and hymns, several wild Indians with faces painted, and all of them bearing arms like warriors, came and looked in at the windows. I tried to beckon them in, but they appeared astonished at the building, and slipped away down the steep ravine into the forest. I suppose them to be Poncas, but they looked so very wild and strange, that their appearance created quite an excitement among us all.
This evening we have just come from our Prayers in the Chapel. The congregation was large, many were seated on the floor. I preached to them from the words of the Epistle, "Who art Thou, Lord? Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?" A practical sermon, urging them to accept the light that God has sent to them, to recognize His glory far, far above that of any pretended divinity, to go and dwell in the Street called Straight, and pray always to the Great Spirit, and this message and His peace would not be withheld. In the Indian language, this is a beautiful parable, because Owatona, the word for straight, means also proper, correct, right, and righteous. It is delightful in these week-day Services to see so many attendants, always a Church full of Indians, and all reverent, devout, and earnest.
The mail brings letters all kind and pleasant, but how little the writers can know of the real work, and its daily crosses. But God is good—good beyond all our deserts—good even when we fear and bow before the storm, and if our work is His, it abides fast forever, and what are men that they should work for Him, and be called to be partakers in His love. "God be merciful unto us, and bless us and show us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us." Amen.
January 26th, 1869.
A day of great excitement, and I returned home at sunset, after a walk of twenty miles. When at all disturbed, I find always that bodily fatigue is the best remedy for mental anxiety. Longing for rest, when you know that rest is possible, is a comfortable feeling.
Wandering over the bleak and lonely hills, and scaling bluff after bluff of the streams that break through these high lands into the Missouri, the moon hiding in the clouds, and the stars peering through them, the gray cold sunrise and the frozen clouds of dust, moving like ghostly shadows in the dim light of dawn, and then the baldness of all things in the light of a cloudy winter day, and all this away from the habitation of men; it is a picture that relieves a troubled mind. I suppose because it is so like its own reflection.
It is however but a dead, cold scene, without a God behind the clouds, or a life- working power somewhere. And a troubled spirit, without superhuman consolation, is a fair likeness in feeling and all to the state of the heathen man, and the infidel.
Our Dakota Hymn, "Nearer to Thee" has been in my mind, and on my lips many times.
''Thus like a wanderer,
So full of fear, Astray in the darkness,
I lay me down; But in my pleasant dreams,
With Thee I seem to be.
Keep Thou me, O my God,
Nearer to Thee."
In the Dakota the hymn is perfect in its picture of weariness and lonesomeness, leading one to God.
In the evening a man and his wife, who had been absent all the winter, came for confession and advice.
Among the Indians, this seems to be necessary, as it accords with their own custom in their heathen rites and fellowship, and when fearing the reproach that Churchmen might bring upon this custom as anti-Protestant, we would have broken it up, the Indians have protested, and said that if men were sincere, they must not hide their sins; and if a patient wished relief, he must show his sores, no matter how seemingly offensive, as so only could the physician judge.
I shall have occasion to speak of the history of this matter in our Mission, and our practice here under a future date.
Suffice it to say that it is not compulsory, nor made a sacrament, nor followed by priestly absolution.
January 27th, 1869.
Almost a Summer day.
Cutting ice from the Missouri. The water is yet of the same muddy color, but the ice is as clear as glass. We find ice the best of remedies in sickness, and in the dry heat of the summer here, it is almost the only luxury we enjoy.
Heard Philip and Christian recite their Bible lesson, and gave them instruction on its different parts.
Walker is worse and cannot live long now; he seems ready to go, and is always reading his Bible and Prayer Book, and looks forward with pleasure to the evening Service held daily at his home. But he is troubled always by the visions of a misspent life. It is indeed a fearful thing to put off preparation for the last journey, until the Messenger is already come.
Would that we might all live day by day as not of the world, but in the glorious fellowship of Christ, and under the guardianship of His holy angels, and by the glorious examples of His redeemed ones.
To-night the bright full moon bathes all the hills in its soft pure light, and the quiet beauty of the scene is only disturbed by the fearful cries of some drunken white men, who are wandering up and down in search of evil, and making valley after valley echo with their horrible oaths.
I thank God that the Indians have never known how to blaspheme. If there is any truth in our revelation of God's goodness, it must be a horrible thing to be so unmindful of it, and an awful sin to couple His most holy name with the vilest words that Devilish ingenuity can invent.
The Indian language has not an oath, nor can one be readily framed from it.
January 28th, 1869.
Been busy all day with the school and my lessons for our Indian Catechists. I have succeeded in finding two young men, and two young women, who we think can be trained so as to be very useful as teachers for the younger pupils. It is indeed a great relief to be thus able to get assistance from the result of our own work. And it is yet another step toward making the Indian Mission self-supporting. When the Indians can have their own teachers, and their own clergy, they will soon be able to support them themselves. And thus more and more they will take pride in having their children become proficient in the English language.
We have just heard the sad news of the death of my old teacher in Divinity, and one of the founders and best friends of this Mission, the Rev. Dr. Manney, of Faribault.
How well I recall his kind face, and always pleasant words.
He was a man of good and large heart, and of wonderful skill in logic, and of the best ability as a theologian.
His sermons were always wonderfully full of learning and instruction, and his teachings most thorough and catholic. His report on the Provincial system, at the last General Convention, was among the best written papers presented to that body.
He will always be remembered by us all as a kind, generous scholarly Christian man. A man whom to know was to love and to honor. We miss him sadly, and it will be many days before our mourning will be fulfilled. He has fallen asleep.
January 29th, 1869.
Review of school, and I find the children making very commendable progress.
For next week I have two new teachers, so that all will go much better. Now our only suffering will be for want of room, and that we must put up with until some kind friend comes to our relief.
Mary reports the Mothers' Meeting very interesting, some coming long distances to be present; and very thankful at seeing her once more with them in their worship.
We try to feel on Thursday that many earnest friends are praying with us, for the blessing of God upon all Indian work. It cannot be possible that there is no room for these Missions in the hearts of Christian people.
This evening, too, we had a full attendance of young men at their Service. Some of the older ones spoke, and gave much good advice as to how they ought to live and what they ought to do first, to make their religion and civilization lasting.
All seemed thankful for the change which Christianity has wrought, but the young men seem much more earnest. I think it is because they understand better.
It is very hard to break up old habits of thought. It is hard to make religion real, where before there has been no sense of responsibility, and no fear of God. And then here the evil lives of so many act as a continual opposition to all good, so that we must maintain our position and our strength by a continued and vigilant warfare. Elsewhere public opinion and example go far to keep the young away from evil, and to make them afraid of the shame and disgrace that wrong doing brings.
But here we have no such help. Our only strength is the truth which we teach, and the support that He whose word it is, sends with it.
January 30th, 1869.
A young man just returned from trapping, came for confession. They all seem so glad to get back to their own Church, and glad to come and tell us how they worshipped and prayed, while absent from their teachers.
Their custom of confession is, I suppose, first derived from their Medicine, or Sacred Dance, and from their Soldier's Lodge. The custom was first introduced among the Christian Indians by the Missionaries of the American Board.
With them it is public, each communicant being obliged to confess before a large congregation. This practice was thought to be open to grave objections, both on account of its effect upon penitents who would shrink from such publicity, and also on account of the bad influence upon the congregation, many of whom would come purposely to hear scandal, and then repeat it at home.
The Indians, however, insisted that confession of some kind was necessary to show the guilt of sin, and so I have told them to come to me, or to Paul, or to their Catechists, and we would hear them privately, and advise them, and pray for them.
This then we do, not making it obligatory, and not giving absolution. The result is that they come to us frequently for spiritual advice, and I think the effect both upon them and upon ourselves is very good.
It opens more clearly the teachings of Christianity to them, and it gives us a thorough understanding of Indian character, and their besetting sins.
This evening I have attended a catechetical Service at Owanca's Band. The new Catechist conducted the Service, and gave a very good lecture on Christian patience.
Coming home, I called at Huntka's, to see a sick child.
The little one seemed very sick, and threatened with brain fever. She seemed very glad to see me, and when I sent home for medicine, took it without a murmur.
And so each day we find some good work to do—we find every where room for blessings.
How much then must there be, that we know not of, or that in our short-sightedness, or weakness, we pass by, and so leave suffering unrelieved.
Surely, Christians ought to be busy workers if they really and earnestly believe in the promise of their most merciful Saviour.
January 31st, 1869. Sexagesima Sunday, and the last day of the month.
A most hearty and interesting Service at half-past ten, and a crowded congregation. More women than men, but the men filling their half of the Church and part of the entrance.
Many now come to Church an hour before the time, to secure a seat.
I preached from St. Luke vii. 39.—On the woman that was a sinner. All seemed very attentive, and I tried to direct them to Jesus, the forgiver of sins. I omitted to record the baptism of Paul's little girl.
Mary and Miss West were the godmothers, and she was named Rebecca. We used the English Service at Paul's request, and both he and Margaret seemed very happy.
In the afternoon, after the Litany, I catechised the children, and was much pleased with their ready answers. God's blessing seems to rest upon all our undertakings, and if we only work and are instant in laying hold of opportunities, I do not see how we can he too hopeful for the future. But our times are in His hand.
This evening again a crowded congregation, and Paul preached from St. Matt. v. 13. "The salt having lost its savor." A most thorough warning to his people to be steadfast, and telling them the inevitable result of lukewarmness, or giving up the Christian faith.
One illustration was very good. "When many men have with great difficulty pushed a heavily-loaded wagon up the long ascent of a very high hill, and now when they have neared the top, and can almost look over to the descent on the other side, if a few shall refuse to help, and some foolish and angry and careless of self-destruction begin to pull back, the loaded vehicle will roll easily and with gaining speed roll back,—the many cannot stop it, and with the few may be hurled over the brink of some dizzy precipice." Many can with great difficulty accomplish a good work, which a very few may bring to naught, not because the few are stronger, but because they are pulling down a steep and fearful descent.
After Service I gave baptism to a Yankton man, who has been some time in preparation for it, and one of those who has been attending school to learn to read.
He seems very sincere, and I think has set out in earnest to live the Christian life. He was named George. We have also two other candidates from that tribe, now under instruction. We hope to begin in earnest our Mission among them the coming summer. If God will, when the way is open we are ready to send our Evangelists thither.
So we close our record of this mouth. More quiet than many in the year, but yet full of work. Some accomplished, and bringing us peace, and great joy, and some imperfectly done, causing us sorrow, and some, how much we know not, left undone, so calling us to penitence, and new consecration to our Master so full of compassion. But still we feel that we are all better for the work of these few days; what blessings might we have, if we could only have faith to fill all our days with work for Him. May He give us ever faith and strength, and deliver us from evil.
I cannot better close this record, than with Dowanna's Missionary Carol, omitted from Epiphany.
He hdutanin ce;
Wicanrpi waxte kin hee
Iyoyanpa ska kin,
Jesus Christ Wanikiya kin
Yuha Hdutanin he
The joy of God
The glad tidings
The Beautiful star
In its bright light
We look upon,
Jesus Christ, the Saviour,
With great glory
The Holy Spirit
In closing this record of a month at our Mission, it seems best that we should take notice of several questions that are constantly asked concerning our work among the Indians, and in regard to the Indians themselves.
The Journal I think answers them all; but it is best that the answers should once be plainly written out.
The following are the questions most frequently asked:
Do you believe in the reality of the conversions to Christianity which you report? Do you believe that an Indian can ever be sincere and steadfast in his profession of the Christian faith? Is not religion among Indians a mere sham, a deception on their part, that they may obtain sympathy and relief? Do you think the Indian capable of civilization? Are the men willing to work? And why have almost all efforts of the Government in their behalf, heretofore, failed? What hope have you for the future? And how can you know that the Indians will remain where they now are, and not be removed still farther westward?
These questions are often asked by persons apparently earnest in their doubts of our accomplishing any thing good, and they always cause us sorrow. We are, therefore, glad to take this opportunity to answer them. And our confidence in our convictions is founded upon an experience of nine years of life, spent in the midst of their villages. And I think our experience coincides with that of all who have ever lived among them. The Indians are naturally suspicious of strangers, and their suspicions have grown into entire mistrust of any good motives from long years of bad usage and sad experiences. But after having gained their confidence and love, we have ever found them to be of a teachable and childlike spirit. They have a wonderful simplicity of character, and willingly give up their old customs and gladly receive instruction.
They are not less capable of civilization than any wild race. But, like all heathen people, the men are by long habit, lazy and idle. Yet by right means and proper oversight they are readily led to work for a livelihood. And when once they understand our ways, they always prefer the sure reward of daily labor, to the uncertainties of the chase. The plans and good intentions of the Government have failed, simply because in all old treaties with the Indians, they have made no provision that all goods and monies promised should be paid out only in reward for actual work. For under the old system all received aid alike, and thus those unwilling to labor are evidently encouraged and supported in their heathenism and idleness. The Santees have not only improved, and given up the hunt and all Indian dress and customs, but they have done all this under great discouragement, and while as yet they had no title to their lands. Now, after years of waiting, a brighter day seems to be dawning. A treaty has just been ratified, which gives the Indian, like the white man, a right to a homestead for himself and family, and makes the title inalienable. This title is easily perfected, and then the man becomes a citizen of the United States.
The Santees are now ready to occupy their lands, and if nothing hinders, before the summer is over all our men will be living upon their own farms. And then with the assistance which Congress has promised them, and with the aid which Christian people should render them, they will become in a short time independent of any Government aid. It is a glorious thing for the Indian; and at last we seem to have taken a long step in the direction of right legislation for them.
As to the future extent of our Mission work and its permanency, we cannot certainly tell; but we have every reason to hope for great success. These Santees are but a small tribe of the Dakota or Sioux nation. The nation numbers in all the bands, upward of 40,000 souls. They speak one language in dialects so similar, that they readily understand the words of any tribe. 12,000 of these Indians are now in our immediate vicinity. The buffalo and all large game are fast being exterminated. They can no longer trust to the life of hunters. Thus from necessity they are led to war, or to seek other means of support. Many even now are anxious to be taught better things, and we know of no field for missionary or charitable work more promising- than this. Besides our Mission, there is only one other in all this vast field covering hundreds of miles. That is a Mission of the American Board, and their labors have also been greatly blessed.
Let us then do our duty here, for surely we owe this perishing race much for our past entire, and most unpardonable neglect.
S. D. H.
Philada., Passion Week, 1869.
The following address was delivered by Bishop Whipple, on Sunday, March 7, 1869, at the funeral of Taopi, a Christian Chief of the Farmer Band of Santee Sioux. Taopi was one of the first converts to Christianity, after the establishment of our Mission at Redwood on the Minnesota river. During all the fierce trials and strong temptations of the Indian outbreak and massacre of 1862, he remained faithful to his religion and to his white brethren. The Indians had been greatly and evidently wronged; but in his desire to do right, he conquered the spirit of vengeance so natural to his people, and was chiefly instrumental in rescuing over 200 whites, mostly women and children, from captivity and death. For this noble service he was never suitably rewarded, and to the day of his death he was a wanderer without country or home, except such as the kindness of the good Bishop afforded him. He died in peace, thanking the friends who had eared for him, and commending his wife and two children to the charity of the Bishop who had befriended him, and to the Church that he had loved.
The simple, loving words of these pages have been printed at the desire of many whose hearts have been touched by hearing them uttered. And now the reading of them ought to make us sad.
That one so worthy of honor, and happiness, and peace, should have been so left to sorrow and loneliness of spirit, is a burning shame that we ought not easily to forget.
If these heartfelt words make us the better feel, how great a duty we owe to Taopi's long suffering race, they will not have been written in vain.
S. D. H.
Philada., Passion Week, 1869.
BISHOP WHIPPLE'S ADDRESS.
It does credit to the sympathy of Christian hearts, and to the brotherhood of the Church, that so many of you have come to pay your tribute of respect to this Christian Chief Taopi. He once belonged to a despised and hated race. But when he became a Christian, he found that in Christ there was neither Jew nor Greek; neither bond nor free. There are no lower orders, no castes, no differences of clime or kinship among those who wear the cross and will reign with Christ forever. If I speak to you to-day of this man's history, it is not to awaken memories which will touch the quick of over-sensitive hearts. I simply wish to bring my tribute of respect, and lay it on the grave of an Indian Chief whom I have learned to love. Whatever he was to others, he was my brother. He was born on an island near the mouth of the Minnesota. His father, following the customs of Indian life which found vent for their sorrows and joys in the names they gave to their children, called him "Nagi x Kau," "Shaking Soul." He grew up an Indian hunter and warrior. He was the foremost in the chase, and a brave who was honored with his people. It happened that in the border warfare between the Chippewa and the Sioux, he was ambushed and dangerously wounded while sitting in his tope. The deliverance from death was so marked, that his superstitious people looked with a kind of awe on him, as if the Great Spirit had spared him for some great end. The after history of this brave Christian more than fulfilled the red man's prophecy. From this time he bore the name of Taopi or "the wounded one," and the second prophecy was fulfilled in many a wound of hidden anguish which he carried to his grave.
At the time of which I speak, the Dakotas were the lords of the land. The Indian, with a patriarchal pride, counted the game of hills and valleys as his own. This country was an Indian's paradise. The fish of countless lakes and streams, the game of forest and prairie, the wild rice, God's harvest for the red man, made it a land of plenty, and drove the gaunt wolf of hunger from their tents—Where now the busy hum of industry, the whistling car and the clanking of machinery, these children of the prairie counted all their own. They were a more thoughtful people than other red men. They had heard of the fate of other Indian tribes, and heard the tramp of the white man's coming. They had always been the white man's friend. There are men now living with us to-day who could tell you that no white man ever went hungry from the Indian's tent. The early trader was his friend. They feared the coming dawn, and with the faith of children, sold us all, and received a Christian's oath and pledge that he would give them the civilization which had changed our own heathen fathers into Christian men. I shall not tell you how the oath was kept. It is one of the world's secrets written plain in the book of God. I can leave it to Him. I only gay that it has always happened for six thousand years, that the oppressor despises the poor, that Ahab is never loving to Naboth, whom he has spoiled of his vineyard. It seems to help poor humanity to speak hard words of all whom we have wronged. In 1860 I went to see if we could plant a Mission with this people, at the Lower Agency. The Presbyterians had a Mission some 40 miles above, but there were 2500 of this people living with the Lower Sioux who were going down to death without the Gospel. I met at that visit two men, Taopi and Good Thunder. I can see now their upturned faces, as they listened to my story of the love of Jesus. It touched my heart; how could I refuse to give the Gospel to heathen men who asked for it? Our brother Hinman became their missionary; with singular wisdom he began his work with little children. Among the little ones whom he made "lambs of Jesus" were two of Taopi's children. They were "early called." The Indians have a deep love for their children, and this sorrow led Taopi unto Jesus. I do not think he ever forgot the lesson. Through all these years, when speaking of his household, he always counted those in Paradise. During this long sickness, the hope which seemed to beckon him on was the meeting. He said, "The Great Spirit has called me to go and meet Him. I am not afraid. He has my children, and I shall find them there."
In 1862 the long accumulated irritations and wrongs and hatreds of savage hearts broke out in a massacre such as our country had never seen. It made the border an Aceldama. Some of you remember those awful days whose memory almost curdles one's blood. Perhaps you recall the days of anxious foreboding, when we so longed for tidings of the hundreds of captive women. Lying rumors said that Christian Indians had given up their faith and shared in deeds of blood. I did not believe it, for I knew the love of Jesus was the same in every heart, and I felt that when we did hear, there would be another record of "deeds of faith." I need not tell you of the letters signed by Wabashaw and Taopi, which were sent to General Sibley offering to rescue these poor captives. These letters were written by Taopi, and knowing the feelings of Wabashaw, he consented to have Good Thunder add his name to them. They were carried by Wa-ha-canka-ma-za, one of these mourners, a half day's journey at the peril of his life, and delivered to the messenger for General Sibley. Nor need I tell you that in fulfilment of the pledge of these letters, they did rescue the white captives and delivered them to us. Taopi had a certificate from General Sibley.
Camp Release, Oct. 4h, 1862.
"The bearer, Taopi or Wounded Man, is a civilized Sioux Indian, who deserves the gratitude of the American people for having been principally instrumental in saving the lives of white women and children during the late Indian war. I commend him to the kind consideration and attention of all citizens of the United States."
H. H. Sibley,
At the time the Indians were removed to the Missouri, Alexander Faribault and myself requested that Taopi and his friends might be allowed to reside in Faribault. There was a great deal of excitement in the public mind, and threats of violence were made against these poor Indians. Taopi came to me one day and said, "my father, read this paper, it tells you how I saved your people from death. If your white brothers have the same law as savage Indians, that when a man is killed, some one of the murderous race must die, and they wish for this to take my life, tell them not to shoot me in my tepe like a dog. Ask them to send for me, and I will show them how an innocent man can die." It is due to say that when their character was known, they were treated with uniform kindness. For two years and more, whenever I was at home, I held a Service with them, most often at St. Mary's Hall. They will ever be pleasant memories. Two years ago most of these Christian Indians were removed. I held a farewell Service: we parted by the Lord's Table. One by one they came with tears, and kissing my wife said, "Marpiya ekta watcheyaka wachin. In Heaven to meet you I hope."
Poor Taopi came that night and said, ''My father, I have no blood on my hands, and the Great Spirit knows there is none on my heart. I served your people—I love your Saviour—I had a home—I have no home. Taopi cannot go to his people. You hung men at Mankato, whose friends will require their blood at my hands. If I go I shall die. I never shall have a home until I sleep in the grave." When I knew him before the outbreak, he had a house and furniture, and stock, and implements of husbandry, and was a well to do farmer. These later years have seen him a poor homeless wanderer. That no murmur crossed his lips, that no word of anger was ever spoken, that he could bear up against the load of sorrow that blighted his life, that he did not as so many do, when their hearts are crushed by sorrow, become outcast, that he still loved the House of prayer, that amid all his troubles he clung to Christ as his Saviour, was due to the power of the Gospel of Christ. He visited me often to hear tidings of Christian friends on the Missouri, or to ask me if the Great Father was to give a home to the Christian Indians. To this last question I always answered with a stammering voice, and I blushed for my race when I looked in this simple-hearted man's face. He had been forced much against his will to resume his old habits as a hunter. But he always told me that in his tepe he kept the Praying day; about four months ago he was taken ill. He came to Faribault to die; when we met, he said, "the Great Spirit has called me, I wanted to see your face once more and so I came here to die." To all words of encouragement from the Physicians and friends he had one answer. "The Great Spirit has sent for me and I am going to my children." His first letter to me after his return shows the child-like man.
''I was far beyond St. Paul but I was sick, sol came to Faribault to see you, I can't walk, so I can't sec you. I am getting so I can't hold any thing strong, and now if you see my face, you wont see my face plain, while I am a little strong if you say anything to me, I want to hear it. If you say any word to me when I am dead, I could not hear it. I am not afraid to die, but I tell you it. Every man on earth is got to die. You are a bishop and you love every poor man. All the Indians here with mo are your friends. I cannot say any more, so I shake hands with you. Your true friend,
The visits of the Rev. Mr. DuBois and myself seemed a great comfort. About a week ago, he wrote me, "You always say I shall get well, but I know in my heart I shall die soon. I want to see you now very much; I will be glad when I am dead if you will take me once more to the Church, and then you may put my body where you wish. When I die I would like you to take care of my children; if you do that I will be glad, and I want some of my white friends to know Taopi is dead." When I asked what he wanted to say to me so much, he said, "I want to receive the Communion with my people before I die." It was administered, and was to us all a blessed Service. Once more I saw him. He told me the time was little, before he went on the journey, that he was not afraid to go to the Great Spirit, that Jesus and angels would go with him and he should not be lonesome. He thanked me for the little kindness I had shown him, asked me to write to Mr. Welsh and the Christian friends he saw in Philadelphia, and tell them he had gone to the Great Spirit's home. He wished me to write to Mr. Hinman and tell him how he died in peace. He spoke again of mooting his children, and commended his wife and children to us; for they have no friend, save Him who has promised to be the widow's God and the God of the fatherless. He joined audibly in the Lord's Prayer, and then bade me good bye. He died calmly as children go to sleep, and he has entered into the rest of the people of God.
For myself, dear friends, this one death-bed overpays me one hundred fold for all the work and care I have ever had in Indian work. To him under God, his people owe much for the manly stand he took as early as 1861, in behalf of Christianity. These were farmer Indians who wished to keep the Grand medicine, and yet follow the civilization of the white man. Taopi always said, "It is the religion of the Great Spirit which makes the white man different from his red brother." I never shall forget his earnest words spoken to some Chippewa Chiefs, who came to see me two years ago. They have been repeated and re-repeated in every Indian village of that tribe as the words of a wise man. It was the love of Jesus and the sweet story of the Cross which softened his savage heart and made him gentle as a child. It was the bravery of Christian courage which made so many of these poor Indians risk so much to save our people from death.
Pardon me for saying so much for my red brother, I could not do less for one I loved. It was due to him, and due to you, it was due to Christ and to His Church, that I should bring my simple tribute and lay it on the coffin of Taopi, the Christian Chief of the Dakotas.
Taopi has gone before us to the better land. May we not hope that the day will come, when all who love Jesus may meet hi a laud where God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; where all of Christ's ransomed ones shall join in that song to the Lamb, "which no man could learn but they who were redeemed from among men;" and will there not be in that company, some of these poor Dakotas, not then to he despised of whom it will be true, "he that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.''
Philadelphia, April 12, 1860.
WM. WELSH, Esq.
Dear Sir:—Instead of replying specifically to your queries as to the willingness of the Sioux Indians to cultivate the soil and to become civilized and Christianized citizens—I prefer to give you a chapter from my own experience, and allow you to draw your own inferences.
In 1857, when I first went in among them in Minnesota, I found a few Indians farming in a common field, cultivated entirely by the squaws. They complained to me that as fast as their corn grew the bad young men would take it all away from them. I held a Council with their Chiefs and Head-men—told them if they would throw away their blankets and have their hair cut, I would give them white men's clothes to wear and break up a farm for them that they should own individually themselves. At first they were very reluctant to do it; their objection was that if they parted with their scalp-lock—the evidence of their bravery—they would be called by their tribe cowards and diggers. After counselling with me in persuading them to become farmers, they said to me, "Father, you'll want us to quit our religion after you get us to be farmers; we don't want to give up our religion." I asked them what they believed in. They said "they believed if they committed no murders, murdered no white people, stole no horses, and did what was right, they would have plenty to eat after they died, the game would be very fat, and their flints would always make fire, their powder and lead would be good, and their moccasins would never wear out." I then asked them what would happen to them if they did bad and killed people. They told me, "they would be hungry and would never get enough to eat; the game would be scarce and lean, and they would have to travel a great way after it; their moccasins would wear out, and it would be hard to get skins to make new ones; their feet would get sore, and they would always be tired and hungry, and never have good sleep." I then promised them that I would not interfere with their religion, told them that their religion did not differ very much from mine—only I expressed my religion differently. I told them that I would leave their religion to the Missionaries; that all that I wanted them to do was to raise corn and potatoes, cattle, and hogs and sheep. I wanted them to own the laud they occupied, and that was broken up for them, and become citizens, and help make the laws that govern them—and that no people could prosper without law and industry. Finally sixteen men, about forty years of age, consented to have their hair cut, and to dress like white men.
The first year they underwent a great deal of persecution, but they were very successful in raising crops. The uncivilized Indians burnt down some of their houses and killed all their cattle, and tried in every way to get those sixteen men to quit their attempt at farming. Those that had changed their dress were very much disheartened and sent for me. I told them "that their trail would be a hard one to break, that our fathers, the Britains, had lived, as they did, in tepes, but that there were a few brave men among them, who had undertaken to make a new trail, and follow it, and turn their attention to farming; that they were persecuted in the same way that they had been, and their trail had been almost filled up, so that they lost-sight of it. A great many times they were like them; their hearts were on the ground. They however persevered, and in a few moons they saw their entire tribe taking the trail. It was then made plain and easy to walk in." I told them "that they could now look around and see what a great people we were; we were like the leaves on the trees, or the grass on the prairies. That one seed would bring forth one hundred; that it only took a few moons for it to ripen and produce food for them, whilst their food took many moons to come to maturity, and the advance of white men into their country had made it very scarce. In addition to that, the white me four legs, and they had only two to follow them with. That a great portion of the time they were very hungry; and that if they would keep on the trail they had already commenced, they would soon have plenty to cat." I then asked for the names of those who had stolen their cattle and taken their crops. They gave them to me. I took the entire annuities of these depredators, and for every yoke of oxen that had been stolen from the farmers, I bought them two. They then stopped committing depredations, and over one hundred of them asked me to have their hair cut—that they would become white men. The result was that in three years from that time, there were over three hundred good farmers among them; and according to the report of the Agent, the statistics of which were published, they had raised over $200,000 worth of produce, a large portion of which they had for sale. Many of these people, under the influence of the Rev. Mr. Hinman, and of Messrs. Williamson and Riggs, united with their different Churches, and to all appearance were a happy people. As for industry and economy, we had no people in Minnesota who were ahead of them. They had from five to sixteen, and some of them as high as twenty head of cattle. Their attachment to their cattle, to their hogs and chickens became so strong, that they would not kill one of them. They would almost starve for want of meat rather than kill an animal they had raised themselves. My opinion is, that had the Government carried out their treaty stipulations with the wild Indians belonging to the same bands, the Med-a-won-con-tons, the Wa-pa-ka-tes, the Sis-i-tons, and the Wa-pa-tons, bands of Indians which include the Santees, they would today be a happy people, all farming. When I left them in 1801, they were cultivating thousands of acres of land, and had three steam saw-mills. From the neglect of the Government in carrying-out the treaty stipulations with the Sioux, over one thousand white men, women and children, were inhumanly butchered, not saying anything of the lives that wore lost among the Sioux, and the commencement of a war, of which the end is not yet, and which has cost the Government over $30,000,000. These are lessons which are fresh in the mind of every man, woman and child in Minnesota; and the Government should learn the lesson, that it is cheaper to feed the Indians, and carry out the treaty stipulations, than it is to fight them. May we learn our duty from the past and do it.
The same results, but not to such an extent, have been had with the Winnebagos and Chippewas.
A few words as to the massacre. The Indians at the Lower Agency (at Redwood) had been paid during the four years that I had the charge of them on the last of June. The Yellow Medicine or upper Indians had been, during these four years, paid about the 4th of July. In the year 1861 (the first year after I left them) the same course had been pursued by the new Administration. Many of the uncivilized Indians had to come 400 and 500 miles to their payment. This they did as usual on the last of June, 1862, with their wives and children, bringing only enough dry buffalo meat to last them to the place of payment, expecting plenty to eat when they got there. In this they were disappointed. They then called upon their brethren, the Farmer Indians. The crops in Minnesota not being ripe at that season of the year, and the Farmer Indians having sold everything they had to spare in the Fall, they had very little to give them except their animals—all of which they gave up to them freely. These kept them in food till about the 15th of August, when their children began to die from starvation. They held a council, and concluded they would all starve to death unless they fought. At this time the war with, the 8o\ith was in progress, and their Agent had mustered into the service of the United States a company of half breeds. This induced the Indians to believe that their Great Father had used up all his white children, and that they had very little to do in order to take back their own country. They concluded to go to war. They then called upon the Farmer Indians to assist them in fighting the whites and taking back their own country. They saw that their annuities had not yet come, and they told the Farmer Indians that their Great Father had lied to them—that he was starving them, and keeping their money and goods and provisions for his white soldiers, that they were too weak and hungry to go back to their hunting grounds, that there were but two things they could do, one was to lie down and die, and the other to fight and take their country back; that they had resolved in Council to try to do the latter, and they might as well die lighting as starving. The Farmer Indians refused over and over again to assist them, pointing to their houses and to their fields, showing what the Great Father had done for them. They said, "and now that the Great Father at Washington, the Great Spirit and their new Savior that they had learned so much about had been so kind to them, their hearts could not be hard enough to spill the blood of the children of the Great Father." The uncivilized Indians told them they would burn their houses over their heads if they would not fight. They replied "that they might, but they would not fight the white people." The uncivilized Indians then sent runners along the Minnesota valley for fifty miles, and burned all their houses and saw mills. Even when they saw their houses burned they refused to fight. The next threat was to kill their wives and children. This they could not stand. They knew it would be done and they consented to tight. But it proved in time that their going into the war resulted in the protection of our prisoners, women and children. They went so far in many cases as to put themselves between the prisoners and the men that wanted to murder them. Had it not been for the Christian Indians there would not have been a white man left about the Agency to tell the tale, nor a prisoner left alive. Yours Respectfully,
W. J. CULLEN.
Philadelphia, April 13, 1869.
My Dear Friend:—Your letter of yesterday is received, and I make the following response to your request.
The frequent removal of our Indian tribes has been the chief cause of their degeneracy—a community to prosper and advance in education or improve in morals, must have a permanent abiding place, and learn to prize the rights of property. Many of our citizens, and especially those in power, have heretofore been led to believe that the interests of the whites as well as the safety of the Indians, make it necessary to remove the latter, and to keep them constantly in advance of our rapidly growing frontier settlements. Consequently Indians have had no home—no guarantees that they could reap the fruit of any labor or money that they might expend in improving the soil, or in procuring domestic animals or implements.
Millions of dollars have been paid to various tribes, and large sums have been expended in the vain endeavor to civilize and Christianize these roving children of the forest, through Government agents. An investigation of the facts will show that the tendency has been to retard, rather than to advance the object so much desired. What was expended one year in making improvements, was abandoned the next, by the removal of the agent from office, or of the tribe to a new and remote country. From time to time this has been repeated, until the poor creatures, having lost all hope and heart, gave themselves up to dissipation and idleness; or goaded to desperation, have made war upon those who they believed were encroaching upon their rights.
It is true that Missionaries have been among them, but they could only tell them what should be done, without having the means of practically demonstrating the advantages to be gained from Christian civilization, or from the theories they taught.
Annuities received by tribes of Indians in payment for large cessions of land to the United States have often been paid in blankets, guns, scalping-knives, or in paints, ribbons, brass and other useless trinkets—all tending to keep them in a savage state, rather than to civilize them. It is true large sums of money have been promised to them, but often before it reached their hands, it had been expended in the purchase from their traders of mere baubles.
The Government has at times endeavored to encourage agricultural pursuits, and teach the mechanic arts, but never in a manner, or upon a scale adequate to the requirements of the masses, and never with sufficient guarantees that the crops of those willing to labor, should not be eaten up by the idle and vicious.
If they had in severalty held the fee to the soil, with assurances of permanent ownership and protection, until prepared for self-government, been furnished with the same facilities, and given the same encouragement, that is necessary to the success of white men, the school-house and the Church would ere this have been welcomed by those who are now giving the Government so much trouble, or are fast fading before the pressure of want, starvation and despair.
Under similar circumstances, every other race of men, however enlightened, would have degenerated. The system inaugurated by the incoming administration, if carried out in the spirit that conceived it, must produce results not only beneficial to the Indians, economical to the Government, but gratifying to the Christian community.
To a great extent the Indians have lost all confidence in our rulers and in our citizens, most of them believing- that their destruction is desired and decreed by those whose protection and sympathy should shield them from every wrong. To regain confidence will be no easy task, especially if any agents are sent among them, whose chief qualifications are fealty to a political party, or the desire for personal aggrandizement by unrighteous means.
The Commission authorized by Congress, and about to be selected by the President, will, if earnestly sustained in their efforts by the Government, soon inspire confidence, and cause its wards to yield to, and co-operate with, every effort made in their Although heretofore I have very often acted for the Government in negotiating treaties with tribes of Indians, as independent nations, yet, after long experience, I now look upon the system as pernicious, and in all respects demoralizing. The Indians when separated from their natural haunts and pursuits, are but children incapable of managing their own affairs, and unfitted to cope with such unscrupulous white men, as are usually; found in their midst.
Give them homes in severally—furnish them with means, and teach them to raise cattle, to cultivate the soil, and to use mechanical tools—teach their industrious wives and children the handicraft for which they have great aptitude—afford them for a few years proper protection and moral surroundings, and, in my opinion, the day is not far distant when they will not only be self-sustaining, but will also be productive citizens, aiding in enriching the Government.
When this point shall have been reached by any tribe, education and Christianity will be craved by them, and they will aid in extending its benefits to others.
Very truly yours,
HENRY M. RICE,
of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Washington, D. C., April 18, 1863.
Mr. WM. WELSH.
Dear Sir.—You ask my opinion as to "the best means of breaking Indians off" from the treaty-system and making them WARDS of the Government, to be aided just as far as is necessary to incite them to self-support."
As far as my personal knowledge of the treaty-system extends, it has been a pernicious mockery. The treaty-making Indians were a party to the treaty only on paper. The stipulations of the treaty were proposed by the Government, and the Indians were compelled by coercion or by misrepresentation, to accede to them. The treaty became a "law of the land," in the visual form, and the Indians found themselves subjected to a law without land, the provisions of which they never voluntarily agreed to, and, in many instances, never heard of.
Thus the Government uniformly took the Indian lands and gave in return such remuneration as it deemed expedient, and that remuneration reached the Indians in such manner, and at such times, as circumstances dictated.
Then why use coercion or false pretences to obtain the Indian lands? Why not declare by act of Congress that the possessory right to the soil shall be in law—(where it always has been in fact)—in the United States, and then adopt and carry out a liberal policy, by which Indian civilization may be secured, and bona-fide individual titles to land for agriculture be vested in the Indians.
But apart from the question of the possessory title to lands, the treaty system presents other objectionable features, among which I may mention the preservation of tribal organizations, presenting the political anomaly that a man born in the United States is not a citizen, but being a citizen, cannot, under existing laws, obtain citizenship.
"Tribal organization" preserves among the Indians a system of communism, that has failed wherever the experiment has been tried in civilized communities, and is detrimental to Indian civilization. Indeed, I believe that individuality in the possession of property, is one of the great industrial influences necessary to turn the Indian to habits of labor.
Satisfied that the treaty-system exerts a baneful influence over Indian prosperity, but at the same time believing that the Government should not make a historical record of the repudiation of solemn obligations, I am at a loss to suggest any plan by which existing treaties can be abrogated, other than ''to cure the bite with the hair of the dog." All existing treaties could be annulled by treaty, if persons possessing the confidence of the Indians were selected to negotiate them. Or Congress might pass a general law, providing liberally for Indian civilization, and making it applicable to all Indians who would renounce their tribal obligations, and surrender to the Government their interests in existing treaties. This would at the same time do away with Indian treaties and tribal organizations, while the Indians would be permanently located in communities, and a system of Indian civilization inaugurated that would, with proper care and exertion, absorb the entire Indian population. That is, if Congress will act in good faith.
You also ask my opinion as to "the feasibility and the best mode of drawing all Indians into special reservations, where they may learn to govern themselves."
Probably the, best mode of drawing Indians into reservations, is suggested in the proposed act of Congress, referred to above. That the Indians are susceptible of civilization, that their industry, which in their normal state is devoted to the chase, can easily be transferred to agricultural and mechanical pursuits, are questions fully settled in my mind. That the Government owes the Indians a policy that will develop their agricultural and mechanical abilities, and lead them to civilization, no one can doubt.
As an evidence of the ease with which Indians may be drawn into an agricultural life, permit me to give examples in three different tribes, where the prejudices of Indian men against common labor were overcome by trifling exertion and small expense.
Previous to the Black Hawk war, I traded for the American Fur Company at Flint Hills, now known as Burlington, Iowa. The Sacs and Foxes with whom I traded, were the most warlike and restless of the north-western tribes, and their prejudices against the habits of the whites were not lessened by the treatment they received from the settlers east of the Mississippi river.
Apanoose, the son of Tiema, a Fox Chief, was my sworn friend, or, according to the Indians, my brother; I had thought a great deal upon the subject of Indian improvement, and determined to try upon him the plan I had adopted as best calculated to change the habits of the Indians.
I opened the subject to Apanoose, using such arguments as suggested themselves to interest him in the project. As I possessed his confidence and spoke his language, my arguments made the desired impression, and in a short time he began to grow anxious on the subject, but "he had never used either axe or hoe, and knew not how to work, his hands would blister, &c." At the proper time I proposed that we should go to work. "I will work with you, brother," I said; "I will help you make your rails, clear your lands, and build your fence, and you will help me in planting."
In a few days he began to grow proud of his ability to ''work like a white man;" his hands became hardened, his wife ceased to ridicule his awkwardness, and the final result was that he cleared and fenced a ten-acre lot, which he and his wife dug up and planted in corn, potatoes, turnips, &c.
I had furnished the axes, hoes, and seed, and subsisted the family until the planting was completed; but could not afford to subsist them longer, and he had to return to the chase; but he attended to his crop, and the yield provided him a wagon, a cow, and many articles of clothing for himself and family, besides furnishing an abundance of corn and potatoes for his subsistence during the winter.
The success of Apanoose induced other Indians to settle around him and go to work, and when I left, three years afterwards, there were over two hundred acres under cultivation in the Flint creek bottom, and some twenty families living in good comfortable log houses.
But when the whites began to cross the Mississippi, the Indians were driven to the Iowa river, and subsequently to the Missouri, and all agricultural interests were destroyed.
From Flint Hills, my business connections carried me to Pokagamon, Minn., among the Chippeways. Although a Missionary Station, agriculture was unheeded, the Indians obtaining a precarious subsistence from maple sugar, fish, whortleberries, and wild rice, and some venison during the fall and winter.
Flushed with my success with the Fox Indians, I determined to see what could be done with the Chippeways, and during the winter, selected two men to experiment with. Having induced them to commence work, I furnished tools, seeds, &c., and subsisted them and their families until the planting was completed. The crops were well taken care of, and gave a good yield, and the failure of the rice crop in the fall made the corn, potatoes, pumpkins, and turnips very valuable to the Indians, and probably saved many of the little band from starvation during the winter.
The next spring, every man, woman, and child in the village, able to work, devoted themselves to clearing and digging up land, and twelve families planted about one hundred acres.
As agriculture, even in its rudest form, was at that time unknown in the St. Croix Valley, the success attending the labors of the Pokagamon Band created an agricultural mania throughout the valley, and plantings were opened at Yellow Lake and other points, but Pokagamon became the centre of attraction, and the population more than doubled. Had my means been adequate, I could have had fifty farms started the third year after I located there, and men doing most of the work.
But as agriculture prospered the fur crop diminished, and I changed my location to Lake Traverse, near the source of the Minnesota River. Here corn had been raised in large quantities for years, and I did not interfere with the system of its culture. Still, the subject of Indian improvement continued to occupy my mind, and, although thus far successful, I determined to test my system still farther. Consequently, when I left Lake Traverse to locate some ten miles below St. Paul, I induced a young man from the Lake Traverse Band to accompany me. He was a very influential brave, was entitled to wear eleven War Eagles and five Crow feathers; he would have considered it a disgrace to cut a stick of wood or hoe a hill of corn. In a word, he was a type of the wild Prairie Sioux. He had a wife and one child, and was an industrious and successful hunter.
As I had determined to open a farm for myself, I induced him to locate near me. I had but little difficulty in getting him to cut house logs, and with some assistance from me, he built a comfortable house before winter set in.
This was the entering wedge. He found that he could work, and, being industrious, he took to labor far more kindly than I had anticipated, and in the spring he had cut and hauled rails to enclose about twenty acres. With but little assistance he built his fence, and he drove the oxen that plowed his field, one of my men holding the plow.
From that day to this he has been an industrious and successful farmer, although the whites have taken three farms from him, and he lost the fourth by the outbreak of the Sioux in 1862. His children have a good Sioux education, and speak, read and write the English well.
All these experiments, as well as those with the Chippeways at the Rabbit River Rapids, on the Mississippi, where I got several farms started, and used Indians to work in the Logging Camp, were made simply to satisfy myself whether Indian men could be induced to labor, instead of depending upon the chase as a means of subsistence. They were necessarily limited, but were entirely satisfactory, so that when I was appointed Sioux Agent, I had no hesitation in urging my theory before the officers of the Indian Bureau.
The success of the civilization policy, pursued on the Sioux reservations during the time I was Agent, is on record in the Indian Office, and need not be referred to here. I found the Sioux in a state bordering on open hostility to the whites when I took the Agency. When I left it, three years subsequently, there were over two hundred prosperous farmers on the reservations. In less than two years afterwards, the outbreak took place which depopulated the Minnesota frontier, and a Sioux war was inaugurated from which we have not yet recovered.
I hope I have demonstrated that the exertions of the Indian men may be directed to agricultural pursuits as a means of subsistence, and that, I think, disposes of the feasibility of locating them on reservations. But in the present state of the Indian mind, they must be approached with caution. Those who operate among them must possess the confidence of the Indians before they can expect to change their manners, habits and customs. The Indians must see that supplies have been provided for their subsistence, before they will locate, and they must feel the advantage of labor before they will go to work. To make labor acceptable, it must receive remuneration; therefore all labor should be paid for liberally. If a man cuts a rail, let him feel that he receives more than the man who remains idle, or why should he labor, while others get as much without labor? The objection to this is that Indians should not be paid for doing their own work. But is it the work you pay for? The payment, although ostensibly for making a rail, is simply a premium to the Indian for learning bow to make rails, to build fences, to erect houses, to plow, to plant, to cultivate crops, to become self-supporting, useful, civilized. It is an inducement to work, while supplying articles necessary to the laborer.
Suppose you expend a thousand dollars a year for ten years in feeding and clothing a family of Indians, what improvement will you make in their condition? None. You only give them, confirmed habits of laziness, and destroy all incentive to self-support. But expend five hundred dollars the first year to feed them gratuitously, as it were, and give the remainder to those who work, and in proportion to the work performed by each individual, you promote industry, foster a feeling of independence and self-reliance, and cut the thorns from the path to civilization. The gratuitous issue of provisions could be diminished one half, the second year, and discontinued the third year. At the end of five years the family would be self-supporting, provided they have a market for the products of their industry.
At the end of ten years, by our present policy, the Indians would be far less capable of civilization than they are to-day, and they would, of necessity, remain an expense to the Government, while by the other policy they would have become an enlightened, respectable, and industrious Christian people, not only capable, but willing to support themselves without farther aid from the Government.
Just as fast as civilization progresses among the Indians, just so fast they become capable of self-government, and should have the power of self-government conferred upon them. This inducement to become civilized, should be impressed upon the Indians in process of civilization, in an unmistakable manner. Let no advance be disregarded, but make political rights and powers keep even pace with improvement.
"Whether the United States Government can educate, without too great cost, or whether that and other civilizing processes cannot be better done in connection with Missions by charitable efforts," is of far less importance than the question whether either the Government or Missions will take hold of the subject of Indian civilization by the handle. Our Indian policy has been so tinkered, that, like the pauper's coat, the original fabric cannot be recognized.
There are two separate interests (both tending to one grand result); one should be controlled by Government, and the other by Missionaries. Experience has taught me, that religion among the Indians (as elsewhere) can only be taught successfully at the tail of a plow. In other words, it must follow, and never can precede the adoption of civilized habits. The progress of religion will be proportionate to the march of agricultural, mechanical and educational improvement.
Let, then, the Government control, under such regulations as will insure an honest and judicious expenditure, the appropriations necessary to establish the Indians on reservations, where they may be induced to rely upon their labor for subsistence and clothing, where they may be taught the use of agricultural and mechanical tools, where primary and manual labor schools may be conducted in harmony; where housekeeping in all its branches may be learned, and the foundation for a religious education provided. Then let "Missions by charitable efforts," take charge of the religious education of the Indians, and success will be certain.
I do not wish to be understood as discarding religion from the schools or other operations of the Government, but I wish to provide against the scramble for the control of the Indians that would follow a policy that would place the funds in the hands of religious societies, and to permit education to prepare the minds of the Indians to some extent, to understand the conflict of opinions between different sects, that have so long harassed the civilized mind.
But I will be satisfied with any policy that will give confidence to the people in the honest administration of our Indian affairs; will regain the confidence of the Indians in the integrity of the Government, which has been lost through the vacillating policy pursued toward them the past few years; will give the Indians permanent agricultural homes, with liberal provision for their civil and religious education, the only means by which peace between the whites and Indians can he firmly established; and will lead ultimately to the civilization and Christianization of all the tribes under the jurisdiction of the United States. Very respectfully yours,
J. R. BROWN.
CIVILIZATION OF AMERICAN INDIANS.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE.
The Committee appointed by Citizens of Philadelphia to proceed to Washington to aid in promoting legislative and executive action favorable to Christian civilization among the Indians, makes the following report. The Committee deem it best to preface their report with a brief account of the causes that led to the late complication of Indian affairs.
At the end of February last, just as the late Administration was closing, a member of this Committee, owing to his official connection with a Mission to the Santee Sioux Indians, was summoned to Washington to meet a delegation of seven Indian Chiefs, two Missionaries who acted as their friends and interpreters, and also Government Agents, Superintendents and the Military Officers who had been connected with a treaty recently made with the various bands of Sioux Indians.
By conference with these, and with members of the Senate and House of Representatives, he learned that Indian affairs were so complicated and the danger of a general Indian war was so imminent, that intervention by disinterested parties would alone give the promise of an early and amicable solution of the difficulty.
Under an Act of Congress, approved July 20th, 1867, "To establish peace with certain hostile Indian Tribes," the following persons have been appointed Indian Peace Commissioners. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, N. G. Taylor, Senator J. B. Henderson, Lieut.-General W. T. Sherman, Bvt. Major General Wm. S. Harney, John B. Sanborn, Bvt. Major General Alfred H. Terry, 8. F. Tappan, and Bvt. Major General C. C. Augur.
They were authorized by said Act to call together the Chiefs and Head-men of such bands of Indians as were then waging war, for the purpose of ascertaining their reasons for hostility, and if thought advisable, to make treaties with them, having in view the following objects, viz:
1st. To remove, if possible, the causes of war.
2nd. To secure, as far as practicable, our frontier settlements, and the safe building of our railroads looking to the Pacific; and
3rd. To suggest or inaugurate some plan for the civilization of the Indians."
On the 7th of January, 1868, the Commission made its report to the President, who transmitted it to Congress. That report is so full, so frank in the confession of the wrong doings of the Government and of the people to the Indians, and so suggestive of remedial measures, that it should be in the possession of every philanthropist. The report was accompanied by treaties made with the Kiowas and Camanches, and with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, and a supplementary treaty with the Apaches of the Plains. The Committee reported that an arrangement had been made to meet the Sioux Indians the following Spring; and on the 29th of April, 1868, they concluded a treaty with the different tribes of Sioux; the Senate approved and advised the ratification of that treaty on the 16th of February, 1869, and on the 24th of February, the President proclaimed it, thus making it a law of the land. By this treaty, Indians can acquire a title to farms and to citizenship; the Santees and the Yanktons remaining on their present reservations contiguous to the great territory, into which it is desired to gather the remaining tribes or bands of Sioux Indians, twelve in number.
The treaty provides for all the aids which a most Christian Government could be expected to afford to Indians whom it desires to civilize. The Senate made ample appropriations to carry out all the provisions in the treaty, but the House refused to concur, as is alleged for the following reasons.
1st. Because the House believes that the War Department can manage Indians more successfully than the Department of the Interior.
2nd. Because the waste of money appropriated through the Indian Bureau has become so excessive, as to impoverish the Government and to dissatisfy and irritate the Indian.
3rd. Because the treaty system needed a thorough revision to prevent frauds in inducing Indians to cede their possessory title to lands, and to discontinue the practice of treating with tribes of Indians as independent sovereignties.
Both Houses were so firm in holding to their opinions, that the sessions of the last Congress closed without making any appropriation, although it was known that there was imminent peril from a general Indian war. Fortunately, General Harney, as a member of the Peace Commission, had at his own risk contracted for supplies to the extent of about half a million of dollars beyond the original appropriation by Congress to the Peace Commission. By this expedient and by the beginning of some civilizing processes, the hostile Indians who had been drawn from the line of the Pacific Railroad, and gathered into a large reservation where there is no game, were fed and made peaceful and hopeful.
The War Department had also kept other Indians from starvation, and the consequent temptation to theft because they had been taken from their hunting grounds and placed in designated reservations.
The Senate having authorized and ratified the treaty, was bound in honor to make the necessary appropriations, whilst the House, although it authorized the making of the treaty, had firmly resolved not to acknowledge it, under the intelligent belief that it would be better for the Indian and for the country, at once to change the system which had been productive of nothing but evil.
The War Department naturally sympathized with the House, whilst the sympathy of the Department of the Interior was with the Senate. Both departments had been represented in the Peace Commission, which had saved the country from an Indian war, that would have devastated the frontier, sacrificed many lives, and cost at least a hundred millions of dollars a year.
These facts having been communicated to a body of philanthropic citizens of Philadelphia, they appointed the Committee which is now reporting, and sent them to Washington to confer with the authorities as to the best means of remedying the existing Indian troubles. That Committee, having previously arranged for an interview with President Grant and the Hon. J. D. Cox, Secretary of the Interior, had the privilege of a full and frank conference with them on the 24th day of March. They told the President that in common with other friends of the Indian, their hearts thrilled with joy when the following paragraph in his inaugural address was heard or read by them:—"The proper treatment of the original occupant of this land, the Indian, is one deserving of careful study. I will favor any course towards them which tends to their civilization, Christianization, and ultimate citizenship."
The Committee told the President that they came to assure him that he would be cordially supported by the most intelligent and influential of our Christian people, in every well directed effort to carry out the spirit of his inaugural address, and to maintain the faith of a Christian nation with a down-trodden people. The Government could do much, very much, toward the civilization of the Indian; but without the co-operation of Christian philanthropists the waste of money would be great, and the result unsatisfactory, as had been evidenced by the small results from the large sums expended in efforts to educate Indian children. The Government by its aid in bringing Indians from a nomadic to a settled life, by gathering them into large territories where alone they could be made hopeful and incited to self-support and self-government, and by encouraging them in other processes of civilization, could promote their Christianization; but, surely it would need help to effect this radical change in the religious belief and habits of our home heathen.
The Committee then told the Secretary of the Interior that although he was entitled to the highest confidence of the people, and they felt sure he would gain that confidence, yet he must be aware that the Indian Department had hitherto been prostituted to the most flagrant abuses, to increase political patronage. What had been before, might be again, unless some plan could be devised to protect him and the Indian Department from the claims for patronage by political leaders, which through usance were well nigh irresistible. That certainly men who had earned a high reputation for Christian philanthropy would be unwilling to unite with the Government, unless there was some restraint put upon the claims of party on appropriations for civilization and other charitable uses among the Indians.
The Committee then said that their high respect for the Executive and for his Secretary, encouraged them to make a proposal, which seemed to be necessary to loosen the dead lock between the Senate and House of Representatives. They had already conferred with prominent members of the late Peace Commission, with the Secretary of War and with Lieut.-Gen. Sherman, and they believed that all of them were prepared to give their cordial assent to the following proposal, viz: That Congress be asked to authorize the appointment by the President of five citizens, to serve gratuitously as Commissioners, giving them authority to act jointly with the Secretary of the Interior in expending any money that might be appropriated to carry out the spirit of the treaty recently made with the Sioux and other affiliated bands of Indians. The Committee stated that as their proposal was experimental, they confined it to action in the new territory into which the Sioux and other Indians were being gathered. That they were led to believe that the House was entirely willing to carry out the spirit of the treaty, but that from jealousy of the treaty making power enjoyed by the Senate when acting with the President and from other causes, they would not recognize the treaties recently made.
The Committee told the President and Secretary that they desired perfect frankness, for although the proposal was not made with a desire to have any member of the Committee placed upon the Commission, yet it did seem presumptuous to suggest that a Cabinet Officer should share his responsibilities with others the Committee, however, wished it distinctly understood that whilst the Commission, as suggested by them, could effectually check the misdirection of funds by a joint control over every expenditure, yet it desired that all the Government machinery and agencies should be continued.
The Committee further stated that through the Association of Christian philanthropists with the Secretary of the Interior, the lost confidence of Congress could be regained, the Indians made more hopeful, and the whole Christian community aroused to cooperate with the Government in "civilizing, Christianizing, and ultimately making citizens of the Indians." The Committee thought that Government money should not be expended by churches, and that sufficient sums for teaching, caring for the sick or preaching, would be freely proffered, when the charitable people of this country were inspired with confidence.
After a long and frank conference between the President, the Secretary of the Interior and the various members of the Committee, all of whom expressed their sentiments more or loss fully, the President gave his cordial assent to the proposal, and the Secretary of the Interior magnanimously desired that it should be extended to all appropriations to the Indian Department. He further said that he had been hoping for aid in the care of the Indians similar to that afforded to the War Department by the Sanitary and Christian Commissions.
Governor Marshall, of Minnesota, chanced to be present, and was asked to remain, as he had large experience in war and in peace with the Chippeways, the Sioux and other tribes of Indians. It was very gratifying to the Committee to learn from the Governor that he cordially approved of all that had been said and done, and that he was most hopeful of the civilizing and Christianizing processes which had been referred to. He also expressed great confidence in the ability of the Government, if supported by Christian philanthropists, to gather the wild Indians into a large reservation, and in a reasonable time to make them productive herdsmen and agriculturists.
The Committee then proceeded to the Capitol and arranged with the Committee of the Senate on Indian affairs for a meeting on the following morning. They also conferred with the Chairman of that Committee, and with the Speaker and other prominent members of the House of Representatives, and they became satisfied that their proposal would meet with favor in the House, and that ultimately it would be approved of by the Senate.
On the next morning they obtained the following letter from the Secretary of the Interior, to give weight to their interview with Committees of the Senate and of the House.
Department of the Interior,
Washington, D.C., 25 March, 1869.
Gentlemen:—I take great pleasure in saying to you that the proposition submitted by you to the President yesterday, for the appointment of a Commission to co-operate with this Department in the work of civilizing the American Indians and expending such funds as may be appropriated by Congress for that purpose, under existing treaties or otherwise, meets his heartiest approval as well as my own.
I believe that a concerted effort between the good people of the country, whose hearts are interested in this work, and the Government itself, will give ground to hope for results which former systems have failed to effect.
The condition of several tribes on our frontiers is now such that the question of immediate and thorough action looking to civilization, is the only alternative or mode of escape from exterminating wars.
Your obedient servant,
J. D. Cox, Secretary.
After conferring freely with the Committee on Indian Affairs, the following form of amendment to the Indian Appropriation Bill was suggested in place of the appropriations made previously by the Senate and rejected by the House.
"For promoting the civilization of the Sioux nation of Indians and other Indians, and for fulfilling the obligations of the government to them, the sum of three millions of dollars, or so much as may be necessary, to be expended by the Secretary of the Interior, with joint approval and consent of himself, and. five commissioners to be appointed by the President of the United States, who shall receive no compensation, nor be in any wise interested in any transaction under this appropriation."
From this interview it became apparent that the Senate felt that it was obligated to make appropriations in strict accordance with treaties which it had ratified so recently, but if the House disagreed, as they had a perfect right to do, the Senate would then be well disposed to accede to the views of the Committee.
An interview was then obtained with the Chairman and other members of the House Committee on Appropriations, and there seemed to be a very cordial concurrence in the proposed plan. An interview was then had with the Chairman of the Senate's Committee on Appropriations, and as he seemed ready to co-operate, the Committee returned to Philadelphia after a further conference with other members of Congress.
Subsequently, when the Indian appropriations were about to be considered in the Senate, the Chairman of the Committee went again to Washington, and with the assistance of the Secretary of the Interior, the Chairman of the Senate's Committees on Indian Affairs and on Appropriations, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, the following legislation was obtained as an amendment to the general Indian Appropriation Bill that had already been concurred in.
"That there be appropriated the further sum of two millions of dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to enable the President to maintain the peace among and with the various tribes, bands, and parties of Indians, and to promote civilization among said Indians, bring them where practicable upon reservations, relieve their necessities, and encourage their efforts at self-support; a report of all expenditures under this appropriation to be made in detail to Congress in December next; and for the purpose of enabling the President to execute the powers conferred by this act, he is hereby authorized, at his discretion, to organize a Board of Commissioners, to consist of not more than ten persons, to be selected by him from men eminent for their intelligence and philanthropy, to serve without pecuniary compensation, who may under his direction exercise joint control with the Secretary of the Interior over the disbursement of the appropriations made by this act, or any part thereof that the President may designate; and to pay the necessary expenses of transportation, subsistence and clerk hire of said Commissioners while actually engaged in said service, there is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, that nothing in this act contained, or in any of the provisions thereof, shall be so construed as to ratify or approve any treaty made with any tribes, bands or parties of Indians, since the twentieth day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven.''
The sum appropriated, although, apparently only two-thirds of that asked for, is virtually more than was suggested, because the leaders of the House in their debate stated that as Congress would again meet in December, it could then increase the appropriation if the commission and the officers of the government were successful in adopting any measures by which Indians were likely to be civilized and induced to make their labor productive.
The sequel to the very pleasant duties of the Committee may be learned from the following letter:
Department of the Interior,
Washington, D. C., 15th April, 1869.
Dear Sir:—The President has directed me to invite you to become one of the Commission provided for by the late act of Congress to act as auxiliary to this Department in the supervision of the work of gathering the Indians upon reservations, &c.
The Commission will serve without pay, except for expenses actually incurred in traveling, and it is expected to act both as a consulting board of advisers, and (through their sub-committees) as Inspectors of the Agencies, &c., in the Indian country.
The design of those who suggested the Commission, was that something like a Christian Commission should be established, having the civilization of the Indian in view, and laboring to stimulate public interest in this work, whilst also co-operating with the Department in the specific purpose mentioned.
The following gentlemen have been requested to become members of the Board with you: Hon. John V. Farwell, Chicago; George H. Stuart, Philadelphia; James E. Yeatman, St. Louis; Wm. E. Dodge, New York; E. S. Tobey, Boston; and Felix R. Brunot, of Pittsburgh.
Perhaps two others will be added, and as soon as answers are received, a preliminary meeting will be called here. I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
J. D. Cox,
WM. WELSH, Esq., Philadelphia.
Under the firm belief that they were divinely guided and aided, the Committee feel very grateful to God that their efforts were successful, and they hope that before the close of the present Administration, all our Indians will become wards of the Government, receiving from it full protection, and such assistance as they may need, to enable them to become self-supporting and self-governing citizens.
Before closing this report, it may be well to remove a misapprehension which is very general.
The President called upon the Society of Friends to nominate some of the Agents who reside with the Indians, and some of the Superintendents who watch over the Indian Agencies. These are salaried officers, and this is the work that was detailed to that most excellent and charitable Christian body, but as the President had already given marked prominence to that Society, he did not place any of their members on the Commission.
The precise duty of the Indian Commission will not be determined until they meet and confer with the President and the Secretary of the Interior. It is, however, expected that they will supervise the whole work of the Indian Department, consider the best means of gathering Indians into reservations, inspiring them with confidence in the Government and stimulating them to self-improvement, self-support and self-government, not as independent tribes, but as States equal in privileges with the other States in the Union. It is further expected that the Indians will look to the Commissioners as their special friends who will sympathize with them in all their troubles, and claim from the Government protection for them whenever they are oppressed. The Commission will no doubt endeavor to stir up their fellow-Christians to a higher measure of zeal and intelligence and liberality for the benefit of these home heathen, than it has ever manifested in the heathen of other lands.
The mission of the Committee ends with this report, therefore they record their grateful acknowledgment of the uniform courtesy and kindness shown to them by the President, by members of his Cabinet and by Congressmen, from all of whom they received an immediate and patient hearing, and in each case, a deep interest in the purpose of their mission was practically manifested.
The Committee are humiliated with the increased consciousness that Christian men who have the confidence of their fellow-citizens, are often criminal in keeping aloof from public service, under the excuse or the mistaken belief, that they can have little influence even when public good is evidently the sole incentive to action. Their recent experience has deeply impressed them with the belief that the courteous proffer of intelligent assistance must take the place of the private and public abuse now so freely poured upon all who are in any public office, or it will be vain to expect a reformation among those in power, or to improve materially the moral and intellectual standard of candidates for office.
Respectfully submitted by
WILLIAM WELSH, Chairman.
ELI K. PRICE,
GEORGE H. STUART,
SAMUEL B. SHIPLEY,
JOHN S. HILLES,
Philadelphia, April 24.
Diverse occurrences are, at this extraordinary juncture in Indian affairs, so strangely combining, as to whisper this hopeful prophecy into the ears of a poor, down-trodden, desponding people:—''When these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh."
The following prayer is, by agreement among the friends of the Indian, being offered in humility, faith and hope at many a family altar and in many a closet.
"Almighty and most merciful God, the Father of the friendless and the Helper of the helpless, have pity, we beseech Thee, upon the Indian tribes who dwell in this our land. Send to them the light and comfort of Thy Holy Gospel. Bless all the means used to bring them to the knowledge of Thy dear Son, who died for the salvation of all men. Guide with Thy Spirit—guard with Thy power—sustain with Thy love, all those who minister to them in spiritual things, and bear to them the tidings of redemption. Stir rip the hearts of all who profess and call themselves Christians, to prayer and deeds of mercy in behalf of this perishing race. Give to our rulers a sense of honor, truth and justice in all their dealings with them, and fill this whole nation with compassion for this poor and scattered people; 'and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to Thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one Shepherd.' All which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN."
The President of the United States and others in authority have openly avowed their determination to deal mercifully with the Indian; and although harassed with the overwhelming cares of office, they are already carrying their charitable resolves into practice. Some consciences are becoming sensitively active, because of national and individual wrong-doings to the Indian, although hitherto the possessors of these consciences deemed candidates for office not the less available, because they had defrauded the Indian. Even the timid are also coming to the Indian's aid through their fears that the warrior, like a stag at bay, being hemmed in on every side, may make a determined stand; or that like a hungry prairie wolf, he may cat up the substance of the frontier settler, to satisfy his natural cravings, now that the wild game is passing out of existence. Even political leaders, the most far-seeing of all human beings, wish to shake off the odium of depending on Indian spoliations for party patronage. The supporters of that noble baud of Missionaries who hazard their lives to carry the gospel to other lands, see the importance of caring for our home-heathen, as the knowledge of past injustice, and present neglect to the natives of this country would, if known in some heathen lands, cause the banishment of many a Missionary.
The recent action of Congress and of the Executive indicates unmistakably, that in the judgment of this nation the time has arrived when our Indians are to be gathered into reservations, kept as far as may be from demoralization by wicked men, and trained in the habits of civilized people, that the Christian Church may exert its holy influences over them. This adoption of Indians as Wards insures to them governmental protection and assistance, and will oblige the Church to bring her missionary spirit and her organization and administration to a practical test. If savages and highly intellectual heathen can be savingly converted to Christianity in foreign lands when surrounded by the grossest sensuality and idolatry, and the Christian Church fails to disciple our two or three hundred thousand docile and reverent home heathen, surely either the organization (so far as it is of human device) or the administration of the Church, or both, will need a thorough revision and reformation.
Our Government has now thrown down the gauntlet to philanthropists as well as to Christians; and if all such will accept the challenge, surely Christian civilization can in a few years be extended to the small remnant of heathen Indians.
No appeal is necessary to the little band of holy women who have always done what they could for the Mission to the Sioux Indians. Four of them have just given $3,000 towards the cost of a Hospital, with a Chapel and School-house attached, being two-thirds of the sum that will be required to complete the structure. This gift induced a lady who has been trained for hospital work for two years at the Bishop Potter Memorial House in Philadelphia, to agree to take charge of the Hospital at the Santee Sioux Mission, as soon as it is erected. Will not other zealous women subject themselves to a similar training, that their latent powers for teaching, visiting and nursing, may be educated in an orderly school of practice, under the supervision of experts, that they also may labor with advantage among our home heathen?
All Christians are now called upon to make liberal free-will offerings of money or personal service; and the philanthropist will find among the Indians, objects of peculiar interest—promoting agricultural or mechanical tastes and habits, erecting and sustaining School-houses or Hospitals, or in printing books which they so much need. The various religious bodies will undoubtedly open channels through which Christian beneficence may flow; and the newly appointed Commissioners will soon be prepared to direct the efforts of individual or associated philanthropists.