Army Letters From An Officer's Wife, 1871-1888, By Frances M.A. Roe

















































































































































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Along the road before we reached the agency, and for some distance
after we had left it, we passed a - Page 166
Army Letters From An Officer's Wife, 1871-1888, By Frances M.A. Roe - Page 166 of 213 - First - Home

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Along The Road Before We Reached The Agency, And For Some Distance After We Had Left It, We Passed A

Number of little one-room log huts occupied by Indians, often with two squaws and large families of children; and

At some of these we saw wretched attempts at gardening. Those Indians are provided with plows, spades, and all sorts of implements necessary for the making of proper gardens, and they are given grain and seeds to plant, but seldom are any of these things made use of. An Indian scorns work of any kind - that is only for squaws. The squaws will scratch up a bit of ground with sticks, put a little seed in, and then leave it for the sun and rain to do with as it sees fit. No more attention will be paid to it, and half the time the seed is not covered.

One old chief raised some wheat one year - I presume his squaws did all the work - and he gathered several sackfuls, which was made into flour at the agency mill. The chief was very proud. But when the next quarterly issue came around, his ration of flour was lessened just the amount his wheat had made, which decided all future farming for him! Why should he, a chief, trouble himself about learning to farm and then gain nothing in the end! There is a fine threshing machine at the agency, but the Indians will have nothing whatever to do with it. They cannot understand its workings and call it the "Devil Machine."

As we were nearing the Indian village across the creek from us, we came to a most revolting spectacle. Two or three Indians had just killed an ox, and were slashing and cutting off pieces of the almost quivering flesh, in a way that left little pools of blood in places on the side. There were two squaws with them, squatted on the ground by the dead animal, and those hideous, fiendish creatures were scooping up the warm blood with their hands and greedily drinking it! Can one imagine anything more horrible? We stopped only a second, but the scene was too repulsive to be forgotten. It makes me shiver even now when I think of the flashing of those big knives and of how each one of the savages seemed to be reveling in the smell and taste of blood! I feel that they could have slashed and cut into one of us with the same relish. It was much like seeing a murder committed.

Major Stokes told us last evening that when he returned from the East a few weeks ago, he discovered that one of a pair of beautiful pistols that had been presented to him had been stolen, that some one had gone upstairs and taken it out of the case that was in a closet corresponding to mine, so that accounts for the footsteps I heard in that house the night the man entered Mrs. Norton's house.

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