I could not learn that there ever was a child born blind among the Iroquois. The traditions of the people do not refer to any instance of the kind. They believe none has occurred. It is certain, from inquiries made on the several reservations, that no such person now exists. Yet it is a subject which, from the importance of the fact in aboriginal statistics, deserves to be further investigated.
Among the Oneidas, prior to the removal of the principal body of this tribe to Wisconsin, there was one lunatic a young man who was kindly taken care of, and who accompanied them on their removal to the west. There is also an instance of a deaf and dumb child, among those of the tribe who remain in the State. This person, who is a female, now under 12 years of age, was recently taken to the Onondaga reservation by her relatives, and is now at that location.
There is one idiot among the Onondagas, a young man under 21 years of age. He is supported by his relatives and friends.
I also found one idiot among the Tuscaroras.
My inquiries on the several reservations of the Senecas, at Tonewanda, Buffalo, Cattaraugus and Alleghany, did not result in detecting a single person who was either deaf and dumb, an idiot or a lunatic. As the Senecas are seven-fold more numerous than the highest in number among the other cantons, this result, if it should be verified by subsequent and fuller inquiries, after more thoroughly explaining the object of the information sought for to each band, would offer a remarkable exemption from the usual laws of population. There are no means of instruction for this class of persons on the reservations. The care of the three individuals above designated,
Deaf And Dumb, Idiots, Lunatics And Blind
calls for the same disproportionate tax on time, which is else where necessary, and the admission of these persons to the State Lunatic Asylum, and the Deaf and Dumb Institute at New York, free of expense, would seem to be due to them.
Among the St. Regis, which is the only tribe I did not visit and take the enumeration of, it is not known whether there be any per sons of either class.
One or two additional facts may be added to the preceding statistics in this connection.
I found three saw mills, with twenty-one gangs of saws, on the Alleghany reservation, and also two council houses and two public schools, constituting public property, belonging exclusively to this reservation, which were valued by the appraisers, under the treaty of 1842, at $8,219. 00.
On the Cattaraugus reservation, there is the church, council house and farms, connected with the schools, being the property of the Indians and not the missionary society, which were valued together, by the same appraisers, at $3,214.50.
There is on the Buffalo Creek Reservation, a saw mill, valued at $404.75, a church built originally at an expense of $1,700, valued at $1,200, and a council house, valued at $75; making a total amount of public property, including all the preceding, of $13,113.25.
The total amount of private valuations on the Buffalo and Tonewanda reservations, under the treaty of 1842, was not exactly ascertained, but it is about $80,000. This is entirely Seneca property and funds. Its payment to individuals, in the sums awarded, is based on their removal to Cattaraugus and Alleghany, agreeably to the terms of the compromise treaty of 1842.
The Onondagas possess one sawmill, well built and in good repair, which is of some value to them, and might be rendered more so, under a proper system of management.
Source: Notes on the Iroquois or, Contributions to the Statistics, Aboriginal
History, Antiquities and General Ethnology of Western New York, By Henry R.
Schoolcraft, 1846, Senate Document, Twenty-Four.
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