Condition of the Maine Indians in 1890

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The civilized (self-supporting) Indians of Maine, counted in the general census, number 559 (299 males and 260 females), and are distributed as follows:
Aroostook County, 24; Penobscot County, 387; Piscataquis County, 37; Washington County, 89; other counties (9 or less in each), 22.

The United States has no dealings with the Indians of Maine as tribes.

The Penobscot Indians have their headquarters at Old Town and dwell chiefly along the Penobscot river in the county of the same name.

The state of Maine has an agent for them, and the state treasurer reports $11,026.70 paid out on their account in 1890, of which 82,982 was for shore rents. They are generally of the Roman Catholic faith. Their children attend schools under the town authorities and there is one school under the Sisters of Charity. They carry on a limited agriculture, receiving a bounty from the state for produce.

The Penobscot Indians received in the aggregate in 1890 bounties of $200 for the following numbers of bushels of articles named: potatoes, 2,244; beans, 154; pease, 28; oats, 510; barley, 45; buckwheat, 35; root crops, 212. A large part of the tribe goes to summer resorts to sell baskets and other articles of their manufacture.

The young men find profitable employment in lumbering, and are esteemed as excellent river drivers.

The state agent notes ninny signs of improvement among them. He considers their love for intoxicating drink the greatest enemy these Indians have, and recommends the appointment of a constable among them to arrest drunken and disorderly persons. These Indians elect a representative in the state legislature.

The Passamaquoddy Indians have a state agent at Calais on the extreme east side of the state. Their condition is similar to that of the Penobscot Indians. The state treasurer reports $10,097.90 expended on their account in 1890, of which $131.36 was paid as bounty for crops.

There was an unusual prevalence of influenza, or the grip, among them in 1890.

The United States census of Indians in Penobscot county, taken in June, and the state Census of the tribe, taken in January, differ but 10. The state recognizes as Passamaquoddy Indians more than the United States enumerators counted in the state as Indians aside from Penobscot Indians. The dates of enumeration and other circumstances were not identical in the national and state enumerations, but part of the variation is apparently due to counting certain persons as whites in the national census whom the state recognizes as inheriting rights as Indians.

MLA Source Citation:

Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894. Web. 12 December 2014. - Last updated on Jun 25th, 2013

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