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Peoria Reservation

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American | No Comments

The Peoria reservation is situated 4 miles north of the agency. It consists of a strip of land extending from the Missouri state line west to the Neosho River, and is bounded on the north by the Quapaw reservation and on the south by the Shawnee and Ottawa reservations, and contains in all 50,301 acres. Allotments have been made to the Peorias which gave them 200 acres each. The land is prairie, high and rolling, good for agriculture, more especially that part lying west of Spring River, and is well watered. Whites obtained and leased a large tract of land east of Spring River and on the border of the state of Missouri from the Indians and are sinking numerous shafts, some of which are producing lead and zinc in paying quantities. There are some prospect holes called the old Spanish mines, which Indian tradition says were worked more than 150 years ago by the Spaniards.

The Peorias number in all 160, 78 males and 82 females, of whom 140 speak and 85 read English. Most of them speak the Indian language, and always have an interpreter at council with the whites.

The older Peorias have Labatt features, with quite dark complexions, and if dressed like the wild Indians would resemble them in appearance. The women make a better appearance, are lighter colored, and more industrious than the men. The children are making rapid progress in education. They are healthy in appearance and increasing in number.

These Indians have good farms, and some are well cultivated. Many have white men the renters or tenants, and some are whites who have married Indian women. They have good improvements and cultivate well. Since they have taken lands by allotment rapid progress has been made. The United States Indian agent reports to the Indian Office that 300 acres additional were broken last year, and 21,000 rods of fence built, most of which was done for fields under pasture for cattle belonging to the whites. This gives them an additional revenue. They are also increasing in the ownership of horses, mules, cattle, and swine. Their houses are good, with few exceptions, and are mostly frame and well built. On the whole, these Indians have the best houses of any belonging to the agency. A number have been built in the last year, with outbuildings. The women are capable housekeepers, industrious, dress well, and are cleanly in appearance.

There is a day school on the reservation, which is quite well attended. A number of the children are sent to the boarding and industrial schools.

This tribe has no church building, the schoolhouse being used for divine worship. The Society of Friends and the Methodists hold service once each month.

There are but few of the Peorias who are communicants of a church. The members of this tribe are now less inclined to the Christian worship than they were several years ago.

The traditions of the tribe have been lost; still sonic of the older men hold their Indian councils, to which the younger generation is not admitted. A short time ago they abandoned, the hereditary chief and council, and now a chief is elected annually by a vote of the people. They have the best educated Indian in the tribe for chief.

Polygamy has been abandoned, and marriages are performed in accordance with the law and sacredly kept. It is said that no member of this tribe has been accused of any crime of importance for many years. They are peaceable and law-abiding, and have abandoned the dances and other outward Indian customs, though some for amusement attend the dances of other tribes and take part. They are farmers and stock raisers.


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