Grande Ronde Agency
The Grande Ronde agency is a small one located in southern Oregon, west of the Cascade range. The Indians at this agency are only 379 in number and are the remnants of once formidable tribes. The agency is to the west of Salem, the capital of the state. The tribes or parts of tribes are: Rogue River, 47; Wapato Lake, 28; Santiam, 27; Marys River, 28; Clackama, 59; Luckimute, 29; Calapooya, 22; Cow Creek, 20; Umpqua, 80; Yamhill, 30. The Indians get their several names from lakes, streams, rivers, or other points at which they lived. They were gathered up after the various Indian wars, and were never on any other reservation. They were brought here in 1855. The Indian population of this agency has steadily decreased.-Edward L. Lamson, United States Indian agent.
Grande Ronde Reservation
The Grande Ronde reservation is just east of the coast range and joins the Siletz reservation. It covers am area of 61,440 acres, about 10,000 of which is arable and 15,000 more tillable. No minerals of value have ever been found on the reservation. The farming land lies in small valleys along the tributaries of the Yamhill River, and is of fairly good quality. Allotments to the number of 269, with an area of 26,177 acres, have already been made, but only 862 acres were cultivated during the census year, notwithstanding that nearly 10,000 acres were ready for the plow, and that a good market for grain is near at hand. Wheat is selling for 67 cents per bushel and oats for 40. The land will produce at the lowest calculation 22 bushels of wheat, 30 bushels of oats, or 1.5 tons of hay per acre.
Hundreds of acres of the finest arable land have been allotted to old and infirm persons, and lie unused and overgrown with weeds and brush. Many of the allottees who are able to till their laud neglect to do so, or cultivate but a small portion of it, relying on the commissary for the necessaries of life. The total population at Grande Ronde is 370. The cost to the government for maintaining the school, for employ6s about the agency, including the agent, and for supplies of all kinds issued to the Indians, is approximately $16,000. This allows to. each man, woman, and child about $42. Nearly one-half of the amount appropriated to Grande Ronde is for the maintenance of the school, which has 60 pupils. This would leave them about $8,000 less $3,936, the amount paid for salaries to employees, to be divided between 319 persons. Each person, therefore, receives about $12.50. These figures are only approximate, as no data are at baud from which to obtain the actual figures.
The Grande Ronde Indians under 35 years of age are nearly all of mixed blood, many of theta showing but the slightest trace of Indian blood. These Indians suffer considerably from fever and ague. Diseases of the eyes are of frequent occurrence, but yield readily to proper treatment. The same story of syphilitic affections is repeated here as at the other reservations, but no case of primary syphilis has occurred during the past 2 years. The doctor reports that the deaths exceed the births. He complains of the interference of the medicine man.
It is said by those who have known these Indians for many years that it is almost impossible to find a virtuous woman among them, although for 30 years the Roman Catholic church has lied priests constantly stationed on the reserve, who for the greater portion of that time have had charge of the school.
The school buildings and grounds present a neat appearance, and everything in and about them is; in excellent order.
The houses occupied by these Indians are not as commodious or as well constructed as those at Siletz. Those occupied by the old and infirm are nothing but huts, giving but scant protection from the winter winds. The fences are generally good, and are built of rails, with stakes and riders.
Marriages and divorces are generally under the state laws.
An Indian court has jurisdiction over trivial offenses and misdemeanors. This court is a court of record, and the Indians are taking advantage of it to have wills filed and recorded.
The saw and gristmills are in charge of a capable sawyer, miller, and millwright. The blacksmith shop is conducted by a white employee. The houses occupied by the employees and the agency office, barn, and commissary are scarcely fit for firewood. The roofs are decayed, and the sills, doors, joists, and part of the siding are rotten.
The school building and boarding hall is a -flue structure, and the house occupied by the agent is good enough if it had a coat of paint.
The census at Grande Ronde was taken by the agent in the same manner as at Siletz, by personally visiting each house, and is complete in every particular.
No legends or traditions of these Indians are extant.
General Remarks and Recommendations
Siletz and Grande Ronde
I urge that allotments be made at once on the Siletz and Grande Ronde reservations, and that patents issue as soon thereafter as possible; that the land remaining unallotted be sold or thrown open to settlement, arid that the agencies be abolished, as these Indians are ready for citizenship.