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Account published in The New York Times / April 23, 1876


WASHINGTON, April 22. -- There are official reports to the Indian Bureau from Superintendent Nicholson, dated Lawrence, Kansas, 4th inst., in answer to the charges of the War Department that the Cheyennes are starving through the negligence of their agents. The Superintendent says that last Fall and early in the Winter the Cheyennes and Arrapahoes were permitted to proceed to the Great Plains to hunt buffalo. They had been confined in camp and in the vicinity of the agency during the Summer, and having suffered severely from sickness they were exceedingly anxious to go on the hunt to secure change of air and diet.

They suffered for want of ponies on the hunt, many of them dying from the fatal epizootic, which swept off many of the Government horses and mules at the Cheyenne Agency, thus rendering a successful hunt impossible and making their return to the agency very tedious.

When these facts were known the Indians were called in, but owing to the losses of ponies could not reach the agency, and were reduced to the necessity of depending upon the military for temporary supplies until they could get within reach of help from their agent.

Indian Agent Hastings reports to the office here from the Red Cloud Agency, dated the 3d inst., that the Indians belonging to that agency who had gone north to hun the buffalo, continued to arrive up to the last of March. He was of the opinion that there were but few yet to com in. Had there been food to issue them on their arrival it would have been some satisfaction; but to find a comparatively empty warehouse, and a limited supply of beef, the outlook was certainly discouraging. The agent writes they had shown no signs of ugliness. He succeeded in keeping them in good spirits and under control by telling them that every effort was being made by the department to procure for them more food.

The agent also writes that he learned from one of the half-breed scouts, who was with Gen. Crook's expedition against the hostile camp, that it was a complete failure, with the exception of the killing of an old squaw and two children, and the destruction of about forty lodges, witha loss to the troops of four killed and six wounded. Seven hundred Indian ponies were captured, but were recaptured on the following day, with the exception of about seventy head.

The agent denies the reports that the Indians had mines of ammunition and abundance of supplies, saying five pounds of powder, twenty of lead, and six boxes of percussion caps was all that was found in the abandoned camp. It is generally known throughout this country that the "hostiles" do the principal part of their trading at points on the Missouri River. The agency Indians appear to take but little interest in what has transpired north, but the disastrous result may have a tendency to awaken the old feeling of superiority.

The House Committee on Indian Affairs to-day agreed to recommend an immediate appropriation of $50,000 to provide subsistence for the Arizona Indians whom Gen. Sheridan reported as being driven to depredations by their absolute need of supplies.



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