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Indian Affairs Annual Reports, 1864-1990

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DOMINION OF CANADA ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30th JUNE 1896.
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the guidance of employees already in the service, and would at the same time be likely to be stimulated by association with their brethren who thought proper to remain at home, and who have been striving, with an encouraging degree of success, to reach that point towards which the efforts of the department have essayed to direct them.

It is hoped that under a conciliatory but firm treatment they will endeavour to reach even that standard which their more fortunate brethren have attained.

Prosperity of Indians. - When it is thought advisable to judge of the, prosperity of any community many circumstances have to be taken into consideration, but as the Indians - that is, that portion outside the older provinces - are in various states of development, it becomes a matter of much difficulty to make statements of a comprehensive nature of their condition as a body.

Great difference must naturally exist between their requirements and the various methods of meeting them. Contact with separation from advanced communities must necessarily form an important factor, not only in the requirements of the Indians, but also as to the methods necessary to meet such demands; and it cannot but follow that health and morals are greatly affected by such contact or separation, and it is evident to many that the near proximity to civilization has not, it is to be referred, in some respects at least, been in the direction of good. Still, it is gratifying, for one to be able to assert that, on the whole, the Indians have met with fair prosperity. In connection with this, I would beg to refer you to the reports of all inspectors and agents throughout the Dominion and the tabulated statements which follow, as these afford information in detail.

Distribution of Relief. - The department's policy as to aid in the matter of food, clothing and other supplies has been kept forcibly in view, and as a, rule none but the aged, infirm and children have been gratuitous recipients of the department's bounty, the able-bodied being forced to work for what has been given them by the department and also to seek to meet their wants in other directions.

It was in last year's report shown how, by the enforcement of such policy, individuals were pushed to extra energy in order to contend with the great depression, which affected not only the whites but the markets of the Indians in the sale of produce, and manufactures and labour in various directions. Naturally, this depression was felt more in the older provinces contiguous to the United States, these being, of course, more readily affected by the falling or rising of the commercial barometer of that country. As the depression was only very tardily overcome, and as the market for all produce of the soil was particularly low, it followed as a consequence that the aggregate earnings of the Indians of these older provinces were lower than that, of the previous year, although it is a matter for congratulation that in Manitoba and the North-west Territories, where the Indians are under superior guidance, notwithstanding this depressing state of affairs, the increased earnings of the previous year were so much more than sustained as to bring up the Dominion's aggregate to $1,658,859.

Harvest Returns. - Upon turning to the area under crop, it is found that the quantities show for the past and previous fiscal years 116,109 acres and 120,233 acres, respectively, while, for the whole Dominion, the aggregate number of bushels in cereals harvested exceeds that of the previous year by some 50,000 bushels, notwithstanding n the unfortunate decrease of some 40,000 bushels of oats raised in British Columbia.


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