Although I have not had the opportunity of visiting the maritime provinces, reports received from the department's officials indicate that much cannot be expected from the present generation in the cultivation of the soil, as these Indians are inclined to rely almost entirely, apart from fishing and hunting, upon any other work, such as stream-driving, loading lumber, and upon a market for small wares, such as baskets, axe-handles, and other Indian work, to meet their wants.
Still, it is gratifying to find that those of this province have increased the area under cultivation by some three hundred and seventy-four acres, which, considered relatively to the number of Indians, is considerable.
The yield of grain was greater than in the year previous; but the potato crop was lower and in some parts a failure, owing to the drought in some localities and the ravages of the potato bug in others.
There is nothing of special interest to note of the Indians of this province, who number, by the last census, three hundred and eight souls, being an increase of twenty-one over the previous year. Any changes which may have taken place have been in the right direction, such as an increase of five acres in the area under cultivation, of five hundred and twenty-five bushels of potatoes, and in the individual earnings of $1,350 over the year previous.
Those resident upon the reserve cultivate the soil, while others are engaged in the cod fishing and other pursuits. Little fault can be found as to their morality, this being largely due, no doubt, to the fact that a few years ago they were induced to take a pledge of total abstinence, which, through the efforts of good missionaries and the officials of the department, they appear to have faithfully kept.
The Indians of this province appear not to have met with much success during the year, due in a great measure to the dulness in lumbering operations, in which they take part, and also to the limited market found for their Indian wares.
As has been noted elsewhere relative to the other provinces, this lack of other resources appears to have had the effect of more attention being given to the soil, as an increase of 26 acres in the area cultivated, of some 1,200 bushels of grain and 1,900 of potatoes, has taken place. Where unable to obtain work in lumbering operations, or distance from the sea preventing fishing, the condition of the Indians of this province is not a desirable one; they appear often to prefer enduring want to exerting themselves.