Proof of Progress. - Although, as before mentioned, the reports of the department have left a good deal to be wished for, still they show an advance of a most encouraging nature, whereby hopes may continue to be entertained that the efforts of reclaiming the savage, through the expenditure of money, energy and patience, may, at no distant day, show that he may be ranked as a useful member of the community.
As an indication of this advancement, I quote from a report, recently made by one of the department's inspectors, on the Stony Agency at Morley: -
"It is some years since I had the opportunity of making a house-to-house visit in this agency, and I was greatly pleased with the very evident advance they have made towards living, not only in a civilized manner, but, most of them, in great comfort; a number of their present dwellings have been built within the last year or so, taking the place of their original huts most of these new houses are well constructed, well cornered (for they are all built of spruce timber) and have shingle roofs, floored upstairs as well as downstairs, lined with matched lumber, and divided into apartments; chairs and tables are quite common; raised beds and bedsteads are the rule, and almost every house contains a cooking-stove. Many have neat fences of peeled poles and rates surrounding their houses.
"Most of them have stables, corrals and sheds, but as their cattle run on the ranges, there is little necessity for them, but even where they keep a pony or two, it all goes to make up an attractive home."
Extract from a report of Mr. Agent Nash: -
"It is quite noticeable that the Indian women are, from year to year, advancing in cleanliness, their houses now presenting a far more comfortable appearance than in former years. Nearly all houses consist of two rooms, bedroom and kitchen, and are furnished with stoves, bedsteads, tables, chairs and cupboards. Nearly all can make yeast bread, and some make very good butter. A number of Indians have begun to take an interest in poultry-raising.
"The dead are, as a rule, property buried, instead of being placed on rocks or trees.
"A great improvement in dress is to be noticed, in the men especially, nearly all the younger ones now wearing decent clothes. All appear anxious to possess good machinery, & c., which they are careful to store away after use, and good strong wagons and harness.
"Cattle-raising is undoubtedly the chief industry to be depended upon in this part of the country. In my opinion the Indians will make successful cattle-owners; they like the work of looking after stock better than any other employment. These Indians now own 900 head of stock, distributed amongst 80 individuals. They realize the necessity of taking good care of their cattle in the winter, and especially in providing a good amount of food for them, and this year they put up a large quantity of good hay under most unfavourable circumstances, being greatly hindered all the haying season by rain, snowstorms and high winds."
Extract from Mr. Agent Williams' report: -
"In reply to your circular, No. 1711, re special progress report, I beg to state that marked progress is plainly seen on catch reserve. As was reported previously, each Indian has his own separate farm of from two to ten acres, well fenced; each has his own house and stable. All old houses have been pulled down and rebuilt with steep thatched roofs, and whitewashed inside and out, and now present a pleasing appearance. The attention of both farmers and Indians has been in the direction of raising an abundant crop of roots, and they have on hand at the present time a large quantity of potatoes and turnips.
"Milk is to be seen in many houses, and it is no uncommon sight to see a dinner table spread with plenty of vegetables and bacon and eggs.