Clothing Supplied. - At the time I went round in the fall, the generous supply of clothing was distributed; but most of it was reserved till winter. And here I would respectfully state that but for these useful articles of clothing, both the aged and destitute would have suffered keenly in the cold weather.
During the winter I visited all the bands, settling disputes, examining the schools, and inspecting the reserves generally.
Health and Sanitary Condition. I again went round some of them in June, and am pleased to report that generally the houses and premises were in a better condition than on any previous occasion. I regret to report that from last fall until the spring the whooping cough attacked every band in the agency but Grand Rapids. On that account it was necessary to purchase more provisions for the sick and destitute, and the dispensers of medicines were busy indeed. Owing, therefore, to this severe epidemic among the children, the census at the next payment of annuities will be materially affected, especially at Moose Lake.
Office Work. - In the office I have been extra busy, and the work here has increased since the school teachers have been requested to assist in the supervision of the bands. A considerable amount of office work has been done by members of my own family, and by in Indian youth from the Big Eddy school, whom I have taken in hand with a view to training him for future usefulness. He is doing very well, and I have great hopes of him, as he writes it good hand, is fairly advanced in arithmetic, and speaks English.
I will now briefly review the reserves in detail.
The Grand Rapids Indians are not doing as well as they were some time ago, owing to the influx of Icelanders to work for the fishing companies, and removal to the island from the mouth of the river of the Robinson Company. These Indians do not farm to much extent. It is, however, it good place for fish, but not for furs. The Indians, therefore, miss the employment which they used to have, and suffer in consequence. The school on this reserve is still closed.
Chemawawin. - At this place the Indians do well in hunting and fishing, but are much away from the reserve, so that the school is carried on under difficult circumstances. The teacher, Mr. Walter Charles Lundie, has done good service, not only in the school, but also in going about the reserve instructing the Indians at home and in the gardens. At my visit there in June I was pleased to find things generally well.
Moose Lake. - Here the reserve is divided, some of the band living on the mainland and the rest at Big Island. Those at the former place are generally slow and indifferent, while at the latter settlement they are thrifty and prospering. I called at both places in June, and was pleased to see at the island gardens well cultivated and houses kept clean. These Indians have made a good start on their new reserve. The teacher also reports that it is a pleasure to visit them. Mr. Taylor is now leaving the school, so that it will be closed for a time. While the children could attend, fair progress was made, but during the whooping-cough epidemic nothing could be done.
The Pas Reserve. - We now come to The Pas, which is the largest reserve, and the band the most intelligent in this agency. There are two schools here, conducted by Mr. Thomas Lamb and Mr. Robert Bear, respectively. The attendance at the school at The Pas proper is excellent. At my last examination, in May, there were over fifty pupils. The order of the school and the progress of the pupils show that Mr. Lamb's labours are telling. It is hoped that some smart scholars will be turned out from this school.
There was not much difficult with these Indians last winter, as many of them made it good fall fishing, and furs were numerous. But when the whooping-cough attacked the band in February, we were kept extra busy attending to the sick, while a number of the men were much hindered in their usual pursuits. For a time both