Testimony to US Congress
on Indian Affairs
April 22, 1884 — Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, Indian Affairs Committee Room, US House of Representatives, Washington DC
Chairman Robert W. S. Stevens: Please state, Mrs. Hopkins, how it came that your people were dispossessed of this reservation?
Mrs. Hopkins: In 1865 there was an agent appointed at the reservation called the Malheur in Oregon and I was sent for by this agent, whose name is Sam Parish, to interpret to him for my people. He had under his charge 700 of my people. When I arrived there it was the first of May and my people were all gathered together and he told them this: He says I have come to be your father and I have here brought a carpenter who will learn your young men how to build houses; that is one. And I have also brought a blacksmith who will teach your young men how to become blacksmiths. I have also brought a farmer who will teach your men how to plant and how to fence your farms. I have also brought my brother’s wife as your teacher to teach your young people how to read, how to talk on paper” as near as I could interpret it. He says I want to be your father, and I have brought provisions, flour and plenty of beef and now he says you see that is what your big father in Washington has done for you and I have brought it here and if you are willing to work we will teach you to do it for yourselves, because he says your big father in Washington will not always provide these good things for you without your laboring for it and therefore he says, take advantage of the help your big father is offering you to help yourselves. He says while you have these things to eat go into the woods and cut [illegible] . . . we went on working with all our might. [illegible] . . . and fence your farms, and cut logs for building purposes to build your cabins, and it is very necessary that you should go to work immediately to dig a ditch; he says we must build that the first thing for that is to water your gardens with; nothing will grow unless it has been watered; that is the way the white people do and you have got to do it.
He says there is no rain here in the summer time and therefore this must be done the first thing. He says we are willing to teach you; will you work.
My people said yes. My father then was the chief of the entire people, and he says yes, we have been looking for this kind of a man for many years. It is nearly fifteen years that we have waited on the reservation and no one has tried to teach us and here we are poor and we are glad you have come and we are willing to work.
He says my men will work; and they did go to work on this ditch. Some went into the hills cutting fence rails as he told them some went to work clearing land, while others were working on the ditch, and my people all were so eager to get it through here, that they went in with ‘the men’ and made little baskets that shape [indicating] with handles, and they went in there and had their husbands to throw up the dirt so that they could get it through with quickly.
Any how we got it through in a short time. Then where they had cleared the land they plowed it. Of course it was not nicely done and the seed was scattered all over, for potatoes, turnips, pumpkins and water melon seeds and all kinds that would grow for our benefit, and a little wheat was planted, for he told us thee was no mill near to grind wheat, but he says, if you are industrious and go to work, may be next year, he says, I will put in an order to your big father go get a mill so that you can raise your own grain and grind it here.
With this arrangement we went on working with all our might.
We never refused to work, and we were happy. During that time a school house was built and it was ready and we had rough windows put in and it was like a shed; I had not seen anything like it here. It was a kind of a shed, but at any rate benches were put in there and we were satisfied. This was late in the fall and our harvest was being gathered. We had lots of water melons and potatoes put in cellars or buried in the ground, and we were just as happy as we could be. School houses were built and my people were called in and here they were sitting down and the windows thrown open, and there was our dear lady who was going to teach us and my people began to love this white lady so much that they called her their little white Mother.
She placed a music box — as my people call it, a music house, a house — she placed it in there and her husband and all the rest of the white people were there and she says what shall we sing, and her husband says, well, something lively, something that will amuse your children.
Mr. Parish, the agent steps up, and says he why play a song called Sherman Marching Through Georgia; and she said all right and of course she struck up the tune and they all began to sing, that is the white people did, who were there to show how well they could sing. They sung three verses through and people, the children, were looking with all their might and I was asked to tell them that they must sing like these others. My papa says how can we sing; we never heard the song in all our lives. Well he says can you make the attempt, and my papa turns around and talked t his children and says try. They said well we will. So she struck up again to play and they didn’t dare to venture; they stretched their necks, and at last some on outside stared and said make a noise just as loud as you can, and they did so: [illegible] . . . we made in there; I do not know who would not laugh at the noise we made. And how this thing went on, the school went on every day and in two months time my people and my little children could sing that song, the words and everything, and could sing it in the Indian language also.
While we were going on in that way so nice, it was in April, this very month, here came a long letter from our big father in Washington and he told us it was for my father and we were eager to hear what it was and the people were sent for and they all came and gathered around, men women and everybody came to hear what the letter said, to hear it read. He said it was asking Mr. Parish to ask you Indians if they would not sell the west end of their reservation. It was a long letter; it was a petition. The head person who petitioned for that was Judge Curry, residing in Canon City, Oregon, 75 miles away. Well, my people said no; it is all we have got. You have got all our land and you have got the mountains that are loaded with silver and gold. We did not ask our big father for this piece of ground. He voluntarily said to us here is a piece of land so big and so wide, and it is for you to live on forever to make your homes on that is the Piutes. The people said does our father want to play with us as if we were little children? Why did he give it to us in the first place; why didn’t he keep it? So we told Sam to tell our big father, our good father, that we did not want to sell it. We said our white brothers have got all they want; leave us this one. So our father wrote as they asked him and it was but two months afterwards and her came another letter and it was a sadder one than we had before and this man and his family and all the white men who had taken interest in teaching my people we had begun to love them, and the order was, that is one order was that they were to leave us and another one was to come in his place, a better man than he, it said: the man who had appointed to come there is the brother-in-law to this man who first proposed to buy our reservation. Judge Curry’s brother-in-law was the man. Well, my people say “why, Judge Curry’s brother-in-law? We know that man; he lives in Canon City, and he has had a house there as long as we could remember. He has got a fire water house [saloon], and no man who has a fire water house can be a good father or make a good father, and we did not send for him and do not want him here. But Mr. Parish says he is a good man now; he has got a new heart; he is born, and he is a different man. My people say how can he be a different man; how can he become a new person. That is the only way I could interpret it. Says I the while people say when they speak to the good spirit father that they get their hearts changed; that is the only way I could interpret it. Well they say we have bought fire water from that man and he has kicked us into the gutter time and time again and we know he is going to bring that fire water in this reservation and we do not want him. He wanted our reservation or his brother wanted it and we are afraid something fearful is going to come to us for letting him come. Then of course we could not say anything more. But we went to the Army officers and asked the officers to intercede for us and have him not to come. But they said no, we cannot; we are under orders, and we cannot do anything against the Government and the big president and that it must be let alone. So he came. That was on the first day of July 1866 and our good men turns us all over to this man, so many little children, so many women, so many old men, so many young men we were turned over to him just the same as you would turn your stock over to a person who bought them. So our man went away and as soon as he was gone, five days after he was gone, this man called us together and gave us a different law. He says this land, all of this country, is your big fathers, it belongs to him, and if you want to work for your big father in Washington your big father will pay you one dollar a day if you will work for him and improve his land. Every man who goes to work will get paid. So they all went to work.
Our land and everything was there and we were willing to work for money. Now of course we could not disobey as we lived there, and we worked for the money. The boys and women went to work and worked six days faithfully. Saturday night when the labor was done, they all marched in to get their pay, and I went along and said that our people wanted their money; that they had done their work and wanted to get paid every Saturday night. He did not say anything, but got a paper and wrote a while, and when he got through he held up his head and said, “Sarah tell your people that your big father in Washington has a big store there, and in that store there are blankets and clothing, and blankets uncut are $12. a pair, and womens shawls are $6.; that mens clothing, hats and pants were $12. a suit, and shoes $3. A pair for both men and women. He said there was calico for ten cents a yard and different articles such as you have in the stores here, but we would have to pay a great deal more for these different articles than you pay here. He said these things cost money, and you can buy them here. He said I will pay you in return by giving you clothing for the money which you earned. We said to him “You did not tell us we worked for clothes. You said you would pay us in dollars and that is what we understood before we went to work and he said “These articles cost money and you can buy them. He said “Now you will either have to take it out in clothing, or else if you do not want to do that I will give you an order on another store your Big Father owns in Canyon City, and you can go there and get the articles if you do not want anything out of this store.
Another thing he said was, you have worked six days each and you had flour and beef and it all amounted to four dollars and there is only three dollars coming to each person. He said your [missing text] . . . blankets too dear and we will go to our soldiers father and get big thick blankets for two dollars, and you ask too much. We said you pay us the money and we will go elsewhere and buy our articles. He said you must either buy at the store here or at Canyon City, or else you cannot live on this reservation.
So we had a row of course right away. My people would not do anything. We said that we did not want to be played with like children, and then we had a wrangle and he stopped issuing rations. My people waited five days without anything to eat, and they took me as their interpreter to Camp Harney, a military post, we reported to our agent and told him what we were doing and how the people were starving, and he told us that he could not do anything for us because we were all under orders.
So you see my dear friends, two years from this time he took possession of us that man had every one of my people off the reservation, because my people could not live there on the air or the wind. He did not encourage my people to work or do anything and there we were. We were twenty five miles away in the spring of 1878 trying to catch fish t live on, when another tribe of Indians east of us broke out, and as you call it went on the war path, plundering and stealing through the country, and they came to our reservation to induce our people to go off with them and I spoke against it; but thirty of our people went off with them. They had a medicine man with them, as you call it, who was a dreamer, and he said we will kill all the white people off, come and join us. My people would not do it and only about thirty [illegible] and the deeds of those thirty people lost us our reservation of course.
My father had nothing. We never had guns issued to us like other tribes. We never received anything and had nothing to fight people with, and my people had to flee away upon the outbreak of Bannocks. The Bannocks took my people as prisoners and held them as prisoners until they would say they would fight the white people. I enlisted the United States troops and they went into the Bannock camp and rescued my people away in the night under orders of General Howard, and took them to Camp McDermot [Fort McDermit]. The campaign of course lasted all summer and then of course the Bannocks surrendered. They were going to be sent away to the fort where they belonged, awaiting orders, when late in the fall, in the month of November, I was given an instruction, that if I gathered all my people in Nevada, they were to go from Camp Harney back to this reservation. I did as I bargained, and I went from place to place throughout Nevada and I got five hundred of my people that were not within two hundred miles of Bannock Camp.
Chairman Stevens: Who gave you that order?
Mrs. Hopkins: The President sent the order to Major Cochrane, United States Army Officer at Camp Harney.
Chairman Stevens: What was the name of that agent, who was the brother-in-law of a Judge in Oregon?
Mrs. Hopkins: I think you must all be acquainted with it, Mr. Rinehart. So I gathered my people there and in December when I got them there at Camp Harney, under military care, I expected every day to have my people go back under the permission of a new agent, and go on making our homes the same as before. But here came an order from the President to take all the five hundred Piutes under you care there and take them across the Blue Mountains, and across the Columbia River, to Yakima Reservation.
This order came in December. Imagine what a severe winter it is out there at that time. They could not disobey the order although everything was said that could be in our [defense?]. But we took up the march, and the soldiers had good buffalo shoes and buffalo robes and prepared for their comfort, and here were my people. They were poor and had no clothing and no blankets and no buffalo robes, and nothing to make them warm, because we did not belong to a buffalo country. We took up our march and marched over drifting snow, my people carrying their little children. Well it took us a good while. Some times after we camped here and there, something was coming come along making a great noise. Some white people would mimic and mock them. Women would be coming along crying, and it was not because they were cold, for they were used to the cold. It was not because they were sick, for they suffered a great deal. The woman was crying because she also was carrying her little frozen child in her arms, and of course the soldiers never could stop, and they would dig into the snow as deep as over your head, to dig a grave, and even if they wanted to dig a grave they could not, and the only way the mother could do was to stop off onto one side and dig out a little hole and stick her little frozen child under the snow.
This was the way my people marched three hundred miles, and the dear little children strung along side of the road frozen to death for nothing but to punish us for all those thirty that went off with the Bannocks. Sometimes a wagon would be left behind too late to get in on account of the snow storm and an old man would be left in the wagon and when we would go back next day to get the wagon he would be found frozen to death.
My peoples dead bodies were strung all along the road across the Columbia River to this Yakima Reservation. When we got there we were turned over to another man, and then after we got there we died off like a lot of beasts, and of course then the following winter I came right here to Washington. I began to lecture about it in San Fransisco [sic], and they sent for me and my father, the President did. We came on here and I pleaded — at least my father did — and of course my father asked for that same reservation back again. Says he I did not do anything. He said my people did not do anything. He said that our people had saved the lives of white people, and were now scattered everywhere and why should my people be punished like that. He asked them to give it back to us, which they did, and I will show you how I got it.
I got the reservation. I got 100 acres for each head of a family to work on and to live on, and I got it all back and I went home with my father. We could not sleep at night, we were so happy. We were happy [illegible] . . . we had gained the whole world when we were taking back these beautiful things to make our people happy again. I got it and took it home and carried it from place to place.
It has never been fulfilled, it is there on that paper, and I was also appointed as interpreter for my people at the same time, for whom I strived, but never got a penny for it. This is the way we are trifled with. On account of that people I would not come back and plead, because I had lost confidence and I come pleading to you, to the people, trying to interest the people in this thing and have the people give me a home. That is why I am pleading and begging rom place to place and have been for a year and three months. Now my people say it is useless for me to ask for that Reservation back, and they say they would like to take anything you will give them and they will take this Camp McDermot, although Camp McDermot is worthless.
[Illegible] . . . thing has been said in behalf of my people returning; even the army officers have interceded for my people and told their testimony that the people they were keeping as prisoners had done nothing, had not raised an arm against anybody and it was a shame that they should be treated so. yet, it was not listened to and they were held there long enough, three years or four years open the reservation called the Malheur; and today I should not wonder if any of you were to go on that reservation that you would find that Judge Curry and Mr. Rinehart had got a good portion of that reservation.
So you see they could not get back. How could any one get back to any place where they wanted to go and were not permitted to go while the lion was lying there with his mouth open ready to shut his teeth down upon them if they made the attempt. But they did not care after they had thrown their reservation open; they let them go back the best way they could last spring and now they are at camp McDermot. Judge Pennyfield writes to my friends in Boston Mrs. Horace Mann and Miss Peabody that my people were really in need of food and of clothing, and those two ladies have interested their friends so they have sent out there first 13 barrels of clothes, and this last week they wen tout five more to relieve these poor people that are naked and in want.
So we have no reservation, no home and now I ask you for my people to restore us and put us I do not care where as long as it is in our own home, in the home where we were born, and that is all.
Mr. George: Where was your original home?
Mrs. Hopkins: All through that portion of the Dalles was our country long ago before we were disturbed.
Mr. George: Tell the committee how far Camp McDermot is from your original home?
Mrs. Hopkins: It is two hundred and odd miles from the one we lost and the Malheur or south of it and eighty miles from Winnemucca station in Nevada north.
Mr. George: Would all this land you are asking for be in the northern part of Nevada?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: You say that you do not care to go back to the Malheur reservation because that is already occupied by white people?
Mrs. Hopkins: My people say it is useless for them to apply for this reservation because they well know that no reservation that is worth anything has ever been restored to Indians anywhere. But send them to Camp McDermot or Humboldt or along Humboldt River or any such place.
Chairman Stevens: Have you seen the Secretary of the Interior relative to this proposition?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, I have. I have seen Commissioner Price. I have seen Secretary Teller and I have seen the President.
Chairman Stevens: If it is a proper question what did they say; what encouragement did they give to you?
Mrs. Hopkins: They said they would see about it. Their eyes are not opened yet I guess.
Chairman Stevens: Where do you think you people would be best satisfied, among the vacant lands or on the reservations; where do you think it would be the best for them to be located and have a home?
Mrs. Hopkins: At Camp McDermot.
Mr. Skinner: there are 3975 acres of land in the Camp McDermot reservation in Nevada.
Chairman Stevens: If your people should be allowed to go upon this reserve have they the means to support themselves in homes and open up their farms and could they be self sustaining from the start without any aid from the Government?
Mrs. Hopkins: We could not at the present time, for some time, because we had nothing. We have no horses, we have nothing in the world and even if we have we have no where to keep them.
Chairman Stevens: How many people are there in the tribe?
Mrs. Hopkins: The entire Piute tribe amounts to 3600 at the last account my brother wrote to me about it. We have a piece of a reservation at a place called Punic [Pyramid] Lake. We have the lake only and a little piece around the bands of the river. That was our first reservation but the Central Pacific Railroad had taken that. The railroad runs at the south end of it, crosses right at the head of it. They gave the people privilege to run about 15 or 16 miles down the river. There were two lakes in this reservation at one time, but we have now only one.
Chairman Stevens: I want to go back to you first statement and make inquiry about one matter that you spoke of. This irrigating ditch; that was dug, I understand you to say?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: Was it filled with water and made useful?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, it was made useful. The first year we had the first crop and used it and the second spring it was used by Mr. Rinehart.
Chairman Stevens: That is now used by him.
Mrs. Hopkins: Probably; I do not know who uses it.
Chairman Stevens: Do you know whether the Government appropriated any money to build this ditch or whether anybody got any money to build it or whether it was done by the labor of your people entirely?
Mrs. Hopkins: I do not know. It was done by my people; it was worked by my people every bit of it. We built a very good road too, towards Canon City.
Chairman Stevens: Have you any idea how long that ditch was?
Mrs. Hopkins: There were two ditches; one is three miles and the other five.
Chairman Stevens: I have heard of these ditches and the amount of money expended by the Government on them.
Mrs. Hopkins: After the Bannock War, after 1878, this agent staied there one or two years afterwards and he drew supplies and the papers in California were talking about it.
Chairman Stevens: You spoke about working for this new agent who came with his brother-in-law as you say, and he paid you. What work did your people do for him for which he was to give them a dollar a day?
Mrs. Hopkins: They cleared land and cut fence railings the same as they did for Mr. Parish and worked on the roads.
Chairman Stevens: Who did they do that for, or who if you know, did you suppose you were doing it for, for an individual or for the benefit of the Indians?
Mrs. Hopkins: No, sir; the agent told us it was not for us, but to improve Government land; that it belonged to our big father in Washington and that we were working for him.
Chairman Stevens: Do you know where Major Rinehart is now?
Mrs. Hopkins: I do not.
Chairman Stevens: Whether he is on the reserve or about the agency buildings?
Mrs. Hopkins: I do not know.
Chairman Stevens: You know that the agency buildings and the ground around the agency has not yet been sold by the Government?
Mrs. Hopkins: I do not know. It was reported that the whole of the reservation was to be sold for our benefit, but we never heard from it since.
Mr. George: Did your people get any pay from Mr. Parish?
Mrs. Hopkins: No, Sir; because we were told they were doing it for themselves.
Chairman Stevens: You cultivated the land and raised your potatoes, turnips cabbages and so on?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: Did you ever sow any grain on the land that you cleared for this other man?
Mrs. Hopkins: No, sir.
Chairman Stevens: And he told you that you were doing this work for your great father to improve his land, and he very kindly paid for his great father out of his store one dollar a day.
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: He was a very generous man.
Mrs. Hopkins: I want to say a word. He occupied the position of agent there until 1890 and then he was appointed storekeeper to take care of the Government buildings there, and he held the position of agent, without an Indian being on that reservation for two years, and the papers of Portland, of Walla Walla and the San Francisco Chronicle made so much noise about it that they removed him as agent and appointed him as store keeper. That is my recollection about it.
Mr. George: Do you know where he is now?
Mrs. Hopkins: I do not know where he is now.
Mr. George: The buildings are still there. The status of this reservation is simple this. In the year 1880 or 1881 it was thrown open to public settlement by an executive order, except the lands around and adjacent to the reservation building, and that under a statue, was put up and offered for sale by the local land officers and some dispute arose as to the legality of that sale and the matter is pending now before the department with probabilities that the sale will be set aside and anew sale ordered. So that the title has not yet passed out of the Government for any of this land around the agency buildings.
Chairman Stevens: Probably 160 acres.
Mr. George: No, it is a much larger tract. It covers the low land. (To Mrs. Hopkins) Isn’t’ that low land there?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, it is.
Mr. Hopkins: There must be seven or eight hundred acres there.
Chairman Stevens: Is it your understanding Mr. George that it makes any difference to the Indians whatever whether this land is sold or not or what it brings?
Mr. George: No, sir. So far as the law stands they have no interest in the sale of this land.
Chairman Stevens: Does any other member of the Committee desire to ask further questions?
Mr. George: Mrs. Hopkins referred to a gentleman whom she said had been engaged in selling fire water. I would like to ask her who she refers to?
Mr. George: Major Rinehart?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Mrs. Hopkins: Do I understand you to say that you desire this land in severalty if the Government is not going to give you the Camp McDermot reservation?
Mrs. Hopkins: We only wish to get the benefit of the bill which is pending in the House.
Chairman Stevens: You have no faith in a general reservation any more?
Mrs. Hopkins: No, sire. I presume there are about 1600 people to go there. We want that rather than to get nothing; rather than to be always and forever begging along the railroads. Anything is better than nothing.
Chairman Stevens: Do you think if your people were given either this Camp McDermot reservation or some other reserve that they are inclined to attempt to do any work and try to be self-sustaining?
Mrs. Hopkins: They will work if they get help, one or two years help and then I will show you that they will work and they go on and sustain themselves.
A member: When your young men are willing to work along the railroads the same as white young men can they not get work of that sort?
Mrs. Hopkins: There are two men of that sort now, but the Chinamen and all sorts of people are preferred before anybody else. All my people can do now is to be herders.
Mr. George: I would like to ask if Father Wilbur was not agent on this reservation at one time?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, he was.
Mr. George: Has he not been an agent there for many years?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Mr. George: And stands very highly in the estimation of the Department as a Government official and in the church of which he is a member?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, he does.
Mr. George: Have you any complaint to make of the treatment that Father Wilbur gave you?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, I have. He has been very good and kind to his Indians for so many years, but he is like everybody else that I know of. There were some supplies, 17 loads of blankets and clothing of all descriptions sent there and during my preaching or interpreting his sermons I converted 62 of my people into his church; but the supplies were lost and the religion also was lost by my people. That is all the complaint I have got against him. While he was so good to others he was not good to my people.
Mr. George: I wish to state here as this statement will be taken down that this is the first time I ever heard any complaint made in my state against either Col George B. Curry who is the United States Receiver of Public Lands, or against Major Rinehart who was formerly Indian agent there, I have have never before heard that either of these gentlemen had any of the lands in this reserve.
Mrs. Hopkins: Well we did not have it I guess.
Chairman Stevens: I understood Mrs. Hopkins to say that it might have been sold; she did not affirm it.
Mrs. Hopkins: I have talked to these personally personally about it to their face. It is not a hidden thing that I am saying I have published a book to which there was great opposition.
[illegible] . . . me and said everything that he could against me first about my character and about my husband and about his gambling, saying that he was only a travelling companion of mine. I thank him for his kindness because instead of doing me an injury he has done me favor. He tried to choke that book out of press in Boston, but my friends whom I made would not let it be done and they got up an a subscription and presented me with $600. and had my book published which I am not ashamed to give every man in the world to read and if I knew where Major Rinehart was I would send him a copy of my book. Everything I have said about Rinehart I would say to his face, and everything I have said about Father Wilbur I would say to his face. Therefore I am not ashamed.
Mr. George: I would like to ask you in reference to those Indians of the Piute tribe who live on the Yakima and went back to the lands around the Malheur and who you say are now suffering, if it is not true that their supplies failed at the Yakima?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes, it was taken there, the supplies were taken there by Wilbur, but my people came back just as they went. If the supplies were taken there, they went the same as the 17 loads of goods that came there while I was interpreting for Father Wilbur.
Mr. George: Did they receive nothing at all?
Mrs. Hopkins: They received no blankets. They were sold to everybody who had money to buy them. My people called on Father Wilber to tell them why he sold the things and he said Sarah, tell your people we have an order from Washington saying that we must sell the goods and make up so much money to send back to Washington and says he we have to make up so much money every year to hold our positions; those were the very words.
Chairman Stevens: Is there any indisposition on your part to state the name of the gentleman you referred to as opposing the publication of your book?
Mrs. Hopkins: It is Angel Bland.
Chairman Stevens: Where does he live?
Mrs. Hopkins: He is editor of this paper here. (The Council Fire) I do not know him at all. I never say him but once. I met him here in the Capitol.
Mr. George: Is it not true, as a matter of fact, that the House has by the Indian Appropriation Bill, under the recommendation of the Indian Bureau, appropriated this money for the Yakima reservation which would be available for supplies for the Piutes fi they were only back?
Mrs. Hopkins: It has been that way when they were there. Why didn’t they give it to them when they were there? They were there three or four years; three years and they didn’t get it.
Chairman Stevens: I understand that your desire is to so present this matter to the Committee as to induce legislation that shall give your people a permanent home somewhere.
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: That is what you are asking for.
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: And your first choice is Camp McDermot reservation?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Chairman Stevens: It has been the policy of the Government in years past to take these poor and smaller bands of Indians and put them down in the Indian Territory in a warmer climate where the Government has lands. How would it suit your people to go there?
Mrs. Hopkins: It wouldn’t suit my people to go there. They want to be just where they were born. They are not a people that want to go to other countries to better their condition; they want to remain just where they were born.
Chairman Stevens: That I understand they cannot do; they have to leave the Malheur Reserve.
Mrs. Hopkins: That is the only country we belong to.
Chairman Stevens: You want to remain in that general territory?
Mrs. Hopkins: Yes.
Mr. Hopkins: I would like to ask Mr. George concerning Mr. Rinehart whether he does not know that Mr. Rinehart kept a saloon in Canon City?
Mr. George: If he ever did I never have known anything about it. I do not say that he has not done it or that he has. I know nothing about it. I simply say that what has been stated here in regard to Major Rinehart is new to me.
Mr. Hopkins: I know from personal experience that Major Rinehart did keep a saloon in Canon City, and it has always ben a mystery to me how a saloon keeper could get an appointment as Indian Agent under the rule that agents must be appointed by Christian recommendation from some church. I certainly know from living two years in Walla Walla and being in San Francisco and Portland that the people never cased to talk about Major Rinehart and his doings.
Mr. George: I submit that it makes no difference as to what Major Rinehart was before he was Indian agent; the question is what did he do while he was Indian Agent.
Chairman Stevens: Mrs. Hopkins has said something about his selling fire water. I would like to inquire if he had it on the reservation?
Mrs. Hopkins: No, sir; he did not bring anything. I did no stay; he gave me a walking paper because I reported him to the army officers.
Chairman Stevens: Was it alleged that he furnished your people fire water or whiskey?
Mrs. Hopkins: no, I do not think he furnished any on the reservation.
Chairman Stevens: Was it charged that he did?
Mrs. Hopkins: Oh no sir, my people said that they did not want him because they know him in Canon City. He had a store there. He sold out to a man named Margrets, I believe. I have all his letters in my possession.
Source: “Statement of Mrs. Hopkins,” HR 1884, House Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, University of Nevada Reno Special Collections, 10., Humboldt Museum, Winnemucca NV.
Also: Congressional Record, House, 48th Cong., 1st Sess. (24 January 1884); RG 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Indian Affairs, 48th Congress, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration; H.R. 6973, For the Relief of the Piute Indians, Committee on Indian Affairs, 48th Cong., 1st Sess. (12 May 1884)