Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/39

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The Umatillas

upon it, and occasional attempts to exasperate the Indians into the commission of some overt act which will justify, or at least palliate, retaliation, and thus give an excuse for plunging the country into another Indian war, the end of which, they well know, would be the expulsion of the Indians from the coveted tract."

And their agent confirms the presence of the cloud that hangs over these children of the forest:

"The only cause of discontent existing in their minds is the constant fear that the reservation will be taken from them and thrown open to settlement by the whites."

Again, in the following year: "The Indians, who are superior to most tribes in intellect and energy, are very much attached to their home, and very reluctant to abandon it. Some thoughtless whites have talked quite freely about driving the Indians off and taking possession by force. During a visit last spring to that agency and vicinity I heard threats of that sort repeated many times. Public meetings of citizens have been held to devise means to have the tract opened for settlement, and petitions for the same object to Congress and to the State Legislature have been circulated and numerously signed. The Indians are hence very uneasy and very much alarmed. There are here, as on probably every frontier, a few reckless villains who desire to provoke a war."