Quapaw Reservation

The Quapaw Indian reservation is situated in the extreme northeast corner of the agency, and is 6.5 miles wide north and south, 14 miles long east and west, and contains 56,685 acres of land. The land is mostly prairie and well watered. Indications of mineral are found on this reservation in almost all the land east of Spring River mid along the Missouri state line.

The tribe numbers 154 in all, 75 males and 79 females, of whom 100 speak English and 55 read it.

The farms of the Quapaws are small and not well cultivated; the fencing and improvements are mostly done by the whites. A very few of the young men have good farms and are quite industrious, but are retarded by the indolence of the older ones, who teach that none but the white man should work.

The appearance of the Quapaws, especially the older ones, shows fewer indications of civilization than that of other Indians at this agency. While they dress like white men, some still wear paint on their faces and feathers in their hats. The women dress in citizens’ clothes, but with very few exceptions wear nothing but handkerchiefs on their heads. They are not very neat or tidy and are not good housekeepers. Many of the older Indians show signs of-scrofula, and some are inclined to consumption. The women have a more healthy appearance than the men. During the year there were 5 births and 4 deaths. Their houses are built of logs; are small, poorly ventilated, and badly kept. They have 44 on the reservation, and none of them are overcrowded. There were 8 new houses built this year, the work being mostly done by the young men. Their employment is entirely farming and stock raising. There are no churches on the reservation. The Quapaws are Catholics, and a priest visits them once a month for spiritual instruction, which is mostly given at their residences.

The reservation has a boarding school, situated 12 miles north of the agency. The buildings are 6 in number: 1 is used for schoolroom and dormitory; 1 a carpenter shop and storeroom combined; 1 building is used as dining room, with sleeping room up stairs; 1 building for girls’ dormitory and dining room for employees, and 1 for laundry and priests’ house: In this school are ‘taught, besides the usual elementary lessons, sewing, cooking, and laundry and house work of all kinds. Boys are taught farming in all its branches. The average attendance during the past year was 39, which is about its full capacity.

The crimes of this tribe are few and mostly minor offenses which are adjusted by the agent. They have an Indian police, and good order is maintained.

The older Indians still keep up many of the old dances, such as the stomp dance and dog dance. The war dance has been abandoned.

They nearly all speak the Indian language, and many who can speak English will riot do so unless to their advantage. In their councils with the whites they all talk through an interpreter, although some of them may be able to speak good English. Their chiefs are hereditary, and the medicine man is still in existence. Polygamy has been entirely abandoned, and the marriage relation is sacredly kept.


Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894.

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