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76 THE INDIAN IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
sometimes with a stovepipe and sometimes without. Here the food is cooked, mostly stewed, in a kettle hung gypsy fashion, or laid on stones over the fire. Around the fire, each in a particular place of his own, lies or sits the whole family. Sometimes the cooking is done out of doors, and in summer the close cabin is exchanged for a tepee or tent. Here they live, night and day. At night a blanket is hung up, partition ing the tent for the younger women, and if the family is very large, there are often two tents, in the smaller of which sleep the young girls in charge of an old woman. These tents or cabins are clustered close together, and their inhabitants spend their days smoking, talking, eating, or quarreling, as the case may be. Sometimes near them, sometimes miles away, is the agent's house and the government buildings. These are usually a commissary building where the food for the In dian is kept, a blacksmith shop, the store of the trader, school buildings, and perhaps a saw-mill. To this place the Indians come week by week for their food. The amount and nature of the rations called for by treaties vary greatly among differ ent tribes. But everywhere the Indian has come into some sort of contact with the whites, and usually he makes some shift to adopt the white man's ways. A few are rich, some own houses, and almost universally, at present, government schools teach the children something ot the elements of learn ing as well as the indispensable English. The immediate control of the reservation Indian is in the hands of the agent, whose power is almost absolute, and, like all depotisms, may be very good or intolerably bad according to the character of the man. The agencies are visited from time to time by inspectors, who report directly to the Com missioner of Indian Affairs, an officer of the Interior De partment and responsible to the Secretary, who is, of course, amendable to the President. In each House of Congress is a committee having charge of all legislation relating to Indian affairs. Besides these officials there is the Indian Commis sion already mentioned. The National Indian Rights Asso-