When the last of the Indians were herded off their lands and sent packing to the reservation, the government no longer even pretented to believe in treaties. Land was now too valuable for bargains,and there was no reason now to fear violence from the Indians and every reason to fear the wrath of the white voters.
Few trees grew in so arid, so sour a soil, and the drinking water in shallowwells stank of sulfur. The Indians agent lived in a neat, white-painted frame house and was scrupulous about raising and lowering the American flag at the proper times. It pleased him to let his twoclean, bright-eyed children assist him, and they had learned never to let the flag fly in a storm nor to allow it to touch the ground.
The agent was not a bad fellow, but against the arrival of the menfrom the Department of the Interior, he thought it expedient to sometimes enforce the rules of the reservation.
No liquor sold or consumed. All the world knows Indians do not drink so well aswhite people.
No leaving the reservation without a permit. The whites could not be bothered with wandering Indians. Permits were granted only for some pressing reason. As the Indians had no place to goand no friends to shelter them, the question seldom came up.
No firearms. There was no need for firearms. Once the Indians lived on the reservation, all meat was doled out to them at thegovernment store.
But Edwars Nappo had a gun, a twenty-two rifle that had belonged to his father and the last thing his father owned that had not been burned, as is the custom, at his father's death. Thesmall rifle leaned in a corner of the shed where the cow slept ; not much of a gun, but it was an accurate little piece, and his father's. His father, the chief.
Now Edward would have been chief, hadthey not come to the reservation, and even so, he sometimes thought of himself as chief, when he got to dreaming, and dreaming he told his son of the land he knew as a child, the land the boy had...
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