Camp Steele, San Juan W.T.
April 10 1868
In reply to your letter in relation to Indian relics &c, I have to say that I am willing to do all I can in the matter; but that there are few or no Indians on this Island, and such articles are not procurable here by ordinary means.
In Victoria, in the shops, many articles such as you speak of, can be got; but not knowing how much money would be allowed for their purchase, I could not buy. Prices generally are high, as with everything else, on this coast.
One article, a really valuable relic, a shawl made by a tribe north of this place, for instance, was charged at $25.00: another at $10.00 &c. After officers exchange their paper pay into gold, & then buy the larger portion of the necessaries of life at prices nominally higher in gold than in paper at the East, they have but little left for speculations of such a kind.
Had I any information of the amount allowable, or a certain sum to expend, I might do something. Crania, or anything else, to be got without cost, I will try to procure.
I will also try to enlist Contract Surgeons in the work, as you desire.
Asst Surg. USA
Dr. Otis USA