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Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Nevada Indians

 Native American Nations | A Century of Dishonor                   

 

The tribes residing in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada are divided as follows: in Colorado, about 3800; New Mexico, 19,000; Utah, 10,000; Arizona, 25,000; and Nevada, 13,000.

Colorado
The Indians residing in Colorado Territory are the Tabequache band of Ute, at the Los Pino Agency, numbering 3000, and the Yampa, Grand River, and Uintah bands of the White River Agency, numbering 800. They are native to the section which they now inhabit, and have a reservation of 14,784,000 acres in the western part of the Territory, set apart for their occupancy by treaty made with them in 1868. The two agencies above named are established on this reservation, the White River Agency being in the northern part, on the river of that name, and the other in the south-eastern part. This reservation is much larger than is necessary for the number of Indians located within its limits; and, as valuable gold and silver mines have been, or arc alleged to have been, discovered in the southern part of it, the discoveries being followed by the inevitable prospecting parties and miners, Congress, by Act of April 23d, 1872, authorized the Secretary of the Interior to enter into negotiations with the Utes for the extinguishment of their right to the south part of it.

A few of these Indians, who have declined to remove to and remain upon the reservation, still roam in the eastern part of the Territory, frequently visiting Denver and its vicinity, and causing some annoyance to the settlers by their presence, but committing no acts of violence or extensive depredations. The Indians of Colorado have thus far shown but little interest in the pursuits of civilized life or in the education of their children. A school is in operation at the Northern or White River Agency, with an attendance of forty scholars. Steps are also being taken to open one at the southern or Los Pinos Agency.

New Mexico
The tribes residing and roaming within the limits of New Mexico are the Navajoe the Mescalero, Gila, and Jicarilla bands of Apaches; the Muache, Capote, and Weeminuche bands of Utes; and the Pueblos.

Navajo
The Navajo now number 0114, an increase of 880 over last year's enumeration. Superintendent Pope considers this increase to be mainly due to the return, during the year, of a number who had been held in captivity by the Mexicans. They have a reservation of 3,328,000 acres in the north-western part of New Mexico and north-eastern part of Arizona, set apart for then/ by treaty of 1868. These Indians are natives of the section of the country where they are now located. Prior to 1864 no less than seven treaties had been made with these tribes, which were successively broken on their part, and that, with but one exception, before the Senate could take action on the question of their ratification. In 1864 the Navajo were made captives by the military, and taken to the Bosque Redondo Reservation, which had been set apart for the Mescalero Apaches, where they were for a time held as prisoners of war, and then turned over to this Department. After the treaty of 1868 had been concluded, they were removed to their present location, where they have, as a tribe, remained quiet and peaceable, many of them being engaged in agriculture and in raising sheep and goats. Of these they have large flocks, numbering 130,000 head, which supply them not only with subsistence, but also with material from which they manufacture the celebrated, and for warmth and durability unequalled, Navajo blanket. They also have a stock of 10,000 horses. These Indians are industrious, attend faithfully to their crops, and even put in a second crop when the first, as frequently happens, is destroyed by drought or frost. One school is in operation on the reservation, with an attendance of forty scholars.

Mescalero Apache
These Indians, numbering about 830, are at present located-not, however, upon a defined reservation secured to them-near Fort Stanton, in the eastern part of the Territory, and range generally south of that point. Prior to 1864 they were located on the Bosque Redondo Reservation, where they were quiet and peaceable until the Navajoes wereo removed to that place. Being unable to live in harmony with the newcomers, they fled from the reservation, and until quite recently have been more or less hostile. They are now living at peace with the whites, and conducting themselves measurably well. They have no schools, care nothing apparently about the education of their children, and are not to any noticeable extent engaged in farming, or in any pursuit of an industrial character.

These Indians have no treaty with the United States; nor do they receive any annuities. They are, however, subsisted in part by the Government, and are supplied with a limited quantity of . clothing when necessary. In addition to the Mesoaleros proper, Agent Curtis reports as being embraced in his agency other Indians, called by him Aguas Nuevos, 440; Lipans, 350 (probably from Texas); and Southern Apaches, 310, whose proper home is no doubt upon the Tularosa Reservation. These Indians, the agent remarks, came from the Comanche country to his agency at various dates during the past year.

Gila (sometimes called Southern) Apaches.
This tribe is composed of two hands, the Mimbres and Mogollons, and number about 1200. They are warlike, and have for years been generally unfriendly to the Government. The citizens of Southern New Mexico, having long suffered from their depredatory acts, loudly demanded that they be removed; and to comply with the wish of the people, as well as to prevent serious diffioulties and possibly war, it was a year or two since decided to provide the Indians with a reservation distant from their old home, and there establish them. With a view to that end a considerable number of them were collected early last year at Canada Alamosa. Subsequently, by Executive order dated November 9th, 1871, a reservation was set apart for them with other roving bands of Apaches in the Tularosa Valley, to which place 450 of them are reported to have been removed during the present year by United States troops. These Indians, although removed against their will, were at first pleased with the change, but, after a short experience of their new home, became dissatisfied; and no small portion left the reservation to roam outside, disregarding the system of passes established. They bitterly object to the location as unhealthy, the climate being severe and the water bad. There is undoubtedly much truth in these complaints. They ask to be taken back to Canada Alamosa, their own home, promising there to be peaceable and quiet. Of course nothing can be said of them favorable to the interests of education and labor. Such of these Indians as remain on the reservation are being fed by the Government. They have no treaty with the United States; nor do they receive annuities of any kind.

Jicarilla Apache
These Indians, numbering about 850, have for several years been located with the Muache Utes, about 650 in number, at the Cimarron Agency, upon what is called "Maxwell's Grant," in North-eastern New Mexico. They have no treaty relations with the Government; nor have they any reservation set apart for them. Efforts were made some years ago to have them, with the Ute referred to, remove to the large Ute Reservation in Colorado, but without success. The Cimarron Agency, however, has lately been discontinued; and these Apaches will, if it can be effected without actual conflict, be removed to the Mescalero Agency at Fort Stanton. Four hundred Jicarilla Apaches are also reported as being at the Tierra Amarilla Agency.

Muache, Weeminuche, and Capote Ute
These bands the Muache band, numbering about 650, heretofore at the Cimarron Agency, and the other two bands, numbering 870, at the Abiquiu Agency-are all parties to the treaty made with the several bands of Utes in 1868. It has been desired to have these Indians remove to their proper reservation in Colorado; but all efforts to this end have thus far proved futile. The discontinuance of the Cimarron Agency may have the effect to cause the Muache to remove either to that reservation or to the Abiquiu Agency, now located at Tierra Amarilla, in the north-western part of the territory. These three bands have generally been peaceable, and friendly to the whites. Recently, however, some of them have shown a disposition to be troublesome; but no serious difficulty is apprehended. None of them appear disposed to work for a subsistence, preferring to live by the chase and on the bounty of the Government; nor do they show any inclination or desire to have their children educated, and taught the habits and customs of civilized life. Declining to remove to and locate permanently upon the reservation set apart for the Ute in Colorado, they receive no annuities, and participate in none of the benefits provided in the treaties of 1863 and 1868 with the several bands of Ute Indians referred to under the head of "Colorado."

Pueblo
The Pueblos, so named because they live in villages, number 7683. They have 439,664 acres of land confirmed to them by Act of Congress of December 22d, 1858, the same consisting of approved claims under old Spanish grants. They have no treaty with the United States, and receive but little aid from the Government. During the past two years efforts have been made, and are still being continued, to secure the establishment of schools in all the villages of the Pueblos, for the instruction of their children in the English language. Five such schools are now being conducted for their benefit.

The history of the Pueblos is an interesting one. They are the remains of a once powerful people, and in habits and modes of life are still clearly distinguished from all other aborigines of the continent. The Spanish invaders found them living generally in towns and cities. They are so described by Spanish historians as far back as 1540. They early revolted, though without success, against Spanish rule; and in the struggle many of their towns were burnt, and much loss of life and property occasioned. It would seem, however, that, in addition to the villagers, there were others at that time living dispersed, whose reduction to Pueblos was determined upon and made the subject of a decree by Charles V. of Spain, in 1546, in order chiefly, as declared, to their being instructed in the Catholic faith. Under the Spanish Government schools were established at the villages; the Christian religion was introduced, and impressed upon the people, and the rights of property thoroughly protected. By all these means a high degree of civilization was secured, which was maintained until after the establishment of Mexican independence; when, from want of Government care and support, decay followed, and the Pueblos measurably deteriorated, down to the time when the authority of the United States was extended over that country: still they are a remarkable people, noted for their sobriety, industry, and docility. They have few wants, and are simple in their habits and moral in their lives. They are, indeed, scarcely to be considered Indians, in the sense traditionally attached to that word, and, but for their residence upon reservations patented to these bands in confirmation of ancient Spanish grants, and their continued tribal organization, might be regarded as a part of the ordinary population of the country. There are now nineteen villages of these Indians in New Mexico. Each village has a distinct and organized government, with its governor and other officers, all of whom are elected annually by the people, except the cacique, a sort of high-priest, who holds his office during life. Though nominally Catholics in religion, it is thought that their real beliefs are those of their ancestors in the days of Montezuma.

Utah
The tribes residing wholly or in part within the limits of Utah are the North-western, Western, and Goship bands of Shoshone; the Weber, Yampa, Elk Mountain, and Uintah bands of Utes; the Timpanogo, the San Pitches, the Pah-Vent, the Piede, and She- he-rme.chers-all, with the exception of the Shoshones, speaking the Ute language, and being native to the country inhabited by the Northwestern, Western, and Goship Shoshone. These three hands of Shoshone, numbering together about 3000, have treaties made with the Government in 1863. No reservations were provided to be set apart for them by the terms of said treaties, the only provision for their benefit being the agreement on the part of the United States to furnish them with articles, to a limited extent and for a limited term, suitable to their wants as hunters or herdsmen. Having no reservations, but little can be done for their advancement. They live in North-western Utah and Northeastern Nevada, and are generally inclined to be industrious, many of them gaining a livelihood by working for the white settlers, while others cultivate small tracts of land on their own account.

The Weber Ute, numbering about 300, live in the vicinity of Salt Lake City, and subsist by hunting, fishing, and begging. The Timpanago, numbering about 500, live south of Salt Lake City, and live by hunting and fishing. The San Pitches, numbering about 300, live, with the exception of some who have gone to the Uintah Valley Reservation, in the country south and east of the Timpanago, and subsist by hunting and fishing. The PahVent number about 1200, and occupy the Territory south of the Goship, cultivate small patches of ground, but live principally by hunting and fishing. The Yampa Utes, Piede, Piute, Elk Mountain Ute, and She-be-recher live in the eastern and southern parts of the Territory. They number, as nearly as can be estimated, 5200; do not cultivate the soil, but subsist by hunting and fishing, and at times by depredating in a small way upon the white settlers. They are warlike and migratory in their habits, carrying on a petty warfare pretty much all the time with the southern Indians. These bands of Utes have no treaties with the United States: they receive no annuities, and but very little assistance from the Government.

The Uintah Ute, numbering 800, are now residing upon a reservation of 2,039,040 acres in Uintah Valley, in the north-eastern corner of the Territory, set apart for the occupancy of the Indians in Utah by Executive order of October 3d, 1861, and by Act of Congress of May 5th, 1864. This reservation comprises some of the best farming land in Utah, and is of sufficient extent to maintain all the Indians in the Territory. Some of the Indians located here show a disposition to engage in agriculture, though most of them still prefer the chase to labor. No steps have yet been taken to open a school on the reservation. The Uintah Ute have no treaty with the United States; but an appropriation averaging about $10,000 has been annually made for their civilization and improvement since 1863.

Arizona
The tribes residing in the Territory of Arizona are the Pima and Maricopa, Papago, Mohave, Moqui, and Oriva Pueblo, Yuma, Yavapai, Hualapai, and different bands of the Apaches. All are native to the districts occupied by them, respectively.

Pinta and Maricopa.
These, said to have been in former years "Village" or "Pueblo " Indians, number 4342, and occupy a reservation of 64,000 acres, set apart for them under the Act of February 28th, 1859, and located in the central part of the Territory, on the Gila River. They are, and always have been, peaceful and loyal to the Government; are considerably advanced, according to a rude form of civilization, and being industrious, and engaged quite successfully, whenever the conditions of soil and climate are favorable, in farming operations, are nearly self- sustaining. The relations of these bands with the neighboring whites are, however, very unfavorable to their interests; and the condition of affairs is fast growing worse. The difficulty arises out of the fact of the use, and probably the improvident use, by the whites above them, of the water of the Gila River, by which they are deprived of all means of of irrigating their lands. Much dissatisfaction is manifested on this account; and the result is, so far, that many of the Indians have left the reservation, and gone to Salt River Valley, where they are making a living by tilling the soil, not, however, without getting into trouble at this point also with the settlers.

The Pimas and Maricopas are greatly interested in the education of their children. Two schools are in operation on the reservation, with an attendance of 105 scholars. These tribes have no treaty with the United States, and receive but little assistance from the Government.

Pepago
These Indians, numbering about 5000, are of the same class, in some respects, as the Pueblos in New Mexico, living in villages, cultivating the soil, and raising stock for a support. They have no reservation set apart for their occupancy, but inhabit the south-eastern part of the Territory. Many of them have embraced Christianity; and they are generally well-behaved, quiet, and peaceable. They manifest a strong desire to have their children educated; and steps to this end have been taken by the Department. These Indians have no treaty relations with the United States, and receive no assistance from the Government. The expediency of assigning to the Papagoes a reservation, and concentrating them where they can be brought within the direct care and control of the Government, is under consideration by the Department. There seems to be no reason to doubt that, if so established, and once supplied with implements and stock, they would become in a short time not only self-sustaining but prosperous.

Mohave
These Indians have a reservation of 75,000 acres, located on the Colorado River, and set apart for them and other tribes in the vicinity of said river, under the Act of March 3d, 1865. The Mohave number about 4000, of whom only 828 are on the reservation, the rest either roaming at large or being fed at other reservations in the Territory. An irrigating canal has been built for them at great expense; but farming operations have not as yet proved very successful. Over 1100 acres, however, are being cultivated by the Indians. The crops consist of corn, melons, and pumpkins. These Indians show but little progress in civilization. The parents objecting to the education of their children, no schools have been put in operation on the reservation, as they could be conducted only on a compulsory system. The Mohave have no treaty stipulations with the United States; but they are partly subsisted, and are largely assisted in their farming operations, from the general incidental fund of the Territory.

Yuma
These Indians number probably 2000. They inhabit the country near the mouth of the Colorado River, but belong to the reservation occupied by the Mohave. They refuse, however, to remove to the reservation, and gain a scanty subsistence by planting, and by cutting wood for steamers plying on the river. Many of them remain about Arizona City, performing menial services for the whites, and gratifying their inveterate passion for gambling. They have no treaty with the United States, and receive but little assistance from the Government.

Hualapai
These Indians, numbering about 1500, inhabit the country near the Colorado River, north of the Mohaves, ranging a considerable distance into the interior. They have been, and still are, more or less hostile. Those who are quiet and peaceable are, with members of other bands of Indians, being fed by the Government at Camps McDowell, Beal's Spring, and Date Creek.

Yarapai and Apache.
These Indians are estimated to number from 8000 to 12,000, the lower estimate being the more reasonable. Their ranging-grounds are in the central, northern, and eastern parts of the Territory. Most of them have long been hostile to the Government, committing numerous robberies and murders. Earnest efforts have been made during the past year to settle them on reservations, three of which, viz., Camp Apache, Camp Grant, and Camp Verde, were set apart for their occupancy by Executive order dated November 9th, 1371. These efforts, however, have not resulted very successfully; the Indians occasionally coming upon the reservations in large numbers, but leaving without permission, and, indeed, defiantly, whenever so disposed, often times renewing their depredations before their supplies of government rations are exhausted. Many of the bands of this tribe (if it can be called a tribe; habits, physical structure, and language all pointing to a great diversity in origin among the several bands) are seemingly incorrigible, and will hardly be brought to cease their depredations and massacres except by the application of military force.

Nevada
The tribes residing in Nevada are Pah-Ute, Piute, Washoe, Shoshone, and Bannock, and are native to the districts inhabited by them respectively.

Pala-Ute
These Indians, numbering about 6000, inhabit the western part of the State. Two reservations have been set apart for them-one known as the Walker River, the other as the Pyramid Lake Reservation, containing each 320,000 acres. These Indians are quiet, and friendly to the whites-are very poor, and live chiefly upon fish, game, seeds, and nuts, with such assistance as the Government from time to time renders them. They show considerable disposition to labor; and those on the reservations, especially the Walker River Reservation, are cultivating small patches of ground. The Pyramid Lake Reservation affords, in addition, excellent fishing, and the surrounding settlements a ready market for the catch over and above what the Indians require for their own consumption. No schools have been established for these Indians. They have no treaty relations with the Government, and receive no annuities.

Piute
The Piute, numbering probably 2500, inhabit the south-eastern part of the State. They have no reservation set apart for them; nor have they any treaty with the United States. They roam about at will, are very destitute, and obtain a living principally by pilfering from the whites, although a few of them are engaged in a small way in farming. But very little can be done for these Indians by the Government in their present unsettled condition. They should 'be brought upon one of the reservations set apart for the Indians in Nevada, or upon the Uintah Reservation in Utah, where they could receive suitable care and proper instruction in the arts of civilized life.

Washoe
These Indians, numbering about 500, are a poor, miserable, and debauched people, and spend most of their time among the white settlements, where they gain some supplies of food and clothing by menial services. They have no reservation and no treaty, are not in charge of any agent of the Government; and vice and disease are rapidly carrying them away.

Shoshone
The Shoshone are a portion of the North-western, Western, and Goship bands, referred to under the head of " Utah." Those roaming or residing in the eastern part of Nevada number about 2000. The remarks made respecting their brethren in Utah will equally apply to them.

Bannock
The Bannocks, roaming in the north-eastern part of the State, number, probably, 1500, and are doubtless a portion of the people of that name ranging in Eastern Oregon and Southern Idaho. They have no treaty with the Government, nor any reservation set apart for them, and are not in charge of any United States agent. They should, if possible, be located upon the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho, where some steps could be taken to advance them in civilization.


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A Century of Dishonor, By Helen Hunt Jackson, New York, Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1885

A Century of Dishonor

 

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