REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
OFFICE INDIAN AFFAIRS,
November 15, 1871.
SIR: The duty of making the usual annual report of this Bureau having devolved upon me as Acting Commissioner, by reason of the resignation of General E.S. Parker in July last, and of the continued vacancy in the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs up to the present time, I have the honor to present herein a summary of the affairs of this branch of the public service since the date of the last annual report.
In accordance with what is so generally known as the Indian policy inaugurated by President Grant, it has been, during the past year, the aim of the Department to secure, in the administration of affairs under its charge, the greatest good and best results practicable. Much has been accomplished by intrusting to men of good standing and moral character the responsible offices of superintendents and agents; by earnest endeavors, through conciliatory measures, rather than by force or threatenings, to promote order and the interests of peace with the more intractable and hostile-disposed tribes; by seeking to inspire the confidence of the Indians in the Government, by dealing fairly and liberally with them, and observing faithfully and promptly the treaty stipulations and provisions made by law for their benefit; and by encouraging every disposition and effort on their part to better their condition, by whatever means would tend to that end. As a result may be adduced the prevalence generally of peace with tribes who have hitherto been in open hostility to the Government; the marked and gratifying change in the views and feelings of many of their members in regard to the necessity of abandoning their roving habits, and of establishing themselves upon reservations, where they can be properly cared for and civilized; the improved state of other tribes who have long been friendly; and the efficient and judicious management, except in a very few instances, by the officers of the Department of the trusts committed to them. This condition of affairs, it is submitted, will warrant the assertion that the conduct of the service the past year has been wise, prudent, and measurably successful, and affords sufficient reason for indulging the hope of the early accomplishment of the beneficent designs of the Government toward the Indian race.
While, however, good order and peace have been maintained among most of the tribes, disturbances and outrages have occasionally occurred, which will probably be the case until the parties who originate them are brought under proper restraint and influence. A spirit of lawlessness, disaffaction, and even of hostile intent, still exists among some of the nomadic tribes, which, it is not unjustly apprehended, is engendered and fostered often by white persons or citizens from sinister motives.
The Indians most difficult of management, and who have caused the greatest trouble during the past year, are certain bands of Apaches in the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Kiowas and Comanches of the Indian Territory. Those in the first-named Territory, warlike in their disposition from time immemorial, have changed but little, and most of them are still under the surveillance of the military, at whose hands they have at times suffered severely, in consequence of their numerous murders of citizens and frequent depredations. Of late, indications of a better feeling on the part of quite a large number of these Indians have been manifested, and they have expressed a desire or willingness to settle upon reservations and peaceably yield themselves to the control of the Government. A considerable body of them, in the earlier part of the year, had gathered in the vicinity of one of the military posts in the Territory for that purpose; but, unfortunately, an occurrence shortly afterward took place which, in a measure, dissipated the prospects that were becoming so favorable aroused apprehensions that they were to be wrongfully dealt with, and led to the manifestation of a determined hostile spirit on the part of some of their leaders. I refer to the massacre, at Camp Grant, of a large number of defenseless women and children, and a few men, by an armed party of citizens of Mexican origin, and some Papago Indians, an account of which is fully set forth in the accompanying documents to this report, marked A.
The Apaches of New Mexico, more particularly those known as the Southern or Gila bands, have been very troublesome, causing, by their frequent depredations and outrages, great loss and injury to citizens of that Territory. So exasperated had these citizens become, that they determined to wage a relentless warfare against the disturbers of their peace and depredators upon their property. For this purpose an organization was effected, and resolutions passed declarative of its intentions. Better counsels, however, prevailed, as the objects and intentions of the organization have not been carried into effect, nor has any effort been made to that end. Popular feeling in New Mexico appears to be set against the noted chief of the Apaches, named Cochise, who, with his followers, in his mountain recesses and haunts difficult of access by troops, seems to have set at defiance the power exerted for his capture and subjugation. Deeming it practicable to induce this chief and his people to be friendly, strenuous efforts have been made by this Department to get him to visit Washington, but, so far, without avail. However, recent advices represent favorably his disposition to comply with the wishes of the Government he having come in, with his followers, to a point twelve miles from Canada Alamosa, where a number of Apaches have been, for a year or two past, under the charge of an agent of this Bureau, and pledged himself to keep the peace, and to use his influence and efforts to gather all roving Apaches upon a reservation. There is now a better prospect of peace with these Apaches than ever, and it is confidently expected that the steps which are being taken to insure this result will be eminently successful. With a view to ascertain the condition of the Apache bands both in New Mexico and Arizona, and to provide for their future by establishing them in suitable homes, under proper regulations and restrictions, Hon. Vincent Colyer, secretary of the board of Indian commissioners, by directions from you, dated 21st July last, visited these Territories; and, after some time spent in communicating with some of the chief men of the Apaches, and in examining localities that might be desirable for Indian reservations, the following places were selected by him and reported to the Department, viz: Tularosa Valley, in New Mexico, for the Mimbres and Coyo-
tero Apaches of that Territory; Camp Apache, in the White Mountains, Arizona Territory, for Coyotero and Chilcow Apaches; Camp Grant, Arizona, for Arivaypa and Pinal Apaches; and Camp Verde, in the same Territory, for the Mohave Apaches. He also requests that temporary asylums be established at Camps McDowell, Beal Springs, and Date Creek, Arizona, where the Tontis, Hualapais and western band of Mohave Apaches may be protected and fed until such time as it shall be found practicable to remove them to one of the above-named reservations. Peaceably established on the reservations indicated; afforded the means of subsistence, and provided with aids for their instruction in agriculture and other industrial pursuits, it is believed that the citizens of New Mexico and Arizona will have but few occasions for complaint against these Indians hereafter. For more particular information regarding them, reference is made to Mr. Colyer's communications respecting his mission to New Mexico and Arizona, embraced in the report of the board of Indian commissioners herewith, marked A, and to the reports of Superintendents Pope and Bendell, and Agent Piper, numbered 32, 27, and 37.
In regard to the Kiowas and Comanches, referred to as among the most troublesome of the tribes, there is but little improvement in their behavior to report. A goodly number have remained upon their reservation, and conducted themselves in an orderly way; but many of them have proved, as hitherto, false to their promises, and have come far short of the expectations indulged that they would cease their raidings and crimes. The past year has marked their history with gross outrages, and there would doubtless have been a serious war inaugurated by them but for the watchfulness of the military and the agent in charge of their agency. Lenient measures and forbearance toward these restless and war-loving spirits appear apparently to have no effect in restraining their passion for plunder and war, and a severe treatment would seem to be the only wise and proper course to pursue to compel right conduct on their part. The arrest, lately, by the military, and the trial and conviction, with a sentence of death but which has been commuted to imprisonment for life in a State court of Texas, of two of their prominent chiefs, guilty of murder and robbery, will, it is believed, have a salutary effect upon the tribe; and action of this character, promptly taken, can but tend to lessen greatly the number of crimes for which these Indians are notorious, if not wholly prevent them. It is a question for consideration whether a like treatment would not have the effect to deter the vicious and unlawful of other wild tribes from similar conduct; and it is suggested that all Indian agents should be instructed, upon the commission of a crime by an Indian or party of Indians under their charge, coming to the knowledge of such agents, to arrest the offender or offenders, calling upon the military for assistance, if need be, and deliver them up for trial by the proper Federal or State court having jurisdiction in the case.
A large body of Apaches, numbering, it is reported, about one thousand, ranging in the Staked Plains, Texas, not attached to any agency, and who have never been on an Indian reservation, recently sent in word that they desire to cease raiding, and to come in and be established upon the reservation for the Kiowas and Comanches in the Indian Territory. With your approbation, directions have been given to the proper agent to make arrangements necessary to that end. When this band shall have been removed from Texas, there will be but comparatively few Indians residing within the limits of that State.
Of the tribes of late years hostile and difficult to manage, but now
quiet and disposed to be friendly, are the Arapahoes and Cheyennes.
No serious diffculties have arisen with them during the past year, and their conduct has been quite commendable. It is believed the visit of several of their prominent chiefs to this city last spring had a great tendency to conciliate the disaffected of the tribes, and will doubtlessbe productive of a better understanding of their treaty obligations, andtend to convince them that a strict and faithful compliance therewith will be to their best interests. Also of the Sioux Nation, in Dakota Territory, comprising a number of powerful bands, heretofore formidable in their opposition to the Government, it may be observed that they are in a good degree peaceable. Those upon the reservation selected for the whole nation are quiet; many of them are friend]y-disposed, and evince a willingness to abandon the hunter-life and become tillers of the soil. While the Government continues to provide for the wants of the Sioux, feeding and clothing them means by which they are kept in a better humor than they otherwise would be no outbreak or disorder of any extent need be apprehended. Some trouble is anticipated on account of the suspicion with which some of them look upon the projected Northern Pacific Railway being run through what they claim to be their country; but as yet no decided demonstration of opposition has been made by them. The Sioux of the band under the noted chief Red Cloud have for the time being a temporary location north of the Platte River, about thirty miles south of Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory. It is intended, when it can prudently be done to establish them at an agency somewhere within the limits of the reservation designated for the whole nation. Part of this band, dissatisfied with Red Cloud, and refusing to recognize him as their leader, have gone into Montana, having for their chief Sitting Bull. Unless carefully managed, these seceders, reported to have eight hundred lodges, may cause great trouble to the Government. Besides these Sioux roaming in Montana, without constraint, there is another large body of them in the same Territory, living in the neighborhood of their hereditary enemies, the Gros-Ventres and Assinaboines. They were, at the massacre in Minnesota of 1862, driven from that State, belong to no agency or reservation, and claim the right to follow the buffalo wherever they can find it. By the judicious management of the Department and its officers in Montana these Indians have been thus far kept quiet. They are apparently determined to remain upon the reservation provided for the Gros-Ventres and Assina-boines, and, so long as it is expedient to allow them to be there, must be supplied with the necessaries of life, or difficulties with them will inevitably follow. It is earnestly recommended that Congress should make the requisite appropriations for their proper care and subsistence by the Department. It may be well here to give the military view as to the disposition of the Sioux Nation, and especially the wandering portions of it, and as to the care to be exercised over them. One of the highest of the authorities in that branch of the service is of the opinion that, unless the civil Department can control the Sioux, hostilities will be again renewed, which the military may not be able for the time being to repress, with the limited power at its command; and it is suggested that a conciliatory course, under the circumstances, be pursued, and a liberal provision made for the wants of these Indians.
The Indians in Kansas, Nebraska, those in the Indian country, ex-cepting the Kiowas and others before mentioned, and in New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, who have been long in contact with the whites, and under influences favorable to their advancement and civilization, occasion but little trouble to the Government, or its
citizens, by whom they are surrounded. Many are well educated, and the possessors of good, cultivated farms, and others managers of a prosperous business. A large number of those residing in Michigan and Kansas, as also the Winnebagoes in Minnesota, have become citizens, and the probabilities are that most of those remaining in Kansas and Nebraska will, in a few years, if not removed to the Indian country and there brought under a territorial form of government, become merged into the citizen population and their tribal existence be extinguished.
Other Indians, as in Oregon, California, Nevada, and the several Territories, with the exception of the wilder and unfriendly part of them, hereinbefore noted, have been quiet and peaceable; but there is no very marked change in their condition to report. A few Seminoles yet remain in Florida, and quite a large number of Cherokees yet reside in North Carolina and several of the adjacent States. Measures are now being taken to remove the latter to the country of their brethren in the Indian country west of Arkansas.
The aggregate of the population of Indians within the boundaries of the United States, including Alaska, is estimated at 350,000. By the statistics furnished, regarding those under the care of agents, it is shown that with nearly all the tribes there is a decrease in number from year to year, arising from causes so well known, and often repeated. With those most advanced in civilization there is, however, a perceptible increase. The true policy of their preservation from utter extinction, before many years pass, it is generally admitted, is to prepare them as rapidly as possible to assume the relation of citizenship; by granting them increased facilities for the education of the young; by habituating them to industrial pursuits, and by the incentive to labor incited by a sense of ownership in property, which an allotment of their lands in severalty would afford, and by the benign and elevating influences of Christian teachings.
One of the most potent agencies for the civilization of the race is that of education. The means provided under treaty stipulations, and by special appropriations by Congress, are found to be entirely inadequate for the establishment and maintenance of any larger number of schools. Where, in many cases, buildings are required to be erected for school purposes, the funds applicable are barely sufficient for that object, so that when they are furnished and operations have commenced, other requirements for a successful carrying on of the schools cannot be met, and the undertakings either prove a failure or produce results scarcely appreciable. The $100,000 appropriated by Congress July the 15th, 1870, for educational purposes among tribes not provided with means therefor, has not yet been available, to any considerable extent, it being found difficult to make a satisfactory distribution of the same. Under the act appropriating said sum the money is to be expended among the tribes having no educational fund. Many of these tribes are wild and roving, without any fixed habitation where schools could be permanently established; others are opposed to schools; and others again manifest no desire to have them. In order to utilize this gift of the Government to the best possible advantage it is respectfully recommended that legislation be had by Congress giving discretionary power to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute the fund at such times and among such tribes as he shall be satisfied will produce the most beneficial results, whether the tribes have any other provision of this character or not.
Since the date of the last annual report of this office, by direction of the President of the United States, the office of several superintendents has been discontinued and the agents subordinate thereto now report
direct to the Indian Bureau. No detriment to the service has been caused by this change. The offices so discontinued number six, and a considerable sum, which was expended on account of salaries and office, incidental and traveling expenses, is thereby saved to the Government. The number of agencies, including those denominated special and subagencies, is at the present time seventy-four, the incumbents of which receive a compensation of $1,500 per annum, except three in California who receive $1,800 each, and the sub-agents, who receive $1,000 per year.
The existing laws regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, enacted many years ago, (1834,) and which were adapted to the time and to the condition of affairs among the Indians, are judged now to be inadequate to the purpose, or are so defective as to fail to secure the Indians against the encroachments of the whites, and the introduction of evils which have so much contributed to their demoralization and led to troubles and difficulties between them and the whites. A revision of these laws is very much to be desired to meet the changed circumstances now surrounding the Indians, arising out of the building of railroads through their lands, the rapid advance of white settlements, and the claims and rights of squatters, miners, and prospecting parties; also to provide some definite course to be pursued in cases of crimes committed by Indians against Indians; to express clearly the right of citizens to trade with Indians; and to define more specifically what is to be understood now as Indian country, especially as to the application of the term to the Territories of New Mexico, Utah, and other portions of country acquired by the United States from foreign powers subsequent to the law in question. Although the laws referred to, "or such provisions of the same as may be applicable," have been, by act of Congress approved February 27, 1851, extended over the Territories mentioned, it is a point at issue between certain parties and the Department whether trade by citizens who are inhabitants of these Territories, with Indians who may come to their places of business outside of an Indian reservation, is prohibited by law. A case is now being tested upon a suit brought against the superintendent of Indian affairs for Arizona, and the agent for the Pima and Maricopa Indians in that Territory, by a firm whose goods were seized by the agent for trading with the Indians without a license issued in accordance with law.
It is gratifying to report that in some portions of the country, more particularly in Montana Territory, by the vigorous and determined action of the superintendent of Indian affairs there the traffic in spirituous liquors with the Indians has been to a considerable extent suppressed. During the year a number of persons have been arrested, tried, and convicted, for the first time in the history of that Territory, for selling liquor to Indians. In Washington Territory, also, efforts made in the same direction have been quite successful. Much credit is due to the officers who have shown such activity and zeal in this matter, and it is hoped that others may be inspired, by their example and success, to seek to accomplish like results, so that this bane to the Indian race may be greatly abated if not altogether removed.
Under the legislation of Congress appropriating money for the removal of the Kickapoo Indians, who, many years ago, left the Indian country and went to Mexico, back to the United States, steps were taken early last spring to effect that object. An agent, with a delegation of Kickapoos from Kansas, proceeded to Santa Rosa in Mexico, and there met these Indians and communicated to them the wishes and purposes of the United States Government. The mission was, however, unsuccessful, as the Indians were influenced against the measure pro-
misrepresentations on the part of some Mexican officers and citizens as to what would be their condition in the United States, and by deceiving them with assurances that the Mexican government would take care of them and liberally supply their wants. As it is important to the welfare and peace of the citizens of Texas residing near the frontier, who have suffered severely by the depredations and outrages of these Kickapoos in the past, further efforts to effect what is so desirable, it is thought, should be made early next year. For the report of the agent of his proceedings I refer to document herewith, marked B.
During the past three months Indian lands have been disposed of by sale, or are being disposed of, by or under the direction of the Department, to the extent of 40,438.89 acres in the aggregate. These lands embrace a residue of 2,687.44 acres, held in trust by the United States for the Chippewas and Munsees, situated in Kansas; also, 6,360.24 acres in Nebraska, held in trust for the Sac and Fox of the Missouri Indians. These lands are sold and the money applied for the benefit of the Indians, in compliance with treaty stipulations. A small residue of the Cherokee neutral lands in Kansas, 3,231.21 acres, which were awarded to settlers in accordance with treaty provision, but forfeited by non-payment, have been sold on sealed bids. Congress, by special act, provided for the appraisement and sale of the Stockbridge and Munsee lands in Wisconsin, comprising 28,160 acres. The appraisement has been made under the supervision of this office, and the sale is being made by the General Land Office, in accordance with the act.
In compliance with the act of Congress of July 5, 1862, a commission was appointed to effect settlement with persons appointed by Indian councils to receive money due to incompetent and orphan Indians. This commission made an investigation of the action of persons appointed by Wyandotte and Shawnee councils, the only tribes coming properly within the proviso of the law; and their reports, which give the action taken in detail, are published herewith, marked C.
A commission was also appointed to ascertain the facts connected with the applications of mixed-bloods for land or scrip under the treaties with the various bands of Chippewas in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The province of this commission was extended to the investigation of passed issues of scrip. Reference is made of the extended report of the majority, detailing many irregularities; also to the minority report, which dissents from the statements of the majority; both of which are published herewith, marked D.
It having been represented to the Department that a confused and unsettled state of affairs, appertaining to this branch of the service, existed in Colorado Territory, particularly at the Los Pinos, or lower agency, and it being deemed necessary, in order to ascertain the truth in the case, that an examination thereinto should be made on the spot, under your direction a special agent, G. F. Jocknick, esq., was instructed, in July last, to proceed to that point for the purpose indicated. The report of this agent is herewith, marked E, and shows that the management of Indian affairs in the Territory has not been as favorable to the prosperity and advancement of the Indians as could be desired, but which finds some explanation in the fact of frequent changes of agents in the past two or three years, the inexperience of the agents at present in charge, and the many obstacles to be overcome in establishing upon reservations, and in making the necessary provision for their support, Indians accustomed to a wild and wandering life. When the new agents referred to shall have become better informed in regard to their duties, and more clearly comprehend the situation and the purposes of the Government, it is hoped a more favorable condition of things will exists, and
complaints will cease on the part of the Indians. One source of much uneasiness to the Indians is the encroachment, as they charge, of miners and other persons upon their reservation. To what extent they have reason to be troubled in this regard it is impossible to determine, as the boundaries of their reservation have never been surveyed. Doubtless there are intruders upon their land, and, perhaps, in some cases, unwittingly so. The sooner the work of surveying the reservation provided for in the treaty of 1868 is completed, the better it will be for the interests of both Indians and whites. A special report will be made to you by this office, with such suggestions and recommendations as shall be considered necessary to fulfill the treaty stipulations with the Indians in Colorado, and to effect a satisfactory management of their agencies.
It was also deemed important that an investigation should be had into the condition of affairs at the several agencies for the Sioux, on the Upper Missouri River, and accordingly a special agent, N. J. Turney, esq., in June last, was instructed to perform that duty. His report, to which reference is respectfully made, for an account of his proceedings, views and recommendations, is herewith, marked F.
The commissioners appointed by the President, in accordance with the joint resolution of Congress approved July 1, 1870, to negotiate with the Indians upon the Umatilla reservation in Oregon, with a view of ascertaining on what terms they would relinquish to the United States all their claim or right to that reservation, and remove to some other in Oregon or Washington Territory, or take lands in severalty in quantities not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres each, on their present reservation, met at the Umatilla agency on the 7th of August last, and held a council with the Indians for the period of a week, Hon. Felix R. Brunot, chairman of the board of Indian commissioners, being present, whose report of the proceedings will be found following that of the board, marked as document A. This matter is also referred to in the report of Superintendent Meacham, herewith, numbered 12; and the United States agent in charge of the Umatilla reservation reports the fact; and remarks that the object of the resolution was fully explained to the Indians by the commissioners, who took great care to have them fully understand the proposition presented, and to see that no outside influence was allowed to interfere with their judgment; and that after the matter had been fully discussed, the Indians declared they would not part with their present reservation, and that none of them expressed a desire to take their land in severalty.
Special attention is respectfully calIed to the third annual report of the board of Indian commissioners, herewith, marked A.
The accompanying reports of the superintendents and Indian agents, numbered in regular order, are respectfully referred to for information, in detail, respecting the condition of the Indians in the several superintendencies and agencies. The disposition for improvement is evidently more manifest and general than has been the case heretofore, and it should be encouraged by a liberal policy on the part of the Government. By a judicious management of their affairs, with a sufficient supply of means requisite for the purpose, it may be confidently expected that their future advancement in civilization will be measurably rapid and gratifying. The reports will present, it is believed, such an array of facts as will confirm this general view.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. C. DELANO,
Secretary of the Interior