Изображения страниц

intimate knowledge of the various tribes of Indians in this region, that a vast majority of the Apaches and Comanches live chiefly by depredation; that they look upon the cultivators of the soil with conteinpt, as inferior beings, the products of whose labor legitimately belong to power—the strongest arm; and that labor, except in war and in love, and in the chase, is degradation; and the man who has not stolen a horse or scalped an enemy is not worthy of association with these lords of the woods.

The wild Indians of this country have been so much more successful in their robberies since General Kearny took possession of the country, that they do not beliere we have the power to chastise them. Is it not time to enlighten them upon this subject, and to put an end to their ceaseless depredations? At this moment, above our established Indian country on the Arkansas, these people are committing every depredation within their power, as far up as Bent's Fort: These, with the Navajoes and Kioways, are known to be in every section of the Territory. Indeed, we are in a state of war; and their disappointment in Jr. Fitzpatrick's promises is their excuse for their conduct. Concerning Mr. F.'s actings and doings, and his promises and authority to act, I am, as yet, wholly ignorant.,

The Narajoes commit their wrongs from a pure love of rapine and plunder. I'hey have extensive fields of corn and wheat, fine peach orchards, and grow quantities of melons, squashes, beans, and peas, and have immense flocks of sheep, and a great number of mules and horses of a superior breed. They have nothing of the cow kind. This statement, I know, is antagonistical to official reports made by others; but I report to you from personal knowledge, obtained during Governor Washington's expedition against the Navajoes.

Distance and numbers, by red men, are matters of fact not to be comprehended and understood by Indians of this country as they are else. where. Distance is measured by time, at their pace, which is never slow; and as far as their population is concerned, the governor of the smallest pueblo cannot accurately, rarely approximately, give you the number of its inhabitants.

It is a still much more impracticable matter to ascertain the extent of the population of such a tribe as the Navajoes, the whereabouts of their local habitations depending solely upon the seasons of the year and their approhensions of danger, not one of them having a permanent abiding place. Their only houses are mere lodges, square or circular, brought to a point about fifteen feet from the ground, and sometimes the outer covering is mud-one room only.

The stone walls which are built and inhabited by them are in the shape or nearly so, of a square, and sometimes have more than one room from eight to twelve feet in height, and not one that I saw was covered in any way.

The number of Indians of this tribe I do not think can exceed five thousand, and they claim from 350 to 35° north latitude, and 29° to 33° longitude west from Washington. The conflicting claims of the Utahs east and north, to some extent, must indent their supposed borders, and they are barred on the southeast, south, and west, by special Spanish and Mexican grants to their then Christian Indian allies, all of whom live in pueblos, hold lands in common, the boundaries of which, they say, are distinctly defined by original grants now in existence. They complain of many encroachments upon their boundaries, and hope the United States government will restore them their ancient rights. Wicked men some Americans, but chiefly Mexicans-for their own mischievous purposes, have awakened the apprehensions of the Pueblos by declaring the Americans would take from them their lands, and remove them to an unknown region. The fears of many on this point I think I have quieted by the assurance that the President had no designs of that character; instead of which, if their population required it, he would add to their grants rather than narrow their limits.

But to return to the Navajoes. They derive their title to the country over which they roam from mere possession, not knowing from whence they came or how they were planted upon its soil; and its soil is easy of

cultivation, and capable of sustaining nearly as many millions of inhabit· ants as they have thousands. I respectfully suggest, these people should

have their limits circumscribed and distinctly marked out, and their departure from said limits should be under certain prescribed rules, at least for some time to come. Even this arrangement would be utterly ineffective unless enforced by the military arm of the country.

These Indians are hardy and intelligent, and it is as natural for them to war against all men, and to take the property of others, as it is for the sun to give light by day.

In reference to a majority of the Apaches and Comanches, they should be learned and made to cultivate the soil, and should have prescribed limits, under the rules and regulations, and to be enforced as suggested above.

The Pueblos, by many, are regarded as a tribe. A more decided error in reference to these Indians, could not be suggested. The number of pueblos, each containing inhabitants from 300 to 600, is about twenty, not including the Indians west or south of the Moques. Of these twenty pueblos, the languages of at least ten of them are altogether different; and it is said by some who claim to be judges, there is not the slightest analogy in language existing between any two of them, and they communicate with each other through the instrumentality of Mexican interpreters, or pantomimic action. The same may be said of the Apaches and Comanches, with the qualification which follows. I have seen but a few of either of these last named tribes, and I cannot say there is as inuch dissimilarity in their languages as exists with the various Pueblos. As to the number of either of these tribes, I cannot even venture a guess; in reference to the extent of territory claimed by them, no satisfactory in. formation has yet been acquired, nor can it be until a sufficient number of troops are sent here to afford escorts 10 those who may be charged with such investigation. It may be remarked, however, that the Comanches range principally between 320 and 36° N. latitude, and longitude west from Washington 220 and 27o. From thence west, two or three hundred miles across the Rio Grande, the Apaches are found on both sides of the dividing line between the United States and the United Mexican States; and this circumstance will be fruitful of soine trouble, because those on

her side of the line will charge upon the other the wrongs they themselves commit. I am not prepared to say the evils alluded to would have no existence if the article 11th of the late treaty was reciprocal.

The terms by which they hold the country over which they roam is a mere possessory title, which the God of nature has permitted to them, and one-tenth of the country would be more than sufficient to satisfy all the wants of a much more consuming people. The disposition of the Utahs


[ocr errors]

is rather equivocal. They have committed no wrongs recently against Americans proper. These Indians met Colonel Beall, who had charge of the expedition ordered against them at the same time Governor Washington marched upon the Navajoes, and agreed to all his demands--an impossibility among them, as I have reason to believe-to wit: the restoration of all the Frémont property lost during the past winter. That was out of the question, as a portion of it, as I am informed, has long since been consumed. This fact was seized upon by worthless Mexicans to frighten the Indians off; for they made the Indians believe, if every article was not restored, Colonel Beall would cause every one within his reach to be put to death; therefore it was, as I am informed by Colonel Beall, the Utahs did not come up at the appointed time to consummate the treaty agreed upon. From the facts herein stated, it must be evident to reflecting minds

Ist. That an additional mounted regiment, full and complete, should be in service in New Mexico. I repeat what I have said in a former communication, infantry are useful only in taking care of public stores and isolated places.

2d.' Without an additional force, not a single interest of the country can be fully protected.

3d. Military stations ought to be established at Tunicha, and the cañon of Cheille, in the Navajo county; at or near Jemez, Zunia, and Laguna; and perhaps in other places in the direction of El Paso, and whin the Pueblo region.

4th. To every pueblo there ought to be sent at once an Indian agent to protect the Indians, and to preserve the character of the United States. Such agents should be continued at each pueblo for the next year or two.

5th. Unless this be done, emigrants and others claiming to be officers of the United States will disaffect these people by their lawless conduct.

6th. It is but fair to presume that in a year or two such improvements in: public morals will take place, as to justify the discontinuance of most of the agencies that ought now to be in existence in each pueblo. Just at this moment the Pueblo Indians (in number 54) who accompanied Governor Washington in his expedition against the Navajoes, are complaining that they are not paid for their services. In New Mexico a better population than these Pueblo Indians cannot be found, and they must be treated with great delicacy. The slightest disappointment in their expectations, no matter how created, they regard as a deliberate deceit practised upon them. lí properly cared for and instructed in all Indian wars, these Pueblos would be very important auxiliaries. Even now, notwithstanding the discouragement mentioned above, at least two hundred of them could be Teadily raised for mounted service; and, if I had the military command of this country, I should regard them as necessary adjuncts.

In compliance with one of the stipulations of the treaty entered into by Governor Washington with the Navajoes, they are to deliver at Jemez, on the ninth of next month, certain captives and stolen property. Although they have delivered to us sheep, horses, mules, and captives, as an earnest of their intention, we do not feel confident that they will comply with the terms of the treaty. They may not be there at the time. And on the occasion alluded to, the governors, captains, and alcaldes of most of the pueblos east and north of Moquies, it is supposed, will be at Jemez. It

[ocr errors]

hundred miles apart, commencing north at Taos and running south to near El Paso, some four hundred miles or more, and running east and west two hundred miles. This statement has no reference to pueblos west of Zunia.

It must be remembered, too, but a few of these Pueblos speak the same language; and, so far as a majority are concerned, they are so decidedly ignorant of each other's language, they are compelled to call to their aid Spanish and Mexican interpreters. I have not found a single individual in the country who can render any one of the languages of the Pueblos or Navajoes into English.

The protection of these Indians in their persons and property, is of great importance. In addition to the obligation which the government of the United States has assumed for their protection, it may be suggested, as a matter of government economy, their property should be protected, and their industry properly stimulated and directed. These people can raise immense quantities of corn and wheat, and have large herds of sheep and goats. The grazing for cattle, generally, is superior, and the reason why they have so few of the cow kind is to be found in the ease with which they may be driven off by the Navajoes and others. The average price paid for corn in this Territory by our government cannot be less than two dollars per bushel; and since I have been in Santa Fe, public horses have not received half the forage allowed to them by the regulations of the army. The exorbitant price now paid for corn and the insufficient quantity grown in this country, and other inconveniences, may be remedied in one yearcertainly in two years.

For reasons herein suggested, I venture respectfully to say

1st. The Pueblos, for the present, ought to be divided into six or seven districts, and an agent conveniently located in each.

· 2d. Blacksmiths, implements of husbandry, and other implements, ought to be sent to them. Also some fire-arms, powder and lead, and other presents, should be given to them.

3d. None of the Indians of this Territory have a just conception of the American power and strength; and many of them think, as we have associated with us the Mexicans, for whom they have no respect, we may not have a more efficient government for the protection of the people here than they afforded to them; therefore it is I add to the recommendations above, the propriety of allowing, or rather inviting, some fifteen or twenty of these—and perhaps it would be well to select a few other Indians—to visit Washington city at an early day during the session of the approaching Congress. Unless my powers are enlarged or other duties assigned me, I may, without detriment to the public service, leave here for a short peribd; and if agreeable to the department, I should be pleased to receive orders to take a certain number to Washington city, as one among the best means of securing order and quiet in this Territory.

In January or February we might with safety take the southern route by the El Paso, and through Texas, passing by and through the country inhabited by the Apaches and Comanches.

- We continue to complain that we are without a mail or proper mail facilities. I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Indian Agent, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Col. W. MEDILL,

Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington city, D. C.

P.S. Since the foregoing was written, I have been informed an arrangement with merchants has been effected, by which the Pueblo Indians who accompanied Governor Washington in his late Navajo expedition have been satisfied for their services.

J. S. C.


October 5, 1849. SIR: Since my letter of yesterday's date, I regret to say rumors of Indian troubles have increased, and received some confirmation by the murder of a Mexican within three miles of this place. The surgeon who examined the wounded ran on yesterday says he was shot with sixteen arrows in the back and two in front; that he found arrows upon the ground, and that the trail indicated the number of Indians as unusually large. Several Indians from Ildefonso came to me yesterday, also, saying the Navajoes were impudent, troublesome, and dangerous, and that they were in every nook and corner of the country.

A few moments since, the governor and others of Santa Domingo, thirtyone miles west of Santa Fe, came to give me similar intelligence. One of the owners of Bent's Fort has removed all property from it, and caused the fort to be burnt. Mr. St. Vrain, long a citizen here, every way reliable and intelligent, says a worse state of things has not existed in this country since he has been an inhabitant of it. This fact is sustained by Mr. Folger and others--among them Mr. Smith, who will be in Washington at an early day, as the delegate of a convention assembled here on the 24th of last month, to consider of the public good.

The nuinber of discontented Indians in this Territory is not small; and I regret to add, they are not the only evil people in it.

This whole country requires a thorough purging, which can be accom. plished only by a thorough exploration of every hole and corner in it. The entire country should be immediately examined and surveyed, and military roads should be opened, and posts and depots established.

This policy would render it absolutely necessary to send out one or two additional regiments, (mounted) as the surest and only plan of economizing in this branch of the public service; and with this branch, should one or more additional regiments be raised, I should be pleased to be associated, as I have written to you and to the Secretary of War heretofore.

Governor Washington left for Taos on yesterday morning, to be absent for a few days only. I am arranging to leave for Jemez on to-morrow, where, it is understood, a number of the chief officials of several pueblos are to be on the 8th of the present month.

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »