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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1892
([1892])

Report of agent in Colorado,   pp. 231-232 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 231

REPORT OF AGENT -IN COLORADO,                  Q231 
REPORT OF AGENT IN COLORADO. 
REPORT OF SOUTHERN UTE AGENCY. 
SOUTRERN UTE AGENCY, Ignacio, Colo., September 12,1892. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit-the following, my fourth annual report, on
the 
affairs of the Southern Ute Agency: 
The Southern Ute tribe of Indians, located on their reservation in the southwest
corner of- the State of Colorado, consists of 986 individuals of all ages,
being an 
increase of eight since last report. 
-Males over 18 years ot age  -------------------------------- 293 
Females over 14 years of age -------------------------------331 
Children between the ages of 6 and 16-males 98, females 121 ------- 219 
Births during the year, 28; deaths, 20. 
They are divided into three bands, viz, Moaches, 266; Capotas, 183; and Wee-
minuchees, 537. 
The Moaches and Capotas occupy, for the most part, the eastern end of the
reser- 
vation in which the agency is located and where the greater part of their
farming 
operations are carried on, while the Weeminuchees with few exceptions occupy
the western portion, or that most distant from the agency. 
The condition, in general is that of a nomadic race, having, with the excep-
tion of those who are engaged in farming, no settled place of abode, living
in 
tents which are moved from place to place to suit the whim of the owner or
fol 
the purpose of finding better grazing for his ponies, sheep, and goats. Even
most of the farmers proceed on the- approach of cold weather to seek a winter,
range at lower altitude for their stock, going south and west for this purpose.
Some of the latter, however, remain on their farms during the entire year,
afew 
feeding their stock during the winter season. Their disposition is generally
peaceful. although they are ready to resent injustice and encroachments upon
their rights. 
Although the blanket still remains an important part of the costume of the
tribe, it is always accompanied with at least part of the dress of the white
man, 
and in many individual instances is entirely dispensed with as an article
of rai- 
mont. 
Use of intoxicants.-One of the most difficult things to prevent is the introduction
of intoxicating liquors among them, partly owing to the shape of their reserva-
tion, Which gives a boundary line of 250 miles to a reservation containing
1.650 
square miles; yet I am glad to be able to state that comparatively little
drunken- 
ness prevails among them. So close a watch is kept for offenses of this kind
that 
it has a deterrent effect, although no convictions have as yet been obtained.
Agriculture.-The past season has been unfavorable for agriculture. The snow
fall of last winter was very light and spring found the ground lacking in
the 
moisture necessary to germinate the seed. The spring was also cold and late
and the entire season has been almost rainless. The days of the summer have
been very hot, with strong, drying winds prevailing, while the nights have
been 
cold. The necessity of irrigation has been constant from seedtime to the
ma- 
turity of the crops. The ditches have been taxed to their utmost capacity
ex- 
cept when it was necessary to discontinue their use for the purpose of their
enlargement and repairing. In this locality, in the most favorable season,
agri- 
culture without irrigation is impracticable, and when it becomes necessary
to irri- 
eate in order to bring crops out of the ground the white farmer often fails,
and 
that the Indian succeeded under such circumstances in producing crops at
all is 
certainly to his credit. 
Crops.-The principal crops consist of oats, wheat, and barley. A number of
very promising fields of alfalfa have been established. Potatoes, corn, melons,
-squashes, pumpkins, etc., are raised, mostly for their own consumption,
as well 
as garden vegetables of various kinds. An estimate of the number of bushels
of 
vegetables as well as of corn produced must necessarily be more or less inexact,
as_ they are mostly gathered for immediate use._-.-,' 
-. The lesson taught by the extremely severe winter of i1890-'91, during
which  : 
the mortality among range stock of all kinds was so great, h~as produced
an in-  -,:: 
eased desire for the preservation of hay and pasture land, and their greatejst
  : 
progress has been made in that direction. Considerable tracts have been fenced"
 -: 
for this purpose and old fences have been rep~aired and strengthened by the
addi:-" 
-tion of another strand of wire. More hay has been saved by the Indians than
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