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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1905
Part I ([1905])

Reports concerning Indians in New Mexico,   pp. 260-277 PDF (8.8 MB)


Page 266

266      REPORTS OF THE        DEPARTMENT       OF THE    INTERIOR. 
REPORT OF SUPERINTENDENT IN CHARGE OF MESCALERO AGENCY. 
MESCALERO, NEW MEX., August 14, 1905. 
The census of June 30 last shows a population as follows: 
Males 18 years and over----------------------------------111 
Males under 18 years-------------------------------------87 
Females 14 years and over            ------------              172 
Females under 14 years-                                         90 
Total ----------------460 
Children between 6 and 16 years__       ------------------ 108 
An excessive mortality is rapidly settling the Indian question at Mescalero.
The physical condition of the tribe is deplorable, and unless remedial meas-
ures are applied historians may begin to record the final chapter of this
division 
of the Apache nation. The agency physician has recently submitted a written
report setting forth the causes which have contributed to the physical 'lecline
of the Mescalero Apache and recommending what, in his opinion, would tend
to preserve them from extinction. Attention is invited to the following extract
from this report: 
That the Indians on this reservation are physically in a most deplorable
state, to one 
familiar with te situation, goes without saying. During the fiscal year just
closed, of 
the less than 500 Indians on this reservation, 26 died, while the births
during the same 
time numbered only 21, Peiug thus less than the number of deaths. Considering
this 
appalling death rate it is not difficult to agree with my worthy predecessor
who, after 
a study of the conditions here, estimated that the Mescalero Apache would
be extinct 
in fifty years. Certainly my own observation during a service of nearly two
years and 
a study of the records for previous years convinces me that matters are growing
worse 
from year to year. 
The causes of this deplorable state of affairs are varied. The Indian's susceptibility
to tuberculosis is well known, and this dread disease alone is directly responsible
for by 
far the larger proportion of the deaths as well as the cause of many physical
wrecks 
still living. Besides this, he also possesses an unusually low degree of
resistance to dis- 
ease in general. This lack of robustness was remarked recently by Dr. Ales
Hrdlika, an 
eminent scientist, who was sent here by the Anthropological Division of the
Smithsonian 
Institution to make an examination and report of the physique of these Indians.
Another 
and very important cause, one which really underlies those already mentioned,
is the 
consanguinity existing among these people. They have intermarried among themselves
for so many years, not to say'generations, that now practically the whole
tribe might be 
considered as one big family. That, perhaps, more than any other one thing,
accounts for 
their runty physique. In contrast to the remainder of the tribe, there might
be pointed 
out one or two families in which, by reason of outside marriage, Mexican
blood flows. It 
Is notable that the children of these marriages are easily the superior of
the full-blood 
Indians both physically and mentally. 
As regards the remedy for these evils, while of course there is no specific,
much can 
be done toward gradually bringing about a betterment. Civilization and education
are 
important in teaching the Indian the nature of diseases and in obtaining
his cooperation 
in their scientific treatment. He is being advanced along these lines as
rapidly as possi- 
ble. There yet remains the more important matter of getting fresh blood into
the veins 
of the tribe. That has been wholly neglected, but it is a point to which
attention should 
speedily be turned, else the dire prediction of extinction previously mentioned
will become 
a sad reality. It is earnestly recommended that if steps are to be taken
to ameliorate con- 
ditions in this tribe, the sanction, ard, If possible, the cooperation of
the office be ob- 
tained in devising some means for getting new and healthy blood into the
future genera- 
tions of these Indians by encouragirg their marriage with outsiders, Americans
or Mexi- 
cans, or by bringing to this reservation Indians from other tribes, or by
both measures. 
The drought of 1903-4, referred to in the preceding report, was even more
serious in its consequences than was apprehended. The oat crop was an utter
failure, occasioning a loss to the Indians of at least $6,000. Also thousands
and thousands of trees died, thus marring the scenic beauty of the mountains
throughout a vast area. The loss sustained by the Indians through the crop
failure was somewhat alleviated by the erection of two dormitories and a
dining 
hall and the installation of a new waterworks system, which afforded them
an opportunity to earn considerable money as laborers and freighters. For
the damage to the forests there can be no reparation. 
The condition of the growing oat crop is exceedingly flattering. With new
seed, an increased acreage, and a favorable season, the yield, which can
only 
be estimated at this date, should be more than double that of any previous
year. The wheat crop was but little short of a failure, attributable to the
fact that the Indians were enjoined by the courts from taking or using the
waters of the Tularosa for other than domestic purposes, and this at the
very 
time when the crop should have been irrigated-a subject which will receive
especial mention in a subsequent paragraph of this report. 
The sheep industry was never before so promising. The wool clip exceeded


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