University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 273

REPORTS CONCERNING INDIANS IN NEW MEXICO. 
Territory under which they live. Until the old customs and Indian practices
are broken among this people we can not hope for a great amount of progress.
The secret dance, from which all whites are excluded, is perhaps one of the
greatest evils. What goes on at this time I will not attempt to say, but
I firmly 
believe that it is little less than a ribald system of debauchery. The Catholic
clergy is unable to put a stop to this evil, and know as little of same as
others. 
The United States mails are not permitted to pass through the streets of
the 
pueblos when one of these dances is in session; travelers are met on the
out- 
skirts of the pueblo and escorted at a safe distance around. The time must
come when the Pueblos must give up these old pagan customs and become 
citizens in fact. 
A recent Territorial law requires all citizens of New Mexico to take out
a 
license before marrying. The priests have recently refused to perform the
mar- 
riage ceremony unless the Indians would conform to this requirement, and
as the 
fee is but $1 it is no great hardship. In a few instances and in a few pueblos
the 
Indians, through their pueblo officers, have refused to comply with this
require- 
ment and law. At Santo Domingo pueblo, on the 4th day of August, a large
class of Indians were in waiting to be married by the priest. This was their
annual fiesta, at which time many marriages have usually been celebrated.
I 
held a consultation with the priest, and as he was conversant with the law
he 
refused to marry anyone who would not make the proper application and pay
the required fee of $1. The tourists and white visitors at the pueblo on
that 
day would have gladly paid the necessary fee for the Indians, but it seemed
to 
me that if the Indian is to be treated as a citizen he should be made to
feel 
the responsibility of same, and should comply with the law and not make.
matrimony a farce by having the overcurious pay the necessary license, and
I 
consequently advised against it. It has just been reported that an Indian
who 
paid the necessary license fee in the pueblo of San Felipe, south of Santo
Do- 
mingo, has been publicly whipped by the village officials for complying with
the 
law. This, too, is in a pueblo where the governor is a returned Carlisle
student 
and was a delegate to Washington last winter. I mention this to show that
the 
spirit of the Pueblo is to, retain Indian customs and to live apart from
the 
the state as much as possible. 
Taos.-A day school is maintained at Taos and the attendance is very satis-
factory. The teacher is an experieiced worker and meets with fair success,
though this is what may be termed a conservative pueblo. The pueblo has 
little that is modern and adheres faithfully to, old customs. All returned
students are required to live the Pueblo life and conform in dress, etc.,
to the 
orders of the pueblo officers. Pantaloons made in the school by the teacher
and 
housekeeper for her scholars have been cut in twain at the Indian home, the
upper part discarded, and the boy appear at school next day in leggings and"
G" 
string. This is one Instance of the trials of the day-school teacher's life.
The Taos Indians are fairly good farmers, have rich farming lands, large
pastures, and considerable stock. They have had repeated conflicts with the
Mexican town of Fernando de Taos over water rights, and have, through the
efforts of the special attorney, Judge Abbott, and this office been protected
in 
their rights. Taos has suits pending in the courts to certain lands which
it 
bought by purchase years ago, and it is to be hoped that it will be successful.
The agency farmer stationed here is a practical man and a great help to the
Indians, not only as a farmer, but as an adviser in pueblo matters, especially
when it comes to outside matters. 
Picuris.-This is one of the smaller pueblos, and has lost much of its original
grant, until at present there is hardly enough land for the thirty families
that 
live there now. The day school is small, but the Indians take an interest
in 
education, and were they not a badly diseased lot there might be more hope
for 
the future of this pueblo. More blind Indians are to be found here than in
any 
other pueblo. Many Indians from Picuris go out annually to work, most of
them as sheep herders to Colorado and Wyoming. This is evidently one of the
most ancient of the pueblos, and there is still standing an adobe house built
before the advent of the Spanish in 1540. It is similar to but smaller than
Casa 
Grande ruins in Arizona. 
San Juan.-This is a thriving pueblo on the Rio Grande, with rich lands, and
the people are fairly well to do. The day school here is well patronized,
and 
many pupils are sent to the boarding school. The usual amount of trouble
over 
water rights has arisen here, but I am pleased to state that a recent injunction,
or rather decree, of the court has won a long and hard-fought battle for
the 
Indians. The principal land trouble bere has been inIndinaus attempting tQ
IND) 1905--18 
273 


Go up to Top of Page