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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1863
([1863])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. [5]-40 PDF (14.2 MB)


Page 13

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.                     13 
and begins to despoil them of their homes, the graves of their ancestors,
and 
the means of supplying their rude and simple wants. Surely, it could not
be 
supposed that all this could be accomplished without any manifestations of
op- 
position and hostility on the part of the Indians; and it cannot be doubted
that, 
aside from the humanitarian and moral aspects of the subject, it would have
been far more economical had we treated with these Indians; obtained from
them by fair purchase such portions of their country as are desirable for
our 
people; secured to the Indians a location where they could live in peace,
and 
where we could gradually subject them to those influences which would, in
the 
end, reclaim them from their wild and barbarous modes of life. All this,
I fully 
believe, might have been done if we had been prompt to recognize the rights
of 
the Indians, and to prepare them for the occupation of their country. The
op- 
portunity has now passed, and it is probably not an overestimate to say that,
besides the valuable lives of our own citizens as well as the lives of the
Indians 
that have already been sacrificed, we have already expended and incurred
lia- 
bilities in our military operations against these Indians more than double
the 
amount that would have been required to establish relations with them upon
the 
basis of a firm and lasting friendship. 
I have no doubt that hostilities may yet be terminated in this region much
more speedily by negotiation than by military power, and that thousands of
treasure and many valuble lives may be saved. I trust that the subject will
receive from Congress the consideration its importance demands, and that
such 
legislation may be had as will not only result in a speedy termination of
these 
troubles, but will also harmonize the conflicting interests of the whites
and In- 
dians throughout the State, and produce in the conduct of our Indian relations
that order and system which is so imperatively demanded. 
NEW MEXICO. 
The principal tribes of this superintendency are the Navajoes, the Apaches,
and the Utahs. The Navajoes occupy the western portion of the Territory,
and 
are the most powerful and hostile tribe within its limits. But little progress
has 
been made in reducing them to submission to the authority of our government,
and they prove themselves a source of constant vexation and alarm to all
our 
exposed settlements. The nature of the country and the character of their
organization is such that it has hitherto been found impossible, with the
forces 
sent against them, to produce any permanent and decisive results. Theh country
abounds in mountain fastnesses, rendering it extremely difficult for any
adequate 
military force to pursue them to their retreats, or inflict upon them a blow
which 
has anr considerable effect in breaking their power. 
They are represented as an ingenious and skilful people in manufacturing
blankets and other fabrics, in the cultivation of wheat and corn, and as
being in 
all other respects far in advance of all other tribes within the Territory.
The Apaches consist of three bands, viz: Jicarillas, occupying the north-
eastern portion of the Territory; the M:vescaleros, occupying the southeastern
portion, and the Gila Apaches the extreme southwest. With the exception of
some four hundred of thle Mescaleros, who are located at Bosque Rodondo,
under 


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