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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 15

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.                      15 
Territory to such an extent that it is said there is not a single county
that is 
absolutely secure. Surely a policy, or, I should rather say, a want of policy,
which is so enormously expensive as this, so fruitless of good results, and
which 
promises so little for the future, either in improving the condition of our
own people 
or that of the Indians, ought to be abandoned at once and forever, and some
system adopted from which better results may be reasonably anticipated. 
I have heretofore urged the propriety of recognizing the right of the Indians
to a qualified ownership of the soil, and treating with them for its extinction
in 
such portions as may be required for the purposes of settlement, thereby
pro- 
viding a fund from which the Indians may derive such assistance as may be
necessary, while acquiring a sufficient knowledge of the arts of civilization,
to 
enable them to provide for their wants. I am still of the opinion that this
is 
much the best policy to pursue towards the Indians in providing for their
wants 
when located upon reservations, for, in the first place, it is attended with
the 
same expense whether we assign them a tract of land, and then, by direct
ap- 
propriations, provide for their necessities, or treating with them for their
claim 
to the territory we extinguished their tfle to such portions as we desire,
they re- 
taining the same tract that would otherwise be assigned to them, and receiving
for the lands surrendered the moneys which must otherwise be appropriated
to 
enable them to live; and, secondly, it would preserve in the Indian his native
pride and independence, since, instead of feeling that his freedom to roam
at 
will had been restrained by arbitrary and resistless power, and he compelled
to 
relinquish the homes and customs of his ancestors, he would realize that
the 
change had' been wrought by fair negotiations to which he was a party, and
that, for the rights and privileges surrendered, he had received a fair equivalent.
Whether the one method or the other shall be preferred, I think it perfectly
evident that we shall be guilty of little less than criminal neglect if we
longer 
delay the adoption of such measures as will result in the concentration of
the 
Indians upon suitable reservations, and to this end I earnestly invite your
co- 
operation in an endeavor to procure the passage of a joint resolution by
Congress, 
at its approaching session, authorizing either the negotiation of treaties
having 
for their object-the establishing of the Indians upon three suitable reservations,
of which one for the Utabs shall be in the northern or northwestern portion
of 
the Territory, one for the Apaches in the southeastern, and one for the Navajoes
in the western, or empowering the President, by proclamation, to set apart
suit- 
able tracts for such reservations, and vesting the title to the same in the
respect- 
ive tribes for which they are designed. As to the Pueblos, I believe they
may 
safely be left, with temporary appropriations for their benefit, to the operation
of 
the present Territorial and future State laws. 
If action such as or similar to that I have indicated can be had from Congress
I have the fullest confidence that in a very few years it will prove of inestimable
value alike to the Indians and the whites  f New Mexico. 


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