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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1864
([1864])

Colorado superintendency,   pp. 216-258 PDF (17.3 MB)


Page 222

222 
COLORADO SUPERINTENDENCY. 
of plunder from freight trains; they have stolen immense numbers of horses,
mules, and cattle; they have taken a number of women and children prisoners;
they have murdered in cold blood a large number of defenceless citizens,
and 
killed and wounded a number of soldiers, without meeting any considerable
re- 
sistance or receiving any adequate punishment at our hands. 
$They boast of their advantage and of their prowess, and while a few of them
are desirous of making peace, the great body of them are yet hostile, and
may 
be expected to remain so until conquered by force of arms. It is but justice,
however, to state that Major General Curtis, commanding the department at
the 
time of the extensive outbreak on the overland stage route, organized an
expe- 
dition from the few troops at his command and some Nebraska militia, took
the 
field and went in pursuit of the Indians, but the invasion of Missouri by
the 
rebel General Price has called him away at the present time, with all available
forces. 
The winter, when the Indians are unable to subsist except in the buffalo
range, is the most favorable time for their chastisement, and it is to be
hoped 
that a presentation of the urgent necessity of the case to the War Department
will secure the immediate organization of such military expeditions against
them as to bring them to terms. While it is the policy of the government
to 
treat the Indians kindly, every consideration of good government and every
dictate of a genuine humanity call for such a course as I have indicated;
for 
unless it is adopted the war will be protracted indefinitely, life and property
on 
the frontier will be insecure, the overland mail will suffer constant interruption,
the immense tide of commerce and emigration by the different routes across
the 
plains will be unsafe, and the prosperity which would otherwise be of great
na- 
tional importance will be checked or destroyed. Hostilities must be punished
to prevent their recurrence, and such an alliance as now exists, extending
from 
Texas to the British line, must be broken up by punishment to secure a peace
which would be worth the name. Until this is done, treaties with the Indians
of the plains will be but truces, under which new and more revolting outrages
will be committed. Under such a course of chastisement, the tribes might
be 
treated with separately and successively, until a general and permanent peace
is 
inaugurated. Until then, speculations as to the future care and management
of 
these tribes would be of but little use. A peace before conquest, in this
case, 
would be the most cruel kindness and the most barbarous humanity. 
As soon as these Indians are made to give up their vain hope of "driving
the 
whites out of their country" and to respect the authority of the government,
and not until then, which it is earnestly hoped may be by next summer, they
may be induced to listen to counsel and make treaties. A commission with
ample means might then hold treaties with all of the tribes and secure settle-
ments of many of them. But their nomadic habits, the fact that they are inti-
mately associated and alternately roam over the same wide range of country,
would make treaties of but little value unless they were general among them.
It is hoped that Congress may make provision, at its approaching session,
for 
holding such treaties. 
IMPROVEMENTS. 
A report of improvements for the Arapahoes and Cheyenne Indians, which 
have been in course of construction on the reservation under the charge of
Agent Colley during the summer, not having reached the superintendency, it
is 
presuimed it has been forwarded by him directly to the department. At the
time of my visit to the reservation last spring the work was progressing
favora- 
bly, bt  the destructive floods which occurred in the summer, and the Indian
hostiii.ties which followed, checked their progress and suspended operations.
I 
learn1, however, that notwithstanding the great damage done to the ditch
by the 


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