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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1861
([1861])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, November 27, 1861,   pp. [7]-30 PDF (10.3 MB)


Page 17

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
17 
The condition of our relations with the Indians of Colorado Territory, as
represented by my latest advices from its superintendent, Governor Gilpin,
is 
not as favorable as is to be desired. The session of Congress creating this
Territory, and establishing therein a new superintendency, failed to make
the 
necessary appropriations to defray the expenses incident to its altered condition,
and owing to this fact, and to the further facts that communications with
the 
Territory have been very uncertain and the distribution of the gratuities
has 
been thereby impeded, the emissaries of the rebels, as well as the disaffected
resident whites, have been enabled to make a strong impression upon the minds
of the Indians, and at last advices it would seem that, although no acts
of hos- 
tility on their part have been committed, they were beginning to waver in
their 
loyalty, and it will require, and I doubt not receive, on the part of the
govern- 
ment and its representatives, the exercise of prudence and good management
to 
avert the calamities which would  ttend an alliance of the Indians with the
rebels. As the usual supplies have now gone forward, I feel sanguine that
the 
dangers so much apprehended by Governor Gilpin are passed, and that he will
be enabled to preserve friendly relations with the tribes of the Territory.
A 
treaty was concluded with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes in February last, by
which their title to a large extent of country, including Denver City and
the 
surrounding regions, was extinguished. This treaty was ratified at the late
session of the Senate, with an amendment, to which the assent of the Indians
was necessary before its promulgation as the law of the land. Measures were
accordingly taken to procure their assent, which was readily given. So soon
as 
appropriations are made so that its stipulations may be fulfilled, I have
no doubt 
it will be attended with highly favorable results. 
The time has now fully arrived when the formidable tribes between the Upper
Arkansas and Texas should be brought within the scope of our Indian. policy.
For two years the Comanches and Kiowas have rendered the passage of the 
plains perilous to emigrants, but recently they have manifested a disposition
to 
assume friendly relations with the government, and to be restored to its
confi- 
dence, and have entered into a preliminary treaty to effect that object.
For 
this reason the presents of goods, which for two years have been withheld
from 
them, have been distributed this year. Thus the travel upon the great plains
between the frontier and New Mexico has again been made secure and its worst
dangers averted. 
The recent discovery of gold within this Territory has drawn thither a rapid
tide of emigration, which being precipitated amongst the tribes occupying
the 
gold bearing regions of the Territory, thus mingling the white and red races,
without any treaties contemplating so radical a change in their relations,
has 
greatly increased the difficulties in the way of a successful adninistration
of its 
Indian affairs. 
It will be necessary to negotiate treaties with many of the tribes, and as
the 
interior of the country is being so rapidly filled with our people, the demands
of justice to the Indians, as well as good policy, require that great care
should 
be exercised in order to secure for them suitable and ample reservations
upon 
which to locate their future homes. 
The change from savage to civilized life is very great, and is, at best,
beset 
with difficulties and perplexities. As the ultimate object of all our operations
among the Indians sshoud be to better their condition, it will be-' y  duty,
as 
well as of all other employes of the government, to endeavor to secure for
them 
reservations of such dimensions, and possessing such natural facilities in
climate, 
soil, and all other desirable qualities, as will, so far as possible, remove
the 
obstacles in the way of their advancement, nd present to them the greatest
inducements to abandon savage and adopt civilized modes of life. 
On the 31st of July last Governor Nye held a talk with the Indians located
on the spacious and suitable reservation on Walker river, which is occupied
by 


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