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 1873
([1873])

[Denver agency],   pp. 262-263 PDF (1.0 MB)


Page 262

262        REPORT    OF COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS. 
45. 
DENVER, COLO., September 1, 1873. 
SIR: In obedience to your instructions contained in circular of date June
30, 1873. I 
have the honor to submit, for your information, the following report of the
adminis- 
tration of affairs at this agency during the year just past. 
Instead of entering into any details I desire to call the attention of the
Department 
to the uniform good behavior of "Pi-ah's" band during the time
above referred to, and 
to their comparative freedom from the vices which almost invariably characterize
the 
Indian when-brought as closely and constantly in contact with whites as these
Utes have 
been. But few complaints of anything like even misdemeanors on their part
have been 
brought to my notice; and not a single base of drunkenness has occurred among
them 
while they have been in or near Denver. The same good reports of their behavior
come to me from the plains and the parks, the only irregularity of which
they have 
been guilty of late having been the attack (July 7, 1873) upon a small band
of Arap- 
ahoes on the Little Republican, in which affair the Utes report having secured
twenty- 
eight ponies and one scalp. I wrote you of this occurrence July 10, 1873,
a telegram 
having been received by me from the K. P. R. R. agent at Deer Trail, relating
the 
facts as nearly as he could learn them from "Pi-ah." In my letter
I stated that the 
Arapahoes were the aggressors, but I have since learned from the Utes themselves
that the latter made the attack. 
Immediately upon the receipt of the telegram above mentioned I ordered Pi-ah
and 
his followers to come at once to Denver, reporting to you the fact of their
arrival. 
The subsequent difficulties in Denver, growing out of the efforts of certain
parties 
here to usurp the agent's powers, create dissatisfaction among the Indians,
and to in- 
duce them to indulge in a barbarous and disgusting spectacle in the streets
of the city, 
have been fully explained to you in a letter from this office dated July
16, 1873. On 
this occasion the Indians behaved exceedingly well, and dispersed quietly
as soon as 
they understood it to be the wish of the agent that they should not.make
any public 
display; their quiet demeanor and ready obedience to the proper authority-being
in 
decided contrast to the action of the parties who inaugurated, and swore
they would 
carry out, the "Ute procession and scalp-dance" scheme. The latter
persons tore up 
the ground in their wrath, cursing the agent, the administration, and the
Depart- 
ment for what they seemed to think was an unwarranted interference with their
sacred and inalienable rights. 
Immediately after the squelching of their circus, petitions were put in circulationr
addressed to the S ecretary of the Interior, asking (or demanding) the immediate
re- 
moval of the agent, and from the reports of saloon caucuses and sidewalk
conferences 
of these injured patriots that reached me, I really feared that they would
undermine, 
blow up, and utterly eliminate the beneficent institution known as the Indian
Bureau. 
I presume, however, "that the dawn of the succeeding morning brought
(along with 
much headache) some sober thoughts, as I have never since heard of their
petitions; 
and, so far as I am informed, the Indian Bureau still exists. In concluding
my re- 
marks upon this subject, I merely wish to say that I deprecate any such excitement
as 
that which grew out of this affair, but at the same time I intend to exercise
my au- 
thority, within legal limits, whether it suits the half-savage and more than
barbarous 
white element of this community, or not. In other words, I will 11 have peace"
even 
though I have to fight for it. 
In returning to your Department and to the board of commissioners the statistical
tables furnished me, it has not been possible for me to give as full information
on many 
points as you or they may desire. The reasons for this are given at length
upon the 
blanks which I have already forwarded. I believe the number stated thereon
is not 
exaggerated, taking the statement as an average the year round. Although
Pi-ah's 
band proper will not number over 350, yet they are always accompanied to
Denver by 
more or less delegates from the bands belonging to the other agencies in
Colorado, who 
come for the purpose of trading in the city, and to join Pi-ah and his fellows
in their 
regular spring and fall buffalo-hunts. On account of the deadly enmity existing
be- 
tween the Utes and the Plains Indians, (Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Sioux, and
Kiowas,) it 
is the custom of the former to muster as many effective warriors as possible
for these 
campaigns, so that it is not unusual for Pi-ah to be accompanied by the Chiefs
Sha-na- 
no, Gurso, An-ka-tosh, and Cu-ra-can-ti, from the southern Agency, and by
such north- 
ern representatives as Sac-ne-och, (son of Ne-va-va,) Pah-aut, Tab-ou-cha-ken,
An-thro, 
and others, each with a few chosen warriors. I believe that every Indian
of note in 
the seven bands of Utes has visited Denver and shaken hands with me within
the last 
nine months-if I except Sac-ne-och, Sap-o-wa-we-re, and Kan-e-a-che. The
latter 
gentleman I warned, through an Indian runner, not to come here at all, as
he is noto- 
riously mischievous; and the other Utes informed me that they did not wish
to be 
blamed for the disturbances which the presence of himself and band were sure
to cre- 
ate. Of course it is not my province to relate his amusements in the southern
coun- 


Go up to Top of Page