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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1873
([1873])

[Gila River agency],   pp. 281-283 PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 281

REPORT    OF COMMISSIONER       OF INDIA.N    AFFAIRS.        281 
54. 
UNITED STATES I-NDI -N AGENCY, 
Gila River Reservation, Arizona, Augutst :1, 17.3. 
Sin: Obedient to circular instructions from the honorable Commissioner of
Indian 
Affairs at Washington, I have the honor to submit this my third annual report
of the 
condition of affairs among the Pima and Maricopa Indians of Arizona. 
A careful review of the year ending to-day, fails to show any particular
improve- 
ment on the part of these Indians. 
In my second annual report. I alluded to several of the principal causes
then com- 
bined to prevent the advancement of this people into a higher moral and physical
standard, and prominent among them were the lack of proper means for educating
them, the limited facilities to enable them to remain self-sustaining, and
the evil in- 
fluences with which they are compelled to associate. These same causes exist
to-day, 
and the latter two named augment from year to year, in a degree that threatens
the 
most serious consequences to all concerned. 
The lack of good land, plenty of water, and a sufficient number of schools
for 
the children, has long been felt here, and in consequence of which there
exists, on the 
other hand, a certain degree of idleness, intemperance, and prostitution.
The future 
welfare of these Indians demands a sufficiency of the one and an immunity
from the 
other, and until these are secured them, it is folly to expect them to improve.
The water question is with us an almost threadbare subject. The Department
has 
several times during my stay here been informed of the condition of affairs
relative 
to that element, the want of which has been more severely felt this year
than ever 
before. Nor have these Indians been the only sufferers, for the settlers
living above 
this rAserve on the Gila River are all complaining of the lack of water.
On the west- 
ern part of the reservation the river has been entirely dry for nearly three
months, 
in consequence of which there will be no fall crops of any kind. In many
fields the 
small grain harvest was almost a failure from a want of water. The settlements
above 
the reservation are still increasing, and in a few years the farmers there
will need 
and appropriate all the water that the river affords during the warm season
preceding 
harvest. The reservation does not afford a sufficient quantity of water for
the support 
of all the Indians belonging to it, and some of them in conseqitence have
left it in 
order to get a living. About thirteen hundred members of these tribes are
thus living 
outside the lines of their reserve-about one thousand just above it on the
Gila, and 
some three hundred have moved to the Salt River Valley. 
Their close proximity to the whites is continually begetting troubles of
more or less 
importance between them, and, in the opinion of many people in the Territory,
it will 
at an early day lead to a war between the two races. The condition of affairs
in this 
respect is illustrated in the following occurrences, both of recent date:
On the 24th of last June, known and celebrated as San Juan's day by the Mexican
population of the Territory, quite a number of that nation gathered at the
town of 
Adamsville, some ten miles above this reserve, and spent the day in the usual
manner, 
riding, feasting, &c., and a few of them getting drunk. In the evening
they had a 
dance, which they continued through the night. A number of Pima Indians were
in 
and about Adamsville during the day watching the Mexicans in their sports,
and 
several of them remained at night to witness the dance. 
Among these Indians was the son of Antonio Azul, head chief of the Pimas.
During the niight they were in and out of the dancing-room, behaving themselves
properly, and, as far as I can learn, were all sober. 
About an hour before daylight the next morning, one of the Mexicans, without
any 
provocation whatever, struck the chief's son with a knife to the heart. 
Later on in the day the Mexican was arrested, and it being shown by some
Mexican 
witnesses that he was the guilty party, he was kept until the morrow for
a preliminary 
trial. The next day came and with it several hundred Pimas, who in the mean
time 
had been advised of the murder of their chief's son. About 10 o'clock the
prisoner was 
taken into the court-room, and the trial commenced. While one of the witnesses
was 
being examined, or about to be examined, three or four Pimas entered the
room, and, 
approaching the prisoner, motioned for him to stand up. He paying no attention
to 
this command was suddenly lifted to his feet by the Indians, and his hands
secured 
with a rope. He was then led out of the court-room to the edge of the town,
about a 
hundred yards distant, and was there surrounded by the other Pimas, who joined
the 
party. They then formed a circle around the prisoner and with little or no
ceremony 
they killed him with their war-clubs. The Indians then quietly returned to
their 
homes. In the mean time, anticipating some such trouble, troops were sent
for, and a 
small detachment arrived from Camp McDowell, about an hour after the death
of the 
Mexican. A few hours later, another small command came in from Camp Lowell,
but 
by this time matters had become so quiet that the troops soon returned to
their respec- 
tive posts. It was a 'high-handed affair for these Indians thus to take the
prisoner 
from the court-room, and I trust its parallel will never occur again. The
Indians do- 


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