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 1875

Reports of agents in Colorado,   pp. 230-235 PDF (3.0 MB)

Page 230

r                                  CONDUCT AND CRIMES. 
We regret to say that, on many occasions during the year, the conduct of
the Indians to- 
-ward one another has been of the worst kind; also that at times it has been
bad toward citi- 
zens, though not often seriously so. With the increase of drunkenness there
has been a cor- 
responding increase of crime. There have been six homicides this year, while
during the 
year previous there were none. One was that of a Mexican, and the remainder
were of 
Indians, all of which were directly traceable to the use of whisky. In every
instance there 
was no evidence other than Indian, and though every proper means was employed
to con- 
vict the murderers and the whisky-vendors through the courts, the evidence,
being contra- 
dictory or insufficient, has defeated the object. 
The nature and habits of the Indians here are such as to render the actof
civilizing them 
.a very slow and feeble work under the most favorable circumstances. With
the present sur- 
soundings, advancement, even if at all practicable, will be attended with
the utmost difficulty. 
The mind of the Indian is susceptible of moral impressions, and not unfrequently
he be- 
,comes convinced of his errors, manifests regret for the wrongs he has done,
and sincere 
desire to pursue a better course in the future; but he is soon carried away
by the tempta- 
tion to strong drink. He is brought almost daily in contact with unprincipled
white men., 
who are ready to tear from his breast any good impression he may have received,
and to 
vitiate and inflame his whole being, and who, before all others, must be
held morally re- 
sponsible for the crimes committed by the Indians, and for their continuance
in so low and 
,degraded condition. Remove the Indians to permanent and suitable homes,
where they 
may find profitable employment on their own lauds, and under the constant
watch-care of 
those whom you may appoint over them, and you will, at the same time, remove
obstacles to their civilization.        d 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. E. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
Denver, Colo., September 1, 1875. 
SIR: This agency being off the reservation, and having been established mainly
for the 
purpose of caring for such Ute Indians belonging to the confederated tribes
as are allowed 
to*visit Denver and the "buffalo range," it will not, of course,
be expected that this report 
shall treat of agricultural, educational, or missionary work.   *      "
In my intercourse with the Indians coming directly under my charge, and especially
relates to the "Pi-ah," or Middle Park band. I have always set
forth the great advantages 
of their reservations in strong, if not eloquent, language, and have urged
them to lose no time 
in accepting and profiting by the great privileges offered them by a beneficent
inent; but the attraction afforded them here in the way of bargains for their
furs and skins, 
the glorious annual buffalo-hunt, the ne plus ultra of excitement and profit
to all semi-civil- 
ized Indians, and the attention paid to them while here by tourists, have
been hard to 
overcome. I have, however, by persistent effort, succeeded in inducing Pi-ah
and a large 
portion of his band to remain at the Southern agency during the greater part
of the past 
summer, and I have just received word from him that he is well satisfied.
At the same time 
he states that he was about going to the White River agency to visit some
relations, and 
that, with a few chosen warriors, he contemplated taking a '"little"
buffalo-hunt this fall. 
There are now five lodges of Utes in this vicinity, who tell me that within
the next month 
they expect to be joined-by delegations from the different bands for this
purpose. In this 
connection I would respectfully renew the suggestion I have made for the
past two years, 
(of which, by the way, no notice has been taken,) that when these Indians
are allowed to go 
to the buffalo range, a competent and trustworthy person be sent with them
by the agent, 
who shall be directed to see that they do not in any way interfere with the
rights of white 
;settlers on their journey, and who shall also use every endeavor to prevent
a collision be- 
tween them and the "plains Indians."  Since the attack by the Sioux
last winter upon a 
Ute camp on the Republican, and the retaliation by the latter, in which they
captured some 
three hundred of the Sioux horses, the plains tribes have constantly kept
scouts in the 
buffalo country looking out for Ute hunting-parties. The Utes will go to
that region in 
strong force and t --ighly prepared for a fight, if they go at all; and as
the Sioux, Chey- 
ennes, and Arapahoebb, (Northern and Southern,) Kiowas, and Comanches roam
over that 
c.ountry at their own sweet will in large numbers, it is probable that, unless
great precau- 

Go up to Top of Page