United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
Report of agent in Colorado, pp. 20-21 PDF (893.6 KB)
20 REPORT OF AGENT IN COLORADO. SANITARY. During the most of the year their sanitary condition has been good. For three maonths past, however, there has been an unusual amount of sickness. Several con- tagious diseases have passed through the reservation; these, in conection with typho- malarial fevers, have been very difficult to manage. There have been six births and eight deaths during the year. CIVILIZATION. But for the curse of the rum traffic civilization with these Indians would be an ac- complished fact. For nearly eight years I have been with this people. I know the ,character and habits of every Indian. During these years my mind has alternated -with hope and fear. For weeks and sometimes for months together there seemed to be but one object uppermost in all minds, that of advancement in the scale of civili- zation; and then, perhaps just as I would indulge in the thought of realizing my -desire, that of seeing a temperate and prosperous people, my hopes would be dashed to pieces by some vandal selling whisky to my Indians. I was successful last fall in prosecuting two of these infamous characters and securing their conviction. They -were each fined one hundred dollars and sentenced to. imprisonment for one year. -My course was commended by all good citizens, but the whisky element has been harassing me ever since. I am satisfied nearly all of the Indians desire to be temperate, but they cannot withstand the temptation to drink when one offers to treat them, -and after once tasting liquor they become an easy prey to the seducer, and then some .of my best Indians spend in a single drunken spree the accumulated proceeds of months of industry. Whisky and civilization with Indians are antipodal. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. G. BELKNAP, United States Indian Agent. 'The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. SOUTHERN UTE AGENCY, COLO., August 10, 1883. !Si: In obedience to instructions received, I have the honor to submit my second annual report of the condition of affairs at this agency. The Southern Utes are still located on their old reservation in Southwestern Colo- rado, which is well adapted to grazing purposes. They number 968, composed of Mnaches, 269; Capotes, 208; Weeminuches, 491. The Utes are natural herders, as is shown by the increase of their herds. They have large bands of horses, which, ffom natural increase and purchase, are increasing -very fast. During the past year the Government purchased 4)800 ewes, which were distributed among the Indians at this agency. They take to sheep very well; they biave clipped and sold to the trader about 6,000 pounds of wool from the sheep issued to them last May. AGRICULTURE. ht c iLtes at this agency are not inclined to agricultural pursuits, although I thiAk 'svith peoper encouragement they could be induced to till the soil to some extent. So far thy have had no opportunity of seeing what they could do in that direction, as none of their land is under irrigation, and cannot be cultivated without. Last win- ter I persuaded five of the Indians to commence farming on a small scale. This they agreed to do provided they could be furnished with implements, seed, &c. I asked for and got the approval of $'200 to be expended in this way, but as it was the 7th of June before I reeeived the money, it was too late to make any use of it this year. EDUCATION. 'No schools have been established at this agency. Under instruction from the hon- orable Secretary of the Interior I made the attempt to secure Ute children to attend school off of the reservation, with little hopes of success, as these Indians have al- -ways opposed any move on the part of their agent towards education. At first I met -with great opposition from the chiefs and head men, they assigning many reasons -why they should not allow their children to go to school; but after explaining to them the benefits they would derive from it, and assuring them that they should have good -reatment, I last May succeeded in securing twenty-four boys and three girls, who are maow located at the Albuquerque (N. Mex.) Indian school. Reports from the principal 4of the school show that they are getting along very well, considering the short time they have been there. I consider them an unusually bright lot of children, and expect satisfactory results if they stay two years, as is expected.
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