United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1904, Part I
Reports concerning Indians in Arizona, pp. 131-155 PDF (12.5 MB)
134 REPORTS CONCERNING INDIANS IN ARIZONA. pine vegetation was dense and the dead leaves and spines thick on the ground; at these places the loss was great. When the rains began the water from the moun- tains made a river almost as black as ink. As the timber has very little value to these Indians they make no efforts to stop the fires unless ordered to do so; and, as the winds are usually high during the day, successful fire fighting can be done during the night only. To protect the Indian forest land from these great fires I would suggest that a belt across the northern side of this reservation, extending south 10 miles from the north boundary line, be included in the forest reserve so that the forest rangers would have jurisdiction over the entire forest to protect it from fires; that during the months of May, June, July, and August of each year the disbursing agent for this agency be authorized to employ a number of Indians, not exceeding ten in number, at a salary of $30 per month, to assist in the patrol of the forest land of this reserve and the forest reservation adjoin- ing it; that such Indian patrol be under the direct supervision of the lieutenant of the forest rangers. Court of Indian offenses.-This court convenes at the agency on the 1st and 15th of each month, and at such irregular times as may be necessary. The cases to be set- tled are mainly drinking, fighting, stealing, adultery, and divorce, and the judgments of this court are better than one would usually credit a court of this kind. The agency is not provided with a suitable jail and very often there are more prisoners than there is room for them; however, they are usually easily managed, and it is not necessary to lock them up for petty offenses. The making and drinking of tulpai is hard to regulate. A visiting officer at this place once reported to you that these Indians would quit making and drinking this beer when they had ceased to raise corn. This was a truthful statement, and the same may be said of the white race in its boasted civilization. Sanitary conditions.-Concerning the physical conditions of these Indians I append hereto the report of the agency and school physician, Dr. A. M. Wigglesworth: The general insanitary condition of our Indians still prevails in spite of'advice and example. Most of their disease is preventable, and this office makes it a point to show them their errors and the consequences thereof. The observation of two summers has shown me that by far the most sickness prevails during this season. The cause for the diarrhea, cholera morbus, etc, of adults, and the summer complaint of infants and children, must all be due to bad hygiene or flies. Our streams and springs show no specific germs on microscopic examination, nor can the food be questioned, except, perhaps, where contami- nated or indigestible. Suckling babes suffer with the rest. The fact remains that these diseases are ubiquitous, that all suffer to some extent and many die. Treatment taken in time is a saving process. Our past winter was very mild, and was marked by few fatalities from pneumonia. One mild epidemic of influenza is recorded, the diagnosis being certified by the microscope. Tuberculosis in the form of consumption of the lungs has claimed a victim about every month. In some cases an entire family has been gradually exterminated byit. Lack of care as to dissemination, bad hygiene, late presentation of treatment, coupled with a special predisposition, are factors in causa- tion and fatility. The medicine men have frequently instilled a false hope in some of the worst cases. We were fortunate in being able to contradict them and to prognosticate the fatal termination with the exact date in a way that has gone far toward gaining the confidence of the Indians. Many cases of glandular tuberculosis and a few of lupus, or the skin form, exist and help to spread this pestilence. Venereal disease is so rare as not to require mention. The census shows a gain of 14 births over the deaths. The physician was called in 6 labor cases, previous delivery occurring in 4 by reason of distance. Two of the latter were stillborn. The Indian method of management of these cases is to be condemned as causing lacerations and other untoward results. One life has been saved and one cripple restored by surgical intervention. Tact and judgment have been used toward counteracting the influence of their medicine men, and superstitions regarding our drugs dispelled. The medicine man's motive is a fee, and he usually does no more than sing for it. How much has been gained can not be estimated, but the demand for treatment has increased steadily, so that our drug stock has been exhausted several times. Wherever possible, medicines are administered by the physician, as relatives of the sick are so often too indolent or ignorant to trust. The question of medication is often difficult, as they will not take the crude articles furnished us. Valuable time is lost in an attempt to render them palatable. As stated time and again, our drug list needs revision or abandonment. The school health has been excellent, owihg to the best of care by employees and rigid exclusion of diseased pupils. We need more space for drugs and private treatment. Better attention can be given singly, and crowding tends to embarrass the timid. In this way one does not see what the other receives, and will not imagine he needs the same. They are too prone to take medication as a huge joke. A system of tents with stoves and cots would constitute a valuable addition to our equipment. They would enable cases to be moved close to the agency, where daily care by physician and field matron could be had. School children given into the hands of parents could likewise occupy the tents. A great amount of medicine has been expended on stock in treatment of wounds, sore backs, and screw-worm infection. Recommendations.-(1) That the making of good stone school buildings for the proper training of 225 of the 565 children of school age be continued as it was begun last year; that these buildings be the following: A school and assembly building, boys' dormitory, mess building, and a laundry. (2) That small storage reservoirs be made in the mountains for water for Indian cattle.
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