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 1905, Part I

Reports concerning Indians in Arizona,   pp. 156-180 PDF (12.1 MB)

Page 158

WHITERIVER, ARIz., Au.gust 17, 1905. 
The census shows a small increase in the population over that of last year,
Males - -   --                                        1,000 
Females                                 -1,090 
2, 090 
School population: 
Males----------------      -   -298 
Females               ---262 
Children attending reservation schools-  -227 
Children attending nonreservation schools -13 
Children not attending any school-                           320 
Children not physically fit to attend any school, estimated ......- 150 
Children that should have school training                __-170 
Places of abode and inclination.-The most of the Indians of this agency are
known as White Mountain Apaches; there are not more than twenty Chiricahua
Apaches living on the White Mountain Indian Reservation. These Indians are
nomadic; they roam over the reservation aimlessly; they live mainly in or
the canyons of White River, Cibecu and Carixo creeks. They do not like any
of house except one made of brush and canvas; when this brush house becomes
so filthy that they can not live in it'longer, they move, for it is easier
to build 
again than put the old tepee in a healthy condition. It is a common custom
that when there is a death in the family in one of these tepees they disinfect
so thoroughly that nothing of the house remains but ashes; this custom would
not be so bad if the disease were tuberculosis only, but all cases are treated
alike. I have induced several Indians to build a house, and in a very short
time we find them using the houses for corn cribs and other barn purposes,
they had returned to the better-loved tepee. It is very unnatural for them
try to live in a house; if the house were ideal in appointment it is not
" home'" 
to them. This is one reason why the children do not like schools-it is not
can not be made homelike to them. The best arranged and most hygienic 
dormitories are uneasy and unnatural places for them; the child does not
a soft bed, for he never slept in one until the day he enters school. 
To illustrate this, I would say, build a good house, furnish it with a fine
range and appurtenances, pretty dishes, soft easy chairs, beds, rich carpet,
pictures, books, etc.-in fact all that the cultured-desires; and, near this
construct a tepee and furnish it with a few blankets, a coffeepot, and frying
and say to an Apache, "Take your choice," and within thirty seconds
he will 
have chosen and be on his way to the tepee. This is not visionary; it is
a reality; 
it is the only natural thing for him to do, and lie should not be censured
for it. 
He argues that the white man makes too imuch trouble for himself to get a
living; that he wants to see or eat everything, and that he wears too many
clothes. He says that he is happy with a few good things. He has little faith
in the strenuous life; he believes that too much exertion is like too much
tion (too hot) ; that he would rather rust out than burn out; he says that
likes a slow, steady fire better than a flash of burning shavings. This is
condition, and it is evidence of want of ambition orprogressive desire. 
Material hope.-The material hope for these Indians is in a combination of
the herding and farming industries. There are no mines on the reservation.
The manufacturing amounts to practically nothing; it consists in basket mak-
ing, moccasin making, and beadwork, and it all merits little consideration
bread-winning industries. 
More than 99 per cent of the 1,900,000 acres comprising this reservation
hilly or mountainous; ledges of red or brown stone are in sight in almost
every direction. So far as known these mountains contain no valuable min-
erals, yet it has been reported that copper ore has been found on the western
part. In the northern and central parts of the reserve there are a few crop-
pings of coal, but as wood is so cheap and plentiful, no effort is made to
the coal for any purpose. Material hope for this people is unquestionably
the raising of cattle and in farming the little narrow canyons. Effort has
made to have them raise sheep, and it is now nmanifest that our efforts in
industry will result in failure. They can not be induced to take care of
They herd well enough during the day, but when night comes they leave their

Go up to Top of Page