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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [1]-21 PDF (9.4 MB)


Page 13

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
During the past spring and summer, additional purchases and 
remittances have been made, with the expectation that the negotia- 
tions with all the tribes in the two Territories named will be fully 
completed and closed in time to lay the results befbre the Senate 
during the coming session of Congress, should such be the decision of 
the President in regard to them. 
Immediately after the close of the session of 1853-'54, the governors 
of New Mexico and Utah were called on to report in relation to the 
characteristics and condition of the several Indian tribes within their 
respective jurisdictions, to designate the locations of their homes or 
haunts, and furnish a description of the regions inhabited or claimed 
by each tribe, and lists of articles which would be desirable or 
necessary for presents to them. 
A reply was not received from the governor of Utah until almost a 
year had elapsed, (July 27, 1855,) when he stated that the report 
then sent had been twice forwarded before. It bore date October 30, 
1854. 
Owing to these facts, and to the unsettled condition of the govern- 
mental affairs of that Territory, nothing further has yet been done in 
regard to negotiations with the Indian tribes there. 
On consideration of the response received from the governor of New 
Mexico,. authority was delegated to him early last spring to treat 
with the tribes of his superintendency.  The general instructions 
transmitted to him were somewhat similar to those given to the 
officers charged with the like duty in Oregon and Washington 
Territories. The reports of his progress and prospects, in the execu- 
tion of this trust, which have reached this office, are flattering, and 
give rise to the hope that the time is near at hand when difficulties 
with the tribes in New Mexico, and the outrages and depredations 
committed by them, will cease. 
Articles have been received at the department for its consideration 
and the action of the President and Senate, if approved, which have 
been entered into by Governor Meriwether, on behalf of the United 
States, with four several tribes or bands of Indians; and notice has 
been received of the conclusion of Wonventions with other bands, and 
the documents, it is understood; are on their way here. 
Of the appropriation for presents to the Pueblo Indians, the sum of 
$5,000 was placed at the disposal of the governor last spring for the 
purchase of implements at his discretion. 
The legislative assembly of the Territory of New Mexico has consti- 
tuted the several pueblos of what is termed the Pueblo Indians into 
bodies corporate and politic, with power to sue and be sued. The 
governor represents these Indians as too ignorant to be invested with 
this power, and states that interested persons stir up litigation 
between the different pueblos, and between them and the Mexican 
population. More than twenty lawsuits are now pending between 
the Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna, in which it is apprehended that 
the claims of lawyers and officers, for fees, will, by the time the cases
are disposed of, be sufficient to cover all that these two pueblos are 
worth. It is recommended by the governor, for reasons that appear 
13 


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