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 1855

[New Mexico Indians],   pp. 186-192 PDF (2.8 MB)

Page 189

Tedritory, the Kiowas, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes, from the Arkan- 
sas river, and the Comanches from Texas, often roam over portions 
thereof, and would give a total of 3,700 warriors, and 17,000 souls. 
Add to this estimate from eight to ten thousand Pueblo Indians, and 
the total Indian population of New Mexico will approximate 26,000, 
though I am inclined to the opinion that the estimates of travellers, 
as to the number of the Coyoteros, is too high. 
Many depredations have been committed and many lives lost during 
the past year, of which you have been informed by the monthly re- 
ports of the several agents and myself, most of which are attributable 
to the Jicarilla and Mescalero Apaches, and the Mohuache Utahs, 
but as peace has been made with these bands strong hopes are enter- 
tained that similar occurrences will be rare in future. 
During the past summer a party of Comanches, from Texas, visited 
me at this place, who informed me that they had been driven from 
their own country by the Osages, and expressed a desire to remain in 
this Territory permanently, but I declined giving them-permission to 
do so, and directed them to return to their country, which they prom- 
ised to do. These Indians surrendered to me a Mexican boy whom 
they had captured in Chihuahua, and otherwise behaved themselves 
very well whilst in this part of the Territory; but after leaving this 
place they committed several depredations upon our citizens, as I am 
informed, and they continue to remain in the southeastern portion of 
the Territory. I would, therefore, ask for instructions as to their 
disposition. Are they to be permitted to remain, or be forcibly re- 
I find great difficulty in preventing the sale of ardent spirits to the 
Indians, and so long as this practice is continued it will be impracti- 
cable to keep them in peace and quietude; and I am informed that 
many of our citizens gamble with them and win the presents given to 
them, leaving them as destitute as they were before the presents were 
delivered. As the treaties recently negotiated only extend the inter- 
course laws relative to the traffic in ardent spirits, over the Indian 
reservations and the country ceded, I would respectfully recommend 
that these laws be extended, by act of Congress, over the whole Ter- 
ritory, and that gambling with the Indians be made a penal offence. 
The Pueblo Indians continue well disposed, and I can but reiterate 
the recommendations contained in my last annual report for their 
benefit, and as there is an act of the legislative assembly of the Ter- 
ritory constituting the several pueblos bodies politic and corporate. 
with powers to sue and be sued, &c., I would respectfully recommend 
that Congress should exercise the power reserved to it by the 7th sec- 
tion of the act establishing a territorial government for this Territory,
by repealing this act of the legislative assembly. If this is not done, 
I feel confident that many of these pueblos will be reduced to want 
and broken up. These Indians are ignorant, and but little removed 
from a savage state, and interested persons stir up litigation between 
the different pueblos and between the Mexican population and the 
pueblos. As an evidence of the extent to which this practice has ob- 
tained, I would mention the fact of the pueblos of Acoma and Laguna 
having over twenty suits now pending between them, and when all 

Go up to Top of Page