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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856

[New Mexico],   pp. 180-184 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 181

the whites, and expresses a determination to use his best efforts to 
prevent depredations in future. 
I am of the opinion that the conduct and condition of the Mescaleros 
are to some extent attributable to the mistaken policy of their agent. 
When peace was made vith this band, in June, 1855, they were in a 
very destitute condition; and recovering but limited relief from their 
agent, they resorted to theft, which induced Agent Steck to inform 
them, in December, 1855, that they need not return to his agency for 
provisions again until the stolen property was returned, and that he 
was no longer their agent. This policy was calculated to relieve the 
Indians from all restraint, and was adopted and persisted in with a 
knowledge, on the part of the agent, that hunger had caused the Iii- 
dians to steal; for, in a letter to this office, dated January 17, 1856,
one month after this policy was adopted, Agent Steck writes as fol- 
lows: "Th e thefts committed by the Mescaleros, about Donia Ana 
and other places, in my opinion, have been committed to satisfy 
hunger; they are generally one, two, and three animals, and, by fol- 
lowing the trails, it has beeD almost invariably found that they were 
killed and eaten." If, then, these Indians only stole a few animals
satisfy hunger, which were immediately eaten up, I presume that it 
would have been better policy to have relieved their wants, than to 
drive them from the agency, with instructions no t to return again for 
provisions until the stolen property was restored, when, in all proba- 
bility, this stolen property had been eaten up, and could not be re- 
stored. As soon as the foregoing facts came to my knowledge, a 
change of policy was directed; since which time, and the death ot 
Palanquito, I have heard of but little complaint. 
Of the Gila Apaches, embracing the Mogoyones, the Coyoteros, the 
Tontos and Garroteros, I have but little to add to my last annual 
report. During the last spring, parties of the first-named band,*on 
several occasions, committed depredations on the citizens of the valley 
of the Rio Grande-the particulars of which, together with the results 
of an expedition made into their country, under the command of 
Lieutenant Colonel Chandler, of the United States army, have hereto- 
fore been communicated to you by Agent Steck, through this office. 
The Coyoteros, Tontos, and Garroteros are so far removed from any 
agency as to render our knowledge of their condition quite limited; 
but my informatlon is, that none of the Gila Apaches cultivate the 
soil to any very considerable extent, or have made any other very 
decided advance towards civilization, but subsist principally by the 
chase, occasionally robbing the peaceable Pueblos in the neighborhood 
of Tucson, and travellers on the road from El Paso to California. 
The Jicarilla Apaches have been charged with committing several 
robberies and murders during the past summer; but upon investi- 
gating these charges, although there appears to be no doubt of the 
offences having been committed, I am inclined to believe that these 
Indians are innocent, and that those of the Arkansas are the guilty 
parties. By my instructions, Agent Labadi has from time to time 
supplied the Jicarillas with some provisions and agricultural imple- 
ments, which have enabled them to live in comparative comfort, and 
to cultivate the soil to a limited extent. I visited them in their own 

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