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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-17 PDF (6.6 MB)


Page 10

10   REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
Tree, from the State penitentiary was pending; but since their release 
there is little doubt that some of the Kiowas have joined the Comanches 
in expeditions for plunder and murder. 
M1ISTAKEN LENIENCY. 
There can be no question but that the necessity of fighting these In- 
dians would have been obviated by firmness and promptness in procur- 
ing the punishment of the crimes of individual Indians and of white 
marauders in their territory. For a long time past it has been the prac-
tice of the Government to solemnly promise Kiowas, Comanches, and 
Cheyennes that any further raiding in Texas would be promptly and 
severely punished by the military, but when the Cheyennes and Co- 
manches, having continued to raid with scarcely any abatement, have 
been again arraigned, the promise has been redeemed by a second issue 
of the same tenor. Under this impunity in crime these Indians have 
become bold and defiant. Added to the demoralization produced by 
this mistaken leniency was the aggravation of frequent loss of property 
by white thieves from Texas and Kansas raiding upon their herds. 
Some of the well-disposed Indians, who had induced others of their 
tribe to surrender stolen stock, were the parties who suffered most from
this white thieving. Taking advantage of this demoralization and ex- 
asperation, it was not difficult for some of the wilder and more unman- 
ageable braves to inaugurate hostilities by assassinating the clerk at 
the Cheyenne and Arapahoe agency, and by the murder of teamsters 
and the plunder of a train freighted with Indian supplies. 
PUNISHMENT OF HOSTILES BY THE MILITARY. 
In July, Agents llaworth, Miles, and Richards were directed to call 
in and enroll at their agencies all Indians who were prepared to remain 
peaceful and law-abiding, and the military authorities were requested to
bring to punishment all who joined themselves to the hostiles. This 
has resulted in a vigorous campaign against nearly all the Comanches 
and Cheyennegand more than one-half of the Kiowas. By the latest 
advices received from the agents and military commanders, it is believed
that these intractables have been effectually chastised, and are prepared
to submit to proper regulations and restrictions.- So far as the Office is
advised the campaign has been successfully conducted, without the bar- 
barity of indiscriminate slaughter which has sometimes attended war- 
fare upon Indians, and such methods have been adopted as have brought 
the punishment directly and almost exclusively upon the hostile per- 
sons. 
PROPOSED RADICAL CHANGES FOR THE HOSTILES. 
The question of the future of these wild Indians has been seriously 
considered. * Their deep and avowed aversion to any settled life cannot 
be overcome so long as they are on the borders of the vast unoccupied 
plains and almost within sight of herds of buffalo. And while they 
continue inl this unsettled life by the chase it will be well-nigh impossi-
ble to render settlers in Northern Texas and in New Mexico secure from 
pilfering and murderous attacks by small parties of individuals of these
tibes. The interests, therefore, both of citizens and Indians require 
the adoption of radical measures. Their hostilities during the past 
summer are a practical abrogation on their part of treaty right. The 
Government, having subjugated them by arms, will be at liberty in deal- 


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