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

[Arizona],   pp. 286-300 PDF (7.4 MB)


Page 289

REPORT     OF  THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     289 
WASHINGTON, D. C., September 25, 1874. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith my fourth annual report for the
Colorado River 
Indian agency. 
Work was resumed upon the irrigating-canal last fall, and pushed rapidly
forward until 
June 23, when the water was flowing through it for nine miles, with an average
depth of 
three feet by five in width. The principal work was done by Indians, averaging
125 daily, 
who labored for their rations alone. The tunneling, which measured 4,185
feet, was done 
by miners. Part of this being through loose, gravelly soil, we were obliged
to timber, and 
having no funds for the work, used cotton-wood, procured on the reservation,
thinking it 
would last until better could be supplied; but, unfortunately, about 100
feet has already 
caved, and will require about two months to repair. When these tunnels are
rendered secure, 
the remaining work can be done by Indians without other expense than their
rations and 
tools, continuing the canal the entire length of the reserve, 45 miles, and
irrigating about 
50,000 acres of arable land. 
The Hualpai Indians, numbering 580, came to the reserve in the spring, escorted
by one 
white man. The troops had started by a different route; their commanding-officer
had fallen 
by the way-side drunk, and the men were found by a scouting party on the
road. An officer 
was placed in command, and they arrived the day following the Indians, their
company 
commander coming in a boat, and not yet recovered from the effects of his
debauch. This 
officer is still on the reserve with these Indians, General Crook insisting
that his presence is 
necessary to control them. This he does not do, but permits them to visit
the nearest town, 
where liquor is easily procured, and will not heed my request to expel a
liquor-dealer from 
the reservation. 
When the Indians were ordered to be placed on the reservation I requested
General Crook 
to furnish me twenty or thirty mounted men to pursue any who might leave
the reserve; 
instead, an entire company of infantry is sent, who are useless in pursuit,
and very demoral- 
izing, placed, as now, among the Indians. The presence of troops constantly
on an Indian 
reservation is much to be deprecated, as it breeds familiarity, which takes
away all fear or 
respect the Indians otherwise have for them. They should be near enough,
and have such 
instructions as would oblige them to render assistance to the agent upon
his official appli- 
cation. 
The Mojaves have worked faithfully upon the irrigating-canal, and displayed
much inter- 
est in the work, believing, at least, that it is going to be successful.
The death of Ireteba 
last spring, who was their chief for twenty years, is much deplored, as he
was the most 
sagacious of the tribe, and a great assistance in my plans of improvement
of his people. 
I have induced the Chimehuevis to settle down on the California side of the
river, and give 
up their migratory habits. They wanted to come on the reservation until compulsory
labor 
was mentioned. As they are but a small band, a little assistance in tools
and seeds is all they 
require. 
Drunkenness and disease are having a sad effect upon the Yumas, who have
been surrounded 
by the most demoralizing associations for the last fifteen years. There is
no hope of improve- 
ment where they are, and they object to removal. This can readily be effected,
however, 
when we have a better place prepared for them, where they can from the first
earn their own 
living; for after feeding Indians one month they cannot understand or approve
of a change. 
I have given them a few blankets, and to them, with parts of the Cocopah
and Coahuilla 
tribes, a little flour before their crops matured, having exhausted their
supplies. The last- 
named tribe is mentioned by the Rev. J. T. Ames in his report on the Mission
Indians of 
Southern California. I am personally acquainted with many of the facts there
stated, hav- 
ing made repeated trips through that country in passing to and from my agency,
visiting 
several of the desert tribes at their rancherias. 
Last fall I found a white man had just surveyed and appropriated a large
tract of land, 
upon which a band of the Coahuillas had been born and raised, and they did
not know where 
to go. Thus they are becoming impoverished, and will soon become vagrants,
dependent, if 
they can get it, upon the Government bounty. We earnestly hope that something
may be 
done for them, at least that some responsible person be authorized to inquire
into and rectify 
their wrongs, as far as possible. 
Our school at the reservation, conducted by Mr. A. E. Janvier, who labored
very faith- 
fully, was very well attended during the winter; but, their coming being
optional, the 
nuibers decreased in the spring, and the teacher requested his discharge
in June. The 
results are not encouraging, as the few hours in school are quickly counteracted
and im- 
pressions obliterated by their home-life. Although they display remarkable
aptitude to 
learn, still the mere acquisition of our language by them is not desirable,
unless accom- 
panied by instructions in some industrial education; this can only be acquired
in a manual- 
labor boarding-school, which it is very important the Government should establish
on each 
permanent reservation. 
Increasing confidence is being displayed in our treatment of disease, Dr.
H. H. Davis, 
the agency physician, having been very successful in winning their confidence
by cures 
and kind treatment. We are in great need, however, of a hospital-building
and appliances, 
having been obliged to treat serious cases in our own dwelling. 
Finally, after over three years as agent for the Colorado River Indians,
I am satisfied that 
19 IND 


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