United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
[Arizona], pp. 286-300 PDF (7.4 MB)
292 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. destroy my prosperous agency and oppress these poor Indians in whom I have come to take so deep an interest, have openly declared war against the public-school system, which the governor of the Territory had succeeded in getting into successful operation under the great- est of difficulties. They have publicly stated that they will not rest until they have up- rooted every germ of free education so planted. They have shown in every way that they are not in sympathy with the genius and spirit of American institutions. The priests are not American citizens; the only knowledge they seem to have of human polity is that in which the civil is united with the church power to rule for the sole purpose of acquiring power. They are foreigners, and seem to have left on their native soil all the good, and brought to this all the bad, that was born in or ever taught to them. You must bear in mind that I am not speaking of our American Catholic priesthood as we find them in the older States. The bishop and priests of this vicinity are, in the main, of another nation than ours; they come here with every article of their creed overshadowed by that of oppression and tithe-gathering. They know nothing of human liberty, cultivation, and free education of the people, the building of pleasant homes, invention and improvement to render toil easier and more productive. They are they who have caused these native people to-day to plow with a stick; to thrash grain by the treading thereon of their beasts; t6 be unfrugal and lay up no store for the future, and thereby be exposed to famine or want in any unpropitious season; and to remain for generation after generation in the most profound depths of igno- rance and misery, that they may the more easily keep them in abject servitude. If there should seem to be any exaggeration, or aught put down in malice, in the foregoing representation, I would refer you to any truthful and unprejudiced traveler here and in Mexico for its verification as far as it goes, but that it stops far short of what might be said. No observant traveler in these countries can have failed to discover that, wherever this peculiar class of Catholic priests has alighted, they have left behind them a track of ruin and desolation worse than the howling wilderness. In view of the spirit with which I have represented that part of the Catholic Church having charge of this agency as being actuated, and fearing that even were the agency to be taken from these and given to the nobler and better class of Catholic clergy, the former would act upon the latter, through church sympathy, and cause continued trouble, I now ask, in behalf of these Papago Indians, and agree-ibly to their unanimous wish, that they be placed under the charge of some other church, or under some responsible secular authority, or that steps be taken to make them citizens of the United States. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. A. WILBUR, United States Agent, Papago Indians Hon. E. P. SMITH, Commissioner Indian Affairs, Fashington, D. C. UNITED STATES INDIAN AGENCY, GILA RIVER RESERVATION, Arizona Territory, August 31,1874. SIa: Responding to circular instructions from the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington, I have the honor to submit this my fourth annual report on the con- dition of affairs pertaining to the Pima and Maricopa Indians of Arizona. A retrospect of the events of the year ending to-day affirms the conclusion that the chief improvement among these Indians is due to the educational efforts afforded by the Depart- ment in their behalf. These efforts, owing to a lack of means, are limited as yet, but through them we are enabled to plan a course of rudimental study within the reach of a few of the children living on the reserve, who, in accepting these instructions, are laying for themselves the foundations of a better life than has heretofore been their privilege. The review of the past year also confirms the fact that the statements and suggestions offered in preceding papers of this iature, relative to the future well-being of these tribes, were by no means prematute. In former reports your agent has, from time to time, cited the main causes calculated to retard the moral and physical improvement of the Indians, and prominent among them were noted the want of sufficient means for their education, the limited facilities to continue them self-supporting, and the evil influences to which they are subjected. The features of the water question have materially changed since my last report. For several years the lack of water for farming purposes had proven a serious obstacle to the Indians in supporting themselves. The supply of water was so light as not to afford a suffi- cient quantity for irrigating purposes, and consequently many Ihdians and their families were forced to leave the reserve and seek homes elsewhere. This year, however, there has been a great abundance of rain throughout all this section of the country, far more than the aggregate quantity of the previous five years. We had heavy rain-storms here during the harvest season, in consequence of which much of the small grain belonging to the Indians as alumost wholly destroyed. The rain also damaged the agency and school-building which, on account of the present unsettled state of the weather, have not yet been rel~aired]. TLere has been no apparent increase of intemperance among the Indians during the year.
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