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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 292

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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