University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 297

REPORT     OF  THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     297 
3d of February, a party of forty or fifty San Carlos Indians, led by one
supposed to be the 
"red villain" Pedro, made an attack on some parties living at Old
Camp Grant, killing 
two men, one woman, and two children. There can be no doubt that the memory
of the 
cold-blooded murder by the whites of nearly one hundred of their own people,
about four years 
before, near the same post, still rankled in their bosoms, and led them here
to avenge those 
heartless scenes of blood and death. It is reported that these Indians killed
another man 
near Florence about a month later. After these bold and bloody acts, the
military at once 
began operations against them as hostile Indians. It would be difficult,
especially to one 
not on the field at the time of the disturbance, to ascertain the true cause
that led to this 
outbreak. It is my opinion that the frequent change of agents, and the constant
drifting 
between military and civil rule, to which the Indians on this reservation
have been subjected 
during the past two years, cannot result otherwise than detrimental to the
general interests and 
proper discipline of any tribe or community of individuals. Further, it is
my opinion that 
both military and civil authorities were in fault on various occasions, and
especially in not 
arresting several Indians who were known to them to be most daring outlaws,
and who 
were continually causing strife and contention among their people, and instigating
rebellion 
and murder by their own pernicious precept and example. When drunken renegades
of 
any tribe are permitted, in the presence of two companies of cavalry, to
defy both civil 
and military authorities, we may look for even worse results than have been
developed by 
the experiment at San Carlos. I concur with many in the opinion that, had
there been a 
firm and just administration inaugurated and executed at this agency since
the spring of 
1873, the murder of Lieutenant Almy and the outbreak of January last would
never have 
left their gory stains on the records of the San Carlos Apaches. 
Be my convictions right or wrong as to the causes of the outbreak, the fact
is that on the 
night of January 31 the Indians made a hasty exit from their camps and sought
the strong- 
holds of the mountains. Scouting parties were immediately organized and sent
in their pur- 
suit. They were attacked in their main stronghold and driven out; they were
hunted 
through the mountains, over ranges and sections where they thought it impossible
for the 
white man to follow; discomfiture, destruction, and death followed in their
wake until their 
punishment seemed greater than they could bear, and they were glad to sue
for peace. The 
general commanding the Department of Arizona very wisely refused to permit
them to return 
to the reservation until they should deliver to him four of their number
who were the most 
prominent outlaws. The instructions of the commanding general were fully
carried out. 
Helpless women with babes at their breasts were, despite their tears and
entreaties, ordered 
back to the mountains to await the fulfillment of the general's orders. One
mother begged 
that she and child might be shot where they were rather than be forced back
to the perils 
and sufferings of the mountains; but the edict had gone forth, and there
was no quarter and 
no mercy to be shown; and not until they had brought in the heads of the
four outlaws 
were they permitted to return and to be at peace. 
This treatment may seem harsh, and so it was, yet it has taught to these,
and demonstrated 
to others, two facts, viz: First, that Indians cannot leave their reservation,
go raiding about 
the country committing murder and theft, and then return at pleasure; and,
secondly, that 
while outlaws may for a time evade the arm of law and justice, yet that they
can and will 
be captured and punished. Their conviction on these two points will do much
toward insur- 
ing their future submission and obedience. They returned to the reserve as
follows: Cas-a- 
dore and band, February 28, 1874; John Cle-Shay and band, April 8, 1874;
Es-ki-min-zin 
and band, April "23, 1874; John Smith and band, April 27, 1874; Dis-a-lin
and band, about 
May ], 1874; Santa and band, Say-gully and band, Eskin-os-pus and band, July
26, 1874. 
On the 26th of August Dis-a-lin returned from a scout, bringing with him
thirty-nine, claimed 
as members of his own band, and seventy-six captives; total, one hundred
and fifteen. As 
they came in they were disarmed and ordered to camp near the agency. They
built for 
themselves neat houses of logs and brush, with beds elevated about three
feet above the 
ground, and their deportment was usually quiet and pacific. 
GOVERNMENT. 
On taking charge of the agency, I found that the same mixture of civil and
military rule 
was still working detriment to the Indians. I therefore immediately assumed
entire contro'. 
of all affairs appertaining to the Indian service, in order that the Indians
might understand 
that there was but one administration and one administrator. The rule over
the Indians 
previous to my arrival was intended to be severe, but being shared by many
rulers, it be- 
came weak, inefficient, and dangerous to the proper discipline and progress
of the Indians. 
On my arrival there were daily complaints of refractory conduct on the part
of Indians 
working with employes, and one attempt was made to kill an employe",
but by swift justice 
and severe punishment their discipline has been much improved, and rebellious
demonstra- 
tions are of rare occurrence. 
I have appointed four Indians to act as police. They arrest the insubordinate,
and guard 
the prisoners, and do general police duty. The result is very satisfactory,
and it is my in- 
tention to employ them permanently at $15 per month. 
Should he military desire to remain on the reservation, I shall not object.
Yet I should 
strongly oppose a nearer residence than five miles from the Indian camp,
as the effect of the 
association of the soldiers with the Indians is very demoralizing. 


Go up to Top of Page