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)
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.
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