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])

[New Mexico],   pp. 300-311 PDF (5.7 MB)


Page 309

REPORT     OF  THE    COMMISSIONER       OF  INDIAN    AFFAIRS.     309 
report, can be wholly overcome. Whenever these poor people become convinced
that they 
are no longer under Mexican rule and the demands of the dominant church party
in this 
Territory, they will peremptorily refuse to pay taxes that have been wrung
from them for 
more than two hundred years. 
The present harvest has exceeded the average. In addition to wheat and corn,
they have 
abundance of melons, apples, peaches, and grapes. Corn 'and oats, melons,
and other seeds, 
furnished me by the Bureau of Agriculture, have proved uniformly successful.
Before this report reaches the Department I will have visited eighteen out
of the nineteen 
pueblos. The remaining pueblo (Zuni) has not received a visit, by reason
of want of funds 
in June last, when the time was very desirable for the purpose. The distance
(about two 
hundred and forty miles) of this pueblo from Santa Fe makes it impossible
for the agent to 
render them much service. I would respectfully recommend that it be placed
under the care 
of the agent for the Navajoes, from whom they are distant only eighty miles.
Disputes often 
arise between these tribes which could be more easily adjusted if all were
under the care of 
the same agent. 
During last term of United States district court at Santa Fe we secured conviction
of 
three Mexicans for offenses against Indians, one for assault and robbery,
and two for steal- 
ing animals. Also obtained a verdict in suit against trespasser on land belonging
to the 
pueblo of Jemez. These decisions have had a most salutary effect on the Mexicans.
Casualties that have occurred in the agency have been the killing, by persons
unknown, 
of seven Indians of San Felipe pueblo, during a trip to the Comanche country
in Septem- 
ber last, and death, at the hands of a comrade, of an Indian of Picures.
In the case of 
Indians who lost their lives while going to, or returning from, the Comanche
country, it 
should be noted that they had no permit from the agent, or license, to make
a trip to that 
country. 
After carefully studying the history of the Pueblo Indians 'and comparing
their present 
manner of living, disposition, and-habits, with what they were two and three
centuries ago, 
I find them very little advanced beyond the state in which they were found
by their Spanish 
conquerors. Little attempt has been made by those who held them in their
power to im- 
prove their mental or moral condition. That they have always been in advance
of the so- 
called savage tribes is more the result of their pastoral life than superiority
of race. 
In regard to the complete civilization of the Pueblos, I entertain not the
least doubt re- 
specting its feasibility. Of simple habits, and perfect freedom from the
vices common to 
this age, they offer every inducement for education in mind and morals. In
this connection 
I cannot withhold a tribute to their innate consciousness of right and justice.
Last year 
two bags of amail-matter were lost near Zandia pueblo. A couple of Idians,
finding them, 
made themselves possessors of their contents, more an act of petty theft
with them than the 
enormity such an offense is regarded among whites. The Indians v ere arrested
and con- 
victed. During their journey to Jefferson, Mo., arid while confined in the
jail at Santa Fe, 
en route, they made their escape. They were promptly arrested by the "governor"
of San- 
dia pueblo and returned to the United States marshal. When the reward for
the apprehen- 
sion of the fugitives was tendered to their captors it was promptly refused.
The reason as- 
signed was that they had only done an act of duty and justice. Soon after
the apprelien- 
sion of the Indians above referred to, it was discovered by the pueblo that
the "governor," 
a brother of one of the thieves, had withheld information of which he was
in possession re- 
garding the robbery. Upon learning this they promptly deposed him from office
and elected 
another to his position. Governors of greater repute might find in this food
for meditation, 
and other constituencies an example worthy of emulation. 
Notwithstanding much suffering was occasioned by failure of crops last season,
the agent 
received but few applications for aid, although there must have been many
cases of actual 
want. Within two or three months I have visited several of their great annual
feasts, and, 
although a large number of Indians were gathered, representing the different
Pueblos, there 
was not a single instance of disturbance, and only one case of drunkenness,
which was 
promptly taken in hand by the governor, and the man confined until the close
of the feast. 
Their freedom from intemperance, in the presence of opportunities for gratifying
an appetite 
for drink, is very commendable. Very little aid, in the way of schools and
improved modes 
of living, will advance them to an intelligent and worthy class in the State.
I would most respectfully and earnestly press upon the Department the necessity
for some 
action with regard to the protection of the Pueblos from the impositions
practiced upon them 
by Mexicans. Their domestic government is very efficient, and adequate for
the preserva- 
tion of harmony in the Pueblos. I most respectfully recommend that Congress
emact that 
all cases of a petty nature be referred to the agent for settlement; and
all suits embracing 
matters or questions of and above the value of $100 be wholly under the jurisdiction
of the 
United States district court. Experience of the past year has only more strongly
confirmed 
the opinions expressed in last annual report regarding the injustice practiced
against the In- 
dians in the lower Mexican courts. It is fair to presume that if jurisdiction,
in all cases 
in which an Indian is a party, were given only to the United States courts,
the Indians 
would not require the services of an agent. 
In reference to the question of schools, and progress made in this branch
of civilization, we 
have made favorable advancement since last annual report. During fourth quarter,
1873, 


Go up to Top of Page