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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883

[Reports of agents in Arizona],   pp. 1-10 PDF (4.9 MB)

Page 2

2                 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        ARIZONA. 
enterprise a very large amount of corn, pumpkins, beans, and melons will
be raised, 
thereby aiding them very much in their support for the coming winter. It
is not 
every season that this canal I have spoken of can be utilized, as the water
does not 
rise high enough in the river to enter the canal or ditch, and cannot therefore
be re- 
lied on from one season to another. i learn that the Colorado River was much
this season than it has been at any time during the past eight years. 
I do not think the present mode of irrigating by a canal system can be successfully
accomplished without a very large outlay of money; at least from $75,000
to $100,000. 
Other methods might be adopted which would prove cheaper at the beginning,
would perhaps in the end prove to be the most expensive. Nothing but a permanent
construction of a canal will do much good, and I can see no point nvarer
than 15 miles 
where such a project is likely to succeed, and that is at a place called
Aubrey, situ- 
ated at the mouth of what is known as William's Fork, a beautiful stream
of pure 
spring water which might be utilized for supplying these Indians with all
the water 
needed. In the use of this clear water there would be no sediment to fill
up a canal, 
as would be the case if the water from the Colorado River was used, thereby
a very great deal of labor and expense in keeping the same cleaned so that
could pass through it. The sediment matter of which the river water is composed
at least in the high-water season one-fourth sand, and unless a canal had
a very 
rapid decline it would fill up in a very short time. In my judgment water
can be 
successfully brought through at least a part of this agency or reserve, but
will re- 
quire, as before stated, a very large sum of money to make it a permanency.
I believe 
if any other method be adopted to furnish a water supply it will not only
be at- 
tended with great cost at the beginning but will also prove a source of continued
expense to keep machinery, &c., in order. 
I would respectfully ask that the Department again call for a new or additional
survey of the canal so as to definitely decide whether it is really feasible
or not. If 
it cannot be accomplished it would decide the matter definitely with the
Indians, who 
are, in a great measure, living in hope of having the work completed for
them. I 
have conversed with several reliable persons on the subject and all seem
to have no 
doubt but what the work can be successfully accomplished if a sufficient
ation was allowed by Congress. It would at least be very gratifying to the
if a new survey was made, even though it proved impracticable. They would
contented that the Great Father had done his best to please them and make
the best 
of the situation. A new survey might also decide whether any other means
could be 
devised to secure water, the greatest blessing they could have, as it would
be the 
means of getting the Indians in one locality instead of, as now, scattered
as they can find little patches of land to cultivate. Once that water was
they would stop their roving habits, settle down and build them permanent
Although the report of Lieutenant Wheeler decided that the old canal project
is im- 
practicable, yet I feel that he is mistaken, and another effort ought to
be made which 
will, if nothing more, corroborate his former decision and settle the question
These Indians are among the best I have ever seen, and desire to do only
what is 
right for the interest of the Government, and would be self sustaining, if
a water 
supply was given them. 
The health of the Indians during the past year has been remarkably good.
A few 
of the oldest have died. At one time it was feared that small-pox, which
had a fear- 
ful outbreak at Fort Yuma early in the spring, or during the months of February
March, would spread among the Indians here; but by the adoption of good sanitary
measures by the authorities at Fort Yuma and this agency, keeping a guard
ually on the alert, thereby placing the Indians under a strict quarantine
the Indians were kept in a sphere or locality remote from the agency, so
that no one 
was allowed within a certain radius until the pestilence subsided. In this
way these 
tribes escaped the disease entirely. I find, from the report of the physicians
at Fort 
Yuma, that the epidemic was confined to the Mexican portion of the settlement,
they report as many as 23 deaths by the malady in one week. 
The police force retain much popularity and influence among the tribes, considering
the remote distances they are located from each other, which prevents, in
a great 
measure, a more thorough regulation among them for discipline, such as one
have were they constantly at the agency in practice. They are doubtless as
in the exercise of their duty as could be desired. Peace and quietude have
since I took charge, requiring no arrests to be made. During the month of
last I had an occasion to order the police to go in pursuit of two white
men who had 
stolen a small boat belonging to our Chief, Hook-a-Row. When the police approached
the white men they escaped on the opposite side of the .river, leaving the
boat, which 

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