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

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


Page 9

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        ARIZONA.                   9 
that will be largely increased this year for the same articles. Most of the
work of 
gathering hay is performed by women and children, who cut it with common
butcher 
knives and grass-hooks, and pack it on their backs, often long distances,
in bundles 
weighing from 50 pounds to 100 pounds each. Eager crowds engage in the work,
and 
if they could find a market for all they would gather many would be enabled
to sup- 
port themselves without assistance from the Government. 
From this statement it must not be inferred that only a market is needed
to enable 
the Apaches to become independent of Government aid. This might be true of
all 
the tribes on the reservation, under certain conditions, but, unfortunately,
the con- 
ditions are lacking. To the extent of the natural products of the soil they
would 
gather the last fagot and the last blade of grass for ready cash, but the
limit of pro- 
duction of these, the only articles exchangeable for money, would soon be
reached in 
the presence of an active demand. But the market is not at hand for even
the limited 
supply; and if it were, "Poor Lo" is so susceptible to the evil
influences that surround 
all public marts, as to render almost certain his return to his home poorer
than when 
he started out with his rude freight of salable stuff. No people in the world
are 
more eager in pursuit of the nimble shilling than they. Show them a seed
they can 
sow in the morning, gather the fruit thereof at noon, and sell in the early
evening, 
and the busy hum of industry would be as ceaseless in the White Mountain
Indian 
Reservation as in any civilized community. They have not learned to labor
and to 
wait; to teach them this valuable lesson is a reform that must be fully established
before their pauperism gives place to independent self-support. 
I have often been urged to favor the opening of a school on the reservation
for the 
education of Indian children. This I have declined to do, and I am still
of the 
opinion that until the Apaches cease to be nomads and acquire some knowledge
of 
and pleasure in such permanent habitations as are distinguishable from the
lairs of 
wild beasts-have been taught to practice habits of industry that will insure
for 
themselves and their families such simple articles of food and raiment as
will entitle 
them to the distinction of having taken ove step in the march of civilization-the
introduction of books and teachers among them will be worse than useless.
On the 
reservation no school can be so conducted as to remove the children from
the influ- 
ence of the idle and vicious who are everywhere present. Only by removing
them 
beyond the reach of this influence can they be benefited by the teaching
of the school- 
master. To this course there is now being offered a stubborn resistance by
the parents, 
many of whom, previous to the return of the Chiricahuas, had promised to
give up 
children for eastern schools, but who, since coming under the pernicious
influence of 
that dominant tribe, have found objections that before had not occurred to
them. If 
the Government would lift the Apaches from the slough of ignorance and loathsome
degradation in which they now wallow, compulsory education must be resorted
to. 
Under the strong hand of the law of force they must be taught to labor systemat-
ically, and when it becomes necessaty to educate the rising generation in
the mystery 
of books, force should compel them to accept the situation. 
Force is the one law the Indian recognizes and respects; it is his law, and
when he 
fails to enforce it the power is lacking to sustain him. No argument will
serve to 
convince him that the white man stays his hand for any other reason. Overcome
in 
battle, deprived of his arms and trodden remorselessly beneath the heel of
the con- 
querer, he bows with humility to the power that has subdued him, and submits
with- 
out murmuring to the will of his master. Under such conditions the Apaches
can be 
trained to a knowledge of steady industry, and induced to submit their children
to the 
guidance of the white man for such development of their mental faculties
as may be 
possible with this fast disappearing and seemingly doomed race 
The sanitary condition is fairly satisfactory, no disease of unusual fatality
having 
prevailed. The most common ailment is due to licentious habits, and it is
a fact 
worthy of notice that the immoral practices that lead to this affliction
are more common 
among thosebands thatare on the most friendly and intimate terms wi th the
whitesthan 
among the more warlike. The Yuma, Tonto, and Mojave tribes, that have been
subdued 
to the point of servility, are the most notoriously profligate of all the
Indianson the res- 
ervation, and it is claimed by persons long resident among them that the
White Mountain 
Indians who, next to the Chiricahuas arethe most warlike, are freest from
the besetting 
sin, of all the-reservation Apaches. It may be that to this fact is due their
superior 
physical condition, which takes rank among the tribal divisions according
to the 
extent of their reliance on the white man for protection and support and
the years of 
their intercourse with him. 
In power of endurance, manly bearing, independent spirit, and mental capacity
the different tribes assigned to this reservation may be fairly classified
in the follow- 
ing order: 1st. The Chiricahuas, who have so long been a terror to the citizens
of 
Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and Sonora and Chihuahua in
Mexico, 
and who boast even now that they have never been whipped by any civilized
power. 
2d. The White Mountains, the friends of the Chiricahuas, having their homes
for the 
most part on the mountain streams in the vicinity of Fort Apache, at a distance
of 60 


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