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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1884

[Reports of agents in Arizona],   pp. 1-9 PDF (4.3 MB)

Page 6

given them by their Great Father in days past. No wonder that some 12 sigh
for the 
days that have gone." 
After giving these Indians credit for being friends of the whites, laboring
in their 
own support, and all the good they are entitled to, we must say that they
are a 
drunken and a sullen people. During the months of July, August, and September
they gather the fruit of the cactus, which is usually very plentiful, and
from it their intoxicating drink, "tiswin," when whole villages
get on a drunk. At 
times several villages gather together to the number of from 500 to 2,000
people and 
have an annual drunk. During these months there is more or less drunkenness
the time, caused by drinking the tiswin, while during the other months they
go to 
the towns of Florence and Tempe, or, boarding freight trains at the stations
the Southern Pacific Railroad, go to Tucson or Yuma, and come back with whisky,
when they and their particular friends have something very similar to a white
This riding on trains free of charge, and without a pass from the agent,
is one of 
the worst curses these Indians have. They not only go to the different towns
buy liquor, but they sell their women along the railroad to low, degraded
whites (and, 
unfortunately, this country has a great many such), and some of this class
that are 
patrons in this traffic bear the honorable title of judge, colonel, or some
other title 
never earned. During the winter months I succeeded in getting this riding
at will 
stopped for the time, but I would not have succeeded then had not the officers
of the 
Southern Pacific Railroad concluded that they had best quarantine against
the In- 
dians, for fear the people living along their road and their own employds
might, from 
close contact, become contaminated with that loathsome and dreaded disease,
pox, which was raging in every village. And it was only by urging the danger
spreading the disease that the managers of the road were induced to prohibit
the In- 
dians riding on trains during the continuance of the disease. No evil to
the road re- 
sulting through any displeasure of the Indians, the general manager agreed
to stop 
the Indian travel entirely, provided the honorable Secretary of the Interior
lend his signature to the recommendation. I promptly forwarded it for that
but from some unknown cause it died in some of the archives at Washington;
least, it is dead to us, for the Indians are riding on trains more than ever.
And this 
summer, to my knowledge, there have been six killed when drunk by being knocked
off trains and run over. I have thought seriously about suing the company
for dam- 
ages for loss of life, and see if that would not induce them to put a stop
to it without 
any recommendation or action by the Government. However, we want it understood
that for all the trouble that arises from this riding on trains at will,
and for the lives 
that are lost by it, the fault now lies at Washington, and not here. 
During the past eight months we have assisted in sending eight men to the
tentiary for selling whisky to Indians, their sentences running from six
months with 
$50 fine to two years with $50 fine. These are the first cases that have
ever been dealt 
with in any way in connection with the whisky traffic with these Indians.
men have been arrested and are now under bonds for their appearance at court
with selling stolen stock to and stealing stock from the Indians; and before
this re- 
port is read I am in hopes of seeing as many more looking from behind the
bars for 
committing such offenses. 
This year we have raised plenty of hay for the agency animals, and plenty
of veg- 
etables for all at the agency, notwithstanding the high water in the spring
out our dam, filled our irrigating canal for a mile and a half, and took
out a flume 
across the little Gila. The canal was dug out. The dam nwas rebuilt only
to be 
washed out by a second rise in the river. This was the highest water ever
known in 
this country, and before another crop can be raised the canal must be cleaned
again, the dam rebuilt, and funds sufficient to procure lumber to rebuild
the flume 
will have to be secured. The work must be done by Indians, they receiving
the pay 
for it in tools and agricultural implements when authority is obtained. 
A good police force at this agency cannot be retained at $5 per month. They
not that kind of Indians. A good Pima or Papago can command a dollar a day,
they work by the day, or he must work in his field to support his family,
and if the 
Government does not pay him enough to support his family, he cannot afford
to be a 
policeman. It seems to me that Congress is expecting more by far of an Indian
policeman than they would of a white man. Rather than take a lazy, trifling
that would not work in his field, I would rather do without a police force.
The agency boarding school is not what a boarding school should be, nor in
opinion will it ever be so long as it is located at the agency, and where
the children's 
parents and friends can visit them every day, and where you are compelled
to have 
both males and females under the same roof day and night. It is no wonder
that the 
Indian mothers have a superstition about sending their girls to a boarding
White mothers would have the same feeling if they knew all the facts about
the dif- 
ferent boarding schools. I have made inquiry and find that other boarding
have the same trouble that we hero have, that of keeping the boys and girls

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