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 1905, Part I

Reports concerning Indians in Arizona,   pp. 156-180 PDF (12.1 MB)

Page 174

shoulder the new responsibilities incident to their change of life from ration-fed
to a self-supporting, independent, and self-respecting people, yet the obstacles
in the 
upward path to material prosperity have been almost appalling to a tribe
hitherto so 
unused to conquering difficulties. 
Their system of irrigation is attended with great expense of time and labor.
Verde River, from which the water is diverted, is a mountain stream which
becomes a 
raging flood with every freshet, washing away their brush dams, while the
rains from the 
adjacent mountains frequently rush in torrents down through the foothills,
which our main ditch runs, carrying away the embankment at every arroyo,
and fill- 
ing the ditch with sand. This is apt to occur both in the rainy season in
summer and 
also during the winter. However, at every call for cleaning or repairing
ditches or 
building new diversion dams the Indians have responded heroically. As warm
advances moss begins to grow in the irrigating ditches. As the water moves
so sluggishly, 
with an average fall of about 21 feet to the mile, it takes only a few weeks
for the vegeta- 
ble nuisance to almost stop the flow. The Indians must then pull it out by
hand, only to see 
it as bad as ever in another few weeks. The first muddy water puts an end
to its 
growth, but also brings into use the shovels and scrapers for repairing breaks.
whatever the weather, wet or dry, hot or cold, irrigation here means, work,
work, work, 
and much of it. 
The statistics attached show an increase in produce raised over last year,
and the fall 
crop is yet to be gathered. 
Several new industries have been started on -a small scale, which marks a
advance. Six returned students now have milch cows, one owned, the balance
being paid 
for by the products of the cows. Eight families have colonies of bees in
patent hives, 
which they will soon own in the same way. The poultry business is also growing.
The moral status is very low, but is evidently improving. The standard has
been set 
very high on this new reservation; so high, indeed, that it accounts doubtless
in great 
measure for the slow growth in population. While there is plenty of land
yet available 
for pew immigrants, they are slow to avail themselves of the opportunity
of getting homes 
in this beautiful valley, where gambling and tiswin making are punished by
and labor and right marriage relations are insisted upon. 
The seminomadic life, also, in which this tribe has lived from time immemorial,
wonderful charms, and the idea of a fixed home with the responsibilities
it brings is 
hard for their untrained minds to entertain. The better wages offered by
railroads and mines seem so large in comparison with the small earnings to
be made 
upon their farms that a number are induced by one pretext or another to get
away from 
their ranches, not having the foresight to know that steady application at
home will, 
in a few years, bring greater prosperity than occasional employment at high
wages, which 
are sure to be squandered in traveling here and there, and worse than wasted
in gambling. 
The school was improving at the close of last session. Compulsory attendance,
was adopted a few months before the close, resulted in almost doubling the
Sunday school and church services are attended by only about one-fifth of
the people, 
and only a little interest has so far been aroused in spiritual things. 
A most distressing part of my report is the mortality-the deaths exceeding
the births 
four to one. Consumption in its various forms has gained strong hold upon
them, and 
the future is not bright unless something can be done to stay the dread disease.
WM. H. GILL, Additional Farmer in Charge. 
SACATON, ARIZ., August 16, 1905. 
Pima Agency is located at Sacaton, Ariz., 16 miles north of Casa Grande,
station on the Southern Pacific Railroad, and 42 miles southeast of Phoenix.
Casa Grande is our railway and telegraph station, and is connected with 
Sacaton by stage carrying mail and passengers every day except Sunday. The
jurisdiction of this agency extends over three distinct reservations-Gila
Reservation, Salt River Reservation, on the Salt River, 12 miles northeast
Phoenix, and the Gila Bend Reservation, on the Gila River, 60 miles southwest
of Phoenix. 
The population is as follows: 
Pima. Papago. Mari- 
Males above 18 years...     ..     ...        ...-------------------------------------------1,020
 650  180 
Females above 14 years                            ---.--------- 926     550
School children 6 to 16, males........-......-------------------------------
 525  300  25 
School children 6 to 16, females------490                               285
Total males----.------------------------   .     .             2,047    1,209
Total females..   ..      .   ..     ..     .   ...-------------------------------------------------
1,853  1,095  166 
Total population                              -3,900              2,304 
The progress of the Indians of this agency during the past year has been
slow. The rainfall was sufficient for good crops. In fact, it was too heavy.
ruining the wheat in many instances by rust. The yield of wheat is three

Go up to Top of Page