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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

[Wyoming],   pp. 270-271 PDF (1.0 MB)


[Colorado],   pp. 271-276 PDF (3.0 MB)


Page 271

REPORT     OF  THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN      AFFAIRS.     271 
authority is too lax to enforce attendance. There is a good, though small,
school-house suitably 
furnished and supplied with books, &c., purchased with Government funds,
and a teacher 
well qualified who speaks their language. Still the school cannot be called
a success, nor 
is it likely to be, until there is a home provided in connection with the
school, and the children 
separated in a great measure from the village, and subjected to a different
training. 
Missionary work, I am sorry to say, has not been attended to. No minister
or missionary 
has been supplied. Perhaps there is a sufficient reason ; I can only say
that attention has 
been time and again called to the subject. 
Civilizing influepce has always produced a marked effect, not only in the
appearance and 
deportment of the 83hoshones, but in restraining their migratory habits,
changing their senti- 
ments in regard to labor, desire to raise domestic stock, and live in houses.
They have been supplied dluring the last year constantly with fresh beef,
bacon, and flour, 
and the greater part of the time with coffee and sugar, also soap and saleratus.
A fair 
supply of suitable annuities were furnished and used with more economy than
ever before. 
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JAMES IRWIN, 
United States Indian Agent. 
Hon. EDW. P. SMITH, 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 
DENVER, COL., September 1, 1874. 
SIR: For the information of the Office of Indian Affairs, I have the honor
to present the 
following report of the condition of affairs at this agency during the year
ending August 31, 
1874, and'I respectfully ask your attention to the suggestions made herein
regarding certain 
important changes thut should be made in the conduct of this branch of the
Indian service. 
The first departure from the present method of treatment of the Ute Indians
who come to 
this place, to which I wish to call your notice, is to advise some immediate
provision for 
their sustenance and comfort while here during the winter months. Numerous
small bands 
visit Denver in nearly every week, from October to April, from the north,
south, east, and 
west ; either on their way from the agencies, at White River and Los Pines,
to the buffalo- 
grounds, or vice-versa; or they come for the special purpose of disposing
of the furs and 
skins they have taken in the chase, and to supply themselves with the means
of continuing 
their hunt. Even were they ever so well able to pay for hotel accommodations,
they are not 
a desirable class of customers to the proprietors of any of our public-houses;
and as they do 
not come to make prolonged visits, it is not their custom to bring with them
their canvas- 
houses and their faithful housewives. The consequence is that they are, in
a great degree, 
dependent upon the charity of a few white persons for food and shelter, and
I am repeatedly 
asked by these good-natured and hospitable citizens why it is that the Government
does not 
take care of its wards. I can only reply that they are off of the reservation,
and are, there- 
fore, not entitled to the benefits promised their tribes by the powers that
be. My answer to 
this statement invariably is, " then why don't the powers that be keep
them on the reserva- 
tion ?" And just here is where the inconsistency of the Bureau is made
apparent as regards 
its treatment of these Indians. I believe I am correct in stating that they
are allowed to 
hunt on the buffalo-range or elsewhere on the public domain, so long as they
keep the peace. 
They could not stay at either of the agencies during an ordinary Colorado
winter with either 
comfort or safety to themselves or their stock, if they wanted to. They will
not stay, unless 
forced on the reservation, where there are no buffalo, when they can find
this game, as they 
do now, within a few days' journey east of Denver. 
This city is nearly in the direct line of their march from both agencies
to the hunting- 
ground; and these hunting-parties never would miss it, going or coming, even
if they had 
to travel many miles out of their way, for the reasons already alluded to,
that they find here 
the best market in the Territory for what they have to sell, and the most
complete assortment 
of goods from which to select the articles they need. As their camps are
seldom nearer than 
twenty miles to Denver, it is something of a task for them to ride back and
forth and do 
their "shopping" in a day; and inasmuch as these visits are sanctioned,
and an agency 
maintained here by the Department, I would recommend that the agent be authorized
to 
provide comfortable quarters for such parties, at a reasonable rent, and
allowed to issue suffi- 
cient rations to preclude the necessity of their begging from the community.
I would also earnestly recommend the employment of a competent physician
at this agency, 
at least daring the period intervening between October I and August 1, during
which the 
Utes are in this vicinity in large numbers. I take it to be the intention
and the desire of the 
Department to make every effort to civilize this people ; and I fail to understand
how this 
object can be accomplished or approached in this world by allowing them to
die of disease. 
Such a consummation, I have no doubt, is devoutly wished by many of our pioneer
citi- 
zens, who can see no good in any but a dead Indian; but I cannot believe
that this senti- 
ment is indorsed by the officers of the Department ; because it is neither
in accord with the 
dictates of humanity, consistent with common sense, or becoming the dignity
of a great 
Government, pledged to the care and advancement of a harmless and helpless
people. 


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