« AnteriorContinuar »
made an unsuccessiul attempt to drive off a number of sheep, &c. A battle ensued, and several Navajoes are said to have been wounded, and one, whose tindried flesh was food for carrion crows as we passed his remains, was left dead on the field, within half a mile of the village. The inhab. itants of this pueblo gave us a hearty reception, manifesting their gratification in the most uproarious, wild, and indescribable manner, offering to us large quantities of fruit and bread-all of which we becomingly received.
Passing over a distance of 88.30 miles, wild in its mountains and cañons, beautiful and rich in its extensive valleys, highlands, and lowlands, affording superior grazing, the purest and most delightful water, excellent pine timber, and a superabundant supply of the finest rock, (limestone,) and plaster of, paris, for building purposes, we encamped in the valley of Laguna on the afternoon of the 19th instant, within view of the pueblo of that name, containing some four hundred inhabitants. The outrages committed against these Indians, by emigrants to California and others, are as frequent and as flagrant as those mentioned of Zunia. Indeed, the last outrage was of an infinitely more aggravated character. Near the hour of 12 m., the day not remembered, the valley was entered, and shecp and other things demanded; to which the governor of the village replied, no sheep could be furnished at that hour, as their flocks were regularly, every morning, sent off, that they might graze during the day. The emigrants, if such they were, assuming official importance, in their anger, threatened to lynch the alcalde, tied the governor, and in that condition carried him from his home, Laguna, to Zunia, the next pueblo west,
The distance beween Laguna and Albuquerque-is 46.84 miles. The road between the two places is good, water scarce and bad, with but little timber, and less grass. No settlements and no cultivation after passing east from Laguna six miles, on the road to Albuquerque.
About ten miles north west of Laguna, there is a small Spanish village, called
At one of these points, I venture to say, our government should establish a military post; and I understand Governor Washington will station, at an early day, two companies in that neighborhood. The Navajoes and Apaches are exceedingly troublesome in that neighborhood. At or near Sundia, an Indian pueblo, some fifteen miles on the road from Albuquerque to Sanita Fe, five Mexicans were killed by a straggling band of Navajoes, and some property taken off, on the 24th of the preceding month, the second day after we passed, on our return to Santa Fe. Numerous bands of thieving Indians, principally Navajoes, Apaches, and Comanches, are straggling in every direction, busily employed in gathering their winter supplies where they have not sown. Not a day passes without hearing of some fresh outrage, and the utmost vigilance of the military force in this country is not sufficient to prevent murders and depredations; and there are but few so bold as to travel alone ten miles from Santa Fe. How are these wrongs to be remedied? I'answer, by a compulsory enlightenment, and the imposition of just restraints, both to be enforced at the point of the bayonet. You are already advised, if not before, by my letter of the 29th of July last, that there were wandering bands of Indians who did not cultivate the soil, and lived alone by depredations. The language I used on the occasion alluded to should have been so modified as to have excepted the sustenance which they derive from their sometimes successful hunting of buf. faloes, the bear, deer, and other game. It is now stated, upon a more intimate knowledge of the various tribes of Indians in this region, that a vast majority of the Apaches and Comanches live chiefly by depredation; that they look upon the cultivators of the soil with contempt, as inferior beings, the products of whose labor legitimately belong to power—the strongest arm; and that labor, except in war and in love, and in the chase, is degradation; and the man who has not stolen a horse or scalped an enemy is not worthy of association with these lords of the woods.
The wild Indians of this country have been so much more successful in their robberies since General Kearny took possession of the country, that they do not believe we have the power to chastise them. Is it not time to enlighten them upon this subject, and to put an end to their ceaseless depredations? At this moment, above our established Indian country on the Arkansas, these people are committing'every depredation within their power, as far up as Bent's Fort: These, with the Navajoes and Kioways, are known to be in every section of the Territory. Indeed, we are in a state of war; and their disappointment in Mr. Fitzpatrick's promises is their excuse for their conduct. Concerning Mr. F.'s actings and doings, and his promises and authority to act, I am, as yet, wholly ignorant.
The Navajoes commit their wrongs from a pure love of rapine and plunder. They have extensive fields of corn and wheat, fine peach orchards, and grow quantities of melons, squashes, beans, and peas, and have immense flocks of sheep, and a great number of mules and horses of a superior breed. They have nothing of the cow kind. This statement, I know, is antagonistical to official reports made by others; but I report to you from personal knowledge, obtained during Governor Washington's expedition against the Navajoes.
Distance and numbers, by red men, are matters of fact not to be comprehended and understood by Indians of this country as they are else. where. Distance is measured by time, at their pace, which is never slow; and as far as their population is concerned, the governor of the smallest pueblo cannot accurately, rarely approximately, give you the number of its inhabitants.
It is a still much more impracticable matter to ascertain the extent of the population of such a tribe as the Navajoes, the whereabouts of their local habitations depending solely upon the seasons of the year and their approhensions of danger, not one of them having a permanent abiding place.
Their only houses are mere lodges, square or circular, brought to a point about fifteen feet from the ground, and sometimes the outer covering is mud-one room only.
The stone walls which are built and inhabited by them are in the shape or nearly so, of a square, and sometimes have more than one room from eight to twelve feet in height, and not one that I saw was covered in any
The number of Indians of this tribe I do not think can exceed five thousand, and they claim from 35° to 38° north latitude, and 29° to 33° longitude west from Washington. The conflicting claims of the Utahs east and north, to some extent, must indent their supposed borders, and they are barred on the southeast, south, and west, by special Spanish and Mexican grants to their then Christian Indian allies, all of whom live in pueblos, hold lands in conmou, the boundaries of which, they say, are distinctly defined by original grants now in existence. They complain of many encroachments upon their boundaries, and hope the United States government will restore them their ancient rights. Wicked men—some Americans, but chiefly Mexicans—for their own mischievous purposes, have awakened the apprehensions of the Pueblos by declaring the Americans would take from them their lands, and remove them to an unknown region. The fears of many on this point I think I have quieted by the assurance that the President had no designs of that character; instead of which, if their population required it, he would add to their grants rather than narrow their limits.
But to return to the Navajoes. They derive their title to the country over which they roam from mere possession, not knowing from whence they came or how they were planted upon its soil; and its soil is easy of
cultivation, and capable of sustaining nearly as many millions of inhabit• ants as they have thousands. "I respectfully suggest, these people should
have their limits circumscribed and distinctly marked out, and their departure from said limits should be under certain prescribed rules, at least for some time to come. Even this arrangement would be utterly ineffective unless enforced by the military arm of the country.
These Indians are hardy and intelligent, and it is as natural for them to war against all men, and to take the property of others, as it is for the sun to give light by day.
În reference to a majority of the Apaches and Comanches, they should be learned and made to cultivate the soil, and should have prescribed limits, under the rules and regulations, and to be enforced as suggested above.
The Pueblos, by many, are regarded as a tribe. A more decided error in reference to these Indians. could not be suggested. The number of pueblos, each containing inhabitants from 300 to 600, is about twenty, not including the Indians west or south of the Moques. Of these twenty pueblos, the languages of at least ten of them are altogether different; and it is said by some who claim to be judges, there is not the slightest analogy in language existing between any two of them, and they communicate with each other through the instrumentality of Mexican interpreters, or pantomimic action. The same may be said of the Apaches and Comanches, with the qualification which follows. I have seen but a few of either of these last named tribes, and I cannot say there is as inuch dissimilarity in their languages as exists with the various Pueblos. As to the number of either of these tribes, I cannot even venture a guess; and in reference to the extent of territory claimed by them, no satisfactory in. formation has yet been acquired, nor can it be until a sufficient number of troops are sent here to afford escorts to those who may be charged with such investigation. It may be remarked, however, that the Comanches range principally between 32° and 36° N. latitude, and longitude weșt from Washington 22° and 270. From thence west, two or three hundred miles across the Rio Grande, the Apaches are found on both sides of the dividing line between the United States and the United Mexican States; and this circumstance will be fruitful of some trouble, because those on
her side of the line will charge upon the other the wrongs they them. selves commit. I am not prepared to say the evils alluded to would have no existence if the article 11th of the late treaty was reciprocal.
The terms by which they hold the country over which they roam is a mere possessory title, which the God of nature has permitted to them, and one-tenth of the country would be more than sufficient to satisfy all the wants of a much more consuming people. The disposition of the Utahs is rather equivocal. They have committed no wrongs recently against Americans proper. These Indians met Colonel Beall, who had charge of the expedition ordered against them at the same time Governor Washington marched upon the Navajoes, and agreed to all his demands an impossibility among them, as I have reason to believe-to wit: the restoration of all the Fremont property lost during the past winter. That was out of the question, as a portion of it, as I am informed, has long since been consumed. This fact was seized upon by worthless Mexicans to frighten the Indians off; for they made the Indians believe, if every article was not restored, Colonel Beall would cause every one within his reach to be put to death; therefore it was, as I am informed by Colonel Beall, the Utahs did not come up at the appointed time to consummate the treaty agreed upon. From the facts herein stated, it must be evident to reflecting minds
1st. That an additional mounted regiment, full and complete, should be in service in New Mexico. I repeat what I have said in a former communication, infantry are useful only in taking care of public stores and isolated places.
2d. Without an additional force, not a single interest of the country can be fully protected.
3d. Military stations ought to be established at Tunicha, and the canon of Cheille, in the Navajo county; at or near Jemez, Zunia, and Laguna; and perhaps in other places in the direction of El Paso, and w bin the Pueblo region.
4th. To every pueblo there ought to be sent at once an Indian agent to protect the Indians, and to preserve the character of the United States. Such agents should be continued at each pueblo for the next year or two.
5th. Unless this be done, emigrants and others claiming to be officers of the United States will disaffect these people by their lawless conduct.
6th. It is but fair to presume that in a year or two such improvements in public morals will take place, as to justify the discontinuance of most of the agencies that ought now to be in existence in each pueblo. Just at this moment the Pueblo Indians (in number 54) who accompanied Governor Washington in his expedition against the Navajoes, are complaining that they are not paid for their services. In New Mexico a better population than these Pueblo Indians cannot be found, and they must be treated with great delicacy. The slightest disappointment in their expectations, no matter how created, they regard as a deliberate deceit practised upon them. If properly cared for and instructed in all Indian wars, these Pueblos would be very important auxiliaries. Even now, notwithstanding the discouragement mentioned above, at least two hundred of them could be readily raised for mounted service; and, if I had the military command of this country, I should regard them as necessary adjuncts.
In compliance with one of the stipulations of the treaty entered into by Governor Washington with the Navajoes, they are to deliver at Jemez, on the ninth of next month, certain captives and stolen property. Although they have delivered to us sheep, horses, mules, and captives, as an earnest of their intention, we do not feel confident that they will comply with the terms of the treaty. They may not be there at the time. And on the occasion alluded to, the governors, captains, and alcaldes of most of the pueblos east and north of Moquies, it is supposed, will be at Jemez. It hundred miles apart, commencing north at Taos and running south to near El Paso, some four hundred miles or more, and running east and west two hundred miles. This statement has no reference to pueblos west of Zunia.
It must be remembered, too, but a few of these Pueblos speak the same language; and, so far as a majority are concerned, they are so decidedly ignorant of each other's language, they are compelled to call to their aid Spanish and Mexican interpreters. I have not found a single individual in the country who can render any one of the languages of the Pueblos or Navajoes into English.
The protection of these Indians in their persons and property, is of great importance. In addition to the obligation which the government of the United States has assumed for their protection, it may be suggested, as a matter of government economy, their property should be protected, and their industry properly stimulated and directed. These people can raise immense quantities of corn and wheat, and have large herds of sheep and goats. The grazing for cattle, generally, is superior, and the reason why they have so few of the cow kind is to be found in the ease with which they may be driven off by the Navajoes and others. The average price paid for corn in this Territory by our government cannot be less than two dollars per bushel; and since I have been in Santa Fe, public horses have not received half the forage allowed to them by the regulations of the army. The exorbitant price now paid for corn and the insufficient quantity grown in this country, and other inconveniences, may be remedied in one yearcertainly in two years.
For reasons herein suggested, I venture respectfully to say
1st. The Pueblos, for the present, ought to be divided into six or seven districts, and an agent conveniently located in each.
2d. Blacksmiths, implements of husbandry, and other implements, ought to be sent to them. Also some fire-arms, powder and lead, and other presents, should be given to them.
3d. None of the Indians of this Territory have a just conception of the American power and strength; and many of them think, as we have associated with us the Mexicans, for whom they have no respect, we may not have a more efficient government for the protection of the people here than they afforded to them; therefore it is I add to the recommendations above, the propriety of allowing, or rather inviting, some fifteen or twenty of these—and perhaps it would be well to select a few other Indians—to visit Washington city at an early day during the session of the approaching Congress. Unless my powers are enlarged or other duties assigned me, I may, without detriment to the public service, leave here for a short peribd; and if agreeable to the department, I should be pleased to receive orders to take a 'certain number to Washington city, as one among the best means of securing order and quiet in this Territory.
In January or February we might with safety take the southern route by the El Paso, and through Texas, passing by and through the country inhabited by the Apaches and Comanches.