Chapter XXII. Of the Native Government of the Pueblos, and Their Political Status under Ours
TWENTY-SIX little republics in the bosom of our great republic—that, in a phrase, is the political case of the Pueblo communities. Each is an independent political entity, and while, of course, the authority of the United States is over them all and acknowledged by all, each prefers to manage its own affairs without reference to our Government or to one another. There is, however, no occasion for any one else—even the United States—to interfere; for the Pueblo governmental method is a good one for Pueblos, and life and property under it are as safe as anywhere in the land.
The executive department of the government consists of a governor, a lieutenant-governor (or teniente), a war-captain, an alguacil (or sheriff), and a few other officials—all elected annually by the voice of the people. The officials are
The lands of each pueblo are held in common for all the people. Every head of a family makes application for what he needs to till, and this is set aside to him while he works it. Failure to use it for a certain period causes it to revert to the pueblo, to be parcelled out to a new applicant. What each man raises is his own, to be carried
The political status of the Pueblo Indian is distinctly different from that of our other native races. He is not a "ward of the Government," but, from the beginning of our authority over him, a United States citizen. Under Mexican law, the Pueblos were citizens of the Republic of Mexico, and the treaty between the United States and Mexico, entered into at Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, whereby the south-west territories were ceded to this country, provided for the extension of those rights of citizenship under our law. The courts of New Mexico have several times affirmed that the Pueblos of that territory are citizens of the United States, and had there been no special legislation to the contrary, their right to vote at general elections could not have been denied. Luckily for the Pueblos, the exercise of such a right was deemed inexpedient and the New Mexico Legislative Assembly in 1854 passed an Act excluding the Pueblo Indians ‘‘for the present and until they shall be declared by the Congress of the United States to have the right,’’ from the privilege of voting, except in matters proper to their own pueblos, "according to their ancient customs."
Moreover, the lands occupied by the New Mexico Pueblos are not Government Reservations, as in the case of other Indians; but are the Pueblos' own—originally by grants of the Spanish crown, and later confirmed to them by United States patents, with some subsequent additions, in the case of certain pueblos, by Executive order.
The Arizona Pueblos—the Hopis—have been less fortunate in the recognition of their political status. Their lands are theirs only by grace of an Executive order of December 16, 1882, creating the Moqui Reservation, and judging by past Indian history, the Hopi Pueblos of Moqui may be "move on" whenever enough white people of necessary influence, who want the land, say so. At present, there is a Government allotting agent at work there, seeking to apportion lands to individuals under the terms of the general Allotment Act of Congress. There seems also a curious disposition on the part of the Office of Indian Affairs to exclude the Hopis from the class of Pueblo Indians. They were, up to 1896, designated in the reports of the Indian Office as Moqui Pueblos; but since that, they figure therein shorn of their Pueblo appendage. The Government's treatment of them is practically as of any Reservation Indians and their decadence is correspondingly progressing.
A cupid of Shimo rovi. The very small children go unattired in summer in Moqui.