THE INDIAN TRIBES
No description of the Territory would be complete without some account of its Indian tribes. For years the name Arizona was indissolubly linked with savage massacres, fiendish murders, and sickening tortures; it was the "dark and bloody ground" of the frontier, where the few whites who had the temerity to penetrate, carried their lives in their hands, went armed to the teeth, and kept constant watch for the treacherous foe. Perhaps no portion of the American continent has witnessed a more deadly struggle than that waged by the pioneers of Arizona against the murderous Apache.
For nearly fifteen years this warfare maintained by the handful of whites scattered over the Territory from the Utah boundary to the Sonora line. Isolated from the centers of population, and surrounded on all sides by their savage foes, the gallant band maintained the unequal contest, and although hundreds of them fell victims to savage treachery, and left their bones to bleach on the desert plain and mountain side, the red man was compelled at last to yield to his destiny. A volume would be required to give an account of the long and bloody struggle, of the lonely ambush, the midnight attack, the hand-to-hand encounter, the shrieks of women and the cries of children, the flames of burning dwellings, and the fiendish yells of the infuriated savages. No writer of Indian fiction ever imagined more desperate combats, more hair-breadth escapes, more daring courage and self-sacrificing devotion, than the history of the Apache wars in Arizona will show when they are fully written. The savages were at last conquered by General Crook and the gallant officers and men under his command, in 1874, and placed on reservations, where they still remain.
The San Carlos reservation is situated in the eastern part of the Territory, and embraces portions of Gila, Graham, and Apache counties. It is a well-watered region, and has some of the finest farming land in Arizona. It contains at present 4,979 Indians, divided into the following bands: White Mountain, Chiricahua, Coyoteros, San Carlos, Aguas Calientes, Mohaves, Yumas and Tontos. With the exception of the Yumas and Mohaves, all the Indians on this reserve belong to the Apache family. There are 15,000 acres of land within the limits of the agency which can be irrigated; about 1,000 acres have been brought under cultivation, and 250,000 pounds of barley, 5,000 pounds of wheat, and nearly 800,000 pounds of corn have been raised by the aboriginal agriculturists the present year. A large school-house has been built and fitted up with dormitories, dining-room, bath-rooms, etc., where 30 scholars, all boys, receive board and tuition. The reservation is in charge of an agent, with the following assistants: Clerk, storekeeper, physician, chief of scouts, blacksmith, carpenter, three butchers, three teamsters, and two interpreters. The Apaches at this reservation were once the most formidable foes of the whites, and
The tribe is divided into sub-tribes, and the sub-tribes again into bands, governed by petty chiefs or captains. In their civil polity they are republicans, pure and simple. The chief or head man is elected by the popular voice, and when his course becomes obnoxious to the majority, he is removed and another chosen in his place. These Indians are polygamists, and keep as many wives as their fancy may dictate, or as they can induce to live with them; they indulge in no marriage ceremony, but the bridegroom is expected to make a present to the bride's father, when he carries her off from the parental wickiup. The women are the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, the Apache braves, like all other Indians, considering it a degradation to work. Since their removal to the reservation, however, many of them have laid aside their pride, and plied the shovel and the hoe with commendable vigor. Their moral condition is like that of all other Indians who have been brought in contact with the whites. In their wild state, infidelity on the part of the wife was punished by cutting off the nose, but since their intercourse with the pale faces, they have adopted a less severe code. All the Apaches are inclined to spiritualism, and are very superstitious; they also believe in witches and have almost implicit faith in their medicine men; are cremationists, and burn their dead. Their habits are filthy; they have adopted many of the white man's vices, and none of his virtues; whisky and civilization are too much for them; the once warlike and powerful tribe of the Apaches are gradually passing away, and the land of which they were once the absolute lords and masters, will, in a short time, know them no more forever.
The Pima and Maricopa tribes have a reservation on the Gila river, commencing about nine miles below Florence and extending down the stream for nearly thirty-five miles. The Maricopas were once a part of the Yuma tribe, but in the middle of the last century they allied themselves with the Pimas, and they have ever since lived together in peace and harmony, although their manners, customs, laws, religious ceremonies and language are as distinct as if they were thousands of miles apart. The tribes number about 5000, 500 being Maricopas. They live in small villages; the houses are built by placing poles ten or twelve feet long in a circle of about twelve feet in diameter at the bottom, and fastened together at the top. These poles are then covered with grass and mud, only a small opening
Besides their reservation on the Gila, a large tract on the north side of Salt river was set aside for their use by an executive order dated July 14, 1878. They cultivate about 400 acres on Salt river, and on the Gila something like 800. Their wheat crop averages about 2,000,000 pounds a year, and is much superior to that of the whites, both in cleanliness and quality. Corn, beans, pumpkins, and sorghum are also raised in large quantities. Living down the Gila, below the mouth of the Salt, there are about 400 Papagoes who cultivate nearly 400 acres. All of these tribes have some cattle and a great number of ponies. The agent for the Pimas and Maricopas resides at Sacaton, on the Gila, and distributes the government annuities among them. Two schools have been established at this point, with what success we have not learned. These Indians are peaceable and industrious; besides their farming they manufacture ollas, baskets, and formerly made some fine blankets. Many of them, by their industry and thrift, have accumulated property to the value of several thousand dollars. They have ever been the friends of the whites, and during the Apache wars their doors were always open for the unfortunate American hard pressed by the foe.
The Pimas were settled on their present abode when found by the Spanish explorers, nearly 350 years ago. Then, as now, they cultivated the soil, and manufactured earthen vessels, and cotton and woolen fabrics. Their farming is done in primitive style, using wooden plows, and threshing the grain by spreading it in a circle on the earthen floor, and driving a band of ponies over it. The Pimas are good warriors, and for centuries resisted successfully the attacks of their hereditary enemies, the Apaches. They have great faith in their medicine men—so long as they are successful in effecting cures. Repeated failures, however, are apt to lead to serious consequences. A case has lately occurred where an unfortunate follower of Galen, having sent three patients, in succession, to the happy hunting-grounds, was taken by a strong guard to the cemetery near Phœnix, and summarily dealt with by having his brains knocked out with a club. If civilization should adopt such a plan, what a thinning out there would be in the medical profession!
The Papagoes were partly civilized when discovered by the Spaniards, over three centuries ago. They were converted to Christianity by the early Catholic missionaries, and still remain steadfastly attached to that faith. Of all the Indians of the
The Colorado River reservation was established by act of Congress, March 3, 1865. Since then it has been enlarged, and contains at the present time about 140 square miles, situated between Ehrenberg and La Paz, with a total Indian population of 1,010, composed of the following tribes: Chim-e-hue-vis, 208; Mohaves, 802. Besides the agent in charge, there is a physician, clerk, farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, teacher, matron, and cook. It is said that the morals of these Indians are better than could have been expected from their lax marriage rules; ‘‘prostitution is not universal by any means, and is confined to a few depraved women of the tribes.’’ The Indians on this reservation cultivate small patches of ground along the Colorado, raising corn, wheat, melons, pumpkins, etc. The government has expended large sums in opening irrigating canals, and it is hoped that they may soon become self-sustaining. They were once in active hostility against the whites, but the crushing defeat they received at the hands of Colonel Hoffman, in 1859, completely broke their spirit, and they have never since shown any disposition to go on the war-path.
The Yumas live on the Colorado river, ranging from Yuma down towards the gulf. They raise some corn and vegetables on the Colorado bottoms, but spend most of their time loafing around the streets of the town, doing small jobs and carrying messages for the whites. They were once a powerful tribe, but intemperance and immorality have done their work upon them, and they are now the lowest and most debased of all the Indians in the Territory.
The Hualapais live in the mountains of Mohave county. They are a brave and warlike race, and gave the early settlers a great deal of trouble. They were placed on the Colorado reservation, but the enervating climate of the river bottoms was
The Ava-Supies live in the deep canyon of Cataract creek, a tributary of the Colorado, which rises in Bill Williams mountain, north of Prescott. The band numbers about 300 men, women and children. The narrow valley in which they live averages from 100 to 400 yards wide, with walls of sandstone from 2,000 to 4,000 feet, rising perpendicularly on either side. Down in this beautiful glen the climate is almost perpetual summer; and while the icy winds sweep over the elevated plateau, the lovely vale below sees the flowers bloom and the grass green all the year round. Through the center of this valley runs a clear stream; the soil is rich and easily cultivated, producing grain and vegetables of all kinds, also fine peaches and other fruits. A trail leads down the sides of the perpendicular cliffs, from three to six feet wide, and requires a steady nerve to pass over it in safety. Thus, literally shut out from the world, the Supies live in their beautiful canyon, blessed with everything to supply their few and simple wants. They do a large trade in buckskins and dried fruits with the Hualapais, Moquis, and other Indians. They are peaceful, industrious, and contented, and warmly attached to their homes; are kind and hospitable to strangers, and are, in all respects, the most remarkable tribe in the Territory.
The Moquis occupy several villages in the north-eastern portion of the Territory. Their "pueblos" are situated on rocky cliffs from three to six hundred feet above the level of the surrounding plain. On one of these isolated mesas are located four of their villages. Three other villages occupy as many rocky bluffs or mesas. The houses are of stone, and built in terraces, in such a manner that to enter the lower story it is necessary to climb to the top and then descend. The inhabitants of Oraybe, west from the Moquis, are of different origin and language, although their manners, customs, and mode of life are the same. Water is brought to these pueblos, perched on those rocky crags, from a half to two miles distant. The valley below, although sandy and barren-lookinh, produces good crops of corn, pumpkins, melons, and fine peaches. About three thousand acres are in cultivation at the different villages. They have large flocks of sheep and goats, which they carefully guard from the raids of their more warlike neighbors, the Navajos. The Moquis are temperate, industrious, and true to their marriage relations. They make blankets, baskets, and ollas; have lived in their present abode since we have any knowledge of them, and are the same in all respects to-day as they
The Navajo reservation is located in the north-eastern corner of the Territory, adjoining the line of New Mexico, and embraces an area of 5,200 square miles, the greater portion being fine grazing land. The Navajos are the main branch of the Apache family, and are probably the most intelligent, active and enterprising of all the Indians in Arizona. Their manufacture of fine blankets has long been admired, and in their agricultural and pastoral possessions, they are one of the richest tribes in the United States. They own about 15,000 fine horses, over 400,000 head of sheep, nearly 2,000 head of cattle, besides mules, burros, etc. They derive over $30,000 annually from the sale of blankets, sashes, etc. Every family has its loom, where the women are constantly employed. The Navajos are a warlike race, have long kept their Moquis and Zuni neighbors in wholesome dread, and at one time were the terror of the Rio Grande valley. Since their subjugation by the government in 1860, they have made rapid strides in prosperity, and are said to be the only Indians who are increasing. They number at present about 15,000. Their agency is established at Fort Defiance.
The total number of Indians in the Territory is about 25,000. The power of the wild Apache has been broken, and he no longer obstructs the path of progress and civilization. The Indian question in Arizona has been settled forever; the wild tribes are fast passing away, and in a few years will have entirely disappeared, leaving behind only a name linked with bloody deeds and savage atrocity.