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June 29, 1973
There is little in the archival ma- (Nav. Ex. 163), the Indian Agent terial presented by the Tribe con- Eastman, told Mitchell not to give cerning the decade following the the Navajos permits to go off the 1868 Treaty. Of some interest is a reservation, but to let them know report dated 1876 of an archaeologi- they must not trespass on settlers cal expedition by Jackson, entitled rights. "A Notice of the Ancient Ruins in In a letter of October 31, 1882 Arizona and Utah Lying About the (Nav. Ex. 164), Agent Eastman reRio San Juan” (Nav. Ex. 137). He ported to the Commissioner of the reported finding a skeleton which he
Indian Office that Navajos said identified as probably being a Na- whites-not Mormons—told them vajo by the type of cloth uncovered
to cross the San Juan River into with the remains. He stated that the
Utah, but the Agent had ordered Navajos had occupied the country
them back to the reservation. "within the remembrance of the
that time, Eastman gave some passes older persons" and were driven beyond the San Juan by the on
50 other "gentiles" that the Indians were slaughts of aggressive Utes.
friendly with the Mormons but not them,
and the Governor of Utah had refused him Much of the archival material
arms to protect his settlement (Nav. Ex. 145). which can be related to the Aneth Military officials investigating the charges
were skeptical and seemed to find him getting area for the years 1879 through 1885
along well with the Navajos (Tr. 172). They pertains to a settler named H. L. also reported that he stirred up the Indians Mitchell, who located a homestead
(Nav. Ex. 178). In 1880, however, his son
and another white were killed by Utes or at the mouth of the McElmo Can- Paiutes (Nav. Exs. 149–53). On December 10,
1883, Infantry Captain Ketchum reported on yon at the San Juan River, and also
his expedition in Utah to Bluff, the Montezuma ran a store and trading post. Re- area, and Mitchell's ranch (Nav. Ex. 189). He
stated that Mormons were abandoning their ports by military and Indian Office
ranches close to Mitchell and he had taken investigators of his alleged troubles care of the incident with the Indians and with the Navajos bringing their
Mitchell. He ordered the Navajos north of
the San Juan to cross the river to their sheep across the river and bothering reservation. the non-Indians living at McElmo
In 1884 an incident occurred at Mitchell's
ranch in which he killed one Navajo and blamed the troubles upon Mitchell. wounded two others. The next day after They indicated he would encourage
Mitchell and his family had fled, Utes and
Navajos sacked his place and stole everything the Navajos to go off the reservation
(Nav. Ex. 199). They also plundered stores by giving them “passes" and then
belonging to two other whites (Nav. Ex. 200).
Later military reports were to the effect that complain that the troops were the incident at Mitchell's was not significant, needed so he could sell supplies to
the Navajos were no longer around, and the
Utes had returned to their area (Nav. Exs. the Army (Nav. Exs. 186, 226, 205, 206). A subsequent report implicated 235). By letter of October 14, 1882 some Palutes in the Mitchell affair, part of a
group of about 40 Paiute “renegades" who
lived in the vicinity of the Blue Mountains, & Mitchell first complained in 1879 that 75 and head waters of Montezuma Creek and whites living at McElmo had been threatened Cottonwood Wash (Nav. Ex. 207). Another by Navajos who brought 20,000 sheep through official stated the Paiutes were less to blame, their homesteads (Nav. Ex. 144). He also com- but that they join the Navajo "in deviltry" plained at that time in behalf of himself and (Nav. Ex. 208).
to a number of Navajo headmen to Bluff and McElmo concerning the hunt off the reservation (Nav. Ex. Indians off the reservation." 165).
Complaints from Utah citizens In an earlier letter of Septem- in 1889 and 1890 concerned Indians ber 27, 1881 (Nav. Ex. 155), Agent in the Blue and LaSal mountains Eastman reported that Navajos liv- which are north of the area in quesing north and west of the reserva- tion here. These complaints intion had offered to help 40 "peni- volved Utes and Paiutes as well as tent” Paiutes in Utah, as they “used Navajos.10 to be friends" and had intermarried with their people, but if the Utes 9 In November 1885, 21 settlers at Bluff returned to their bad life of "thiev- requested that the Navajos be kept south of
the San Juan River as they were crossing ing and murdering” the Navajos in great numbers with their stock and crowdsaid they would "hang them.” A
ing off the settlers' stock and eating their
grass (Nav. Ex. 239). new Agent, Bowman, in Decem
In 1887, a trader, Amasa M. Barton, was ber 1884, in response to complaints
murdered at Rincon eight miles below Bluff
on the San Juan River. Indians later came by settlers from McElmo about the
back and robbed the store. Mormons at Bluff Navajos, stated that the Navajos requested a small detachment of troops to
capture the murderer and robbers (Nar. Ex. had a right to go off the reservation
247). to hunt, but were subject to the same
In 1888, 19 petitioners from McElmo com
plained about Navajos being off the reservalaws as the whites. He stated he
tion and stealing. The Agent in his letter of would attempt to get the Indian December 15, 1888, reported that the Navajos
crossed the river chiefly to trade. He sugpolice to try to restrain the Indians
gested a trading post south of the river would against making threats of violence keep them there (Nav. Ex. 249). Indian Agent
Patterson responded that he would send his (Nav. Ess. 222–24).
Navajo police to the area to keep the Navajos By February 23, 1885, Agent
on the reservation. He didn't want them to
cross the river (Nav. Ex. 251). Bowman reported on his meetings 10 In the fall of 1889 the Governor of Utah with settlers and Navajos by the San
reported that bands of Navajos and Utes were
in the Blue Mountains hunting and alarming Juan and stated that all but one
the citizens (Nav. Ex. 254). The Commissioner problem was resolved, a conflict be- asked the Agent to have the chiefs and head
men return the Narajos to the reservation. The tween a settler who had valuable
Indian Agent at the Southern Ute and Jicarilla improvements on the land and an Agency indicated the Ute Chiefs denied any
trouble (Nav. Ex. 255). The Acting CommisIndian who had none and lived
sioner of the Indian Office in a letter of there but part time. He also stated November 7, 1889 (Nav. Ex. 257), to the
Secretary of the Interior stated that 75 to 100 that the whites said only Mitchell
Navajos were reported off the reservation in caused trouble and made complaints.
Utah and that he recommended that the
Secretary of War have the military return He indicated that the Navajos were them. In a letter of December 11, 1889 (Nav. not on the public lands there, but
Ex. 258), he also ordered the Indian Agent
remove Navajos found within the Ute 15 families and their flocks were on Agency and to avoid troubles with the whites.
The military report of the investigation into the Ute Mountain reservation (Nav. the Blue Mountains in 1889 (Nav. Ex. 259),
stated the cowboys complained
the Ex. 227). During the period of 1885
Indians ran their cattle out of the mountains through 1888, a few other com- and made them wild. It also stated that the
Navajos and Utes
hostile with plaints were made by residents of
another. The Navajos would kill deer for the
June 29, 1973
In 1893 trouble between the non- on their side of the river (Nav. Ex. Indians and Navajos along the San 286). Juan occurred in an incident at In November 1893 Plummer reRiver View, Utah, but primarily ceived complaints from settlers at involved the Indians in New River View,
River View, Utah (close to the Mexico, including the murder of a Colorado border on the San Juan non-Indian there (Nav. Exs. 269– River) that the Navajos were north 89). The new Indian Agent Plum- of the river depleting the range and mer requested permanent military killing game (Nav. Ex. 296). He troops at Fruitland, New Mexico, as ordered the farmer at Fruitland, the Indians were increasingly steal- New Mexico, to go to Utah and aring cattle and sheep outside the res- rest any Indians found outside the ervation. He requested military
military reservation without passes and impatrols to arrest Navajos north of pound their stock. He indicated that the San Juan without passes, and he had given a few passes to Navajos advised that the Navajos: activities to hunt in the Ute and Blue Mounoff the reservation should be con- tains (Id. and Nav. Ex. 298). He fined to legitimate trading, because also recommended Bluff as the best they had driven their sheep through place for interested lady missionarothers' pastures, killed cattle, and ies to teach the Indians, as it was brought liquor back to the reserva- located across the river from the tion (Nav. Ex. 289). In June 1893 reservation and was visited by many he also instructed a "Farmer," em- Indians throughout the year (Nav. ployed by the Indian Agency to help Ex. 297). In the spring of 1894 the Indians, to try to keep the Plummer oversaw the placing of a Indians on the reservation and to teacher for the Indians at Bluff have them trade only with traders (Nav. Exs, 310, 311).
hides only while the Utes would use the meat. The report suggested possible danger to nonIndians, as well, if the two groups fought each other. Except for a "renegade" band of Paiutes, the other Indians returned to their reservations. Trouble also occurred between whites and Indians in San Juan County, New Mexico, resulting in cowboy killing a Navajo. To avoid further trouble the Agent reported he would get 25 Navajo families who were off the reservation to return (Nav. Ex. 260). On March 4, 1890 (Nav. Ex. 262), Agent Vandever reported to the Commissioner that he would enforce the Commissioner's order to return the Indians to the reservation except for those individual Indians of the reservation who had settled upon government land with the intention of complying with the land laws.
In 1890, petitions by citizens of Grand Counts and San Juan County, Utah, complained that roving bands of Utes and Paiutes and some Navajos were stealing their stock,
produce from their farms, killing game for hides alone, and causing the settlers to be in fear. This was in the area of the Blue and LaSal Mountains (Nav. Ex. 263). Vandever reported that he had sent his police to get the Indians to come in (Nav. Ex. 264). The Indians told them they had been living on claims from 12 to 21 years and intended to remain there. He declared he was powerless to do anything and they remained on their settlements. A rough draft of a reply to Vandever's report stated it was the policy not to force any Indian who had taken up his residence, separate and apart from his tribe to live on a reservation, that any Indian who had “made valuable improvements upon any particular tract and desires to continue in occupation thereof and obtain title thereto should be encouraged to do so and assisted, but that bands of Indians who merely roamed around with their flocks of sheep and goats should be placed on the reservation" (Attach. to Nav. Ex. 264).
That year in response to other 40), also objecting to the proposal complaints from citizens of Utah following a tour by its committee of concerning the Navajos, Plummer the area. The area is described as a sent the “Additional Farmer" from "no-man's land," but no Navajo setFruitland, New Mexico, to Bluff to tlements in the area are mentioned. tell the Navajos to stay on their side Citizens of San Juan County, of the river except when trading, Utah, also objected to the proposal and if they were arrested, he could and stated that the Utes were acting not and would not help them (Nav. insolently and threatening the Ex. 314).
whites to leave. They suggested In the 1890's there was agitation people were deceiving the Utes into by settlers and others in Colorado to believing they would be given San remove the Utes from their reserva- Juan County, Utah, as a reservation, tion in southwestern Colorado and and large annuities (Nav. Ex. 313). to place them in a reservation in San The Ute Indian Agent responded by Juan County, Utah. This proposed letter of July 3, 1894 (Nav. Ex. new Ute reservation would include 312), that the Utes went upon the land within the 1884 Executive public domain in Utah for forage Order addition to the Navajo because of encroachments on their reservation as well as public lands. reservation. Plummer in a letter of March 13, The Governor of Utah com1894, to the Commissioner (Nav. plained to the Secretary of the Ex. 309) strongly protested against Interior that 300 to 500 Indians the proposal. He pointed out it from the Southern Ute Reservation would give the most isolated por- and 200 to 300 Navajos were in tion of the Navajo Reservation to combination to oppose the whites the Utes, that the greater part of in San Juan County, Utah, and reliquor traffic with the Navajos was quested troops to prevent conflict carried out from shelter afforded by and bloodshed (Nav. Ex. 317). The the present Ute reservation, and Rocky Mountain News reported that the opportunity for lawlessness that landseekers in Colorado were of all kinds would be increased by trying to "kick” the Utes into Utah giving them an almost impregnable with the encouragement and aid of asylum.11
Ute Agent Day (Nav. Ex. 325). An Eastern establishment, the The Durango Democrat and DuIndian Rights Association, pub- rango Herald (Nav. Exs. 321, 323) lished a report in 1892 (State Ex. defended the rights of the Indians
to graze in the Blue Mountains, in11 He stated that in San Juan County, Utah, 8 Utes had “foiled" about 180 white men, soldiers and volunteers. He indicated that people San Juan County would be a further the Navajos living in that section of the outlet where whiskey could be obtained. He reservation so far from the agency head. believed the proposed Ute reservation in San quarters and separated by almost impassable Juan County, Utah, was not in the best rocky country were the least controlled and interests of the Navajos, the Utes, the Govern. the area had proved an asylum for outlaws ment and settlers adjoining the reservations from all parts of the Tribe. To give these (Nav. Ex. 309).
June 29, 1973
dicating that whites had used the it would take troops to move them forage on the Ute reservation. to the reservation and keep them Ute Agent Day supported the Utah there (Nav. Ex. 341). proposal and reported to the Com- In December of 1894, new acting missioner that reports were exag- Navajo Agent Williams reported to gerated, that the Governor of Utah the Commissioner that the Navajos was wrong, and that the cowboys were in an impoverished condition were the hostile element (Nav. Ex. due to droughts, and had undoubt327, 328). The Governor of Utah, edly killed non-Indians' cattle and however, complained to the Secre- sheep north of the San Juan to keep tary of the Interior that Agent Day from starving (Nav. Ex. 329). He was causing the trouble by telling stated that a number were off the the Utes to go out on the public reservation with their flocks of land in Utah (Nav. Ex. 320). sheep "trespassing on the impover
Agent Day further reported to ished ranges of Utah” and he would the Commissioner on December 14, order them back on the reservation 1894, that there were no people be- "although it would be like contween Bluff and Monticello, only a demning them and the sheep to few cattle companies and a few death.” Id. In January 1895 WilUtes who had used the winter range liams reported to the Commissioner (Nav. Ex. 334). He continued his that 400 to 500 Navajos were destiurgings that the Utah area be made tute and were killing sheep and the proposed reservation for the ponies of others on the reservation Utes as it was held by a few cattle
and he had received complaints men and renegade whites "worse from three places outside the reserthan Indians," and that only 117 vation of such killings, that all of votes were cast in the last election the trading posts on the San Juan in San Juan County (Nav. Ex. but one were closed and the one, 339). In a military report, dated
Noland at River View, Utah (see December 13, 1894, of the situation, Nav. Ex. 347), had no trade because Lieutenant Colonel Lawton stated the Indians had nothing to sell. He that trouble between the Indians requested food and supplies (Nav. and non-Indians resulted because it Ex. 344). They were issued (Nav. was the first time the Indians had Exs. 346, 348, 349). A claim by come into the Utah area in such Noland for stock allegedly lost to large numbers saying they would the Navajos was made (Nav. Ex. stay there. He reported that a band 350). of Weeminuchee Utes under Igna- In May 1896 Ute Agent Day recio were returning to the reserva- ported to the Commissioner that tion, but a group of about 95 Utes Ignacio requested troops to remove and about 80 Paiutes under Be- Navajos from the west end of the noow, who had never resided on the Southern Ute reservation; they had Ute Agency, would not move and promised to go early in the spring