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but now refused and claimed the land as theirs; they were menacing the Utes and monopolizing the pasture and waterholes with their vast herds (Nav. Ex. 351). In August 1896 Navajo Agent Williams reported that as soon as the Navajos’ crops within the Ute Reservation were harvested they would leave (Nav. Ex. 352).
On August 22, 1897, a resident of Holyoke (McElmo), San Juan County, Utah, complained that Navajos' sheep ate her crops and the Navajos threatened her if she attempted to drive the sheep off (Nav. Ex. 355).
Some of the history reflected in the documents for the next two decades concerns Howard R. Antes, who located a small mission at Aneth on the north side of the San Juan River in Utah. He used this as a school, teaching up to 15 Navajo children. He later apparently also operated a trading post.
On November 14, 1898, he complained to the Secretary of the Interior concerning a Fred Adams of Bluff, who claiming to be a county official taxed Navajos for grazing their sheep on the Government land north of the San Juan River. Antes stated that the land was worthless and only inhabited by several traders and two men who had a few acres in cultivation and desired to use the land for grazing themselves. He requested that Indians, or at least the Navajos, be allowed to leave their reservation temporarily to get subsistence for their flocks and that they be exempt from taxation (Nav.
Ex. 358). By letter of December 2, 1898 (Nav. Ex. 359), the Commissioner reported to the Secretary of Interior that for several years “a few of the Navajos and a number of Southern Utes as well, have been finding subsistence for their flocks in San Juan County, and this with the tacit consent of the office." He stated that as wards of the Government they should be permitted to graze their stock on public lands and that the county should have no right to impose any grazing license tax upon them. He recommended that Antes be advised to inform the Indians that they should pay no taxes on their flocks to anyone, so long as they are kept upon the unoccupied lands of the United States. He also advised that Antes should lay all the facts relative to Adams' conduct before the prosecuting attorney in San Juan County with a request that he take action. He then stated:
It is not deemed wise to officially notify the Indians of the Navajo Reservation that they are at liberty to leave their reservation when they please to occupy lands outside and they should not be encouraged to do so. A system of irrigation on this reservation is now in course of construction, and when completed, the Indians will have no reason for going outside for grazing or for agricultural land. Id.
The record does not contain the Secretary's response, but Antes in a letter of February 2, 1899, to the Commissioner (Nav. Ex. 361), stated that the Commissioner's letter to the Secretary was forwarded to him with the Secretary's concurrence "that the Navajo Indians could graze their flocks off of their
June 29, 1973
reservation without being obliged to as to Antes' authority to issue perpay taxes to white men who do not mits. The record does not reflect the occupy it.” He requested that sup- Secretary's reply, but it does replies be sent to the destitute Indians. flect a letter of January 22, 1900, by On December 14, 1898, Navajo the Commissioner to the Secretary Agent G. W. Hayzlett reported of (Nav. Ex. 366 and encls.), which complaints from people in Utah of avoids an answer to that specific Navajo depredations (Nav. Ex.
(Nav. Ex. question, misstated the facts con360). He also stated that he had cerning the “permit”, and refers to written some of the parties that in his letter to Hayzlett of March 3, in his opinion the Indians had the 1899, advising him that: same right to occupy and graze on
* * many persons living in Utah just the public lands that the whites had
across the northern boundary line of the subject, however, to the same laws Navajo Reservation had complained of the State or territory, as the
about the Navajo Indians entering San
Juan County with their herds, for the whites, and that he would ask the
purpose of grazing the same, upon a perDepartment for advice. He also
mit issued to the Navajo Indians by a stated the Navajos were selling their
proper County official of the said County ; sheep to traders and others but he
that in reply he had advised the complaindirected his police to arrest any who
ants that in his opinion the Indians had did so. He also wrote to Antes on
the same right to occupy and graze on the
public lands as had the whites provided November 2, 1899, to advise the In
they comply with the laws governing the dians not to sell their stock as once whites and he requested that he be inthey did, they would have nothing structed in the premises. (Nav. Ex. 362). Antes took it upon
In reply, the office, under date of himself to issue "passes” or “per March 3, 1899, advised him as folmits” to the Navajos to go on the lows: public lands.
In reply you are advised concerning In January 1900, Kate Perkins, the first subject that this office is of the Clerk of San Juan County, Utah, opinion that Navajo Indians who comply complained to the Commissioner with all the laws of the State of ('tah that the County derived its revenue
and pay for and obtain a license to own, from taxing stock, that the range
raise, or pasture their livestock within
the lands of the said State, would have was in bad condition due to drought
just as good a right to do so as have the and stocked to its utmost capacity,
whites. While you are expected to reand that the Indians refused to re- strain and prevent so far as practicable move their stock across the river be- Indians under your charge from going cause of permits issued by Antes. off the reservation for such purposes, yet She asked what authority he had
it is very much doubted that you have a to issue them and enclosed a copy of
legal right to prevent them by force from
peaceably leaving the reservation for the “permit” from Antes (Nav. Ex.
this purpose. There would seem to be no 365). The Governor of Utah also
remedy for this state of affairs except asked the Secretary of the Interior that of using moral suasion and your the mountains as there was no grass year 1900. Other materials relate to the Navajos generally. There is along the river, but some had crops no evidence that the Indians com
personal influence over them. Of course, engaging in depredations. The Ute they should be warned that when they
agent stated that the Utes did not leave the limits of their reservation and
bother anyone and owned few sheep enter territory within the jurisdiction of Utah they are subject to all its laws and
and goats at the Navajo Spring also to arrest and punishment by the Agency, but suggested the Navajos proper state authorities in case they viol- were the subjects of the reports beate any of such laws. If, therefore, the In
cause the Navajo reservation was to dians while off the reservation and in
the south, and many of the Navajos Utah commit depredations on the stock of
owned large herds of sheep, cattle settlers and otherwise annoy them, the stockmen and others must seek relief un- and ponies, and some grazed their der the State laws. You are expected, how- stock in Utah and hunted there. He ever, to use such influence as you may
stated that houses alleged to have have over them to cause them to give up
been built on the north side of the these expeditions and stay within the limits of their reservation. * * *
San Juan River were not built by From this report from the Agent, it is
Utes, nor did any of them have any thought that the permit referred to by
intention of residing there Nav. Miss Perkins as giving the Indians per- Ex. 372).12 mission to graze their cattle is one that
In September 1902 settlers at has been issued to them upon payment to
Bluff petitioned the Secretary of the proper County officials of a grazing tax or license. If, as is supposed, the In
the Interior for help for the Navadians have complied with the grazing jos who within a radius of 50 to 75 laws of this County, it is not seen but that miles of the town were in a destithey have just as good a right to graze
tute condition (Nav. Ex. 375). Intheir stock as the whites, provided, of
dian Agent Hayzlett went from the course, that they do so peaceably; and it is hoped that they will in justice be al
mouth of McElmo Creek along the lowed the same privileges as the white
San Juan River and requested the stockmen enjoy.
Indians to come see him, none said The foregoing contains the most they were hungry and refused an specific references to the San Juan
offer of a $1 a day job with the railCounty, Utah, area in the archival
road. He saw few sheep as most of materials prior to and during the
the Navajos had their flocks out in
12 In May 1901 the Ute Agent found 8 to plied with the state laws. For the 10 Navajo families within the Ute Navajo
Springs Agency who claimed they had the next decade, the people from Bluff
Navajo Agent's permission to plant crops and people involved with the Antes' there that spring. He stated that for the
last 5 or 6 years some of the Navajos had mission at Aneth figure most pre
done so. He requested the Navajos be informed dominately in the archival material. to stay on their own reservation and asked
for their police to remove them. In reply the In March 1901 (Nav. Ex. 371), Navajo Agent at Ft. Defiance stated he had Utah Senator Thomas Kearns re
never given the Navajos permission to enter the t'te reservation for
but ported the Governor of Utah asked that they not be removed until they
harvested their present crop (Nar. Ex. 373 & claimed the Navajos and Utes were Enc.).
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of melons and pumpkins which sion wrote to the Commissioner re“looked good and a number of questing more schools for the Navditches." He stated that there was ajo children. She stated there were not a white settler on either side of 15 children at their school but that the river about Bluff nearer than there were 50 to 60 more children 70 or 80 miles "still the people in living within 10 to 12 miles up and the state want the Indians called down the river (Nav. Ex. 383). back to the reservation.” He advised William T. Shelton, Superinthem to stay and improve the lands, tendent of the Navajo San Juan and make permanent homes if they School, Farmington, New Mexico, liked and if they desired to file on in his letter of April 30, 1904, to the the lands, he would assist them. Commissioner reported on a trip to Three said they wanted to remain Aneth. He stated that about 95 perand make permanent homes, and he cent of the Indian country he passed asked Antes to assist them with through was a wild, barren, inhostheir papers. He asked for addi- pitable waste, devoid of all vegetional farmers and additional irri
tation, except for an occasional gation development work (Nav. Ex.
growth of cottonwood trees along 377).
the river. The remaining 5 percent Other reports were made of poor consisted of small sandy tracts loconditions of the Navajos. These cated here and there along the pertained to Indians inside the res- river; some of which were being ervation, as well as any outside. On cultivated by the Indians when posNovember 17, 1902, Hayzlett dis- sible to get water and in a most counted reports that 6,000 Navajos primitive way. He stated : were starving as the Census Bureau
The general condition of the Indians for that “whole district” (appar- west of the Four Corners, and along the ently the northwestern part of the river where most of the Indians are 10reservation showed only 1.747 cated, as to ideas, customs, morality and
progress, is far below the average of the (Nav. Ex. 381). However, subse
Navajos heretofore met with. quently, he reported that Indians
But those below Aneth and about along the mountains and in the
Bluff City, Chinle Valley which extends from Cana Desha north to the river op- with all of their bad points most of them posite Bluff were in need of food,
will work when given the opportunity, but the Indians along the river were
and if afforded the proper assistance
could no doubt accomplish something, as all right (Nav. Ex. 392). This was
they frequently take out ditches themin agreement with a letter from
selves; but which are usually washed out Mary Eldridge in December 15, at the first high water, owing largely to 1902, to the same effect (Nav. Ex. their primitive structure. 381).
(Nav. Ex. 397). In December 1902, Miss Sophie On April 18, 1904, Antes asked Hubert who worked at Antes' mis- the President to extend the Navajo
reservation north of the river at of the reservation. Although he had Aneth (Nav. Ex. 399 Enc.). He not at that time made a trip to instated that several small bottoms of spect, he recommended the addition the San Juan River on its north to the reservation suggested by bank had been occupied by Indians
Antes, 13 for many years and are occupied by The March 2, 1905, letter by the them. He stated that the land was Commissioner to the Secretary of government land subject to settle- the Interior (Nav. Ex. 412) recomment, but no filing had been made mended the addition to the reservaupon it, although "there have been tion and referred to a report by numerous attempts to settle upon Shelton, dated February 15, 1905, of it by white men, but in every case, a recent trip he made into the area. it has been abandoned as impracticable except that three trading posts
13 Shelton placed on a rough sketch (not
included with Nav. Ex. 403, but separate as have remained." He requested the Nav. Ex. 1) where he had remembered the area to be reserved for the Indians different settlements of Indians are located
along the north side of the river in Utah except for the sites of his mission
and inside the boundary in question. He estiand school and the Aneth Post mated 250 Indians in the area, but said the
number may be considerably more or less. He Office which he conducted. He
stated he had only been a few miles below stated :
the mouth of McElmo Canyon and had little
idea of the number and location of the The Indians have all along come across
Indians between there and Montezuma Creek.
He could remember only one tract of land the river, from their reservation, and
about 500 acres, which seemed to be of agrihave camped here, and sometimes built
cultural potential, located 2 miles below the themselves cabins and tried to raise crops. mouth of McElmo Creek, but this would reNo one but Indians want any of this land quire the “taking out of a good ditch, before
it will be of practical use to the Indians." for homes, and yet there has been more or
Other small parcels of land up and down the less friction, and a constant probability
river were in danger of being destroyed by of contention and eviction by stockmen high water at any time. “To more fully demonwho want the whole country for their
strate the poor condition of this land, it has stock.
been frequently located and settled upon by
white people, who in every instance, hare The Commissioner questioned starved out and given it up." The best benefit
for the executive order reservation would he whether the Indians would not be
to protect grazing land for the Indian stock. amply protected by allotments or
He had been told that stockmen near Bluff,
"frequently run in thousands of sheep in this Indian homesteads (Nav. Ex. 399). section, which eat out what little food there
is, leaving the Indian stock to suffer." (Nar. Superintendent Shelton in his re
Ex. 403.) port to the Commissioner, dated A Harriet Peabody (who had been teaching
at Aneth for 5 years) in a letter of July S. July 30, 1904 (Nav. Ex. 403), rec- 1904. the Commissioner recommended ommended against allotments or
allotments for the Indians. She had checked
the surveys and found that one camp is just Indian homesteads because of the
below the survey which ends at the Butter
Canyon. "Near Aneth the Indians hare their isolated conditions, the Indians' few
lands all fenced, their irrigating ditches made opportunities to come in contact
are doing quite good farming." She with civilized people, and because
couldn't understand why Shelton didn't think
they were ready for allotment, but indicated these Indians were far behind the they needed schools and “someone to assist
them in their work and to teach them to Indians located on some other parts
respect each others rights" (Nav. Ex. 402).