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implements that spring, the Pima had expected more. Nonetheless, the Pima expanded their agricultural production, cultivating, according to Walker’s estimate, nearly 15,000 acres in 1859. They demonstrated a marked proclivity to remain the granary of the territory.163 In addition to selling more than 110,000 pounds of surplus wheat to the overland mail companies, in 1858, the Pima sold 30,000 pounds of corn and 5,000 pounds of tepary beans.164 In 1859, they sold an additional 250,000 pounds of surplus wheat to the Overland Mail Company and maintained “a large trade with emigrants” and a “considerable trade” with merchants in frontier towns such as Tucson. With the subjugation and cultivation of new lands, production continued to climb. By 1860, they sold over 350,000 pounds of wheat to the mail lines. Not surprisingly, the Pima were “in a very prosperous condition, and … they nearly all had money, in amounts varying from fifteen to twenty-five dollars.”165 Mowry and Bailey understood the importance of respecting Pima territorial integrity and sovereignty over their lands. Bailey encouraged Mix to confirm the Indian land titles as soon as possible.166 Mix agreed, informing Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson of the need to secure the Pima villages and agricultural lands to further stimulate their economy. Mix stressed the propriety of distributing agricultural 163 “John Walker to A.B.
164 “Silas St. John, Pimo Villages, to A. B. Greenwood, Commission of Indian Affairs,” dated September 16, 1859, in RG 75, M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, (New Mexico Superintendency, 1858-1859), roll 549.
165 “John Walker to James L. Collins,” dated Tucson, New Mexico, September 23, 1859, in Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1859, p. 351. “Sylvester Mowry to A.B. Greenwood, Commissioner of Indian Affairs,” dated Los Pimos, October 6, 1859, in Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1859, p. 360.
166 “Bailey to Mix,” dated November 4, 1858, p. 203.
102 implements and “the means of defense” to the Pima to “confirm their friendship.”167 While this friendship was not yet threatened, Mix advanced a policy of furnishing the Pima with new agricultural technology to bolster production, implicitly acknowledging Pima water rights.168 Mix’s report is insightful as it expresses the sense of the Indian Service and, to the extent it accepted it, the views of Congress, which was in the formative stage of establishing reservations in the West. Mix opined there were three substantive errors in federal policy: the removal of the Indians from their aboriginal homelands; the recognition of too much Indian land; and the provision of annuities. Reciting a list of less than successful reservations in California, which were established after the Senate’s failure to ratify eighteen treaties with the California tribes in 1851-1852, Mix faulted not the reservations per se but the “manner in which [the system] has been carried out.” There were too many employees “to control, assist and work for the Indians.” Mix recommended the aboriginal homelands of the Pima be recognized but in lieu of annuities and government employees, the Pima should be furnished additional agricultural tools, implements and—eventually—schools to ensure their transition to a modern economy.
Such a policy would “well repay the efforts to cultivate them.”169 Representative Alfred B. Greenwood (D-AR) and Senator William K. Sebastian (D-AR) cosponsored an amendment to the 1859 Indian Appropriation Act to recognize the Pima Reservation. Sebastian reminded his Senate colleagues that the Pima lived
“right upon the great pathway of southern emigration to California.” Recognizing their land and respecting their rights, the Senator asserted, was important not only for ensuring provisions for travelers along the roads but also because it was a matter of “ordinary justice to secure them the homes [in] which they reside.”170 Some members of the Committee on Indian Affairs, believing the reservation policy had failed in California, opposed appropriating money given their concerns over potential failures elsewhere in the West.171 Fearful of setting aside too much land, the House adopted a compromise proposal to create more, although smaller, reservations, limiting the Pima Reservation to no more than one hundred square miles.172 Being directly elected by the voters of the states, the House was concerned about a land policy that might spark a political backlash if too much land in the Gila Valley—especially fertile farmland—were set aside for the Pima.
While Sebastian originally requested $15,000 to purchase suitable gifts for the Pima, the House reduced this to $10,000.173 A joint conference committee agreed to make future additions to the reservation provided no further expenses were incurred and on February 28 the bill was approved. A surveyed reservation not to exceed 64,000 acres (less than 2% of the aboriginal lands of the Pima) was to be set aside for the Pima and Maricopa.174 Greenwood, appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs that spring, selected Sylvester Mowry as special agent to oversee the survey of the reservation. On May 12, 1859, Greenwood informed the agent that the appropriation for the survey and gifts was
at his disposal.175 Collins, meanwhile, desired the funds and the distribution of gifts channeled through his office in Santa Fe, writing Greenwood that it was prudent to purchase agricultural implements for the Pima as it would open the door for “instruct[ing] them in the business of farming.”176 Mowry traveled to the Pima villages where, in July, he convened a meeting with Antonio Azul, Maricopa Chief Juan Cheveria and other village leaders to inform them of funds appropriated by Congress. Azul, distrustful of the Americans, immediately replied, he “had heard that story before” and that he did not “believe a word of it.” Unlike Chapman a year earlier, Mowry scolded the chief, stating, he “would tell [him] simply the truth, and that if [he] were silly enough to be imposed upon by every American who passed [by] their villages, it was an evidence, not of neglect or want of good faith by the government, but of [his] own want of sense.”177 Quieted in his suspicions, Azul promptly requested calico and cotton cloth for the women, and arms, ammunition, agricultural implements, cattle and horses for the men.
Having been informed by St. John that Walker had already distributed a number of ploughs, axes, shovels and hoes, Mowry reduced the number of tools he planned to purchase so he could buy the cloth the women desired. Azul then lamented how the government had neglected the Pima for so long, while at the same time “presents had been distributed to the Apaches.” Assuring the chiefs their good conduct “had not been 175 “Greenwood to Mowry,” dated June 13, 1859.
176 “James L. Collins to A. B. Greenwood,” dated Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 26, 1859, in RG 75, M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, (New Mexico Superintendency, 1858-1859), roll 549. “Walker to Greenwood,” dated August 6,
1859. Walker was of the opinion that the Pima and Maricopa had been provided enough implements and believed some of the money should be spent on the Papago. He credited St. John’s deception and Mowry’s political aspirations for the Pima and Maricopa receiving all the funds. “John Walker to James Collins,” dated October 21, 1859, Tucson, New Mexico, in RG 75, T21, Records of the New Mexico Superintendency, 1849-1880, (Letters Received from the Agencies, 1859-1860), roll 4.
177 “Mowry to Greenwood,” dated November 21, 1859, p. 354.
105 unnoticed by the government,” Mowry impressed upon the men the power of the United States, reminding the leaders that although the Pima “considered themselves a great and numerous people, their entire population would only make a small pueblo in the United States.”178 After meeting with the chiefs and headmen and soliciting their input on how to spend the $10,000, Mowry proceeded to Arizona City (Ft. Yuma) where he purchased a portion of the goods, before traveling on to San Francisco to procure the remainder.
When shipping arrangements were completed, the agent planned his return to the villages. While intending to purchase fifty ploughs, Mowry deemed the high costs of shipping them—$35 a piece—too costly and, since Walker and St. John had already distributed some implements, he instead purchased fifteen, along with additional shovels, spades and axes.
On his return in September, Mowry brought together the Pima and Maricopa to distribute the gifts. With Antonio Azul translating for the Pima and Francisco doing likewise for the Maricopa, Mowry remarked, “that the continuation of such friendly behavior would insure for the [Pima and Maricopa] the favorable notice and a continuance of the bounty of the government.” In other words, the Pima could expect additional technology to stimulate their economy and “make their labor more profitable.” The United States Government encouraged continued expansion of Pima agriculture, recognizing its value to territorial growth.179
Speaking for the Pima, Azul expressed deep gratitude for the gifts, telling Mowry in an hour-long speech to inform the President the Pima “would teach their young men to use the implements sent to them.” Aware the farm implements would enable his people to expand their economy, Azul also recognized the Pima would have to learn new techniques if they wanted to compete with farmers elsewhere in the country. Currently the only growers in the region, Azul was mindful that times were changing and that emigrants passing through the villages would one day settle near his people.
Once the speech making was over, the distribution of the gifts began.180 If the Pima still believed the Americans were untruthful, by the fall of 1859 they felt otherwise.181 When the remainder of the gifts and tools arrived from San Francisco, a second, larger distribution occurred on November 8. “All passed off admirably,” St. John informed Mowry, “the large number of articles enabling me to give every Indian something.”182 Walker noted the distribution went by village, with goods given to over 1,100 men, beginning with the oldest and most fervent cultivators of the soil.183 Walker estimated the Pima and Maricopa now had twenty-five ploughs and harnesses. Azul 180 “Walker to Collins,” dated September 14, 1859, in RG 75, M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, (New Mexico Superintendency, 1858-1859), roll 549.
181 Mowry distributed the following implements: 444 axes; 618 shovels; 31 handsaws; 706 butcher knives; 516 hoes; 240 sickles; 48 files; 270 harrow teeth; 48 mattocks; 72 whetstones; 15 grindstones and fixtures; 36 hay forks; 36 hammers; 48 iron rakes; 48 trowels;
12 screw drivers; 1 carpenter’s shop, complete set of tools; 15 plows; 15 sets of plow harnesses; 1 forge, 1 anvil and 1 vice; 1 set of sledges; 1 cast-steel hand-hammer; 3 pair tongs; 1 set of files; 12 file handles; 36 hatchets; 120 picks and handles; 7 kegs of nails; 9 gross of screws; 1,400 needles; and 1 box sheet tin (for repairing implements). Goods for women included the following: 2,500 yards of manta (cotton cloth); 2,500 yards of blue drill; 125 yards of scarlet flannel; 108 yards of red flannel; 1,000 yards of calico; 180 check shirts; 120 fancy shirts; 180 hickory shirts; 50 yards Turkey red cloth for chiefs; 3 gross gilt buttons; 2 fancy bowie knives; 48 straw hats; 60 pairs shoes for chiefs and wives; 600 pounds smoking tobacco; 280 pounds white beads; 24 regatta shirts for chiefs of pueblos; 144 pipes, with stems. Seed was distributed as follows: 4,000 pounds of barley; 1 pint turnip seed. For the chiefs, Mowry purchased 1 American flag for head chief; 1 suit of uniform, complete; 1 suit of uniform, complete for son; 1 uniform jacket for Maricopa chief. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1859, pp. 355-356.
182 “Silas St. John, Pimo Villages, New Mexico, to Sylvester Mowry,” dated November 9, 1859, University of Arizona Library Special Collections, MS 282, Box 15, file 3.
183 “Walker to M. Steck,” dated Tucson, Arizona, November 13, 1859, in RG 75, M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, (New Mexico Superintendency, 1858-1859), roll 549. “John Walker to James Collins,” dated November 14, 1859, Tucson, New Mexico, in RG 75, T21, Records of the New Mexico Superintendency, 1849-1880, (Letters Received from the Agencies, 1859-1860), roll 4.
107 believed that the Pima economy, and the water and technology to sustain it, was protected. Despite federal assurances, within three years Congress enacted the Homestead Act that, when combined with federal land and resource policies, encouraged the settlement of the West and the appropriation of the water resources that were central to the Pima economy.184
Mowry did more than distribute the gifts; he also supervised the survey of the reservation (see map 7). When he traveled to the villages to distribute the gifts, engineer Andrew B. Gray accompanied him. Charged with the actual survey of the reservation,
Gray was familiar with the villages from his days as a surveyor with the Mexican boundary survey and the Pacific railroad survey of 1855.
Gray and Mowry then met with Azul and the village leaders to discuss the survey.