«Item type text; Electronic Dissertation Authors DeJong, David Henry Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. ...»
168 visit, pending a special appropriation by Congress.364 Although many Pima were prepared to remove, Stout recognized that they would not “take kindly to the thought of leaving their old homes and haunts, and a climate to which they have become so thoroughly accustomed.”365 Moreover, some of the Indians occupied considerable tracts of land in the Salt River Valley where Stout recommended them allotting land in severalty until such a time as removal could be carried out. “They are in danger of losing [their farms],” he reminded Hayt, “for as these lands become valuable by cultivation, they are coveted by the white man.” If the government protected their homesteads, Stout believed the Pima “could maintain their independence until such a time as they could be removed.”366 By the summer of 1878, the western half of the reservation was dry, with no crops raised. “If the white settlements east of this reserve increase in the next few years as they have in the past,” Stout wrote to Hayt, “it (the reservation) will never again support the Indians.” More Pima left the reservation so “that they might not hear their women and children cry for bread.”367 As a short-term solution, Stout suggested the government set aside a reservation—“temporary or otherwise”—in the Salt River Valley. The “Indians have some rights,” he reminded Hayt, “and morally if not legally, they have a right to be where they are.”368 In this context the U.S.
Major General Irvin McDowell, having commanded Pima and Maricopa troops a decade earlier, informed the Adjutant General of the Army that the Indians had always “been our true steadfast friends.” They had served as scouts against the Apaches, protected the overland mail routes and provided the food stores upon which the military and emigrants depended for many years. But now settlers above the reservation who knew little of their deeds had deprived them of their water. “If they have done anything wrong to any whites,” McDowell explained, “I am confident they must have been driven to it by great want.”369 Secretary of War George McCrary responded by instructing General of the Army William Tecumseh Sherman to investigate Pima conditions. Sherman in turn ordered McDowell, commanding the Military Division of the Pacific, to protect the Pima “against violent actions on the part of the settlers.”370 The task of investigating the crisis fell upon the shoulders of Captain Adna R.
Chaffee, stationed at Camp McDowell. While acknowledging that the Pima wantonly traveled in the Salt River Valley, Chaffee learned that settlers were planning to seize improved lands from the Indians—complete with canals and crops. This “is nothing more nor less than a legal steal,” the captain reported. While the Pima were entitled to homestead on public lands, they were ignorant of filing entries on the land. This encouraged unscrupulous settlers to evict them from improved lands, some of which had been cultivated for many years. While some “squatters” were forcibly evicted by armed Pima men protecting their property, others managed to take legal possession of the land.
Still others coordinated with local officials, perpetrating a “great crime towards the
Pima.” More than 1,000 Pima lived north of the Salt River, harvesting more than 300,000 pounds of wheat in 1878. On the south bank of the Salt near the Mormon village of Leihi were twenty-eight Maricopa families cultivating the soil. Chaffee recommended 1,520 acres be set aside as a reservation for these Indians. An additional fifty-one Maricopa families lived twelve miles downstream above the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, where they cultivated 300 acres.371 On December 3, 1878, Colonel Orlando B. Willcox of Camp McDowell forwarded Chaffee’s report to McDowell, adding that the deprivation of the Pima and Maricopa was a direct result of “the Government which threw open the upper Gila for settlement.” The Pima, Willcox further explained, “were fairly and legally entitled to the water and the diversion of it [by settlers] constitutes an act, which if done [against] citizens, would be contrary to law.” In the colonel’s view, the United States had to either restore the water to the Pima or provide them with comparable arable land and water.
Furthermore, to remove the Indians, as the Indian Service contemplated, was immoral.
“Have we a right to transplant them against their wishes?” Without water the Pima could not be “useful members of the community” and would become “vagabonds to starve or fight.”372 The only solution was to halt all sale of public land in the Salt River Valley and set some portion of it aside as a reservation for the Pima and Maricopa.
A day later, Willcox telegraphed McDowell regarding the territorial water case of Kelsey v. McAteer. McDowell immediately forwarded the message to Sherman in
Washington, D.C., adding that, according to the territorial court, the “diversion of water above prior settlements [is] illegal.” The deprivation of the Pima therefore was illegal.
“All public lands on the Salt River [should] be withheld from entry, sale, pre-emption or homestead,” McDowell pleaded. To quiet the tension, McDowell asked Sherman for an immediate answer as to how to proceed. Territorial Governor John C. Frémont concurred with McDowell’s assessment.373 While McDowell initially took the perspective that restoring water to the Pima was impractical because it would lead to a series of long drawn-out lawsuits, he had a change of heart later that same day. In a second telegram to Sherman, the Commanding General explained, “It may be inconvenient and cause delay as do all appearances to courts, but it would be an outrage to suffer them to be deprived of their rights.” The Pima had to be restored in their rights to all that they were “lawfully and equitably entitled to.”374 The United States opened the territory above the Pima Reservation for settlement, McDowell wrote in a report to Sherman, and in the process it deprived the Indians of “their water for their farms by Act of Government.” But while it sold the land, the government did not sell the water which the Pima “had hitherto used for their lands, for it did not belong to the Government to sell.” In a clear declaration of the matter, McDowell pointedly reminded Sherman that the Pima retained “a right and use [of the water] which [they] had when they came within the limits of the United States, and which they have not lost.” In short, the Pima had illegally and wrongfully been deprived of their water and
the United States was obligated to restore it.375 Sherman’s reply was succinct: “Can you immediately support the manner in which the water can be turned back onto the reservation as appears right and just to the Indians without conflict with the whites, or without a long lawsuit?”376 Two days before Christmas, McDowell again replied to Sherman, asking him to speak with the President regarding the protection of Pima land and water. “These Indians have been driven from their lands on the Gila,” McDowell told Sherman, and according to the laws “on this coast and in Arizona [this is] illegal.” Now called “renegades” and “savage intruders,” the Pima must “steal or labor for their subsistence where … they can gain it. The United States should at once take measures by injunction or otherwise to restore to these Indians the rights to water to which they are entitled.”377 Sherman replied to McDowell, informing him that he had forwarded his letter to the Secretary of the Interior, who promised a decision on the matter before end of January. “It seems he has had some plan of inducing these Indians to remove to the Indian Territory,” Sherman explained.378 McDowell then immediately appealed for justice. “We have no more right to deport them than we have to send farmers from the Connecticut Valley to Arizona.” The government proposed to civilize the Indians, McDowell argued. “Well these Indians have long since taken the first giant step.”379 375 “Irvin McDowell to the Adjutant General of the United States Army,” dated Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific and Department of California, Presidio of San Francisco, California, December 26, 1878, RG 95, M666, Roll 403.
376 “William T. Sherman to Irvin McDowell,” dated December 5, 1878, RG 94, M666, Roll 403.
377 “Irvin McDowell to General Sherman,” dated Presidio of San Francisco, California, December 23, 1878, RG 95, M666, Roll 403.
“Irvin McDowell to William T. Sherman,” dated San Francisco, California, December 23, 1878, RG 75, M234, Roll 20. McDowell urged recognition of Pima water rights because the deprivation experienced by the Indians was through “no act of their own” but the result of upstream settlement.
378 “William T. Sherman to Irvin McDowell,” dated Washington, DC, December 26, 1878, RG 95, M666, Roll 403.
379 “Irvin McDowell to the William T. Sherman,” dated Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific and Department of California, Presidio of San Francisco, California, December 26, 1878, RG 95, M666, Roll 403.
173 McDowell persuasively argued his point and in January 1879, President Hayes halted the sale of public land in the Salt River Valley and, via executive order, added the unsold portions to the Pima Reservation. The expanded reservation extended east two miles on either bank of the Salt River from its junction with the Gila to the western boundary of the White Mountain Apache Reservation, over 100 miles to the east and encompassing the towns of Phoenix, Tempe and Hayden’s Ferry.380 Governor John C.
Frémont publicly joined the territorial assembly in protesting the action and called on Secretary Schurz to return the land to the public domain.381 The territorial legislature appropriated funds to send the governor and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Charles Silent to Washington, D.C., to persuade the President to rescind his order.382 At the start of 1879 the Salt River Valley stood on the verge of an agricultural explosion. The Southern Pacific Railroad had reached thirty miles east of Yuma and would reach Maricopa Junction by April. New lands were being developed and prospects
for expansion seemed unlimited. In February the Phoenix Herald sounded the alarm bell:
with the new reservation, the Herald hyperbolized, settlers would be disenfranchised and liquor sales prohibited within the limits of the newly expanded reservation.383 Even Captain Chaffee feared too much land had been reserved. “The Indians will gain nothing by holding sections, half sections, etc., of land here and there, surrounded on every side by white settlers.” Fearful the land would remain “a barren waste,” the captain warned 380 General Land Office Commissioner J.A. Williamson wrote to Hayt that the new reservation enclosed twenty townships of patented land. Williamson pointed out that Americans had already settled on 85,602 acres, either through entry or filing. “J.A. Williamson to Ezra Hayt,” dated General Land Office, Washington, DC, January 15, 1879, and “J.A. Williamson to Carl Schurz,” March 3, 1879.
Both in RG 75, M234, Roll 22.
381 “John C. Frémont to Carl Schurz,” dated Territory of Arizona, Executive Department, Prescott, February 6, 1879, RG 75, M234, Roll 21.
382 “Letter from Governor Frémont to Secretary Schurz,” dated Executive Department, Prescott, January 25, 1879, RG 48, M576, Roll 19.
383 Phoenix Herald, dated February 3, 1879.
174 “one title or the other must be extinguished, for the present, I assume, the settlers must be ousted.”384 Governor Frémont continued to argue removal, opining “that the whole Salt River Valley and the Gila River should be left to the white people, and the Indians withdrawn to the Colorado River.”385 In April, McDowell publicly responded to Frémont. “This proposition appears to me to bid no good to the peace of Arizona, and will, if consummated, no matter how, inflict, I believe a great wrong upon a peaceful, most friendly, hard working, selfsupporting people.” Depriving them of their water, McDowell argued, “was illegal.” Quoting from the McAteer decision, McDowell was adamant: “The fact that the appropriator does not irrigate all of his arable land during the first years following the appropriation does not affect his right.” Upstream appropriation of Pima water did not affect their rights to it.386 Interior Secretary Carl Schurz was clear but indifferent in response: “The Indians must be permitted to subsist themselves—there is no appropriation for their support.” Bowing to political pressure, Hayes backed off and issued a new executive order that expanded the reservation northwest along the Gila River to its junction with the Salt River and then four miles up the Salt. This more modest addition included the Maricopa village of Sacate on the Gila River and Maricopa Colony on the Salt River. Hayes also 384 “Captain Adna Chaffee, Report to Assistant Adjutant General,” dated Headquarters, Department of Arizona, Prescott Barracks, February 7, 1879, RG 94, M666, Roll 403. Chaffee’s report noted the extended reservation in the Salt River Valley encompassed 656,000 acres and with 4,500 Pima and Maricopa this equaled 145 acres per capita. As they farm “an average of 5 acres per man,” Chaffee opined there was too much land reserved for the Indians. Of course, non-Indians could either homestead 160 acres or claim 640 acres under the Desert Land Act of 1877.
385 “John C. Frémont to Colonel Orlando Willcox,” dated St. Charles Hotel, Los Angeles, California, March 1, 1879, in Irvin McDowell, Report to the Adjutant General, U.S. Army, Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific and Department of California, Presidio of San Francisco, California, RG 94, M666, Roll 403.
386 Irvin McDowell, Report to the Adjutant General, U.S. Army, Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific and Department of California, Presidio of San Francisco, California, RG 94, M666, Roll 403, pp. 1-4.
175 designated a separate, non-contiguous reservation on the Salt River south of Camp McDowell, encompassing the present-day Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservation.