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Reports of the Department of the Interior, Volume 2 online

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be taken to improve the Government day schools and quarters for
employees at the various pueblos, and that day schools be built at
Banchitos, on the Santa Ana grant ; at Sia, at Chical on the Isleta
grant; a new school erected at Acomita, on the A coma grant, and in-
creased school facilities at Santo Domingo, Encinal, Siama, and
Picuris ; that greater authority be granted Indian Service officials to
compel school attendance; that the Acoma-Laguna irrfgation ditch
along the San Jose River be cemented to prevent seepage, and two
storage reservoirs be built for irrigation purposes at the Taos pueblo ;
that a gasoline engine, thrashing machine, and small mill be fur-
nished each pueblo; that bridges be built across the Rio Grande
on the Cochiti grant near the Santo Domingo boundary, across
the Rio Grande connecting Santa Clara and San Ildefonso, and
across the Jemez River near the villages of Sia and Jemez; that all
of the pueblos be fenced; that some sort of an agreement be made
with the Forest Service so that Indians can obtain, with less diffi-
culty, timber and firewood from adjacent forest reserves. Specific
recommendations respecting various pueblos are contained in the full
report, which appears as an appendix of the board's report. (See
Appendix P.)

Schools Among the Five^ Civiljzed Tribes of Okiahoma (filed
June 28, 1919), by Commissioner Ketcham, who recommended that
the tribal schools among the Five Civilized Tribes be continued, pos-
sibly for 10 years; that Congress provide for higher education in the
white schools of higher learning, either in the State in which the In-
dians live or elsewhere, for such children of the Five Civilized Tribes
as have exhausted their local opportunities and have the desire and
requisite talent to continue their studies ; that all the Five Civilized
Tribe schools be equipped with eight grades and some of them be
made high schools, including one each of the Choctaw male and fe-
male academies; that Congress enact legislation which will insure
ample educational funds for the schools of the Choctaws and Chicka-
saws for a period of 10 years, and in the case of the Choctaws a pro-
vision be made for a fund for educational purposes in excess of the
amount expended on the Choctaw schools for the scholastic year
ended June 30, 1905 ; that Congress enact legislation to conserve the
remaining tribal moneys of the Creeks and Seminoles as educational
funds, and to increase them, if possible, by whatever tribal properties
there may yet remain to be disposed oi and by whatever outstanding
claims these tribes may have ; that section 41 of the act of March 1,
1901, be amended by Congress to permit the Secretary of the Interior
to make oil and gas leases on Creek lands. Specific recommendations
in regard to 19 tribal and contract schools among the Five Civilized
Tribes are contained in the full report as filed which appears as one
of the appendices of the board's report. (See Appendix Q.)

Health CoNorriONs in Oklahoma (filed June 23, 1919), by Com-
missioner Ketcham. (See Appendix R.)

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Liquor Suppression Office, Den\er, Colo, (filed April 9, 1919),
by Commissioner Ketcham. (See Appendix S.)


The board held four meetings during the year; a special meeting
at Newcastle, X. H., July 25-27, 1918 ; the regular semiannual meet-
ing at Lake Mohonk, N. i ., October 23-25, 1918 ; the annual meeting
at Washington, January 28-30, 1919; and a special meeting at
Albuquerque and Santa t'e, N. Mex., April 16-18, 1919.

At the annual meeting Commissioner George Vaux, jr., of Phila-
delphia, Pa., was reelected chairman of the board, and Commissioner
Malcolm McDowell, of Chicago, 111., was reelected secretary, both
for the ensuing year.

Mr. Edward E. Ayer, of Chicago, who was appointed a member of
the board in 1912, resigned on January 29, 1919. Maj. Gen. Hugh L.
Scott, United States Army, retired, was appointed a member of the
commission by the President on February 25, 1919, to succeed former
Commissioner Ayer.

Faithfully yours,

George Vaux, jr.. Chairman,
Merrill E. Gates,
Warrex K. Moorehead,
Samuel A. Eliot,
Frank Knox,
iWiLLiAM H. Ketcham,
Daniel Smiley,
Isidore B. Dockweiler,
Malcolm McDoa\^ll,
Hugh L. Scott.
To the Secretary of the Interior.



by halcolx hcdowell.

February 15, 1919.

Sir: I haye the honor of submitting herewith a report of condi-
tions in the Nayajo country of northeast Arizona and northwest New
Mexico. My inyestigation began September 13 and ended October
10, 1918, during which I trayeled more than 800 miles through the
Pueblo Bonito, Nayajo, Moqui, and Western Navajo Reseryations.
As the Navajo country embraces some 22,000 square miles^ the
topography of which is so wild and rough that traveling is difficult,
it would be a physical impossibility to cover the entire area within
the four weeks I spent in that country, therefore it will be necessary
for me to make another trip to round out my work.

The Navajo countrj', lying in three States, includes the superin-
tendencies of Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico, the Navajo and San
Juan in Arizona and New Mexico, the Moqui, Western Navajo, and
Leupp in Arizona, and about 600,000 acres in the southern part of

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Utah. It embraces parts of San Juan and McKinley Counties in
New Mexico, the Navajo and Apache Counties in Arizona, part of
Coconino County in Arizona, and the southern part of San Juan
County in Utah.

For the purpose of administration the Navajo country is divided
into the superintendencies I have mentioned, but all this area, with
a population of over 32,000 Navaios, may properly be handled for
the purpose of a survey as a single unit. This great area includes
vast stretches of practically worthlci^s desert lands, millions of acres
covered by mountain ranges and cut and slashed by canyons, dry
washes, and valleys; but a large proportion of the land, semiarid
though it be, is rough grazing land which is used by the Navajo
Indians for raising their sheep, goats, horses, and cattle. The
Navajo country is the largest undeveloped area of land under the
supervision of the Indian Office and is peopled by the largest tribe
of American Indians. Although I traveled hundreds of miles
through this country I saw but small parts of it and I doubt if the
supermtendent of any Navajo Reservation, excluding Leupp, has
seen or ever will see all the land under his supervision. ^ ^ •

The Navajos are shepherds; sheep is the economic basis of Navajo
life. The sheep must be moved to find grass and water and to adjust
the flocks to seasonal changes. Because of necessity the Navajo
families Jive wide apart from each other. Their hogans, as they
call their beehive-shaped habitations of lo^, branches, stones, and
dirt, are located with reference to convenient access to water and
wood. Each family has two or more hogans which are used for
summer and winter and as the demand for gi*ass and water for their
sheep compels them to move from place to place they occupy during
the year their several hogans. ,

This family isolation, together with the nomadic habit of the
Navajos and the difficulty in traveling over the country caused by
mountains, canyons, quick sands, and precipitous bluffs which edge
high mesas, have made it well-nigh impossible to take an accurate
census of the entire Navajo people.

In 1915, under the supervision of Father Weber, Superior of the
Franciscan Fathers at St. Michaels, Ariz., an accurate, scientifically
planned census of the Navajo Reservation, whose seat of government
is at Fort Defiance, Ariz., was made. This census was so compre-
hensive and complete that it offers a sound basis for estimating
the entire population of the Navajo country. The best authorities
agree there are over 32,000 Navajo Indians in that pai-t of the
Lnited States and that between 7.000 and 9.000 are children of
school age.

The Navajos are a prolific race ; I found children in almost every
hogan and families with four and five children are common. There
is ever}' evidence that the Navajos, who are over 95 per cent full
bloods, are increasing in population to a degree which indicates
that within a generation their country will not be able to sustain
them unless the water snpply for stock and domestic purposes is
increased. Water is the prime essential for the economic and social
development of the Navajo people. ^

The irrigation division of the Indian Office has done the seem-
ingly impossible in the development of underfiround water for stock*
and domestic Durposes; the Imes of wells which were sunk 6 to 8

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miles apart were equipped with pumps operated by windmills, and
the numerous " seeps " which have been cfeveloped into real springs
bear testmiony to tiie achievements, accomplished under remarkably
adverse conditions, of the staff of the irrigation division. The In-
dians have a saying '' where water is there is no grass, where grass
is there is no w^ater." This epigram states the case completely for
there are great areas of erass land in which there is no water for
stock and there are good springs so far remote from grass lands
that they are useless so far as the sheep are concerned.

The irrigation division w-ith its wells has brought water to water-
less grass areas and thus has greatly increased the range and this
increased grazing area makes it possible for more Indians to live
and sustain themselves in the Navajo country. I doubt if any money
appropriated for Indians by Congress has reached the high efficiency
or the few thousand dollars appropriated for developing the water
supply in the Xavajo county. ^

There are soKiething like" 14,000,000 acres of land, of all kinds,
that have an ec( nomic value in this country. Of this acreage 51,000
acres are classed as agricultural (an eastern farmer would call al-
most all of such land w^orthless) and the Indians farm less than
25,000 acres but use all of the 13,800,000 acres of grazing land for
their flocks which aggi-egate nearly 1,300.000 sheep and goats; their
herd of scrub ponies numbering 80,000 and their cattle which total
about 38,000 head. ' An agricultural survey of this country has never
been made; the estimate of 51,000 acres of agricultural land is
based on the known area which might be irrigated. Undoubtedly
there are large tracts of soil which need only water to make them
productive but such lands lie so far from the present available water
sources that the cost to irrigate them is prohibitive. ^ "•
- I found three problems pressing for solution, land, school, and
water. The land problem involves over 100 townships in the public
domain east and south of the Xavajo, Moqui, and Leupp Reserva-
tions. These townships are occupied and, in common with white
stockmen, used by some 6,000 nonreservation Xavajo Indians. The
solution of the land problem calls for congressional legislation and
negotiation between the Department of the Interior and the rail-
road companies. The water and school problems affect the whole
Indian population. The water supply can be increased through
larger appropriations, and a school census and new school policy
are necessary to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the school

The Santa Fe Railroad skirts the southern edge of this country,
and for 50 miles on each side of its right of wav the public domain
is a checkerboard, for the odd-number sections belong to the Santa
Fe and Frisco Railroad Cos.. and the even-number sections are the
pul)lic domain. Almost all of the nonreservation or public domain
Navajos live north of the Santa Fe right of way. The railroad
lands in the Xavajo country have been sold or leased. Indians have
leased some of the townships. The railroads not only have the legal
right to sell their lands, but such sales would be in line with the best
business practices, for the railroads have been paying taxes on these
lands for years. The Santa Fe Railroad for a number of years re-
fused to sell its lands because it hoped that some w^ay would be
140923°— INT 1910— VOL 2 16

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opened which would allow the Indians to acquire the railroad sec-
tions, but, apparently, the Santa Fe Railroad has come to the con-
clusion the Government can not or will not develop a practical
method by which the railroad lands can be secured for the Indians,
and such lands now are offered for sale. If the railroad sells the rail-
road sections to white cattlemen the Navajo Indians, now occupying
and using the lands, practically will be evicted, and the land problem
will cease to trouble the Government, for it will be transformed into
an ordinary problem of caring for several thousand destitute men,
women, and children.

The public domain to the east and south of the reservation is occu-

Eied, as I have said, by some 6,000 nonreservation Navajo Indians,
everal thousand Indian allotments of 160 acres each have been se-
lected, but the allotments have not been approved, nor have any trust
patents been issued to the Indians. A few of the white men have
homesteaded. The white homesteads are of 640 acres each, four
times the size of an Indian allotment. Every useable square foot of
all the public domain area under consideration is grazed by sheep,
goats, horses, and cattle; there is not an idle acre in the countrj^, ex-
cept desert and rock-clad lands which are of no use and can not be
used for any purpose.

The 6,000 nonreservation Navajos on the public domain were bom
on the land, as were their ancestors; in every respect, except actual
ownership, it is their land, but not an Indian owns a foot of it. Al-
though they do not live on reservations and, therefore, are nonre-
servation Indians they belong to the Navajo tribe and retain their
tribal relations. Although they are nonreservation Indians, receiv-
ing nothing from .the Government in the shape of money or land,
they are wards of the Government, for the Government has assumed
supervision over them. The Pueblo Bonito jurisdiction is entirely
on the public domain; the agency seat is at Crownpoint, N. Mex.,
where a reservation boarding school is located. This jurisdiction is
called a reservation, but actually it is an agency.

These Indians are self-supporting — ^they get no money or rations
from the Government — ^they neither ask nor want anything from the
Government. Like all Navajo Indians they are herdsmen, each
family owning sheep, gpats, horses, and some cattle. The !Pueblo
Bonito Indians are typical Navajos and conditions on the Pueblo
Bonito jurisdiction are typical of a very large part of the whole
Navajo country. This jurisdiction covers an area, approximately,
of 60 by 50 miles and 60 of the 100 townships under consideration are
in the Pueblo Bonito area. Thirty-three townships (that is the rail-
road lands in 33 townships) are leased to white men and 7 to Indians
who pay from $230 to $280 rental for a township a year. There are
but 34 white homesteaders in this area. According to the best infor-
mation obtainable about 90 sections of railroad lands have been sold.

In all the Pueblo Bonito jurisdiction there is not one living stream
of water. There are 9 artesian wells, the largest of which is on a
white man's land and is fenced off so that the Indians can not use
the water. There are about 20 stock wells equipped with windmills,
6 shallow lakes (mere drainage ponds) which, with the exception
of one, are dry most of the year, and a number of so-called springs
which are really "seeps" from^ which the water oozes out from the
sand, and that spring is considered an important source of water

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supply if a gallon of water can be collected from it inside of five

TMiite stockmen figure that 640 acres, a square mile, will support
from 10 to 20 steers or from 20 to 60 sheep, depending upon the
season. For two yeare there has been an abnormal drought and a
number of white lessees have moved their cattle from the ranges in
this countrj'. All the range is overgrazed and white men and Indians
agree that it will take several years of good grass seasons and careful
grazing to renew the range.

It is quite certain if it had not been for the drought and the effect
of war on labor and man power much, if not all, of this public
domain would now be under the complete control of white men and
the Indians would have been evicted simply because they would not
have been able to compete with the white stockmen. By leasing and
buying railroad sections, homesteading and leasing State school sec-
tions, a white man can control a grazing unit which would give him
the absolute monopoly of from one to three townships. If this
railroad land is sold it will be sold to white men and there will be a
reversal of economic conditions for a few white stockmen and their
white employees will take the place of 6,000 producing and pur-
chasing Indians ; and instead of ^,000 Indian customers the stores at
Gallup, Holbrook, Thoreau, Winslow, and other railroad centers,
will have but a mere handful of cow boys arid stock bosses ; instead
of 6,000 men, women, and children buying food, clotliing, supplies,
and even some of the smaller luxuries, there will be several thousand
Navajo men, women, and children to be cared for by the State or
Government or both.

The effect of this reversal of economic conditions upon the towns
along the railroad would be serious to local merchants and the in-
crease of live-stock shipments over the railroad would not amount to
much. This is the opinion I found among a number of business men
who formerly opposed doing anything which might tend to secure
the public domain for the use of the nonreservation Navajo Indians.

Tlie citizens of Arizona and New Mexico are outspoken in their
opposition to any increase of the present great area of nontaxpaying
lands in those States by the extension of Indian reservations or the
making of new. ones. 'When it is considered about 36,500 square
miles of New Mexico and Arizona are Indian lands, which do not
pay taxes ; that the total area of both States is around 336,000 square
miles; that enormous forest areas are set apart in National Forest
Beserves; that thousands of acres are in national monuments and
tens of thousands of acres are still public domain, it is small wonder
the texpaying citizens of the two States are opposed to giving more
land to nontaxpaying Indians.

This public sentiment must be taken into account in any attempt
to secure the public domain for the permanent use of the Indians.
It was this sentiment which stopped the efforts of the Government
to exchange some of the railroad lands for lands in other parts of the
country and to turn these railroad lands over to the Indians by cov-
ering them with an Executive order. As a basic proposition,
on which to build up plans to secure lands to the public-do-
main Navajos, the payment of taxes by the Indians must be con-
sidered. I am strongly of the opinion from my talks with the

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nonreservation Xavajos that most of them will willingly pay taxes if
they are given that confidence in their future which comes with the
assurance of permanent land occupancy.

As I have shown, public-domam sections and railroad sections
alternate, forming a checkerboard. This arrangement, made in the
early days of railroad land grants, was a wise and far-sighted pre-
caution of the Government, designed to prevent the railroads from
withholding large blocks of good agricultural lands from settle-
ment for rature i)rofit. In those days little thought was given to
the arid and semiarid lands in Arizona and New Mexico, useful
only for rough grazing and usable only in large units. In Arizona
and New Mexico men do not talk of grazing land in terms of sections
or acres ; about the smallest unit or rough grazing land they con-
sider is a township of 23,000 acres. In the east, where 40 acres of
good land are enough for a profitable farm, it was well that sec-
tions should be regarded as large units, but 640 acres, a square mile,
of Arizona and New Mexico public domain are not enough to feed
more than 16 steer or 75 to 80 sheep. It is not agricultural land, for
there is no water for irrigation. It only can be used for rough graz-
ing and much of it can not be used for even that. The checkerboard-
ing of this land is an embarrassment to the development of the coun-
try, an unfair arrangement, and no longer can be justified. It is
unsound economically and no one can offer a valid reason for the
continuance of the system.

This is the way representatives and business men of that country
are talking to-day. They are seriously considering the urging of
legislation which will enable the Secretary of the Interior to negoti-
ate with the railroads and other parties m interest for rearranging
the public domain on each side of the Santa Fe Bailroad in Arizona
and New Mexico, so that all the Government lands will be blocked
in solid townships or parts of townships and all the railroad sections
likewise. The idea is not new ; it has been brought to Washington
several times but the white people of Arizona and New Mexico could
not get together on the proposition. It lacked influential local back-
ing. Public sentiment favoring what is known as "blocking" the
land is increasing and the time seems ripe for bringing this matter
to the attention of tlie Department of the Interior and Congress in
tho interest, not only of the Indians, but the white people.

It might be asketf " in what way would blocking the public domain
and railroad lands benefit the nonreservation Indians?^' It must be
borno in niind that the white people who are bejrinning to favor this
proposition are not considering the Indians at all ; they have in mind
all of the railroad land-grant belt contiguous to the Santa Fe right of
way in both States, Arizona and New Mexico. The Navajo Indians
occupy only about 100 townships in this belt, a relatively small area.'
If the proposed rearrangement of the public and railroad sections
went no further than merely blocking the land the Indians would
be but little better off than they now are. It is probable there would
bo less friction with white stockmen but their future would be as un-
certain as it now is.

To benefit the Indians through this proffered plan it would be
necessary to secure the public domain for their permanent use and
this only caft be done through appropriate legislation and depart-

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mental action. The consolidation of each class of land under con-
sideration unquestionably would have the effect of making the rail-
road lands more attractive to purchasers and lessees but, at the same
time, it would put the public domain sections in better arrangement
to carry out any practical plan for securing such land for the use
ol the Indians, Of course there are difficulties in the way of any pur-
pose to make the Indians actual owners of the land, which is now
public domain, but those who are interested in the proposed rear-
rangement of sections for the benefit of the Indians are strongly of
the opinion that Congress and the Department of the Interior would
be able to work out some practical sclieme looking to Indian owner-
ship of the public domain land in the 100 townships involved in this
proposition, an ownership which would carry with it the full respon-
sibilities and obligations of a landowning citizen.

Supt. S. F. Stacher, of the Pueblo Bonito school and agency, has
under his charge several thousand nonreservation Indians, and 60
of the 100 townships are in his jurisdiction. For years he has labored
earnestly and continually to secure the public domain or railroad
lands for the permanent use of his charges. When efforts to exchange
the Santa Fe Railroad sections in his jurisdiction for lands else-
where were stopped by the provision in the 1918 Indian act which
prohibited the extension of any Indian reservation in New Mexico
and Arizona except by congressional action, Mr. Stacher put for-
ward the proposition to block the railroad and public-domain lands
preliminary to securing an adequate acreage for the permanent use
of the Indians.

Some of the white stockmen and business men in that section saw

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