Page:U.S. Department of the Interior Annual Report 1875.djvu/84

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In 1870, on the representation of the agent, Lieut. A. P. Greene, United States Army, indorsed by the superintendent, B. C. Whiting, six townships were set apart for the permanent homes of these Indians, and the lands, by Executive order, were withdrawn from public sale. At that time a few settlers had made improvements of comparatively small value within these six townships. This tract of country, known as the Pala and San Pasqual reservations, was adapted to the Indians' wants, and contained lands sufficient to furnish homes for all the Indians in California who were liable to be dispossessed of the homes they were occupying. But the setting apart of these reservations received the most strenuous, united, and persistent opposition of the citizens and press of California. The proceeding was represented as an enormous swindle upon the Government and a hardship and outrage upon the Indians, and numerous petitions and remonstrances, signed by leading citizens, were forwarded to the President. And the Indians themselves, for whose benefit alone the reservations had been created, were induced to ask not to be sent thither, but to be "let alone" upon the lands they were then oecupying, and which they were left to believe would remain permanently their homes.

In accordance with this demand of public opinion in California, Commissioner Parker suggested to the Department the propriety of restoring the Pala and San Pasqual reserves to the public domain, which was accordingly done by Executive order of February 17, 1871, and this last opportunity of furnishing these Indians with homes by substituting public lands in California for those in the title to which the Government had failed to protect them was lost. A resistance to the public demand in strict conformity with justice to the Indians would have enabled the Government then at slight cost to have made ample provision for the Mission Indians. Thus matters remained until in 1873 the Department, anticipating for all the Mission Indians what has lately happened to the Temecula band, called the attention of Congress most earnestly to the subject. The necessary appropriation asked for this purpose not being granted, attention was again called during the last session of Congress to the same subject, and an appropriation of $100,000 asked for the Indian service in California, by which great relief would have been brought to these Indians; but that estimate was reduced in the bill to the usual amount granted for the other Indians of that State, leaving but a small amount which could in any case be used for the Mission Indians.

In my judgment, the best method of meeting the necessities of these Indians will be to secure to them by withdrawal from sale all the public lands upon which they are now living. Under directions from the Office, the agent has employed a surveyor to indicate such boundaries as will enable the President to issue an Executive order making the proper withdrawal. This course, however, will provide for but very few of the Indians, from the fact that nearly all of the arable lands in that section of the country have been sought for and are covered by Mexican land-grants or entries in the United States Land-Office. For the remainder, it will be necessary to purchase small tracts of land at different points upon which the Indians may locate permanent homes, and where they will be in the vicinity of the planters and ranch-men, who will give them profitable employment as laborers. For the purchase of these tracts and of the improvements which may be found within other tracts desirable for small reservations, an appropriation of not less than $150,000 will be required, and I respectfully suggest that the attention of Congress be again called to the importance of this subject.