MF1323.1197 Reel 39_0725

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California B657 J. Ross Browne Ft Yuma, Col. River December 27 '64

Submits report rel. to Indian matters in California, condition of the Yuma Inidnas at Ft Yuma &c

Recd Feb 8, '64 Ansd Feb 184

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B675 Report of J. Ross Browne Special Agt on Condition of the Yuma Indians

Fort Yuma

1864

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[ink stamp] RECEIVED AT THE Feb 8 1864 INDIAN BUREAU

Mr. Comr

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Fort Yuma, Colorado River, December 27th 1863.

Hon. Wm P. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Sir:

Under the general letter of instructions furnished me by the Secretary of the Interior, prior to my departure from Washington, I proceeded immediately on my arrival in San Francisco, to investigate the condition of Indian Affairs in California. No special instructions from your office have yet reached me, bu your news, as verbally expressed, coincide in the main, I believe, with those contained in my letter of appointment.

The result of my pressures, so far, may be summed up in a few words. Owing to fraud and mismanagement on the part of employés of the government for a long series of years, as detailed in my reports to your department, from 1856 to 1860, the reservation system has proved an entire failure. The fund appropriated by Congress for the relief of the Indians has been directed from its legiimate object in various ways; and the encroachments of white settlers on the

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reservations, and impracticability of securing either civil or military protection to the Indians, have rendered negatory all the efforts of the Department to meliorate their condition. In 1849 it was estimated that they numbered not less than 100,000 souls; their present number does not probably exceed 30,000, showing a very rapid decline. In five years from this date, owing to increase of disease and want of food, it is probable there will not be 10,000 left within the entire limits of the State.

I do not deem it necessary, in a casual report of this kind to go into a detail of the condition of each tribe, or to refer specifically to any particular locality. The conclusion forced upon my mind is, that the sums now appropriated by Congress are insufficient to effect any beneficial object in California; and that larger appro priations would be equally useless under the present system. The Indians must be entirely isolated from the white settlements or nothing can be done with them. All attempts to carry on reservations, claimed in whole or in part by citizens of the state, have hitherto proved unavailing, and there is no reason to hope for a better state of things in the future.

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There is now no place in California suitable for a reservation, which is not subject to the objectives above indicated. The progress of mining and agricultural interests has gradually absorbed nearly all the lands available for this purpose; and the time has arrived when the Indians must be removed altogether or suffer speedy extinction.

In conversation with Mr Wentworth Superintendent for the Southern District, the plan of colonising the Indians on one of the Islands near Santa Barbara was discussed. There can be no douobt that this would be a very good way of isolating them from the whites, and would if properly carried out, be the best means of avoiding most of the embarrassments that now surround the reservation system. There is sufficient arable land on several of these Islands and range enough for cattle and sheep to make a large population of Indians to support them selves without expense to the government after the first two or three years. But the question arises, what would be the cost of a good title to one or more of these Islands, when government is the

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