The 1878 Ute Commission

A small group of men, appointed by the Indian Bureau to negotiate a new treaty with the Utes, arrived at the Southern Ute Agency on August 14, 1878. Edward Hatch, Chairman of this Commission, reported several problems they encountered.

          “The Indians there said they had been overreached in the agreement of 1873; that they intended to sell nothing but minerals; that the government had not complied; that a large sum of money was to be paid [to the Utes]; that they had received nothing.”
          “One difficulty in negotiating was that the Utes hold the territory in common but among themselves have division of lands among groups. They refuse to come together for a conference.”
          “Considerable hostility [exists] between Ignacio, chief of the Weeminuches of Southern Utes, and Ouray, chief of the Tabeguaches at Los Pinos. By agreement of Brunot in 1873, Ouray seems to be recognized as head chief of all Utes but, as a matter of fact, the Southern Utes utterly repudiate him and he has no influence or control over them. The fact that by the Brunot agreement he received $1,000 per year for 10 years greatly incensed these Indians who claim they would not have signed [the agreement] had they known.”

Quoted text from the Report of Commission appointed by Act of May 3, 1878 to negotiate with Utes, 45th Congress, Senate, 3rd session, No. 62, page 42. Report dated February 8, 1879.

Image courtesy Florida Center for Instructional Technology

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