The Uintah Ouray Reservation 100 years ago

The Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs are filled with statistics. From these we gain a little perspective on reservation life in the year 1913.

          Ute populations on Colorado reservations:

          504   Wiminuche

          360   Capote and Muache

          Ute populations on Utah reservations:

          478   Uintah

          451   Uncompahgre

          283   White River

       2,076   Utes living on reservations in 1913

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Lincoln’s Secretary in Colorado

John G. Nicolay on left with President Lincoln and John Hay taken November 8, 1863 by Alexander Gardner in his Washington studio. Image from the Library of Congress collection.

John G. Nicolay on left with President Lincoln and John Hay taken November 8, 1863 by Alexander Gardner in his Washington studio. Image from the Library of Congress collection.

President Abraham Lincoln sent his secretary, John G. Nicolay,  as his personal representative to the 1863 treaty council with the Utes at Conejos, Colorado Territory. Nicolay arrived in September and spent a month touring the Territory. He arrived at Conejos on  October 1, 1863 to lead the team of government representatives that included Territorial Governor John L. Evans, Dr. Michael Stech, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for New Mexico, plus Indian Agents Simeon Whiteley and Lafayette Head.
          Fifteen hundred Tabeguache Utes (Ouray’s band) turned out for the treaty council. Only three Mouache chiefs and one Capote chief attended. The Weeminuche and the northern Ute bands did not participate. A treaty was concluded on October 7, 1863. It was primarily an agreement with the estimated 4,000 Tabeguache Utes, who gave up their lands east of the Continental Divide.
          After the agreement was made, Nicolay presented silver peace medals bearing President Lincoln’s image to seven chiefs, including Ouray. These were men Nicolay counted as most cooperative.
          The treaty Nicolay negotiated was ratified, with amendments, by the U.S. Senate on March 25, 1864, and accepted by the Utes on October 8, 1864.

          Arnold Schwarzenegger was the voice of Lincoln’s Bavarian-born secretary, John G. Nicolay, in the 1992 ABC documentary Lincoln (Richard Zoglin, “Trying To Hype History,” TIME, December 28, 1992).
          Helen Nicolay wrote a biography of her father: Lincoln’s Secretary (Longmans, Green and Co. 1949; reprinted Greenwood Press, 1971).

Counting Indians

The 1860 census of Colorado Territory did not count Indians. The 1863 Report of the U.S. Secretary of Interior estimated 9,800 Utes in Colorado Territory. Based on reports from Indian Agents there were about 500 Muache, 800 Capote, 2,000 Weeminuche, 2500 Grand River (Northern Utes) and 4,000 Tabeguache.

           American Indians were first counted as a separate group in the 1860 U.S. census but only if they “paid taxes” or lived among white settlers. In the 1890 Census, Indians living in American Indian Territory and on American Indian reservations were also counted. It was not until the 1940 Census that ALL Indians were counted as part of the U.S. population. Source: Measuring America The Decennial Census from 1790 to 2000

Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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