Communication Helps

Fort Duschene 1884In late August, 1881 the Uncompahgre Utes were forcibly moved from Colorado to Utah. They settled on a reservation named for Chief Ouray. It was next to the Uintah Agency.
          Five years later, the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided to combine the two reservations under one Indian Agent. The Bureau decided a military base was needed to keep the peace between the Uintah and the Uncompahgre Utes.
          In late August 1886, General Crook marched a company of troops across the Ouray reservation. Panic spread among the Utes as runners carried the news of an invastion of soldiers.
          No one had bothered to inform the Utes of plans for a military post.
          The troops arrived at their destination to meet a contingent of mounted warriors, painted and armed for battle.
          Fortunately, the Indian Agent arrived just ahead of the troops. He was able to facilitate a peaceful meeting with General Crook.
          Fort Duchesne was built and eventually housed 250 soldiers.

Information from Chipeta: Queen of the Utes. Used with permission.

 

Published in: on February 2, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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A New Reservation in Utah

In 1880, many of the Ute Indians were removed from Colorado and resettled on reservations in Utah. This was a result of the public outcry over the Meeker Massacre.  The land they were given was shockingly barren compared to their Rocky Mountain homeland. The Ouray Agency was a new reservation established for the Tabeguache Utes near the existing Uintah Agency.
          The 1885 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs offers a glimpse into life on the Utah reservation, three years after the Tabeguache Utes were relocated from Colorado. Of course, the report was written by the Indian Agent, J.F. Gardner (a white man).
          On August 12, 1885, Agent Gardner filed his second annual report. The agency office had been moved across the Green River to the former site of Fort Thornburgh. There were eleven buildings on the four-acre site, built of round logs (called stockade-built). Roofs were logs covered with dirt. Special Agent Leuders had repaired the buildings.
          Gardner said the buildings were fine in dry weather but “untenable in in the rainy season.” He had built a new agent’s house – a lathe and plaster dwelling 28 by 44 feet. The cost of the building was $1,994.54.
          A frame school house was also built at a cost of $800.00. It was 16 by 30 feet in size and needed to be plastered before ready for use. The school could accommodate thirty “day-scholars.” (There were no facilities for students to live at the school.)
         When the facility had been used by the Army, soldiers slept in tents surrounded by dirt embankments for protection. The embankments were removed and the flattend area seeded with grass.

<em>Content from “Reports of Agents in Utah,” Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1885</em>

Cantankerous Colorow

Colorow was one of the participants in the 1879 Meeker Massacre. As a result, his band of White River Utes from Colorado was sent to the existing Uintah Reservation in Utah. In 1887, the Indian Agent at the Unitah Agency wrote to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs requesting approval to transfer a list of Indians to the Ouray Agency, Utah.

September 17, 1887. “Most of these Indians belong to Colorow‘s band. He does not want to come to this reservation but is willing to stop on the Uncompahgre Reservation. The Indians here prefer for him and his band to remain below.”

When the Uncompahgre (or Ouray) Reservation was established in 1881, it was on land south east from the Uintah Reservation. The letter was included with a census taken by the agent. (National Archives microfilm #595/608 Indian Census 1885-1940)

Published in: on January 3, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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