Interview with Ouray, Part 5

A VISIT TO THE TRIBE OF UTES.
New-York Tribune (New York, N.Y.) October 08, 1874, page 4

RESERVATION LIFE

Tower Mountain, opposite Howardsville, Bakers Park. Upon its nearby perpendicular fact of 3,000 feet are exposed a number of quartz veins, traversing its whole length. The one cutting down diagonally from the left is the Mammoth lode. Most of the others are claimed as mineral-bearing veins. San Juan County, Colorado. 1874.

For the last few years the [Ute] nation had probably been decreased in numbers, especially by the ravages of small-pox, which was purposely communicated to them, it is said, by some traders with whom the Utes were unwilling to trade. Some Indians having taken the disease from the infected clothing sold them, others were advised to be vaccinated, but were instead inoculated with the disease…so the terrible story goes, by unprincipled quacks in the towns south of them. The epidemic raged with fearful power and hundreds of families were exterminated…
          For a number of years they have been supposed to live upon the reservation, which embraces some 14,000,000 acres in South-Western Colorado, and is the largest Indian reservation in the country. But the fact is that they are in its valley only in the Winter, roaming during the Summer all over the Territory, particularly in the dark country and west of Denver, where they hunt buffalo. From about the 1st of August until it is time for them to retire to their Winter quarters in the Uncompahgre Valley, they keep near their respective agencies and live on the rations which are dealt out to them by the Government.

This article was written by an unidentified member of the Hayden Survey team based on his August 27, 1874 interview with Ouray.

Photo by William Henry Jackson, with his notes, courtesy the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library.

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Published in: on April 9, 2012 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Vaccinating Indians

Arapahoe and Cheyenne camp

Special Agent H.T. Ketcham spent the winter of 1863-64 traveling alone from camp to camp vaccinating Indians against small-pox. In the months of October through December 1863 he estimated vaccinating about 1,100 Indians.
          Ketcham arrived at an agency near Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory in October 1863. He reported that Major Colley “told me that the Indians of his agency would be glad to see me, as some of them had suffered terribly with the small-pox, and were anxious to be vaccinated.” Ketcham found many Arapahoes “badly pitted” as a result of small-pox.
          He then travelled toward Fort Larned in Western Kansas to visit Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches. “On my way down the Arkansas River I vaccinated a number of bands of Indians who were en route to Pawnee Fork, Walnut Creek and other locations, where the buffaloes were said to be numerous. Twenty-five or thirty lodges were encamped at the old Santa Fé crossing; and had been there some time, unable to move on account of sickness…There were no buffaloes near them, and they seemed to be subsisting chiefly on emigrant’s cattle that had died of disease in passing through the country. I have no doubt but their destitution and this unwholesome food caused the erysipelas, that was prevailing among them. They also had the whooping-cough and diarrhoea.”
          Ketcham said, “I have no interpreter, and consequently could not always tell to what tribes or bands the Indians belonged. All that I have seen are peaceable and very friendly.”

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

Quoted text from an undated letter from H.T. Ketcham to Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans found in the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1864.

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