Extracts from Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs
for the Year 18...
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office)
The Piede Indians are divided into numerous bands, though small in numbers, and mostly inhabit the extreme southern portion of the Territory, on the Santa Clara and Muddy rivers, and employ much of their time in farming their small patches of land in their rude manner of cultivating the soil. Their numbers have been much diminished of late years by the cruelty practiced towards them by the Utahs, in stealing their squaws and children and selling them as slaves to other tribes, as well as to the Mexican people ...
I have also endeavored to impress upon the Utah Indians the great evil which must result to them if they continue stealing, or taking by force, the squaws or children of the Piedes -- that the general government will be constrained to take notice of and punish all such offences committed upon the weaker tribes; and I believe those admonitions will have a good effect.
[George W. Armstrong, Indian Agent]
It is my clear conviction that the immigration of a white population into the Territory has had a deleterious effect upon the Indian. Game cannot exist except in the fertile watered alleys; these, with few exceptions, are occupied by a thrifty population, and, consequently, the game is exterminated.
It is proper to remark that those Indians who roam adjacent to the settlements, have received, and are receiving, considerable aid from the inhabitants. ...
The bands of Pah-Utes, in the southern portion of the Territory, are extremely destitute; the county they inhabit is almost a continuous desert. This is especially the case with those bands south of Cedar city, and which constitute by far the largest portion of them. Almost every band yearly cultivates small patches of wheat, corn, beans, &c., along the banks of the streams ... An intelligent gentleman, who was guide to the first emigrant company which passed through the southern part of the Territory to California, twelve years ago, informs me that he then saw wheat and cornfields, with at least six acres in each, successfully cultivated by those southern Pah-Utes, and that his company would have fared badly but for the wheat, corn, peas, and beans purchased by them from the Indians..
It is to be regretted that this condition of things has not been continued. These Indians have evidently degenerated very rapidly during the last twelve years, or since white men have got among them.
[J. Forney, Superintendent Indian Affairs]
Settlements are still being extended over the Territory, and into valleys claimed and occupied by other bands, which must necessarily deprive them of their hunting grounds, and greatly impair their already too limited means of subsistence.
The lands adapted for cultivation in the Territory are limited, and are those best qualified for the gratuitous support of its original inhabitants, being the only spots upon which they can subsist during the accumulated snows of winter, in the mountains. These localities, if permitted, will all soon be taken up by the white settlers; and what is to be the future destiny of these destitute creatures, is for the wisdom of Congress to determine.
[A. Humphreys, Indian Agent]
... Besides the above Utahs, there is a large number of Indians estimated at 6,000, called the Pi-Edes, allied in language to the Utahs but very poor and obtaining a precarious living upon a barren region in the southern part of the Territory. They cultivate here and there a few patches of grain or vegetables, but are often reduced for subsistence even to feed on lizards, toads, and insects. The superintendent hopes to induce them to accept a better home upon the Uintah Valley reservation, as soon as the preparations at that point are sufficiently advanced.
The Pah-Utes, who formerly constituted a considerable portion of the Indian population of Utah, have, by the large change in the boundary between this Territory and Nevada, been thrown for the most part into that State, although they have been visited and looked after by Special Agent Sales, sent to them by Superintendent Irish, at the urgent appeal of citizens, indorsed by the late governor, Hon. J.D. Doty.
The Pi Edes
The Pi Edes are a band ranging through Beaver and Little Salt Lake valleys, and on the Rio Virgin and Santa Clara rivers, down to the Muddy, embracing the whole southern portion of Utah Territory. They number about six thousand persons, and are controlled by Tut-sey-gub-bets, with many sub-chiefs. The are an exceedingly poor tribe, their country producing but little vegetation, being almost a continuous desert; they cultivate small patches of wheat, corn, and beans along the streams, but live principally on lizards, swifts, and horned toads. They talk the Utah language.
The northern bands of Utahs have been accustomed heretofore to make rids into the Pi Ede country, and frightening them so that they would give up their women and children, whom they would take to New Mexico and sell to the Spaniards for slaves; but since the Territory has been settled by the whites that traffic has ceased...
The Pah Utes
These Indians properly belong in Nevada and Arizona, but range over in southwestern Utah among the settlements, and occasion a great deal of trouble by stealing the stock of settlers. The communication of Mr. Sale, of the 15th of May last, refers principally to these Indians. They are very similar in character to the Pi Edes ...
I am satisfied that these Pai-Utes cannot be induced to live with the Utahs, except by the use of force. This opinion is held by Governor Doty, Ex-Governor Young, and all with whom I have talked, who are familiar with the Indians and that country. It will be necessary to make provision for them upon some other reservation located in the neighborhood of four hundred miles south of the Uintah valley.
[O.H. Irish, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Utah]
The Indians who range in this part of the country are the Pai-Utes ... These Indians are very poor and destitute. They have no horses or other domestic animals, and live principally on roots, pine-nuts, small game, reptiles, and insects. Many of them had never seen a white man before I went among them ...
I have endeavored to induce them to leave their present country and go to Uintah valley and live on that reservation, but they do not consent. They say they are afraid of the Utahs. It is here proper to remark that the Utahs have long been in the habit of stealing the women and children of these Indians, and either selling them to the Spaniards or to other tribes; sometimes they were kept as servants. This practice is still continued, and hence their fear of the Utahs, and consequent refusal to settle with them at Uintah. They are willing to get together at some place in their own country, but I think it impossible to get their consent to place them with the Utahs.
[Thos. C.W. Sale, Special Indian Agent]
The Pah-Edes. The country occupied by these Indians is almost a desert They are disposed to follow agricultural pursuits, cultivating small tracts of corn and potatoes. They are the poorest Indians in the Territory, and it is necessary for them to be in great part supported by the government and the settlers. They will be located on a reservation without difficulty so soon as the advantages of that system can be practically demonstrated. They occupy nearly all the southern half of the Territory, and are all friendly.
The Pah-Utes. These Indians range principally in the southwestern portion of Utah and the southeastern portion of Nevada. They closely resemble the Pah-Edes, with whom they constantly mingle and intermarry. They are equally destitute and in need of aid. Some trouble occurred between a small band of these Indians and a party of miners at Pahranagat valley, originating in some of the whites, under false pretences, dispossessing the Indians of a small valley where they had been accustomed to raise corn...
[F.H. Head, Superintendent of f Indian affairs]
The Pah Edes, Pah Utes, and Pah Ranagats. -- These Indians occupy all the southern portion of the Territory... These Indians are extremely poor, having no horses and few guns. They show considerable aptitude for agricultural labors ... Many of the legends relative to the origin and early history of their race are extremely curious. It is worthy of note that these, in common with every tribe in the Territory, have a tradition relative to a flood occurring soon after man was created, and which swept off all the inhabitants of the earth except a single family, who were saved by living in a tree upon a very high mountain, or, as it runs among some of the tribes, by living in a canoe.
The Yam-Pah-Utes, Piedes, Pi-Utes, Elk Mountain Utes, and She-be-Ucher, occupy the southern and eastern part of Utah. Their numbers cannot be accurately determined, but are estimated at six thousand. They do not cultivate any land; are migratory and warlike in their habits, and sometimes commit depredations upon the flocks and herds of the citizens.
[J.E. Tourtellotte, Brevet Colonel U.S.A., Superintendent Indian Affairs for Utah]
The Pi Ede Indians inhabit the country south of the Pah want. These Indians are generally idle and quite poor. They cultivate small patches of land, amounting, in all, to about twelve acres. They subsist upon rabbits, nuts of the pinon tree, and supplies from this place. A few of these Indians might be induced to labor, but most of them would prefer to suffer from hunger. They have neither cows nor oxen and have but very few horses. The Pi Edes number six hundred and fifty.
The Pi Utes of this superintendency inhabit the southwest portion of the Territory. They are poor and idle. They have no oxen nor cows and but few horses. These Indians cultivate, in a rude manner, about forty acres of land. They subsist for the greater part upon rabbits, nuts of the pinon tree, and supplies from this place. These Indians have been of much service to people of the southern frontier settlements in assisting them to recapture stolen horses and by giving them notice of approaching predatory bands from Colorado and Arizona. They number twelve hundred and sixty five...
[J.E. Tourtellotte, B'v't Col. U.S.A., Superintendent Indian Affairs.
Copyright 2006 by Ardis E. Parshall