The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 190
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
instead, their bickering lasted thirty years." The Steck-Carleton con-
troversy in Civil War New Mexico was a prime example of jurisdic-
tional feuding in the field and its detrimental effects on the adminis-
tration of federal Indian policy.
With the acquisition of Mexico's northern provinces in 1848, the
Americans fell heir to the native peoples of the region. Throughout,
the 1850's the federal government spent an average of $3,ooo,ooo a
year to control the treacherous and warlike Apache, Navajo, and Ute
of New Mexico, but to little avail." The intensification of Indian hos-
tilities during the Confederate invasion of the Territory in 1861-1862
convinced northern officials that only the reservation system offered
a satisfactory solution to the Indian threat. Red warriors could not be
ruthlessly exterminated, nor could they be permitted to wander about
the Territory perpetrating depredations on the expanding white
population.' To implement the reservation plan, precedent required
formal negotiations with the tribes, but, since most nomads consid-
ered themselves superior to the white man, they regarded peace over-
tures as signs of weakness, motivated by fear. The red men used
treaties, when they signed them, simply to win time to build up their
forces or to temporarily placate the whites. In either case covenants
were no more than a ruse." By 1862 the Navajo had broken six treaties
with the United States before the Senate could act upon any of them.
Local Indian Office field officials, therefore, agreed at year's end that
hostiles should be turned over to the army for chastisement
"Alban W. Hoopes, Indian Affairs and Their Administration, with Special Refeencc
to the Far West, 1849-1860 (Philadelphia, 1932), 17; Henry George Waltman, "The
Interior Department, War Department and Indian Policy, 1865-1887" (Ph.D. dissertation.
University of Nebraska, 1962), 17-18, 370-371, 376.
'Warren A. Beck, New Mexico: A History of Four Centuries (Norman, 1962), 188.
'Superintendent J. F. Collins to Commissioner of Indian Affairs William P. Dole,
October 8, 1861, in "Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs," in Message of the
President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress . .. 1861, Senate Executive
Documents, 37th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Serial 1117), Document No. 1, 735. The reports
of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the years 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865
are used in this article; except for the first citation of each, they will be referred to as
"Report to the Commissioner," followed by the year.
5Beck, New Mexico, 177-178; Ruth M. Underhill, The Navajos (Norman, 1956),
'Collins to Dole, October 1o, 1862, in "Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,"
in Message of the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress . . .
1862, House Executive Documents, 37th Cong., 3rd Sess. (Serial 1157), Document No. 1,
385; Superintendent Michael Steck to Dole, Septembel 19, 1863, in "Report of the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs," in Message of the President of the United States to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/202/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.