Chiefs, agents & soldiers: conflict on the Navajo frontier, by William Haas Moore

By William Haas Moore

Publication by way of Moore, William Haas

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Additional resources for Chiefs, agents & soldiers: conflict on the Navajo frontier, 1868-1882

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Arriving too late to eliminate the Texans, Carleton conceived of a more ambitious endeavor. Since the withdrawal of federal troops at the beginning of the Civil War, the "wild" tribes of the territory, particularly the Mescalero Apaches and the Navajos, had waged increased warfare against New Mexican settlements. He meant to restore peace. 1 Even though war between Indians and New Mexicans had a long tradition with blame on both sides, Carleton took the predictable view that the Indians were responsible.

They likewise saw no immediate gain from the removal of children from useful pursuits and insisted that the priests pay them for the privilege of teaching their children. The Diné were also reluctant to accept changes in their religious belief or their pastoral inclinations. 18 Such resistance, if troublesome, was at least nonviolent. But not all attempts at tribal and individual autonomy were as peaceful. Navajos often resorted to force, and this violence became progressively worse the longer they stayed at the Bosque Redondo.

Mixed with this admiration of the Navajos as a peaceful people, however, was a military concern about fighting a Navajo war that worried even General Sherman. The Navajos were the largest tribe in the Southwest and the thought of fighting them was terrifying, especially since a few hundred Apaches were tying down most units in the region. Reflecting this concern was the army's willingness to grant autonomy to the Diné. For the most part, they were willing to allow the Indians to handle their criminals in their own way.

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