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white river poems 355
September 8: Meeker, to the Commissioner:
When we commenced to plow last week, three Utes
objected, having put up tents and corrals
on ground I had told them would be plowed. Although
I off ered Agency men to help them move,
they refused. This land is good, and being close
to the Agency, their horses are protected.
In short, they simply need the ground for their horses.
It was clear that, if I moved the Agency
a mile downstream, the Indians would claim
squatter's rights there as well, and I told them so;
to which they replied I had enough land plowed,
and the rest was for their horses.
If they could drive me
from one place, they could drive me from another,
and so I ordered the plows to run as planned.
Two Indians came out with guns, and ordered
the plowman off . This was reported to me,
and I directed the plowing to proceed.
When the plowman had made one round, he was fi red on
from a clump of sagebrush, and the ball passed close
to his person. Of course I ordered the plowing stopped.
Douglas, the chief, would only repeat the demand
that the plowing stop. I sent for Jack, his rival,
who has the larger following. After much talk
the two men said we might go on and plow.
But either this was not understood, or not
assented to by the claimants, for the next day
when the plowing started they came out with guns.
I sent for Jack again, and another council,
that lasted hours in the heat and smoke, was held,
and fi nally it was agreed that I might do
what I had originally proposed to do.
Plowing will proceed, but whether unmolested
I cannot say. There were no more than three