Chief Apache John
We may pass on now to some events in the life of Umapine. Again he must speak for himself: “When I grew old enough to know something, I saw my folks digging potatoes and onions, and gathering corn; these they got from the white people the summer before. The Indians used to plant these every year, and when the emigrants went through and asked for a little my folks used to give them all they could spare. There came a time when the Indians and the white people had a war. I did not feel like interfering or trying to make any trouble, so I did not go to the war at that time. Some years after that the Indians had a fight among themselves, and I participated in that war. The Sioux Indians used to ride all over this country, and they stole horses from my tribe. When my people learned that their horses were stolen, they started on the warpath. We overtook the Sioux with the horses along about 3 PM as near as I can remember; we did not have watches in those days, and I think it was about that time. We killed four of the Sioux Indians and recovered our horses, the Sioux only killing one Nez Perce who was with us. I remember another war that happened not very long ago. These were Indians from the southern part of Oregon. They were on the warpath and had started up north and killed many sheep herders and farmers, and killed their children and destroyed their houses—burned [pg 57] them up. They came to our country and began to burn up the houses of the white farmers. These Indians came into our agency. Major Conyer, Uncle Sam's man, was agent at that time. I think he died last April. The Indians then met Uncle Sam's men about a mile and a half south of the agency, and we Indians were watching to see if the soldiers would be driven back by these Indians; we were ready to help Uncle Sam's men. The hostile Indians headed down to our camp, and when we saw them coming toward our camp we at once knew that they wanted us to get into the mixup so that we would be on the warpath as well as themselves, but all of our men got their weapons and we met these Bannock Indians and chased them back to the hills. At that time there were a few cavalrymen and the rest was infantry. All the Indians were on horseback, and the infantry could not very well keep up. We took after these Indians, but did not kill many of them, as most of them had a good start. The same evening we were requested to go with Uncle Sam's men that we might overtake these Indians and capture them if possible. The next morning we found that we were in advance of the enemy, and just as the sun rose two Indians on horseback came direct to where we were. We immediately got our arms ready and met these two Indians; one of them got so excited that he jumped off his horse and started to run [pg 58] for the timber, leaving his horse behind him. As he took to the thick brush we fired at him. I had a fast horse and was close behind him. I jumped off my horse and ran after him on foot. I found him lying wounded, and watched him a little while and he died. He had a very nice belt which I took and put around my waist. Meanwhile the rest of the people had the other Indian captured; he had been also wounded. Later on we saw a band of these Indians coming up direct to where we were. They had their pack animals with them. We took after them and tried to capture every one of them, but they had already seen us, and rode away for a canyon, where there was some thick brush. I saw one old woman—I thought she was an old woman—but I was mistaken, for when I overtook the Indian a man jumped off his horse and got behind a tree. When I saw my mistake, it was too late to stop my horse. I was but a few feet away from him at that time. He shot at me once and missed me. I was lucky that time or I would not be telling this story now, if he had been a better shot than that. My horse gave a big jump just as he fired at me and I kept on going, as I knew there were some more Indians close behind me who would capture the old man, and I went on after the rest of the Indians. Just as I came to a little opening I saw two Indians on horseback, and one Indian lying down on the ground; he was [pg 59] wounded. When I got there I learned that this Indian was a good friend of ours. I just left him there wounded. After we left I told the other two Indians: 'This man has been on the warpath, and if he had a chance to kill us he would.' So I turned back and finished his life and scalped him. My tribe captured many of those people, and I was presented with a fine animal that one of the hostile Indians had been riding. That was the only time I ever scouted for Uncle Sam”.
With sublime pathos, Umapine referred to the old days of the buffalo. He said: “I have hunted buffalo in this country many times. I feel lonesome since the buffalo have been driven away. In the old days the Indians killed the buffalo with bows and arrows; they did not have any guns as they have now, and needed a fast horse to overtake these animals. A man might think they could not run fast, but he would find out he could not overtake them with an ordinary horse. My people used to hunt buffalo in this part of the country, and while on the way over here I could see trails of these large animals now worn deep by the storms of many years, and I cried in my heart.”
Date de dernière mise à jour : 05/07/2021