The Coming of the Cowmen
EVEN A HASTY ANALYSIS of the figures given in the foregoing chapter will show that at the end of the Indian era, about 1883, there were less than 15,000 Indians in the portion of the present state of Oklahoma lying west of the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes, though the area of that portion was only slightly less than that of Ohio. The Cheyennes and Arapahos, numbering a little more than 3,000, had been given a reservation of 4,300,000 acres, or more than two square miles per capita. The tribes occuping the two reservations under the control of the agency for the Kiowa-Comanche and Wichita-Caddo numbered less than 4,000, though the total area of their lands was over 3,500,000 acres, or approximately 1,000 acres for each member of the tribes. Although some of the other reservations were considerably more thickly populated, fewer than 100 Tonkawas held over 90,000 acres, and in no case were the Indians numerous enough to utilize their lands for any purpose other than as a hunting ground or as pasturage, and not many of them owned any livestock except for a few ponies. Moreover, the Indians were never evenly distributed over their lands. In most cases they tended to concentrate in small settlements along their favorite streams, leaving the greater part of their vast holdings entirely unoccupied and usually unvisited except by occasional hunters. As a rule, they were quite primitive in their mode of life. Few of them cultivated the soil except for some small gardens or little patches of corn.