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The Civilian Government and Military Commanders: A Dispute

The Civilian Government and Military Commanders Bitterly Disagree on Native Relations

In this document, the civilian government and military commanders bitterly disagree on how to handle relations between Native Americans and the local residents.

In this document, the civilian government and military commanders bitterly disagree on how to handle relations between Native Americans and the local residents.  With the support of Governor Rencher, New Mexico’s Territorial Legislature passes a law calling for the arming of a militia to war against the Kiowa and Navajo peoples.  The Military Department refuses to provide arms for such a campaign and threatens to abandon the region if the civilian government launches such an attack.

The debate was a heated one, with Rencher contending that he will suspend his actions until he receives endorsement from the president.  Rencher advises that the campaign could be completed in three months, during which time, “The Navajo Indians could be wiped from existence.”  Rencher warns federal officials that he believes, “The land sharks who surround Col. Flauntelroy,” are in reality hoping to gain land grants by exclusively fighting against the Native Peoples.

The dispute that ensued between Colonel Fauntelroy and Governor Rencher was extremely bitter, with both sides appealing to Washington for support.  Rencher’s letter to Washington D.C., also contained herein, is full of recriminations of both the military and their commander.