Recruitment of Indian scouts was first authorized on 28 July 1866 by an act of Congress
“The President is authorized to enlist and employ in the Territories and Indian country a force of Indians not to exceed one thousand to act as scouts, who shall receive the pay and allowances of cavalry soldiers, and be discharged whenever the necessity for further employment is abated, at the discretion of the department commander.”
In the Indian wars following the U.S. Civil War, the Indian scouts were a fast-moving, aggressive, and knowledgeable asset to the U.S. army. They often proved to be immune to army notions of discipline and demeanor, but they proved expert in traversing the vast distances of the American West and providing intelligence—and often a shock force—to the soldiers who sought hostile Indians. Pawnee Scout leader Luther H. North commented, “Neither the Wild Tribes, nor the Government Indian Scouts ever adopted any of the white soldier’s tactics. They thought their own much better.” Another chief of scouts, Stanton G. Fisher, emphasized the importance of Indian Scouts by saying of the soldiers, “Uncle Sam’s boys are too slow for this business.“
There existed doubts as to whether Indian Scouts would remain faithful or whether they would betray the white soldiers and turn against them in conflict. The Cibicue Apaches were among the first regular Army Scouts.They are also the only recorded 19th-century incident in which Indian scouts turned against the U.S. Army at Cibicue Creek in Arizona Territory. These Apache scouts were asked to campaign against their own kin, resulting in a mutiny against the army soldiers. Three of the scouts were court-martialed and executed.