States in 1846; Morgan devised a legal argument to “prove”, scientifically and logically that the Indians were savages and had no claim to lands they inhabited because they had no history documented in 'coherent' text. His surveys focused on kinship, manners, customs and traditions, omitting cross-referenced languages and verbal history which could be construed as organizational levels above that of local, tribal authority; a concept later used effectively by Julian Steward. Indian military ventures and history were avoided whenever possible, which changed the 'perceived culture of the American Indian.
“We need to know how these sections of each pueblo are owned and inherited, whether the possessor has the right to sell and transfer to a stranger, and if not, the nature and limits of his possessory right. We also need to know who inherits the property of the males, and who inherits the property of the females. A small amount of well-directed labor would furnish the information now so much desired.” (Morgan 1877)
Here is the quid essential 'acid test' for Morgan’s motivation in Morgan’s own words. While the question above addresses 'pueblos' in the Southwest, these same questions were addressed by Morgan and all the other railroad lawyers and the anthropologists who were providing him with 'cultural' data; as did A. L. Kroeber through Fredric W. Putnam, through whom many other anthropologists/ethnologist also received funding in the mid-to-late 1800s.
The related question then is; who did each anthropologist/ethnologist actually work for and from where did their real funding come? Did the railroads or owner/investors contribute/launder funding through Putnam and or 'altruistic sounding' organizations for which he and other fundraisers raised money? Are there documented links between Morgan, Putnam, the railroads, mining and banking interest which would suggest that much of the research conducted by anthropologists/ethnologist was directed toward land ownership, property rights and obtaining Indian lands by dealing directly or circumventing the Chiefs actually authorized to speak for their tribes/nations.
The following observations are attributed to Dr. David D. Earle:
“Steward and other ethnographers questioned the traditional authenticity of various reported cases of regional chiefly authority involving Great Basin chiefs”... “His rejection of the traditional importance of native political leadership was based in part on his own developing theories about the relationship between subsistence systems and sociopolitical organization in human societies (1955)” ... “Steward’s views amounted to an attack on any definition of local Southern Paiute native groups that included political “groupness” and political leadership”... “Steward succeeded in defining political leadership in such a way as to ensure that he could show that it did not exist among the Chemehuevi or Southern Paiutes”... (Earle 2004)