Puslapio vaizdai

One of the noblest and most honorable things borne on the record of any nation is the present conduct of the American government toward the original owners of its soil. From the beginning it has made them its favored wards. To its interposition are due the facts that, instead of a dwindling race scattered as mendicants over the face of the land, the Indians are now more numerous than ever, that their blood is fairly pure, that they are rich political communities, and that they are being fitted to hold their own in the tragedy of the survival of the fittest.”

Doubtless harsh and bloody deeds have occurred in our Indian history, but they were inevitable when the customs of the savage opposed themselves to the incompatible requirements of civilization; when the issue became unavoidable whether the woodlands, streams, and savannas of half a continent should be abandoned to the scattered wigwams of wild hunters glorying in the scalps hung from their belts, or should become scenes of peaceful industry, with a thousand human beings dwelling in houses for each tepee of the red man. Doubtless many a treaty has been broken or annulled, but seldom until it proved an impediment to Indian advancement and its abrogation became humane. Doubtless mistakes have been made; but they would not have been possible had not the government assumed philanthropic responsibilities. There have been corrupt agents who have transferred their fidelity from the government to the politicians who secured their appointment. There have been hungerers for land who have embroiled the frontier in order to despoil the Indian of his home. There have been vendors of fire-water to appease their greed by the destruction of their red victims. Wrongs! yes, enough of them; but they were perpetrated against the law, and they are not greater than those that go unpunished in every community of equal numbers.

The mendicants of the land are as numerous as the Indians, but we do not reproach ourselves for their presence among us, nor charge ourselves to protect them from the consequences of their depraved impotency, though they are near akin to us and the product of our social blunders. They are degenerates; the Indian is unregenerate.

Let a few facts be presented from official records to show how magnanimous and efficient is the conduct of our government

toward the Indian. During the year ending June 30, 1898, the ordinary expenditures of the government outside of the Indian bureau were $6.20 for each inhab. itant; on the Indians it was $44 a head, or seven times as much. Yet the red man paid no taxes, but on the contrary received annuities and possessed houses, farms, and live-stock, while the other inhabitants supplied the money disbursed for them. This is the relative attitude of the nation toward its aboriginal wards for a long series of years.

Mulhall, the British statistician, has asserted that the United States is the richest nation in the world, but it may be added that of its inhabitants the Indians have the greatest per capita wealth. In the census of 1890 it was computed that the aggregate wealth of the people of the United States was $65,000,000,000, or $1,022 for each person enumerated on its rolls. This included real estate and its improvements, gold and silver, mines and quarries, all sorts of implements and machinery, investments in means of communication, and personal property. Out of these resources the people support their municipal, state, and national governments, educate their children, and maintain their religious institutions.

Turn now to the Indian, who is not taxed; whose religious services, when they exceed the accomplishments of the raindoctor or medicine-man, are furnished by the missionary; who, when sick and distrustful of the resources of witchcraft, sends for the agency doctor; who pays no school-bills; who is defended from external violence and internal disorder by an army and a police paid for by the United States Treasury; and who may idle in his blanket and tepee so long as his savage instincts so dispose him. Of the red race entitled to these exemptions and privileges there are 250,000 souls in the United States, exclusive of Alaska.

For these people the government holds $33, 362,000 in invested or trust funds, the income from which is paid in annuities or supplies. For them 82,770,345 acres are reserved inviolably, or 331 acres for each Indian of every age or either sex, which is 2/2 square miles to each average household, — an area as large as Missouri and Arkansas combined, which have a population fifteen times as great. The lowest government price for its wild agricultural lands is $1.25 an acre, but thousands of acres




on the Indian reservations lie in railroad lived by the chase, and were constantly belts where the government price for its on the war-path, violating treaties and alternate sections is twice as much. Thou- raiding other tribes. They took part in sands of other acres are under long leases the Kansas border troubles and in the to graziers and farmers at rentals which Civil War, siding with the cause of the would give them a valuation of from $6 to slave States. By reason of their sangui$40 an acre. All this landed wealth is due nary spirit and their incorrigible attachto the coming of white men and the con- ment to wild habits, they became reduced servation of Indian interests by Congress, to a third of the number attributed to for when Captain John Smith was punting them a century ago. In 1872 they were his way about the waters of Chesapeake settled on their present reservation and Bay lands had no agricultural value what- President Grant entrusted their future to ever for Indian uses.

the peaceful and generous Quakers. For twenty years Congress has appro- Although the Kaws are much poorer priated an aggregate of $8,400,000 to its than the Osages their numbers are so annual Indian service, and there is small small that it is not worth while, notwithprospect of any diminution in the rate for standing the consequent reduction in the a generation to come. If there be deducted averages, to separate the two tribes in from this sum what is paid out as income this presentation of their fortunes. On from trust and invested funds, the remain- the books of the United States Treasury der permits a distribution of $27 for each the Indians on this reservation are credIndian in the country, or, at five per cent, ited with $8,530,280.30 in trust and inthe income of a capitalized sum of $540 vested funds, on which five per cent interper capita. On this basis the wealth of est is given, and an annuity of $213 is each Indian in the land must be computed due to each Indian on the reservation, or as follows:

$1,115 for each family of that stock. The Share in invested and trust funds..


reservation contains 800 acres for each Value of reservation lands, Congressional gratuities capitalized at 5 per

soul of the race, and these, at the low

price of $1.25 an acre, gives a per-capita $1,090

estate worth $1,000. These untaxed In other words, under the existing sys- people dwell in 410 houses built by the tem each Indian is $68 better off than his government rent-free, and their schools compatriots of other hues. Nor is this all, and churches are maintained at no exfor this computation makes no account of

pense to them.

Two years ago they the 25,000 houses built by the government owned 7,507 horses, 12, 200 horned cattle, for its red wards, nor of the royalties and 11,000 swine, besides 11,000 domestic paid them on the quarries and mines of fowls. Computing this wealth into perthe reservations, nor of the live-stock capita interests, each Indian enumerated owned by them.

on the reservation is worth as follows: Flood mark of Indian opulence is reached

Share in trust funds....

$4,265 on the Osage reservation, one of the more Share in lands at $1.25 an acre.

Individual share in houses. recent settlements. Yet it is not here that the best results of the government policy

$5,599 must be sought, and, probably, because the inhabitants have been demoralized by Here, then, is a distinct political comtheir wealth. Here lives one of the richest munity in which each household of five political communities in the world.

persons owns $28,000 in realty and perOn the southern boundary of Kansas, sonal property, which probably makes it shut in by the Arkansas and Verdigris the richest political unit in the world. rivers, with railroads impinging on its Where can savagery show its equivalent borders, is a reservation, half as large as under any guardianship? Connecticut, known as the Osage Agency. Exceptional as this case is, it is so in There dwell upon it 1,937 full-blood and the degree of wealth possessed rather half-blood Indians, of whom a tenth be- than in its nature. Every tribe enjoys in long to the Kaw or Kansas tribe. The some measure the same sort of endowrest are Osages, and the ancestral hunt- ments held by like titles, and also the ing-grounds of these people ranged from guardianship of the United States. the Arkansas to the Missouri River. For- The Indians of this reservation lease merly they plundered their neighbors, lands on shares to white men, who thus


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become debtors and subordinates to their was formed, amicable rights of settlement dusky landlords. In this way and by were sought from the natives. some personal labor the Osages have In the seventeenth century it probably under plough about thirty-two acres to was as difficult for a European settler to each household. Two thirds of them dis- conceive of a land title not derived from play the attire customary in a Delaware an older one, as for the Indian, acquainted peach-orchard or a Kansas corn-field; a only with the communal rights of the third can read and speak English; three tribe, to comprehend a personal fee in fourths subsist on rations bought by the land or an absolute alienation of title. government out of their annuity moneys; The white man needed some derivation a fourth work in civilized pursuits; nearly of right, even though a flimsy one, as a all the children are in government schools; means of quieting controversy in any

subthere are neither many criminals nor sequent conveyance of realty. At all many church members.

These people events, the equity of natives in the soil are indolent; use their excellent credit to has widely been respected in the United incur large debts with licensed and border States, just as those of the Maoris have traders who are secured by their annui- more recently been by the English in ties; hold their lands in common; go off New Zealand. Early conspicuous Amerthe reservation to get liquor; and are pes- ican examples are Peter Minuit's purchase tered by men seduced by Osage opulence, of Manhattan Island and Penn's bargain who strive in every way to join the tribe. under the tree at Shackamaxon.

With self-reliance and character rising as The most disastrous experiences of the material fortune is lessened, as a rule, the red men have come through their own condition now described on the Osage intertribal strifes, in which neither woman reservation prevails all over the territories nor child was spared; but these are all occupied by Indian tribes. Here, then, is over now, because the government has a race which, if left to its heathen inepti- ended them. Next in destructiveness tudes, would either have disappeared from come their alliances with either party in the earth, like the Abenakis from Maine the wars of the white men, as in the conand the aborigines from Tasmania or the tests of the colonies with Canada and Antilles, or have sunk into peons, like the Great Britain, and in those of the French Indians of the Spanish Americas, now or Spanish with the English-speaking peoamong the richest and best preserved ple of the Gulf States. Far slighter are political communities of the world. It the tragic incidents that have accomis all due to the fidelity with which the panied the removal of Indians from their United States has nurtured and guarded ancestral seats to homes beyond the Misthem. It is a record of singular honor, sissippi, where on their new reservations the beauty of which is enhanced by the they have laid aside the tomahawk and equally singular self-condemnation of turned to the arts of mendicancy and Americans because it is not perfect.

peace. The material prosperity of the Indians There is a yet humaner strain sounding is but a sordid result of our treatment of in the history of the North American Inthem. It is an outcome also of a large dian. Missionary operations began very nurture service that has always had root early, and they have been continued with in the land. The attitude of the first expanding scope to this day. « The SoEnglish immigrants to America toward ciety for the Propagation of the Gospel the aborigines was to secure peaceably in Foreign Parts,” which succeeded to and justly from them indisputable land Cromwell's organization for spreading titles. “The inhabitants of New England,” Christianity in New England, took its says Bancroft, “had never, except in the final shape at the suggestion of Dr. territory of the Pequods, taken possession Thomas Bray, who especially interested of a foot of land without first obtaining a himself in the conversion of the Indians title from the Indians. This tribe, for a in Virginia. Even two generations earlier series of unprovoked assassinations, was a converted Indian in 1622 informed the broken up and dispersed by the colonists people of Jamestown of an Indian attack within ten years from Endicott's coming to meditated upon that young settlement. Salem, and then it had no lands to convey. The origin of William and Mary College By treaty the Dutch gained foothold on in the same State was in a school for the Hudson River, and, as each new colony training missionaries to the Indians, as

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was that of Dartmouth College two genera- Corollaries growing out of this doctrine tions later. On the rolls of the Society of sovereignty have been logically folalready mentioned appear the names of lowed. Not only were Indian lands bought John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians,” in bulk, but the people were removed to with his praying bands at Natick, and of new domains, and did not become citizens Thomas Mayhew, who christianized the of the United States. The Indians were Elizabeth Islands in Vineyard Sound. not taxed, neither could they vote. They Thus early did the English colonists take could fish and hunt, in seasons closed to up their responsibility for the regeneration the whites, over treaty areas. On their of the American natives; and from that reservations white men were intruders, time to this, notwithstanding the mas- unless they obtained permission from the sacres at Jamestown and Deerfield, at Indians to trade or dwell there. Indian Cherry Valley and Wyoming, the Chris- councils were legislatures for their respectian nurture of the aborigines has been tive tribes, and set up their own courts, steadily pursued until now there are 230 which kept out federal tribunals; Congresmission stations among these red wards sional authority was restricted to treaty of the government, exclusive of the Five duties, or would have been had it been Civilized Tribes.) As illustrative of the possible for Congress to abnegate its sovattitude of the country toward this race it ereignty over a people incapable of selfis interesting to note that, after General protection; disputes that arose between Jackson had chastised Indians in the Gulf Indians and intruders were settled by the States more than any American comman- Commissioner of Indian Affairs, who thus der, he is found pleading in the Senate became, as it were, an international arbi

some more fostering and paternal ter; moneys were paid to the tribe for care on the part of the general govern- distribution to its members, or parcelled ment” toward this pathetic race.

out according to lists furnished by the Magnanimous has been the uniform tribe; in a word, each tribe was a distinct policy of the government toward the autonomous unity, dwelling on inviolaaborigines. It has extinguished their ble lands and perpetuating its ancestral land titles by purchase. Then, instead of customs, while the Federal government giving these childish, improvident people guarded its feebleness, protected its interthe money and sending them away to find ests, and enforced its will.

Until recently homes as they might, it has removed such has been the scheme of Indian adthem to vast protected reservations and ministration by the United States.

It was commuted the purchase price into per

founded on the conflicting principles that petual annuities, so that their principal each tribe was an independent sovereignty could not be sacrificed to the cajolery or whose allegiance the government was not threats of their neighbors. The Indians entitled to demand, and that the United of the United States are an endowed race, States must ceaselessly exercise its guarand that is a unique political condition on dianship to maintain the peace of the tribe the earth.

and uphold its rights. Endowing the InThe result has not been without serious dian with the equities of a rational adult, it disadvantages; for the possession of se- administered its affairs as those of a child. cure estates and incomes has taken away This policy held unbroken sway until

of the Indians to become civilized. the presidency of General Grant, when a Theoretically, each tribe has been an in- new Indian era began to open. A

generdependent sovereignty, and the govern- ation before, the Indian Territory was ment has not dealt with individuals, but dedicated to the solution of the Indian with the sovereignty, just as it would do problem. Thither General Scott led the with France or Mexico. All treaties have Cherokees from Georgia in 1838, and the been made with the recognized chiefs movement went on until the entire Musor representatives of tribes, and to this kogee family was transferred from the scheme the communal organization of a Gulf States to lands beyond Arkansas. tribe lends itself with too great facility. These people constitute what are now No individual Indian right in the soil known as “The Five Civilized Tribes, a could be acquired, because there was none. phrase which signifies rather five commuThe purchase of a tribal title bought nities in control of their own affairs than out all personal rights, for they were only possessors of the laws and arts of enlightundivided shares of a whole.

enment. They comprise the kindred na

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tions of Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and protected by the government, is Chickasaws, and Seminoles, and number doomed to give place to individual rights 65.000, or a fourth of the Indians in the and duties. When the rapidly advancing country. Although a considerable care to plans of the government are achieved, the government, they are not enumerated there will be no more Indian reservations, with other Indians among the technical no more alien tribes sequestered among wards of the country. A fifth of them, it white populations, no more anomalous is said, wearied with the pressure of civil- conditions, but only citizens having equal ization upon them, have asked their breth- rights and privileges whether their linren for the portion of goods that falleth eage be aboriginal or European. to them,” and are about to take a "journey “ It was not until 1870,” says the Cominto a far country” in Mexico, where they missioner of Indian Affairs, «that the can live unmolested by white men's ways. government undertook with earnestness The Civilized Tribes own 31,000 square to provide Indian tribes with schools.” miles of land in the Indian Territory, have In former times and in a small way it $8,000,000 to their credit on the books of had assisted the evangelizing work of rethe United States Treasury, elect their own ligious societies. But then began the rulers and councillors, make their own movement known as “Grant's Peace Polschool appropriations, and until recently icy.” The reservations were parcelled out had their own tribal courts. They are among the different religious denominanow a peaceable people, drink whiskey tions applying for the work, and grants of when they can escape the vigilance of the money were made from the public funds police, increase in numbers because so in support of their schools for Indians. many of their children live to grow up, Thusstarted thesystem of contract schools, regulate their own affairs, and are made and they were followed by purely governindolent by annuities the magnitude of ment day and boarding schools, and by which their ancestors never imagined. industrial schools both on and off the res

Dissatisfied with a policy more gener- ervations. There are thirty-two private ous than remedial, the government has boarding-schools where Indian pupils are recently attempted to convert these civil- placed by contract. ized tribes into American citizens and in- As the government built up its own syscorporate them into the national life. If tem it relinquished its dependence on the Creeks, Cherokees, and Seminoles denominations of churches, which is now will follow the example of the Choctaws dwindling to extinction through a lessenand Chickasaws two years ago, in their ing number of contract schools. Yet misnegotiation with the « Dawes Commis- sions have not ceased, but they are addisioners,” all the Five Nations will soon tional and voluntary agencies supplementbe governed by the laws of Arkansas; ing the national work. There are now 450 their tribal courts will be displaced by missionaries of both sexes working among those of the United States; and each soul the Indians, and supported at an expendiof them will have an ample homestead ture of $300,000 a year by the religious soinalienable for twenty-one years. During cieties they represent. that time they cannot be despoiled of The operations of government are on a their homes by any sophistry of the whites, very large scale. In 1897 it maintained 326 their children can be educated in the pub- day and boarding schools, in and about lic schools, their ample annuities will keep which were employed 1,807 white persons them from destitution, and in the end and 846 Indians. These schools have a they will have exchanged the communism capacity for 25,000 pupils. The average of savages for the dignities and customs attendance was 19,000, which is about half of citizenship.

the population of school age. The cost of Exclusive of these tribes there are 188,- maintenance to the government is $135 for 000 Indians distributed among 133 agen- each pupil in attendance. Five sixths of cies, over whom the government exer- the children are in boarding-schools, , cises guardianship.

The chief means re- where they are removed from the debaslied upon to incorporate these wards into ing influence of unregenerate homes and citizenship are education, allotments of associates, and these institutions are land in severalty, and the jurisdiction of equipped with farms, workshops, induscivilized courts. The old tribal commun- trial apparatus, sanitary fixtures, and, here ism, so long a barrier to advancement and there, with electric lights.

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