Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Forbes-Lindsay, C. H.
The North American Indian as a laborer: his value as a worker and a citizen, pp. 146-157
THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN AS A LABORER: HIS VALUE AS A WORKER AND A CITIZEN: BY C. H. FORBES-LINDSAY ration-fed reservation Indian will soon be alto- her a creature of the picturesque past. The last of lands held as communal property will, in the course the next few years, be allotted to their owners in 'eralty and our aboriginal wards will finally become orhod in the hndv nolifie n~ indfrnendpnt nand plf- supporting citizens. Wisely, considering the poor preparation we have given them for the struggle of competitive life, the emancipated Indians will continue for some time to enjoy the paternal protection of the "Great Father." Their lands will be subject to the trusteeship of the government, and the laws which have operated as a barrier between them and their most insidious enemy-ardent spirits-will be maintained, if possible. Aid and guidance will be extended, in the first steps upon the path of freedom; but the Indian will be re- quired to work and to sustain himself by his own efforts. When we consider the conditions under which the Indian is sud- denly launched out into the state of self-supporting citizenship and set in competition with the strenuous white man, the future would seem to be fraught with sinister promise for the redskin. His heredi- tary predilections and the enforced habit of latter years tend to render him antipathetic to independent effort. Personal ambition could find no scope in the ancient communal policy of the tribes. The succeeding reservation system was, if possible, more restraining in this respect, as it stunted effort even to the extent of suppressing the primary motive of human endeavor-that of self-preservation. As a charge of the United States, the Indian has been segregated from the outer world, supplied with gratuitous food and blankets, and cut off from the exercise of useful activities. But the sum of his handicap is not reached by these disabling conditions. He has a racial dislike for the white man and a rooted suspicion of his good faith, both senti- ments being born of bitter experience. He is generally wanting in the qualities that make for success in agriculture. He has an inherent aversion to manual labor and utterly lacks the bent for mechanical pursuits. Withal, he entertains the deepest dislike to innovation of any kind, is extremely disinclined to separation from his tribal com- munity and loathes discipline and restraint. Knowledge of the heavy disadvantages with which the Indian must contend in his struggle for a satisfactory place in our industrial 146
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