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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1863
([1863])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. [5]-40 PDF (14.2 MB)


Page [5]

IREPOIRT 
OF THE 
C0MISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, 
Ofee of Indian Afairs, October 31, 1863. 
SIR: In submitting this, my third annual report, I regret that, in consequence
of the failure of several of the superintendents and the agents connected
with 
their superintendencies to make their annual reports as required by the regula-
tions of the department, I am unable to present as fully as I otherwise would
the condition of our relations with the Indians throughout the country. 
The accompanying papers, consisting of such annual reports as have been 
received from superintendents and agents, and of such other communications
to, 
and correspondence with, this office, as is believed to be of interest to
the public, 
will present in detail the information and suggestions upon which I have
acted 
in conducting the business of the office during the past year, and in the
prepara- 
tion of this report. A perusal of these papers will, as I believe, show that
while our relations with the Indians of the country are not in all respects
satis- 
factory, and in some localities are interrupted by actual hostilities, they
are, in 
the main, as much so as, in view of the great social and political disturbances
growing out of the present war for the maintenance of the entire social and
political fabric, is reasonably to be expected. 
Before proceeding to treat particularly of the wants and requirements peculiar
to the respective superintendencies and independent agencies from which annual
reports have been received, I desire to submit for your consideration a few
sug- 
gestions in regard to the general management of our Indian relations, which,
if 
carried into effect, will, I believe, be attended with the most beneficial
re- 
sults. 
As the end and object of all governments should be the happiness and welfare
of the governed, so the object of all our efforts in behalf of the Indian
should 
be the improvement of his condition, and to that end the adoption of that
policy which promises the most rapidly to increase his intelligence, promote
his 
happiness, and finally effect his civilization. The plan of concentrating
Indians 
and confining them to reservations may now be regarded as the fixed policy
of 
the government. The theory of this policy is doubtless correct; but I am
satisfied that very grave errors have been committed in carrying it into
effect. 
Prominent, and perhaps the chief among these, is the establishment of numerous
small reservations within a given territory. While these reservations remain


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