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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 6

6. 
REPORT OF THE 
outside and beyond the limits of our settlements, and the Indians can be
per- 
mitted to leave them in pursuit of the game which abounds throughout most
of 
the unsettled regions of the country, the evil to which I allude is not so
ap- 
parent. But when the tide of emigration, which, in this country, is advancing
with such wonderful rapidity, sets in upon the country in which the reservations
are located, and the line of our settlemenfs is so far advanced as to include
them, the result is found to be most disastrous to the Indians. The game
is 
gradually driven from the country, the simple arts of the Indian become in-
sufficient to supply his wants, the worst classes of our own people collect
around his reservation, and by means of gambling, the whiskey traffic, and
every species of vice and immorality, to all of which the Indian seems to
be 
unusually prone, they not only plunder and filch from him the supplies fur-
nished him by the government, but they also cause him to lead a life of idleness,
beggary, and vice, and he becomes a vagrant of the worst species, and a most
intolerable nuisance to the settlements in the midst of which his reservation
is 
situated. It is apparent that the estabfishing of numerous small reservations
in 
every part of a territory, and locating upon each a tribe or band of Indians,
only serves to increase their exposure to the evils to which I have alluded.
I 
believe that the most efficient remedy for these evils will be found in concentra-
ting the various tribes within suitable territories set apart for their exclusive
use, and the enactment of such laws as will effectually prevent all whites
set- 
fling among them, excepting only such soldiers and officers as may be actually
required in order to preserve peace among the Indians, enforce the necessary
police regulations, instruct the young, and render the necessary aid to the
adults 
while acquiring a knowledge of the arts of civilized life. I am aware that
it 
will require time, patience, and persevering effort to thus concentrate all
the In- 
dians within our borders, and to perfect the details of a system for their
man- 
agement, education, and control; but am fully persuaded that in the end it
will 
be found much more economical than our present system, wII be more simple
in its operations, an4 in its results will be of inestimable value to the
Indians. 
I have frequently urged the propriety of the system of allotting land to
Indians, to be held by them in severalty, in the strongest terms of commenda-
tion, and in this regard my experience and observation have not in the least
changed my opinion. Indeed it seems to me perfectly manifest that a policy
designed to civilize and reclaim the Indians within our borders, and induce
them to adopt the customs of civilization, must of necessity embrace, as
one of 
its most prominent features, the ideas of self-reliance and individual effort,
and, 
as an encouragement of those ideas, the acquisition and ownership of property
in severalty. It is equally apparent from the antecedents and the present
sur- 
roundings of the Indians that their first efforts for the attainment of civilization
should be directed towards the acquisition of a knowledge and practice of
the 
simple arts of husbandry and pastoral life. From these two propositions it
is 
easy to arrive at the conclusion that the theory of allotments of land to
be held 
by the Indians in severalty is correct. The error into which I think we have
fallen, in the practice of this theory, has been in making a general allotment
to 
all the individuals of a band or tribe who could be induced to make a selection


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