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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1905
Part I ([1905])

Report of the commissioner of Indian affairs,   pp. 1-155 PDF (58.6 MB)


Page 5

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
pist hires to carry a pile of bricks from one side of the road to the 
other and then back again. The employment bureau recently organ- 
ized for the Indians in the Southwest is designed to gather up all the 
able-bodied Indians who, through the pinch of hunger it may be, have 
been moved to think that they would like to earn some money, and 
plant them upon ranches, upon railroads, in mines-wherever in the 
outer world, in short, there is an. opening for a dollar to be got for a
day's work. The clerk who has been placed in charge of the bureau 
is to supervise their contracts with their employers, see that their 
wages are paid them when due, and look out for them if they fall ill. 
For the rest, the Indians engaged are to be required to stand on their 
own feet like other men, and to understand that for what comes to 
them hereafter they will have themselves to thank. 
Some one has styled this a policy of shrinkage, because every Indian 
whose name is stricken from a tribal roll by virtue of his emancipa- 
tion reduces the dimensions of our red-race problem 1  i, a fir (t). . 
very small, it may be, but not negligible. If we can thus gradually 
watch our body of dependent Indians shrink, even by one member at a 
time, we may congratulate ourselves that the final solution is indeed 
only a question of a few years. 
The process of general readjustment must be gradual, but it should 
be carried forward as fast as it can be with presumptive security for 
the Indian's little possessions; and I should not let its educative 
value be obscured for a moment. The leading strings which have 
tied the Indian to the Treasury ever since he began to own anything 
of value hve been a curse to him. They have kept him an economic 
nursling long past the time when he ought to have been able to take a 
few steps alone. The tendency of what er qriide training in money 
matters he has had for the last half cenl~ry asjeen toward making 
him an easy victim to such waves of c I.. .    as swept over the 
country in the early nineties. That i         rt of politics into 
which we wish the Indian to plunge as t       the responsibilities 
of citizenship. 
This is, of course, a bare outline of a policy. The subject is too vast 
for treatment in a report. I should not feel satisfied to leave it, how-
ever, without trying to meet a few conventional objections which I 
know from experience are sure to be raised. "Would you," one critic
will ask, "tie the young Indian down in his schooling to 'the three
R's' and then turn him loose to compete with the white youth who 
have had so much larger scholastic opportunity?" I answer that I 
am discussing the Government's obligations rather than the Indian's. 
I would give the young Indian all the chance for intellectual training 
that the young Caucasian enjoys; he has it already between govern- 
mental aid and private benevolence, and in a population teeming with 
benevolent men and women of means no young Indian with the talent 


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