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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

[Central superintendency],   pp. 68-118 PDF (20.8 MB)


Page 104

104                      REPORT OF THE 
just now as at any other time. Our plan makes exceptions for the 
orphan and the widow, and for all sick helpless creatures. Besides 
this, the great measure which the emergency of the times seems to 
require is the division of the land. I will support my proposition 
with a string of reasons, to which we invite your attention: 
1. Because it will give a fair inheritance, a permanent homestead 
to every head of a family. 
2. Because it will make them all equally rich from the beginning, 
and all can have a competency. 
3. Because it will prevent his wandering disposition, his heart will 
rest upon his home. 
4. Because they are sure to make more improvements; such as 
building stables, sinking wells, fencing in pastures, planting orchards,
building barns, &c. 
5. Because civilization imperiously demands that this measure 
should go into operation forthwith. 
6. Because experience has proved that it is good policy to fire off 
now and then a big gun; to have a barbecue and a glorification over 
it; whilst it would afford the friends of the red man a golden oppor- 
tunity to inculcate salutary measures. 
7. Because the position of the Indian would be similar to that of 
the white settler in Kansas Territory; every one settled on his land, 
as is the case in civilized countries. 
8. Because there is little evil and much good expected to arise from 
this movement. 
9. Because all the sincere friends to the race recommend it. 
10. Because by this act every head of a family would have it in his 
power to secure his own homestead, which will give satisfaction to 
everybody. 
11. Because the greater and best part of the nation desire the 
change in order to promote their own happiness. 
12. Because they seem to regard this movement as a decree of 
heaven. 
13. Because when the easy old way of living upon their annuities 
has failed, when hunting has become unprofitable, they ought to lay 
hold of the plough. 
14. Because the Pottawatomies have a fine agricultural country, 
and can readily sell for cash, at fair prices, all the produce and stock
they can raise. 
The subject under consideration is one of weighty importance; if 
my zeal for the welfare of the red man has carried me beyond the 
boundaries of discretion, you are at liberty to disregard my views, 
and to hold them for the spontaneous effusions of a heart that feels 
their misfortunes. We have lived seven years amongst them, and 
have observed their manners and customs, their strong and their weak 
points, and we feel as if our advice could benefit them. The best 
part of our Indians, and especially our mission Indians, have learned 
to make their living by cultivating the soil, and they are impatient to 
see the day of emancipation dawn upon them. Help them out of 
Egypt, and guide them to the land of promise, where every one can 
build on his own land, and enjoy, without envy or molestation, the 


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