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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1904, Part II

Report of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes,   pp. 1-198 ff. PDF (110.1 MB)

Page 3

In reporting upon the work of the Commission to the Five Civil- 
ized Tribes, otherwise designated as the Dawes Commission, for the 
fiscal year ended June 30, 1904, we desire before going into details 
to state a few general features. 
By the Indian appropriation act of April 21, 1904 (Appendix No. 
1, p. 119), there was granted for the prosecution of the work of the 
Commission during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1905, $265,295. 
This sum was recommended by the Commission as sufficient to sub- 
stantially complete within the time specified the work committed to 
its charge. 
In consonance with the above, said act requires the Commission to 
complete its work within the fiscal year named, and provides that the 
Commission shall cease to exist at the end of said fiscal year. 
Although Congress added materially to the work of the Commis- 
sion in the act of April 21, 1904 (Appendix No. 1, p. 119), and said 
additional work was not anticipated at the time the foregoing esti- 
mate was given, yet it is still expected that within the time fixed, viz,
by June 30, 1905, the task of the Commission will be practically fin- 
ished, leaving little to do except a small amount of business carried 
over by operation of law. 
The time consumed in the change from the old system to the new 
has been a most irksome period to the people of Indian Territory, 
and the Commission is not unmindful of the fact that to many candid 
observers the execution of the task has seemed to be both tedious and 
expensive. This, however, is not unreasonable, for opinions are gen- 
erally formed by comparison, and, so far as we know, there is no 
precedent or standard in this or in any other country by which to 
judge of the peculiar task that Congress undertook in 1898 with 
respect to these peoples. Men are loath to give the investigation and 
thought necessary to a clear and full understanding of novel and 
complicated situations; and as they are familiar with other matters 
similar in name though different in nature from the conditions and 
duties which here exist, they have, to some extent at least, judged of 
this business by examples and standards which are misleading. 
For instance, we have Indian tribes as commonly seen and known, 
but these are a group of " civilized " tribes, and for the most
their members or citizens are Indians only in name. They did not 
retire before the advance of the white race as the other tribes did, 
but long continued at their homes, assimilating with the white race; 
and from the days of Capt. John Smith and Oglethorpe to the pres- 
ent time they have, upon an ascending scale, by intermarriage and 

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