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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page 21

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
yet, with this extraordinary increase, the permanent clerical force of 
this office is the same now that it was on the 4th of March, 1853. 
The permanent force is now insufficient to promptly perform the labor 
of the bureau; and the classification and arrangement of the busi- 
ness of the office should be modified and. improved, but this cannot 
be done thoroughly without a small permanent increase in the clerical 
force. 
The existing laws for the protection of the persons and property of 
the Indian wards of the government are sadly defective. New and 
more stringent statutes are required. The relation which the federal 
government sustains towards the Indians, and the duties and obliga- 
tions flowing from it, cannot be faithfully met and discharged without 
ample legal provisions, and the necessary power and means to enforce 
them. The rage for speculation and the wonderful desire to obtain 
choice lands, which seems to possess so many of those who go into Pur 
new territories, causes them to lose sight of and entirely overlook the 
rights of the aboriginal inhabitants. The most dishonorable expe- 
dients have, in many cases, been made use of to dispossess the Indian; 
demoralizing means employed to obtain his property; and, for the 
want of adequate laws, the department is now often perplexed and 
embarrassed, because of inability to afford prompt relief and apply 
the remedy in cases obviously requiring them. 
The general disorder so long prevailing in Kansas Territory, and 
the consequent unsettled state of civil affairs there, have been very in-
jurious to the interests of many of the Indian tribes in that Territory.
The state of affairs referred to, with the influx of lawless men and 
speculators incident and introductory thereto, has impeded the surveys, 
and the selections for the homes of the Indians, and otherwise pre- 
vented the full establishment and proper efficiency of all the means 
for civilization and improvement within the scope of the several 
treaties with them. The schools have not been as fully attended, nor 
the school buildings, agency houses, and other improvements, as 
rapidly constructed as they might otherwise have been. Trespasses 
and depredations of every conceivable kind have been committed on 
the Indians. They have been personally maltreated, their property 
stolen, their timber destroyed, their possessions encroached upon, and 
divers other wrongs and injuries done them. Notwithstanding all 
which they have afforded a praiseworthy example of good conduct, 
under the most trying circumstances. They have at no time, that I 
am aware of, attempted to redress their own wrongs, but have patiently 
submitted to injury,-relying on the good faith and justice of the gov- 
ernment to indemnify them. In the din and strife between the anti- 
slavery and pro-slavery parties with reference to the condition of the 
African race there, and in which the rights and interests of the red 
man have been completely overlooked and disregarded, the goo& 
conduct and patient submission of the latter, contrast favorably with 
the disorderly and lawless conduct of many of their white brethren, 
who, while they have quarrelled about the African, have united upon 
the soil of Kansas in wrong doing toward the Indian! 
In relation to the emigrated and partially civilized tribes in Kansas, 
the circumstances under which they were transplanted to that country, 
21 


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