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

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

Page 22

and the pledges of this government that it should be to them  and 
their posterity a permanent home forever, the distrust and doubt 
under which they assented to the sale of a portion of their respective 
tracts to the United States for the use and occupation of our own popu- 
lation, I have in former reports treated fully; and have likewise en- 
deavored to impress upon the minds of all persons, that the small 
tracts which these tribes have reserved in Kansas as their permanent 
homes, must be so regarded. They cannot again be removed. They 
must meet their fate upon their present reservations in that Territory, 
and there be made a civilized people, or crushed and blotted out. 
Their condition is critical, simply because their rights and interests 
seem thus far to have been entirely lost sight of and disregarded by 
their new neighbors. They may be preserved and civilized, and will 
be, if the guarantees and stipulations of their treaties are faithfully 
fulfilled and enforced, and the federal government discharges its 
o'bligations and redeems its pledged faith towards them. As peace 
and order seem now to be restored to the Territory, it is to be hoped 
that the good citizens thereof will make haste to repair the wrong 
and injury which the red men of Kansas have suffered by the acts of 
their white neighbors, and that hereafter they will not only treat the 
Indians fairly, but that all good citizens will set their faces against 
the conduct of any lawless men who may attempt to trespass upon 
the rights of, or otherwise injure, the -Indian population there. 
In reviewing the events of the past year with reference to the im- 
provement of our Indian population, there appear within the reserves 
of several tribes such unmistakable manifestations of progress as to 
excite and stimulate our lawgivers and the benevolent and philan- 
thropic of the land, to a more lively and active interest in the present
condition and future prospects of the race, and to invite an increased 
effort and energy in the cause of Indian civilization. That the red 
man can be transformed in his habits, domesticated, and civilized, and 
made a useful element in society, there is abundant evidence. With 
reference to his true character, erroneous opinions very generally pre- 
vail. He is, indeed, the victim of prejudice. He is only regarded as 
the irreclaimable, terrible savage, who in war spares neither age nor 
sex, but with heartless and cruel barbarity subjects the innocent and 
defenceless to inhuman tortures, committing with exultant delight 
the most horrible massacres. These are chronicled from year to year, 
and are, indeed, sad chapters in our annals. But the history of the 
sufferings of the Indian has never been written; the story of his 
wrongs never been told. Of these there is not, and never can be, an 
earthly record. 
As a man he has his joys and his sorrows. His love for his offspring 
is intense. In his friendships, he is steadfast and true, and will never
be the first to break faith. His courage is undoubted, his perception 
quick, and his memory of the highest order. His judgment is de- 
fective, but by proper training and discipline, his intellectual powers 
are susceptible of culture and can be elevated to a fair standard. He 
can be taught the arts of peace, and is by no means inapt in learning 
to handle agricultural and mechanical implements, and applying 
them to their appropriate uses. With these qualities1 although the 

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