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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1865
([1865])

Mackinac agency,   pp. 449-454 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 452

452                      MACKINAC AGENCY. 
and other causes, all of which are to a great extent irremediable, the schools
suffer and their usefulness is greatly impaired. 
The teachers employed among them, I doubt not, have generally endea- 
vored to be faithful in the discharge of their duties; but meeting the dis-
couragements they do, and cut off, as in a great measure they are, from the
society of intelligent whites, it is not surprising if they frequently become
disheartened, and often feel that their labors are in vain. 
There are fifteen missionaries employed among the Michigan Indians ; of 
these, five are of the Methodist Episcopal church, six Catholics, two Pres-
byterian, one Wesleyan, and one Congregationalist. That their labors have
been productive of great good is beyond question, and must be evident to
all familiar with our Indians. More than any, or all other persons, perhaps,
they have contributed to the suppression of intemperance and its kindred
vices, and to the promotion of a higher type of morality and civilization
among them. For their disinterested and self-denying labors in behalf of
these people, in carrying the blessed gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ to them, without which there can be no real civilization, and which
furnishes to us all the best consolations for this life, and the brightest
and 
only hopes for that which is to come, they are entitled, and should not fail
to receive, the sincere gratitude of every true friend of this unfortunate
race. 
As our Indians have advanced in civilization, they have learned to feel 
and manifest an interest in public affairs. The constitution of the State
of 
Michigan makes voters of all "male persons of Indian descent not members
of any tribe." Under this clause the indians generally have been permitted
to exercise the elective franchise. The more intelligent among them appear
to prize the privilege, and take no little interest in election matters.
Often 
duped and misled by designing men, as voters of limited intelligence are
ever liable to be, they yet evidently desire to do right and to sustain their
Great Father the President. This was most emphatically and very satis- 
factorily demonstrated during the late rebellion. From the first outbreak
they manifested a lively interest in all matters pertaining to the War, and
an earnest desire that the government should in the end triumph over its
enemies and restore its authority throughout the land. Very mush to their
credit and praise it is to be mentioned, that when offered an opportunity
of 
engaging in the military service of the country, they promptly and cheer-
fully came forward and assumed all the duties and responsibilities of the
soldier.  And nobly were those duties performed and those responsibilities
met by them. On many a battle-field they proved their valor, and in many
instances, how many I cannot now say, gave their lives for their country.
The officers under whom they served unanimously bear testimony to their 
endurance, fidelity, and courage, and to their faithful and cheerful perform-
ance of all the duties of the soldier. One hundred and ninety-six Indians
are known to have entered the military service from this agency, and there
may have been others whose names I have not been able to obtain. 
Most assuredly, then, these men who have thus perilled their lives for 
their country deserve none the less of that country because of the tawny
color of their skins. Nor should the unfortunate race to which they hap-
pen-to belong be iudiscriminately condemned as vagabonds, outcasts, and 
cutthroats, and doomed to rtter extermination, because certain members of
the baser sort of that race, out on the western prairies in the western wilds,
smarting under a sense of their inferiority, or of some fancied or real injury,
(most likely the latter,) inflicted upon themselves or their race at the
hands 
of unprincipled white men, have, in retaliation for those wrongs, been 
guilty of devastation, murder, and other excesses in crime, at which every
friend of humanity must have shuddered, and deplored and condemned at 
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