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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-17 PDF (6.6 MB)


Page 16

16   REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
QUALIFIED CITIZENSHIP. 
I therefore respectfully recommend that the attention of Congress be 
called to this subject, and that such legislation be requested as will 
secure- 
First. A suitable government of Indians: 
(1.) By providing that the criminal laws of the United States shall 
be in force upon Indian reservations, and shall apply to all offenses, 
including offenses of Indians against Indians, and extending the juris- 
diction of the United States courts to enforce the same. 
(2.) By declaring Indians amenable to the police laws of the State or 
Territory for any act committed outside a reservation. 
(3.) By conferring upon the President authority, at his discretion, to 
extend the jurisdiction of the State courts, or any portion of them, to 
any reservation, whenever, in his judgment, any tribe is prepared fof 
such control. 
(4.) By providing a sufficient force of deputy marshals to enforce law 
and order both among and in behalf of Indians. 
(5.) By giving authority to the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe 
for all tribes prepared, in his judgment, to adopt the same, an elective
government, through which shall be administered all necessary police 
regulations of a reservation. 
(6.) By providing a distinct territorial government, or United States 
court, wherever Indians are in numbers sufficient to justify it. 
Second. Legislation for the encouragement of individual improve- 
ment: 
(1.) By providing a way into citizenship for such as desire it. 
(2.) By providing for holding lands in severalty by allotment for occu- 
pation, and for patents with an ultimate fee, but inalienable for a term
of years. 
(3.) By providing that wherever per capita distribution provided by 
treaty has proved injurious or without benefit to its recipients, a distri-
bution of the same may, in the discretion of the President, be made 
only in return for labor of some sort. 
In concluding these general statements respecting the Indian service, 
I desire to reiterate my conviction of the entire feasibility of Indian 
civilization, and that the difficulty of its problem is not so inherent in
the race-character and disposition of the Indian-great as these obsta- 
cles are-as in his anomalous relation to the Government, and in his sur-
roundings affected by the influence and interest of the white people. 
The main difficulty, so far as the Government is concerned, lies in the 
fact that the Indian's deepest need is that which the Government, 
through its political organization and operations, cannot well bestow. 
The first help which'a man in barbarism requires is not that which can 
be afforded through a political party, but that which is offered by a fel-
low-man, wiser than himself, coming personally and extending a hand 
of sympathy and truth. No amount of appropriations and no govern- 
mental niachinery can do much toward lifting an ignorant and degraded 
people, except as it works through the willing hands of men made strong 
and constant by their love for their fellow-men. 
If, therefore, it shall be possible to continue the sympathy and aid 
of the religious' people of the land in this work, and to rally for its 
prosecution the enthusiasm and zeal which belong to religion, and also 
if it shall be possible to procure the enactment of such laws as will 
recognize the essential manhood and consequent capabilities and neces- 
sities of the Indian, and to provide reasonably adequate appropriations 


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