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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1891
60th ([1891])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. 3-146 PDF (58.9 MB)


Page 4

Va.     4      REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONRR OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, 
ajos, are successful herders; many cultivate the soil with an increasing
degree of success, and others already participate in manufacturing, 
mercantile, and professional life. While some, like the White Mountain 
Apaches, are almost destitute of anything that may be characterized, as 
education, others, like the Poncas and the Pawnees, have almost all 
their children of suitable age in school. While the great majority of 
tle 250,000 receive absolutely nothing directly from the Government 
 i the way of subsistence or support (see Appendix, p. 147), others, like
the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Apaches, are dependent largely 
/ upon Government rations. 
Although many, like those just mentioned, are under the immediate 
control of the Government anq require more or less of vigilant sur- 
veillance, multitudes of others, such as the Indians in New York, those 
in Michigan, and the 65,000 of the five civilized tribes, are only nom- 
inally under Government control, while thousands, like the Santee 
Sioux, the Sissetons and Wahpetons, the Nez Perces, the Puyallups, 
etc., are, by the operation of the land-in-severalty law, becoming citi-
zens and gradually passing out from under governmental supervision. 
Any theory which ignores these essential facts and attempts to deal 
with them en masse must, of necessity, be radically and fatally defec- 
tive., Any rational scheme, therefore, must rest upon a careful survey 
of the present condition, needs, and possibilities of each of the tribes,
and must also, of necessity, be very general in its character. 
(2) Definiteness of aim.-Thereihas hitherto been more or less confusion 
in the public mind as to precisely what the Government is aiming to 
accomplish, and so long as. this uncertainty exists there can be no con-
siderable progress toward determining the best measures to be adopted. 
If it were the purpose of the Government to exterminate the Indians by 
violence, or to leave them to shift fo themselves under such circum- 
stances that their destruction would be only a question of time, this pur-
pose would necessarily determine legislation and administration. If the 
object were to simply guard them as prisoners of war, feeding and sup- 
porting them in idleness, as it is sometimes asserted the Government is 
doing, without regard to the future outcome of this policy, this purpose
should be clearly avowed and should have its weight in determining 
everything pertinent to Indian matters. 
If, however, the purpose is to incorporate the Indians into the na- 
tional life as independent citizens, so that they may take their places 
as integral elements in our society, not as American Indians but as 
Americans, or rather as men, enjoying all the privileges and sharing 
the burdens of American citizenship, then this purpose should be not 
only clearly and definitely stated, but should be dominant in all matters
"  of legislation and administration. It should be understood not only
..  by our own people but by the Indians themselves, and should be incul-
c: ated as a fundamental doctrine in every Indian school. 
:No pains should be spared to teach the rising generation that the old 


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