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the contact of the whites with the Indians.
Hitherto our discussion has been large-
ly with the Indian of the past, but what
especially should interest us now is the
Indian as a present element in the social
fabric. We will briefly consider this and
then determine what shall be done with
him and what will become of him. There
are at the present time in the United
States, exclusive of Alaska, about 250,-
000 Indians. Of this number about
70,000 belong to the so-called civilized
tribes, namely : Cherokees, Creeks, Chick-



asaws, Chocktaws and Seminoles. The
remaining tribes are classed as uncivilized,
though some of them are as civilized as
any of the Cherokees, while others are in
nearly as wild a state as they were when
our country was first discovered. Much
progress has been made, for wars are less
common than formerly, and, aside from
the five civilized tribes, more than half of
the remainder are self-supporting. It is a
common idea that all of the Indians are
supported by the United States govern-
ment. The amount of money appropri-
ated by Congress for the present fiscal
year for all departments of the Indian
work was, in round numbers, ^8,250,000,
while ^2,250,000 were for educational
purposes. Thi's money is used in educa-
tion, in support of the Indians and in ful-
filling various treaty obligations. Only
about 40,000 Indians are what may be
termed .ration Indians, the others being
practically self supporting. Many of the
Indians are taking their land and this, I
believe, is one of the greatest steps in the
solution of the problem. Among some of
the tribes, Christianity has made great
progress. Some months ago I attended a
convocation of Christian Indians that
numbered not less than 5,000, and it was
simply inspiring to witness them at their
devotions. Some of them I knew person-
ally as living consistent Christian lives.
The Indian is naturally religious, or rather
superstitious. He is inclined to look upon
the performance of a religious duty as a
virtue in itself, thus losing sight of its
spiritual nature. In the early days, when
Hariot, the historian of Sir Walter
Raleigh's colony, was endeavoring to
induce the Indians to accept Christianity,
he found that it was the Bible itself they
worshipped, rather than the divine truths
it inculcated, and they wanted to take the
book itself with them as an amulet or
charm. However, there are marked
instances of devout, earnest, Christian
lives, and there are some faithful lay
Indian workers among them.

In discussing the Indian as a present

factor in social life, we must consider
what he is. Not long since I read an
elaborate article that tried to prove that
the Indian cannot be educated ; that it
was not possible to educate him, that
whatever was done would be entirely lost,
and at the close the writer gave the fol-
lowing illustration as a clinching argu-
ment. He stated that a friend of his,
while strolling along the river one day,
found a wild duck's nest containing a
number of eggs. He took these eggs
home and placed them under a domestic
duck. In due course of time there was a
brood of ducklings and as soon as they
became strong enough they ran off to wild
haunts and never returned. I am remind-
ed of the statement that was made that it
would not be possible for an ocean steam-
ship to cross the Atlantic, for the reason
that one could not be constructed large
enough to carry the coal that would be
consumed during the voyage. While the
lecturer was demonstrating this in a hall
in New York city, the first steamship that
ever crossed the Atlantic arrived in the
harbor. There is a great absurdity to this
wild duck assumption, since all of our
domestic animals have been reclaimed
from the wild state. I dismiss this as
unworthy of argument, for the fact that
they can be made capable of taking on
civilization has for years been shown with-
in a short distance of this University.

There are, in reality, many marked
resemblances between the whites and In-
dians. We are accustomed to speak of
the Indian not only as indolent, but also
as filthy, and in almost every way unsani-
tary. It has been said that if you give a
hog a fair chance, he will keep himself
clean, and so it is with the Indian. I
could give you the names of many who
are patterns and who have been for years
patterns of neatness and cleanliness. Jo-
siah Patterson, who recently died of con-
sumption, a victim of corrupt white con-
tamination with his ancestors, was some-
times called by the boys the dude of
Haskell Institute because of the scrupu-



lous cleanness and neatness of his person
and personal attire. I think I could find
very marked instances wherein so-called
intelligent whites could be criticised. I
remember that after I had been in charge
of a certain high school for several years,
fitting young men for college, one of
these young men said to a friend, " I
always take a bath once a year, whether
I need to or not." It seems to me that
when we make comparisons between
whites and the Indians that are unfavora-
ble to the Indians, we would show more
reason and exercise proper charity if we
would consider their lack of opportunity
and their unfavorable environment. Again,
the Indian is like the white man in his
desire for labor saving devices. I remem-
ber as a boy I looked with admiration
upon the man who invented the machine
for stitching hose pipe, — a machine of
such mechanism that a piece of pipe sev-
eral hundred feet long could be stitched
up as well as a piece a few inches long.
There was, on the part of the inventor, a
desire to bring into being some labor sav-
ing device. It is just so with the Indian.
At one time I was on a reservation look-
ing up recruits for Haskell Institute. It
was nearly dusk as I was entering a tepee,
and I came very near stumbling over a
log of wood. On making an examination
I saw that it was a log at least twenty or
twenty-five feet long. One end was burn-
ing merrily in the fire on the ground in
the middle of the tepee, while the other
end was several feet out of doors. As the
end in the fire was burned off, the log was
pushed up. The Indian resorted to this
device to avoid labor, just as the boy
whose business it is to cut up the kindling
always advises his father to buy the wood
sawed instead of the usual four-feet

At the present time, and especially in
view of the approaching opening of the
Cherokee strip, we hear much of the
Indian and his land claims. There are
Senators who take the ground that there
are so many whites who need the land to

develop farms and the Indian is neglecting
it, that it should be opened up whether
the Indian is willing or not. This view,
however, is confined to those who make a
distinction between the claims of the five
civilized tribes and of those who are less
able to take care of themselves. The
allotting of land to those outside of the
five civilized tribes is going on at the pres-
ent time and probably as rapidly as is
wise, — thousands of allotments having
been made' during the last fiscal year.

The two prominent features of the Gov-
ernment's policy at the present day is
allotting of land to all Indians, both old
and young, and providing a common-
school and industrial education for the
children. The amount of land that is
allotted to individual Indians depends
upon the size and population of the reser-
vation, and also the character of the soil.
On some reservations where the land is
all well adapted to agriculture, the amount
varies from forty to eighty acres, accord-
ing to the population. Where the land is
in part fit only for grazing, the amount is
increased and, in some instances, as high
as i6o acres have been allotted. If the
Pine Ridge Sioux, for instance, were to
have their land allotted, in view of the
character of the soil, it would be neces-
sary, in my judgment, to allot to each
Indian at least a section, for the reason
that there is very little that is fitted for
anything except grazing. Again, where
there is an equal portion of tillable and
grazing land, forty acres of ^ the former
and eighty acres of the latter have been
allotted. The law provides that the allot-
tee cannot alienate his land for a period
of twenty-five years, — a very wise pro-
vision. There should, however, be more
guards thrown around the leasing of his
land. It was, I believe, Sol Miller who
stated that it was commonly accepted that
the terms farmer and agriculturist were
synonymous, . but in reality there was a
very wide difference in the meaning of the
terms for, said he, "A farmer is one who
works his farm, while the agriculturist is



the one who 'works' the farmer." This
difference would be readily accepted by
the Indian, for whenever he can, he will
lease his land and play the part of the
agriculturist and obtain as large a share
of the product as he can without doing
anything himself. There should be some
change in the manner of leasing, whereby
those who lease land should pay for it in
labor instead of in crops: for instance, in
breaking up the land and planting it for
the Indian and thus practically teach him
how to work. The inertia of indolence is
very intense with the Indian, and whatever
course is pursued this fact must not be
overlooked; however, if the Government
allots his land and withdraws from him
additional help, he will, as a last resort,
labor rather than starve.

There are many interesting features of
the work being done at the present time
to give Indian children a common-school
and industrial education; in fact, this
might be the subject of a dozen papers
longer than the present one and yet the
subject be left incomplete. The first
appropriation for Indian schools was made
by Congress through the influence of Sen-
ator Dawes of Massachusetts in 1887. It
was a small beginning and the sum appro-
priated was a paltry one in comparison
with what is now being done. The first
appropriation ever made was the sum of
^20,000.00. For the fiscal year 1893, it
has increased to $2,312,385.00. There
are few reservations now where there are
not one or more schools, yet on some of
the reservations there is only a small part
of the accommodations that are needed.
There are enrolled to-day in the Indian
schools of the country, about 20,000 chil-
dren, and there are accommodations for
only about two-thirds of all the Indian
children of school age. The needed
accommodations are, however, being pro-
vided, though not as rapidly as Commis-
sioner Morgan desires. There are three
kinds of Government schools : reservation
day schools, reservation boarding schools,
and the non-reservation industrial training

school, like Haskell, Carlisle and others.
There are also denominational schools
over which the United States Government
exercises supervision. It has been shown
conclusively that the Indian is able to
obtain an average common-school educa-
tion, and also can learn fairly well, and
in some instances remarkably well, any of
the ordinary trades. Wherever he goes,
after he has prepared himself, the success
that he meets Avith depends almost wholly
upon the environment that he finds around
him. If there is no opportunity to work
at his trade, he is as any white person
would be under similar circumstances.
The older Indians are, as a rule, adverse
to progress and whatever Indian boys and
girls accomplish at school they have to
accomplish, usually, in the face of oppo-
sition on the part of father, mother and
near relatives. How hard, indeed, it
would be if you, young ladies and young
gentlemen, were here, away from home,
with the consciousness on the part of each
of you, that your father, mother and
near relatives were bitterly opposed to
your being here, and were doing every-
thing in their power to get you back
home. Another obstacle to advancement
on the part of some Indians is their great
wealth, especially the Osages. The Osages
are the richest people on the face of the
earth. They number about 1,500 and
their per capita wealth is $15,000. There
is on deposit to their credit in the United
States treasury at Washington eight mil-
lions of dollars upon which they draw
interest at the rate of five per cent, per
annum. This gives them a per capita
annuity of $250.00. If an Osage Indian
has a wife and six children, he draws for
himself and family $2,000.00 a year. Let
us, then, be a little charitable in censur-
ing him, for where is the white man with
a wife and six children who would work
very hard if, without lifting his finger, he
could receive an income of $2,000 a year?
We have briefly discussed the Indian as
he is to-day, but there is a diversity of
opinion as to the best method of managing


him. There is, however, one common
ground upon wliich all can stand and upon
which all do stand, however much they
may disagree as to the methods to be used
in bringing about the desired result.
There is a very general consensus of opin-
ion that the Indian should become a citi-
zen like the white man ; that, like the
white man, he should support himself and
family and become an essential and com-
ponent factor in society. To accomplish
this, much must be done, and here is
where the ways divide. There are those
who believe that he should be taken from
his present reservation and its degrading
environment and scattered over the coun-
try. If: this could be accomplished, it
would be a consumniation much desired.
The scheme is, I believe, visionary and
impracticable. He is himself strongly
opposed to the plan, and public sentiment
does not call for it, and would not sustain
it, if attempted. Even if public sentiment
should insist upon it, and he were scat-
tered by force, as he would have to be, if
at alii he would not stay "scattered."
We notice that European emigrants usu-
ally collect together along lines of least
resistance, viz: Race, language and relig-
ion; and it would be very much so with
the Indians. I believe the best that can
be done is to- try to do for his children
what we are doing for the white children
of the land. Little can be done with the
old Indian, but if we can keep the children
in school for a generation, and the chil-
dren of this generation likewise, the solu-
tion of the problem will be well under way
with' a certainty of a correct result. Allot
each Indian a proper amount of land, sell
the surplus and pay him the cash received,
provide him, if necesskry, with the simple
requisites that one needs in starting in life
and require him to depend upon himself.
But, you say, he will not be able to meet
the responsibilities. Many will not. In
going from a state of barbarism to civiliza-
tion there will many fall by the wayside.
It cannot be otherwise. It must be the
process of the survival of the fittest. If I

were to express very briefly my own idea
of the end to be gained, I should say
American citizenship. In order for the
exercise of American citizenship, there
must be a place to live in, with suitable
social and other necessary environments.
Law must be thrown around him so that
he will be free to come and go in perform-
ing the duties and meeting the responsi-
bilities of life, and, if necessary, to com-
pel him to perform life's duties and meet
its responsibilities. There must be oppor-
tunity for his children to be educated so
that they can become better fitted than
himself for this citizenship. There must
also be a desire or willingness on his part
to labor in order, that by his own efforts
he may obtain all of those things that may
be necessary to satisfy the wants of him-
self and -society. You say that, this is
much to expect and more than can be
accomplished. If the work of bringing
the Indian to this condition of citizenship
is carried on with a spirit of Christian
love and helpfulness, the end can be
brought about. Surely this or some other
end must be reached. Commissioner
Morgan in his last report, which bas just
been received, says: "We must either
fight Indians, feed them, or else educate
them... To fight them is cruel, to feed
them is wasteful, while to educate them is
humane, economic and Christian."

Biit what will become of him ? This
may seem idle speculation, but it is notj
for the process that is to determine what
he shall be is already actively going on.
The various agents and reagents, the
social alkalies and acids, the positive and
negative poles of the economic fabric are
all at work, and amalgamation, absorption
and final assimilation will be the result.
There are at Haskell to-day children
whose parents are Indians, Jews,. Negroes,
Irish, French, Americans, and doubtless
of other nationalities. We are accustomed
to speak of ' ourselves as Americans, but
the typical American has not yet appeared.
When emigration has finally ceased and .
sufficient time has elapsed to develop a
universally characteristic people, the typi-
cak American will exist, and not before,
and he will be the product of the differen-
tiation and coordination of the various
peoples, that to-day inhabit all our states
and territories.

Charles Francis Meserve,

Superintendent Haskell Institute.




j^T^UT thirty years ago, this land which
^^^ esteemed itself among the most en-
lightened of the world, was still dowered
with a characteristic curse of savagery
ajid barbarism; the nation that boasted
itself the freest under the sun was the
hoiiie of slavery.

Had your essayist at command all the
rarest resources of rhetoric— could he
''Speak with the tongues of men and of
angels "- — I doubt whether the above trite
statement could be heightened, or the
sharp contrast of changed conditions
made more striking or effective to the
apprehension- The change has been so
tremendous that it seems to me nothing
witbin the range of expression could pos-
sibly add force to the thought itself !

This change came at last through revo-
lution and bloodshed. It was established
by dint of desperate struggle ; It required
a gigantic war, "a war as mighty as any
in all history " — but, at the end, the nation
that was so long "half slave, half free,"
became, if indeed not wholly homogeneous,
at least logical in its status. It now
stands for something coherent and con-
sistent. It never did in the old days. It
was only a fallacy concrete — it was but
an incarnate sophism and paradox.

Slavery precipitated war and thereby
insured and hastened its own destruction.
Impelled by a morbid though not wholly
unreasonable fear of the Republican par-
ty, the South took the risk of the plausible
quack doctor, rather than face the dread-
ed but salutary surgeon ! In the final
event, neither the anodynes nor the stim-
ulants, the "drafts" nor the blood-lettings
of the quack Secession served to avert the
inevitable operation that came even upon
the reduced system of the patient, the
lopping off from her of that mortified
member, slavery !

The Republican party, then, was the

proximate cause of the downfall of slavery.
At first its office was to be but that of the
vigilant watch dog of the North and of
the Nation, to guard the borders of her
territories against slavery's encroachment.
The South affected to believe it a ravening
lion in her path. Ill fared it with her
when she ''Cried havoc and let slip her
own dogs of war."

Back of the Republican party, what?
To the young men of this generation, to
whom thirty years seems a long period
indeed, only unformed history and tradi-
tion with foundation facts of that history
interpreted imperfectly, and traditions fs^st
crystallizing, I fancy, into faiths not
wholly free from error. Only recently we
have had a conspicuous example of how
nearly the propensity to hero-worship and
the easy acceptance of current traditions
had betrayed us into an entire misappre-
hension of important facts in the life of
John Brown and consequent misconcep-
tion of one side of that remarkable char-
acter. If attainable, let us have the por-
trait of the real man in all his rugged pro-
portions, rather than shadowy outlines of
mythic hero and demigod ! If the statue
be not of the purest marble, but instead,
part iron and part clay, let us know, if
possible, its true composition before we
assign its niche in the gallery of history.
Our idols may indeed not appear so sym-
metric and beautiful, but they will stand
in less danger of one day being cast down
and broken.

If asked — through whom came the
downfall of that giant monstrosity which
held America in its strong grasp until so
recently? — I fancy that many a youth of
this day would answer that it came aboijt,
directly and principally, from the efforts
and influences, the utterances by tongue
and pen of a few men, prophets and lead-
ers of the people \ — chief among whom,



representatives and embodiments of the
principle and its active forces, he would
name Wendell Phillips, Joshua R. Giddings
aad Wm;. Lloyd Garrison. These were
the men to whom the nation owes its
deliverance from "the body of this
death." There is a tendency always, after
the happy consummation of any great
struggle,, to philosophize upon its history,.
to- trace its remote origin and develop-
ments, and above all (if possible), to
establish its representative men: — its he-
roes. This is all very well,, probably, if
we do not philosophize beyond the facts,
generalize incorrectly, and manufacture
heroes out of insiafficient material.

Far be it from me to derogate in the
least from the worthy fame of men recent-
ly passed away, who gave the best years
of their lives, through difificulty and dan-
gers, through storms of obloquy, and a
sky darkened oft with the flight of too
ancient eggs — to a cause which they felt
and knew to be right and just : —

" Then to side with truth was noble when they shared

her wretched crust,
Ere her cause brought fame and fortune and 'twas

prosperous to be just."

Give them all credit and honor, for they
deserve it. As Webster once said: "If I
have little of that spirit which can raise a
mortal to the skies, I trust at least I have
less of that meaner impulse which would
drag an angel down." But — I happen to
have impressions borne of memories which
reach back almost fifty years, and I con-
fess they don't wholly coincide with the
view given above, as possibly in great
degree the corrupt impressions of to-day.
I fancy that something like the following
would be, briefly, the statement to indi-
C9.te the view which I do not (in toto)
accept: Garrison, Phillips and a few other
zealoas and eloquent men aroused the
sleeping conscience of the American peo-
ple with regard to the sins and enormities
of slavery ! A handful only at the outset,
a despised and proscribed band, they grew
at length into a great party which chal-
lenged slavery to mortal conflict — before
which slavery finally went down in blood !

Of late years, every new party or fac-
tion has justified its existence and prophe-
sied its future success after the model of
the above example. Your enthusiastic
Greenbacker, your sanguine Labor Re-
former, your ardent Prohibitionist, will
conclude upon your possible doubts by
citing facts about as follows — bidding yotr
not despise the day of small beginnings :

The American Anti-slavery society
organized in 1833, and the followers ©f
Phillips and Garrison increased from zero
up to 62,263 who voted in 1844 for James
G. Birney, the Liberty candidate for pres-
ident ! Within four years, this number
swelled to 291,342 who cast their ballots
for Free-soil with Van Buren and Adams,
Jumping 1852 (and these arithmeticians
always jump that year), note how grandly
the concourse had multiplied to the 1,341,-
264 who voted for Fremont and Freedom
in 1856 ! And this again, though a trum-
pet blast that stirred the nation, was but
a prelude to the grand triumphal march
of the cohorts of the Republican party
who swept the country and elected Abra-
ham Lincoln by a popular vote of 1,857,-
610 ; — ascending to the throne of politicail
power from whence it should control the
government uninterruptedly for twenty-
four years !

What man has done, man may do, and
what one party has so signally accom-
plished, another may parallel and repeat.
With this for a brilliant precedent, the
fiery adherent of the new faction of to-day
is prepared to prove (to his own satisfac-
tion) that it is sure to be but the simplest

Online LibraryKansas. UniversitySeminary notes published by the Seminary of historical and political science → online text (page 47 of 62)