Preface
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Preface The documents printed in this volume illustrate the history of the relations between the United States government and the American Indians from the founding of the nation to the end of the twentieth century. They are a collection of official and quasiof ficial records and are intended to serve a purpose similar to that served by Henry Steele Commager’s Documents of American History for United States history as a whole. Like Commager, I have interpreted document in a narrow sense, so this volume contains, by and large, only items that marked signi ficant formulations of policy in the conduct of Indian affairs by the federal government . These documents (by legislative decree, administrative action, or judicial decision ) were the vehicles for change in the course of events. For students and teachers this convenient reference work supplies in chronological order the documents they need to know when dealing with the public history of Indian affairs . The collection, of course, is partial and, even within the norms established, selective. Because of limitations of space, some important documents had to be omitted, and others had to be shortened. For some classifications, such as treaties, only representative samples could be included. To select documents from recent times was especially difficult because of the increasing number of laws, court decisions, and administrative actions dealing with Indian policy. The 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s were extremely active times, and as the documents have grown in number, so too have they grown in size. The Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887, perhaps the most important Indian law in the nineteenth century, covers less than four pages in the Statutes at Large, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which reversed the policy of the Dawes Act, covers less than five pages. Compare those key documents with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976, each of which runs more than fourteen pages in the Statutes —and with the law of 1992 that amended the health care act, which covers sixty-seven pages. Fortunately, many laws now have preliminary statements of findings and of policy, which indicate the reasons for the legislation . These statements have generally been included, even though it has been necessary to cut drastically the substantive elements of the laws. The documents (in full or in extracts) are reprinted as they appear in the sources cited, with all the variations of spelling, punctuation , and capitalization. Occasional changes have been made, however, in the typefaces and the placement of headings and subheadings . This present volume includes all but one of the documents printed in the first and second editions and adds to them forty new documents. A few are inserted in chronological order among the documents of the early twentieth century, but most are documents dated after 1988, which was the closing date of the second edition. Beginning with document 130, the document numbers in this edition do not correspond with those in the first and second editions. Students are urged to extend their study beyond this small volume: to read the full documents from which extracts are taken, to investigate the legislative and administrative history that forms the context of the documents , and to study the effect of the policies upon the Indian groups. The book is intended primarily as a teaching tool, not as a source for independent research. A selected bibliography, which lists reference works and important secondary sources, appears at the end of the volume. xi xii My thanks to all who aided my judgment in selecting the documents and to the librarians who helped me find those that I needed. Francis Paul Prucha, S.J. Marquette University Milwaukee, Wisconsin ...