restricted access 53. Indian Commissioner Medill on Indian Colonies: Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, November 30, 1848
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76 And no such annuities, or moneys, or goods, shall be paid or distributed to the Indians while they are under the influence of any description of intoxicating liquor, nor while there are good and sufficient reasons for the officers or agents, whose duty it may be to make such payments or distribution, for believing that there is any species of intoxicating liquor within convenient reach of the Indians, nor until the chiefs and head men of the tribe shall have pledged themselves to use all their influence and to make all proper exertions to prevent the introduction and sale of such liquor in their country; and all executory contracts made and entered into by any Indian for the payment of money or goods shall be deemed and held to be null and void, and of no binding effect whatsoever. . . . Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That in aid of the means now possessed by the Department of Indian Affairs through its existing organization, there be, and hereby is, appropriated the sum of five thousand dollars, to enable the said department, under the direction of the Secretary of War, to collect and digest such statistics and materials as may illustrate the history, the present condition, and future prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States. . . . Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That for compensation of a special agent and two interpreters for one year, to enable the War Department to keep up such a communication with the said Indians as may be necessary towards the preservation of a good understanding with them, and securing peace on the frontier, the sum of three thousand six hundred and fifty dollars be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, and that the sum of ten thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby, appropriated to carry into effect the treaty with the Camanche and other tribes of Indians. . . . [U.S. Statutes at Large, 9:203–4.] 53. Indian Commissioner Medill on Indian Colonies Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs November 30, 1848 As white population surged westward and emigrants from the older states cut through Indian lands on their way to the Pacific coast, plans to consolidate the Indians materialized. An early and forceful proposal to form two concentrated colonies of Indians in the West was put forth by Commissioner William Medill in 1848. . . . . While, to all, the fate of the red man has, thus far, been alike unsatisfactory and painful, it has, with many, been a source of much misrepresentation and unjust national reproach. Apathy, barbarism, and heathenism must give way to energy, civilization, and christianity; and so the Indian of this continent has been displaced by the European; but this has been attended with much less of oppression and injustice than has generally been represented and believed. If, in the rapid spread of our population and sway, with all their advantages and blessings to ourselves and to others, injury has been inflicted upon the barbarous and heathen people we have displaced, are we as a nation alone to be held up to reproach for such a result? Where, in the contest of civilization with barbarism, since the commencement of time, has it been less the case than with us; and where have there been more general and persevering efforts , according to our means and opportunities , than those made by us, to extend to the conquered all the superior resources and advantages enjoyed by the conquerors? Of the magnitude and extent of those efforts but little comparatively is generally known. Stolid and unyielding in his nature, and inveterately wedded to the savage habits, customs , and prejudices in which he has been reared and trained, it is seldom the case that the full blood Indian of our hemisphere can, in immediate juxtaposition with a white population , be brought farther within the pale of civilization than to adopt its vices; under the corrupting influences of which, too indolent to labor, and too weak to resist, he soon sinks into misery and despair. The inequality of 77 his position in all that secures dignity and respect is too glaring, and the contest he has to make with the superior race with which he is brought into contact, in all the avenues to success and prosperity in life, is too unequal to hope for a better result. The collision is to him...