restricted access 64. Indian Commissioner Dole on Reservation Policy Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, November 26, 1862
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94 indicated, would be to leave them to starve; but as it is impossible, in consequence of the very great extent of our frontier, and our limited military force, to adequately guard against such occurrences, the only alternative , in fact, to making such provision for them, is to exterminate them. . . . The operations thus far, in carrying out the reservation system, can properly be regarded as only experimental. Time and experience were required to develop any defects connected with it, and to demonstrate the proper remedies therefor. From a careful examination of the subject, and the best information in the possession of the department in regard to it, I am satisfied that serious errors have been committed; that a much larger amount has been expended than was necessary, and with but limited and insufficient results. . . . No more reservations should be established than are absolutely necessary for such Indians as have been, or it may be necessary to displace, in consequence of the extension of our settlements, and whose resources have thereby been cut off or so diminished that they cannot sustain themselves in their accustomed manner. Great care should be taken in the selection of the reservations, so as to isolate the Indians for a time from contact and interference from the whites. They should embrace good lands, which will well repay the efforts to cultivate them. No white persons should be suffered to go upon the reservations, and after the first year the lands should be divided and assigned to the Indians in severalty, every one being required to remain on his own tract and to cultivate it, no persons being employed for them except the requisite mechanics to keep their tools and implements in repair, and such as may be necessary, for a time, to teach them how to conduct their agricultural operations and to take care of their stock. They should also have the advantage of well conducted manual labor schools for the education of their youth in letters, habits of industry, and a knowledge of agriculture and the simpler mechanic arts. By the adoption of this course, it is believed that the colonies can very soon be made to sustain themselves, or so nearly so that the government will be subjected to but a comparatively trifling annual expense on account of them. But it is essential to the success of the system that there should be a sufficient military force in the vicinity of the reservations to prevent the intrusion of improper persons upon them, to afford protection to the agents, and to aid in controlling the Indians and keeping them within the limits assigned to them. It would materially aid the department in its efforts to carry out the system successfully, in respect to the Indians in California, if that State would, like Texas, so far relinquish to the general government her jurisdiction over the reservations to be permanently retained there, as to admit of the trade and intercourse laws being put in force within their limits, so as to secure the Indians against improper interference and intercourse, and to prevent the traffic with them in ardent spirits. Much good could also probably be accomplished by the introduction of a judicious system of apprenticeship, by which the orphans and other children of both sexes, could be bound outforatermofyears,touprightandhumane persons, to be taught suitable trades and occupations: provided the necessary State laws were enacted to authorize and regulate such a system. I would suggest the propriety of an application being made to the proper authorities of California for the requisite State legislation on both these subjects. . . . [Senate Executive Document no. 1, 35th Cong., 2d sess., serial 974, pp. 354–59.] 64. Indian Commissioner Dole on Reservation Policy Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs November 26, 1862 Lincoln’s commissioner of Indian affairs, William P. Dole, strongly supported the emerging policy of confining the Indians on restricted reservations, as a step toward allotment of lands in severalty and ultimate incorporation of the Indians into full American citizenship. 95 . . . . Another year has but served to strengthen my conviction that the policy, recently adopted, of confining the Indians to reservations, and, from time to time, as they are gradually taught and become accustomed to the idea of individual property, allotting to them lands to be held in severalty, is the best method yet devised for their reclamation and advancement in civilization. The successful working of this policy...


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