restricted access 76. Authorization of the Board of Indian Commissioners, April 10, 1869
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125 there—pretty much all go to t’other place.” Thus while we have been puzzling our brains to find a solution of the problem of Indian civilization and christianization, the fact of their capability for both and of the manner of achieving both is demonstrated to us so clearly that there is no possibility of being deceived. What, then, is our duty as the guardian of all the Indians under our jurisdiction? To outlaw, to pursue, to hunt down like wolves, and slay? Must we drive and exterminate them as if void of reason, and without souls? Surely, no. It is beyond question our most solemn duty to protect and care for, to elevate and civilize them. We have taken their heritage, and it is a grand and magnificent heritage. Now is it too much that we carve for them liberal reservations out of their own lands and guarantee them homes forever? Is it too much that we supply them with agricultural implements, mechanical tools, domestic animals , instructors in the useful arts, teachers , physicians, and Christian missionaries? If we find them fierce, hostile and revengeful ; if they are cruel, and if they sometimes turn upon us and burn, pillage, and desolate our frontiers, and perpetrate atrocities that sicken the soul and paralyze us with horror , let us remember that two hundred and fifty years of injustice, oppression and wrong, heaped upon them by our race with cold, calculating and relentless perseverance, have filled them with the passion of revenge, and made them desperate. It remains for us, if we would not hold their lands with their blighting curse, and the curse of a just God, who holds nations to a strict accountability upon it, to do justice, and more than justice, to the remnant; to hide our past injustice under the mantle of present and future mercy, and to blot out their remembrance of wrongs and oppressions by deeds of God-like love and benevolence. That they can be elevated and enlightened to the proud stature of civilized manhood is demonstrated. We know the process by which this result is accomplished. Our duty is plain; let us enter upon its discharge without delay; end the war policy; create a new department of Indian affairs; give it a competent head; clothe him with adequate powers for the performance of all his duties, define those duties clearly, and hold him to a strict accountability. . . . [House Executive Document no. 1, 40th Cong., 3d sess., serial 1366, pp. 476–79.] 76. Authorization of the Board of Indian Commissioners April 10, 1869 Part of the change in Indian policy known as Grant’s “peace policy” rested upon the Board of Indian Commissioners, a body of unpaid philanthropists appointed to aid the secretary of the interior in Indian affairs. The board was authorized by a section of the Indian appropriation act of April 10, 1869. An Act making Appropriations for the current and contingent Expenses of the Indian Department . . . . . . . . Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That there be appropriated the further sum of two millions of dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to enable the President to maintain the peace among and with the various tribes, bands, and parties of Indians, and to promote civilization among said Indians, bring them, where practicable, upon reservations , relieve their necessities, and encourage their efforts at self-support; a report of all expenditures under this appropriation to be made in detail in Congress in December next; and for the purpose of enabling the President to execute the powers conferred by this act he is hereby authorized, at his discretion, to organize a board of commissioners, to consist of not more than ten persons, to be selected by him from men eminent for their intelligence and philanthropy, to serve without pecuniary compensation, who may, under his direction, exercise joint control with the Secretary of the Interior over the disbursement of the appropriations made by this act or any part thereof that the President may designate ; and to pay the necessary expenses of transportation, subsistence, and clerk hire of 126 said commissioners while actually engaged in said service, there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary. . . . [U.S. Statutes at Large, 16:40.] 77. Instructions to the Board of Indian Commissioners 1869 Both President Grant and his commissioner of Indian affairs, Ely S. Parker...


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