77. Instructions to the Board of Indian Commissioners1869
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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, sent instructions to the members of the Board of Indian Commissioners, appointed in 1869. The board was given broad responsibilities to investigate Indian affairs and to advise the commissioner of Indian affairs and the secretary of the interior. Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, Washington, May 26, 1869. Gentlemen: You have been solicited by the President, under the provision of the fourth section of the act of Congress, approved April 10, 1869, entitled “An act making appropriation for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department,” &c., for the year ending June 30, 1870, for the purpose of enabling the President to exercise the power conferred by said act, and being authorized by the same to exercise, under the direction of the President, joint control with the Secretary of the Interior over the disbursement of the appropriations made by said act, or any part thereof that the President may designate , and having been convened in the city for the purpose of organizing for the execution of your duties, and believing that, in common with the President and other officers of the government, you desire the humanization, civilization, and Christianization of the Indians , I very respectfully, after consultation with the honorable Secretary of the Interior, submit the following questions, which, with a view to proper and intelligent action in the future relation of the government with the Indians, I deem it important should receive your early consideration and suggestion, viz: A determination or settlement of what should be the legal status of the Indians; a definition of their rights and obligations under the laws of the United States, of the States and Territories and treaty stipulations; whether any more treaties shall be stipulated with the Indians , and if not, what legislation is necessary for those with whom there are existing treaty stipulations, and what for those with whom no such stipulations exist; should the Indians be placed upon reservations, and what is the best method to accomplish this object; should not legislation discriminate between the civilized and localized Indians, and the united roving tribes of the plains and mountains; what changes are necessary in existing laws relating to purchasing goods and provisions for the Indians, in order to prevent fraud, &c.; should any change be made in the method of paying the money annuities; and if so, what. Great mischief, evils, and frequently serious results follow from friendly Indians leaving the reservation, producing conflicts between the citizens, soldiers, and Indians. At what time and point shall the civil rule cease and the military begin? Is any change required in the intercourse laws by reason of the present and changed condition of the country? I respectfully suggest that inspection should be made by your commission of as many Indian tribes, especially the wild and roving ones, as the time of the honorable commissioners will permit, and their conditions and wants be reported on, with any suggestions that each case may seem to require. Also, the accounts of superintendents and agents should be examined , and the efficiency or inefficiency of those officers should be reported upon. All suggestions, recommendations, and reports from the commission should be made to the honorable Secretary of the Interior, to be by him submitted, when necessary, to the President and Congress. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, E. S. PARKER, Commissioner. Addressed to Hon. Wm. Welsh, John V. Farwell , George H. Stuart, Robert Campbell, 127 Wm. E. Dodge, E. S. Tobey, Felix R. Brunot, Nathan Bishop, Henry S. Lane. Executive Mansion Washington, D.C., June 3, 1869. A commission of citizens having been appointed , under the authority of law, to cooperate with the administrative departments in the management of Indian affairs, consisting of Wm. Welsh, of Philadelphia; John V. Farwell, Chicago; George H. Stuart, Philadelphia ; Robert Campbell, St. Louis; W. E. Dodge, New York; E. S. Tobey, Boston; Felix R. Brunot, Pittsburg; Nathan Bishop, New York; and Henry S. Lane, Indiana—the following regulations will, till further directions , control the action of said commission and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in matters coming under their joint...


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