85. Assignment of Indian Agencies to Religious Societies: Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, November 1, 1872
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140 The freedom of expansion which is working these results is to us of incalculable value. To the Indian it is of incalculable cost. Every year’s advance of our frontier takes in a territory as large as some of the kingdoms of Europe. We are richer by hundreds of millions ; the Indian is poorer by a large part of the little that he has. This growth is bringing imperial greatness to the nation; to the Indian it brings wretchedness, destitution, beggary. Surely there is obligation found in considerations like these, requiring us in some way, and in the best way, to make good to these original owners of the soil the loss by which we so greatly gain. Can any principle of national morality be clearer than that, when the expansion and development of a civilized race involve the rapid destruction of the only means of subsistence possessed by the members of a less fortunate race, the higher is bound as a simple right to provide for the lower some substitute for the means of subsistence which it has destroyed? That substitute is, of course, best realized, not by systematic gratuities of food and clothing continued beyond a present emergency, but by directing these people to new pursuits which shall be consistent with the progress of civilization upon the continent; helping them over the first rough places on “the white man’s road,” and, meanwhile, supplying such subsistence as is absolutely necessary during the period of initiation and experiment. . . . [House Executive Document no. 1, 42d Cong., 3d sess., serial 1560, pp. 391–99.] 85. Assignment of Indian Agencies to Religious Societies Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs November 1, 1872 The apportionment of the Indian agencies among missionary societies of the several religious denominations, begun with the Quakers in 1869, was in full operation by 1872, when Commissioner of Indian Affairs Francis A. Walker included a tabulation of the agency assignments in his annual report. the indian service and the religious societies. For the year preceding the passage of the act of July 15, 1870, all superintendents of Indian affairs and Indian agents, with the exception of those for the States of Kansas and Nebraska, were officers of the Army assigned to duty under the orders of the Indian Office. In the two States named, however , the superintendents of Indian affairs and Indian agents had been for somewhat more than a year appointed by the Executive upon the recommendation of the two Societies of Friends, the appointees being in all cases recognized members of one or the other of those religious bodies, and, while duly subordinate and responsible in all official respects to the Indian Office, maintaining close correspondence with committees of their respective societies appointed for that purpose. So fortunate were the results of this system of appointment in Kansas and Nebraska considered , that when under the provisions of the 18th section of the act of July 15, 1870, it became necessary to relieve officers of the Army from this service, it was decided by the Executive that all the agencies thus vacated in the remaining States and the Territories should be filled by appointment upon the recommendation of some religious body; and to this end the agencies were, so to speak, apportioned among the prominent denominational associations of the country, or the missionary societies representing such denominational views; and these associations or societies were thereupon requested to place themselves in communication with the Department of the Interior, to make nominations to the position of agent whenever a vacancy should occur within the list of the agencies assigned them respectively, and in and through this extra-official relationship to assume charge of the intellectual and moral education of the Indians thus brought within the reach of their influence. The reason formally announced for this somewhat anomalous order of appointment was the desirableness of securing harmony between agents and mis- 141 sionaries, complaints having become general that, in the frequent change of agents, no missionary efforts could long be carried on at any specified agency without encountering, sooner or later, from some agent of different religious views or of no religious views, a degree of opposition or persecution which would necessarily extinguish such missionary enterprise and even destroy the fruits of past labors. When it is remembered that efforts of this kind must, to achieve valuable results, be continued for many years, confidence being a...


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