89. Indian Commissioner Smith on Principles of Indian Policy Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, October 30, 1876
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146 antelope, deer, and large game are rapidly disappearing, and that they must raise cattle and sheep, or starve. This, in my judgment, is the proper direction in which to turn their attention , and an excellent beginning has been made with the tribes in New Mexico, and more recently with the Kioways and Comanches , near Fort Sill. This has been done by the influence of the Army stationed in their midst, who are, in my opinion, now and have always been the best friends the Indians have had. The idea which prevails with some, that the Army wants war with the Indians, is not true. Such wars bring exposure, toil, risk, and privations, with no honor. Therefore , it (the Army) naturally wants peace, and very often has prevented wars by its mere presence; and if intrusted with the exclusive management and control of the annuities and supplies, as well as force, I think Indian wars will cease, and the habits of the Indians will be gradually molded into a most necessary and useful branch of industry—the rearing of sheep, cattle, horses, &c. In some localities they may possibly be made farmers. The present laws bearing on this Indian problem were wise in their day, but the extension of States and Territories, with their governments, over the whole domain of the United States, has entirely changed the condition of facts; and I think you will find that these will need revision and change. I do not profess to know anything of the practical workings of the Indian Bureau as now organized; but if transferred to the War Department, I suppose it will be made subject to such changes as the Secretary of War may recommend. If, as I conceive, the present military machinery already in existence be used, viz, the commanding generals of departments be made supervisors of Indian affairs in their commands, and commanding officers of posts be constituted “agents,” the Bureau will need a military head, resident in the War Department. [House Report no. 354, 44th Cong., 1st sess., serial 1709, p. 9.] 89. Indian Commissioner Smith on Principles of Indian Policy Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs October 30, 1876 Commissioner John Q. Smith, in his annual report of 1876, discussed three principles which he believed essential for the welfare and progress of the Indians. Although the first (concentration of all Indians on a few reservations) was later abandoned, the other two (allotment of land in severalty and extension of United States law over the Indians) became established parts of federal Indian policy. . . . . In considering whether modifications of existing methods may not be desirable , I have arrived at the conviction that the welfare and progress of the Indians require the adoption of three principles of policy: First. Concentration of all Indians on a few reservations. Second. Allotment to them of lands in severalty. Third. Extension over them of United States law and the jurisdiction of United States courts. consolidation of reservations. The reservations upon which, in my opinion , the Indians should be consolidated, are the Indian Territory, the White Earth reservation in Northern Minnesota, and a reservation in the southern part of Washington Territory , probably the Yakama reservation. If it should be found impracticable to remove the Indians of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, to the Indian Territory, they might be concentrated on some suitable reservation either in Colorado or Arizona. I am well aware that it will take a long time, much patient effort, and considerable expense, to effect this proposed consolidation ; but after consulting with many gentlemen thoroughly acquainted with Indian questions and Indian character, I am satisfied that the undertaking can be accomplished. If legislation were secured giving the President 147 authority to remove any tribe or band, or any portion of a tribe or band, whenever in his judgment it was practicable, to any one of the reservations named, and if Congress would appropriate, from year to year, a sum sufficient to enable him to take advantage of every favorable opportunity to make such removals, I am confident that a few years’ trial would conclusively demonstrate the entire feasibility of the plan. I believe that all the Indians in Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota, and a part at least of those in Wyoming and Montana, could be induced to remove to the Indian Territory. There is also ground for the belief that the Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico Indians, and a part if not...


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