restricted access 91. Standing Bear v. CrookMay12, 1879
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150 . . . . The preservation of order is as necessary to the promotion of civilization as is the enactment of wise laws. Both are essential to the peace and happiness of any people. As a means of preserving order upon an Indian reservation, an Indian police has been found to be of prime importance. I have recommended an additional outlay of money to enable the government to extend the usefulness of a police system now in its infancy with us. In Canada, the entire body of Indians are kept inorderbysuchforce.Inthiscountry,asfaras it has been tried, it works admirably. I would recommend that the force be composed of Indians, properly officered and drilled by white men, and where capable Indians can be found, that they be promoted to command, as reward for faithful service. The Army has used Indians for scouts with great success, and wherever employed the Indian has been found faithful to the trust confided to him. I would also recommend that the police force be supplied with a uniform similar to the style of clothing which I shall hereafter suggest to be furnished for all Indians, with the addition of a few brass buttons by way of distinction. The employment of such a force, properly of- ficered and handled, would, in great measure, relieve the Army from doing police duty on Indian reservations. I am thoroughly satisfied that the saving in life and property by the employment of such a force would be very large, and that it would materially aid in placing the entire Indian population of the country on the road to civilization. . . . [House Executive Document no. 1, 45th Cong., 2d sess., serial 1800, pp. 398–99.] 91. Standing Bear v. Crook May 12, 1879 In 1877 the United States government forced members of the Ponca tribe to move to the Indian Territory from their reservation in Dakota, which had inadvertently been assigned also to the Sioux. One group of Poncas, led by Standing Bear, unable to endure their new condition, fled back to their old homeland. When arrested by General George Crook, Standing Bear sought a writ of habeas corpus for his release. The case in the United States Circuit Court, District of Nebraska, was heard by Judge Elmer S. Dundy, who decided in the Indians’ favor. DUNDY, District Judge. During the fifteen years in which I have been engaged in administering the laws of my country, I have never been called upon to hear or decide a case that appealed so strongly to my sympathy as the one now under consideration. On the one side, we have a few of the remnants of a once numerous and powerful, but now weak, insignificant, unlettered, and generally despised race; on the other, we have the representative of one of the most powerful, most enlightened, and most Christianized nations of modern times. On the one side, we have the representatives of this wasted race coming into this national tribunal of ours, asking for justice and liberty to enable them to adopt our boasted civilization, and to pursue the arts of peace, which have made us great and happy as a nation; on the other side, we have this magnificent, if not magnanimous, government, resisting this application with the determination of sending these people back to the country which is to them less desirable than perpetual imprisonment in their own native land. But I think it is creditable to the heart and mind of the brave and distinguished officer who is made respondent herein to say that he has no sort of sympathy in the business in which he is forced by his position to bear a part so conspicuous; and, so far as I am individually concerned, I think it is not improper to say that, if the strongest possible sympathy could give the relators title to freedom, they would have been restored to liberty the moment the arguments in their behalf were closed. No examination or further thought would then have been necessary or expedient. But in a country where liberty is regulated by law, something more satisfactory and enduring than mere sympathy must furnish and constitute the rule and basis of judicial action. It follows that this case must be examined and decided on principles of law, and that unless the relators are entitled to 151 their discharge under the constitution or laws of the United States, or some treaty made pursuant thereto, they must be remanded to the custody...