restricted access 92. Secretary of the Interior Schurz on Reservation Policy: Extract from the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, November 1, 1880
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152 the relators, under color of authority of the United States, and in violation of the laws thereof. 3. That no rightful authority exists for removing by force any of the relators to the Indian Territory, as the respondent has been directed to do. 4. That the Indians possess the inherent right of expatriation, as well as the more fortunate white race, and have the inalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” so long as they obey the laws and do not trespass on forbidden ground. And, 5. Being restrained of liberty under color of authority of the United States, and in violation of the laws thereof, the relators must be discharged from custody, and it is so ordered. [25 Federal Cases, 695, 697, 700–701.] 92. Secretary of the Interior Schurz on Reservation Policy Extract from the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior November 1, 1880 Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz took a strong interest in Indian affairs. He made it his business to eliminate corruption and abuses within the Indian Office, but he also vigorously promoted elements of Indian policy. In his annual report for 1880, he indicated a reversal of the policy of removing Indians from their homelands in order to concentrate them on a few large reservations. He also argued in favor of allotting reservation lands in severalty to individual Indians. . . . When I took charge of this department the opinion seemed to be generally prevailing that it were best for the Indians to be gathered together upon a few large reservations where they could be kept out of contact with the white population, and where their peaceful and orderly conduct might be enforced by a few strong military posts. It was, perhaps, natural that, with limited knowledge of the character and needs of the Indians, and no experience in their management, I should at first accept that opinion, for the very reason that it was entertained by many who might have been regarded as competent authorities upon the subject. This view had already been acted upon to some extent before this administration came into office. It involved the removal of Indian tribes and bands from the lands they occupied, with their consent freely or reluctantly and doubtfully given, and in some cases the breaking up of beginnings of civilized occupations in their old homes. It was believed that this policy would be apt to keep the Indians out of hostile collision with their white neighbors, and in exclusive and congenial contact with their own kind, and thus prevent disturbances on the part of the Indians themselves and encroachments by the whites. Some measures of this nature had been carried out, and others were, indeed, not initiated, but executed during the early part of this administration. I refer especially to the removal to the Indian Territory of the Pawnees, of the Northern Cheyennes, and the Poncas, which I have found good reason very much to regret. More extensive observation and study of the matter gradually convinced me that this was a mistaken policy; that it would be vastly better for the Indians and more in accordance with justice as well as wise expediency to respect their home attachments, to leave them upon the lands they occupied, provided such lands were capable of yielding them a sustenance by agriculture or pastoral pursuits , and to begin and follow up the practice of introducing among them the habits and occupations of civilized life on the ground they inhabited. It became also clear to me that the maintenance of the system of large reservations against the pressure of white immigration and settlement would in the course of time become impracticable. The policy of changing, shifting, and consolidating reservations for the purpose above stated was therefore abandoned, except in cases where the lands held by the Indians were not capable of useful development, and other lands better adapted to their advancement could be assigned to them. 153 The policy which, during the larger part of this administrative period, was pursued as a fixed line of conduct is the following: to respect such rights as the Indians have in the land they occupy; to make changes only where such lands were found to be unsuitable for agriculture and herding; to acquaint the Indians with the requirements of civilized life by education; to introduce among them various kinds of work, by practical impulse and instruction; gradually to inspire them with a sense of responsibility through the...


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