restricted access 94. Indian Commissioner Price on Cooperation with Religious Societies., October 10, 1882
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156 94. Indian Commissioner Price on Cooperation with Religious Societies Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs October 10, 1882 Indicative of the important influence of Christian sentiment on government officials was the praise of Christian educators and missionaries in the annual report of Commissioner Hiram Price in 1882. Price was a prominent Methodist layman. . . . . One very important auxiliary in transforming men from savage to civilized life is the influence brought to bear upon them through the labors of Christian men and women as educators and missionaries. This I think, has been forcibly illustrated and clearly demonstrated among the different Indian tribes by the missionary labors of the various religious societies in the last few years. Civilization is a plant of exceeding slow growth, unless supplemented by Christian teaching and influences. I am decidedly of the opinion that a liberal encouragement by the government to all religious denominations to extend their educational missionary operations among the Indians would be of immense benefit. I find that during the year there has been expended in cash by the different religious societies for regular educational and missionary purposes among the Indians the sum of $216,680, and doubtless much more which was not reported through the regular channels. This is just so much money saved to the government, which is an item of some importance, but insignificant in comparison with the healthy influences created by the men and women who have gone among the Indians, not for personal pecuniary benefit, but for the higher and nobler purpose of helping these untutored and uncivilized people to a higher plane of existence. In no other manner and by no other means, in my judgment, can our Indian population be so speedily and permanently reclaimed from the barbarism, idolatry, and savage life, as by the educational and missionary operations of the Christian people of our country. This kind of teaching will educate them to be sober, industrious, self-reliant, and to respect the rights of others; and my deliberate opinion is, that it is not only the interest but the duty of the government to aid and encourage these efforts in the most liberal manner. No money spent for the civilization of the Indian will return a better dividend than that spent in this way. In urging this point I do not wish to be understood as claiming that all the good people are inside the churches and all the bad ones outside; but a little observation, I think, will convince any one that a very large proportion of those who sacrifice time and money for the good of others is found inside of some Christian organization. If we expect to stop sun dances, snake worship, and other debasing forms of superstition and idolatry among Indians, we must teach them some better way. This, with liberal appropriations by the government for the establishment of industrial schools, where the thousands of Indian children now roaming wild shall be taught to speak the English language and earn their own living, will accomplish what is so much desired, to wit, the conversion of the wild roving Indian into an industrious, peaceable, and law-abiding citizen. . . . [House Executive Document no. 1, 47th Cong., 2d sess., serial 2100, pp. 3–4.] 95. Report on the Mission Indians of California Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs October 10, 1883 The pitiable condition of the Mission Indians in California was called to public attention by a report submitted in 1883 by Helen Hunt Jackson and Abbot Kinney. Commissioner Hiram Price provided a succinct summary of their findings and recommendations in his annual report of 1883. The plight of the Indians was further dramatized in Mrs. Jackson’s novel Ramona (1884). ...


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