100. Elk v. Wilkins, November 3, 1884
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165 forced out into the current of ordinary life; that to make him a citizen is the solution of the Indian problem. Yet the resolutions express with equal strength the conviction that Indians should not be at once made citizens in a mass. The preparation for citizenship should be general, vigorous, and immediate. The Indian is to be prepared for citizenship by giving him his land in severalty in the manner provided for by the Coke Bill, by larger appropriations for Indian education and the careful use of such appropriations in the establishment and support of schools, industrial and otherwise, and by the education of the race in the broadest and largest sense of the word. By adequate provision for the administration of law among the Indians, and by giving the Indian the right to sue. By Christian teaching and the establishing and support of churches. By the gradual reduction of rations given to Indians, the systematic instruction in farming , and the encouragement in self-support. By the appointment and support of agents of ability and integrity, uninfluenced by political preference, the only standard being that of individual fitness. By proper provision for the immediate admission to citizenship of such Indians as are fitted for its duties and responsibilities. These are substantially the recommendations which the Conference respectfully urges upon Congress and the people of the United States, as the just, obvious, and practical answer to the Indian question. [Second Annual Address to the Public of the Lake Mohonk Conference (Philadelphia: Indian Rights Association, 1884), pp. 3–4, 6–7, 13– 16, 20–22.] 100. Elk v. Wilkins November 3, 1884 John Elk, an Indian who had voluntarily separated himself from his tribe and taken up residence among the whites, was denied the right to vote in Omaha, Nebraska, on the ground that he was not a citizen. The Supreme Court considered the question of whether Elk had been made a citizen by the Fourteenth Amendment and decided against him. . . . . The plaintiff, in support of his action , relies on the first clause of the first section of the Fourteenth Article of Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, by which “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside;” and on the Fifteenth Article of Amendment, which provides that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” . . . The petition, while it does not show of what Indian tribe the plaintiff was a member, yet, by the allegations that he “is an Indian, and was born within the United States,” and that “he had severed his tribal relation to the Indian tribes,” clearly implies that he was born a member of one of the Indian tribes within the limits of the United States, which still exists and is recognized as a tribe by the government of the United States. Though the plaintiff alleges that he “had fully and completely surrendered himself to the jurisdiction of the United Sates,” he does not allege that the United States accepted his surrender , or that he has ever been naturalized, or taxed, or in any way recognized or treated as a citizen, by the State or by the United States. Nor is it contended by his counsel that there is any statute or treaty that makes him a citizen. The question then is, whether an Indian, born a member of one of the Indian tribes within the United States, is, merely by reason of his birth within the United States, and of his afterwards voluntarily separating himself from his tribe and taking up his residence among white citizens, a citizen of the United States, within the meaning of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution . . . . Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States, members of, and owing 166 immediate allegiance to, one of the Indian tribes (an alien, though dependent, power), although in a geographical sense born in the United States, are no more “born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” within the meaning of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, than the children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children born within the United States, of ambassadors or...