restricted access 118. Report of the Dawes Commission, November 20, 1894
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189 nation, tribe or band, in pursuance of the authority hereby conferred, report the same to the Secretary of the Interior for submission to Congress for its consideration and ratification. For the purpose aforesaid there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury of the United States, the sum of fifty thousand dollars, to be immediately available. Neither the provisions of this section nor the negotiations or agreements which may be had or made thereunder shall be held in any way to waive or impair any right of sovereignty which the Government of the United States has over or respecting said Indian Territory or the people thereof, or any other right of the Government relating to said Territory, its lands, or the people thereof. [U.S. Statutes at Large, 27:645–46.] 118. Report of the Dawes Commission November 20, 1894 The Dawes Commission met little support for its work among the Five Civilized Tribes. Its report of 1894 contained severe criticism of conditions in the Indian Territory and expressed the views and attitudes of those who wished to destroy the national existence of the Five Civilized Tribes. . . . . The barrier opposed at all times by those in authority in the tribes, and assuming to speak for them as to any change in existing conditions, is what they claim to be “the treaty situation.” They mean by this term that the United States is under treaty obligations not to interfere in their internal policy, but has guaranteed to them selfgovernment and absolute exclusion of white citizens from any abode among them; that the United States is bound to isolate them absolutely. It can not be doubted that this was substantially the original governing idea in establishing the Five Tribes in the Indian Territory, more or less clearly expressed in the treaties, which are the basis of whatever title and authority they at present have in the possession of that Territory, over which they now claim this exclusive jurisdiction. To that end the United States, in different treaties and patents executed in pursuance of such treaties, conveyed to the several tribes the country originally known as the “Indian Territory ,” of which their present possessions are a part only, and agreed to the establishment by them therein of governments of their own. The United States also agreed to exclude all white persons from their borders. These treaties, however, embraced stipulations equally clear, that these tribes were to hold this territory for the use and enjoyment of all Indians belonging to their respective tribes, so that every Indian, as is expressed in some of the treaties, “shall have an equal right with every other Indian in each and every portion of the territory,” and the further stipulation that their laws should not conflict with the Constitution of the United States. These were executory provisions to be observed in the future by both sides. Without regard to any observance of them on their part, the Indians claim that these treaties are irrevocably binding on the United States. These stipulations naturally grew out of the situation of the country at the time they were made, and of the character of the Indians with whom they were made. The present growth of the country and its present relations to this territory were not thought of or even dreamed of by either party when they entered into these stipulations. These Indians were then at a considerably advanced stage of civilization, and were thought capable of selfgovernment , in conformity with the spirit if not the forms of the National Government, within whose limits they were to remain. It was not altogether unreasonable, therefore, to conclude that it would be possible, as it was by them desirable, that these Indians could have set apart to them a tract of country so far remote from white civilization and so isolated that they could work out the problem of their own preservation under a government of their own, and that not only with safety to the Union but with altogether desirable results to themselves. For quite a number of years after the institution of this project it seemed successful, and 190 the Indians under it made favorable advance toward its realization. But within the last few years all the conditions under which it was inaugurated have undergone so complete a change that it has become no longer possible . It is hardly necessary to call attention to the contrast between the present conditions surrounding this Territory and those under...