The Indian To-day: The Past and Future of the First American

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Page 134 - Third. To present in a just light a true history of the race, to preserve its records, and to emulate its distinguishing virtues. Fourth. To promote citizenship among Indians and to obtain the rights thereof. Fifth. To establish a legal department to investigate Indian problems, and to suggest and to obtain remedies. Sixth. To exercise the right to oppose any movement which may be detrimental to the race. Seventh. To direct its energies exclusively to general principles and universal interest, and...
Page 140 - ... scarcely ever went outside of the agency enclosure, and issued their pills and compounds after the most casual inquiry. As late as 1890, when the government sent me out as physician to ten thousand Ogallalla Sioux and Northern Cheyennes at Pine -Ridge agency, I found my predecessor still practicing his profession through a small hole in the wall between his office and the general assembly room of the Indians. One of the first things I did was to close that hole; and I allowed no man to diagnose...
Page 148 - Here we have the root of the failure of the Indian to approach the "artistic" standard of the civilized world. It lies not in our lack of creative imagination — for in this quality we are born artists — it lies rather in our point of view. Beauty, in our eyes, is always fresh and living, even as God, the Great Mystery, dresses the world anew at each season of the year. THE MIRACLE OF THE ORDINARY We Indians have always been clear thinkers within the scope of our understanding, but cause and effect...
Page 150 - I once showed a party of Sioux chiefs the sights of Washington, and endeavored to impress them with the wonderful achievements of civilization. After visiting the Capitol and other famous buildings, we passed through the Corcoran Art Gallery, where I tried to explain how the white man valued this or that painting as a work of genius and a masterpiece of art. "Ah!" exclaimed an old man, "such is the strange philosophy of the white man! He hews down the forest that has stood for centuries in its pride...
Page 150 - ... necks. But, strange to say, they seldom make free use of flowers. I once asked the reason for this. "Why," said one, "the flowers are for our souls to enjoy; not for our bodies to wear. Leave them alone and they will live out their lives and reproduce themselves as the Great Gardener intended. He planted them; we must not pluck them, for it would be selfish to do so.
Page 148 - ... element. Thus we see no need for the setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, since to us all days belong to God. THE APPRECIATION OF BEAUTY In the appreciation of beauty, which is closely akin to religious feeling, the American Indian stands alone. In accord with our nature and beliefs, we do not pretend to imitate the inimitable, or to reproduce exactly the work of the Great Artist. That which is beautiful must not be trafficked with, but must only be revered and adored. I have seen in...
Page 172 - Let us not (he continued) violate our faith, or the laws of hospitality , by imbruing our hands in the blood of those who are now in our power. They came to us in the confidence of friendship, with belts of wampum to cement a perpetual alliance with us. Let us carry them back to their own settlements; conduct them safely within their confines, and then take up the hatchet, and endeavor to exterminate the whole race of them.
Page 138 - ... vitiated at all times, but especially at night, when there was no ventilation whatever. Families of four to ten persons lived in these huts. Contrast with the squalor of existence under such conditions the free life which had been the Indian's heritage before he came in contact with the white man : Remember, these people were accustomed to the purest of air and water. The teepee was little more than a canopy to shelter them from the elements; it was pitched every few days upon new, clean ground....
Page 136 - Indian had to undergo tremendous and abrupt changes in his mode of living. He suffered severely from an indoor and sedentary life, too much artificial heat, too much clothing, impure air, limited space, indigestible food — indigestible because he did not know how to prepare it, and in itself poor food for him. He was compelled often to eat diseased cattle, moldy flour, rancid bacon, with which he drank large quantities of strong coffee.
Page 135 - The death rate from tuberculosis is almost three times that among the whites. These are grave facts, and cause deep anxiety to the intelligent Indian and to the friends of the race. Some hold pessimistic views looking to its early extinction; but these are not warranted by the outlook for, in spite of the conditions named, the last three censuses show a slight but continuous increase in the total number of Indians, nor is this increase among mixed-bloods alone; the full-blooded Indians are also increasing...

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