Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/99

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Must we forever blind our eyes to such teachings of experience and fact, and indulge in the pleasing hypothesis that we can effect radical changes in their political and social economy? Enthusiasts will point to a few individual exceptions, who have, as it were, got rid of their Indian nature and elevated themselves to a higher sphere in the mental, social and political scales; but these exceptions are very few, and only serve to establish the rule that the leopard cannot change his spots, nor an Ethiopian his skin. The Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws, are pointed out as triumphal examples of what the white man's instructions and precepts will do for the Indian races. But in what essential particulars have they demonstrated this wonderful improvement? It is true that many of them know how to read, write and compute; that they assume, to some extent, the vestments of the whites; that they have learned how to construct a better class of houses, and have improved their physical condition in other respects; but is this true of the majority? Have they not adopted, to the fullest extent, all the vices of the whites, while acquiring some of their minor virtues? If left to themselves, would they continue to advance and progress in wisdom and virtue, or would they retrograde into barbarism? Are not such changes and improvements as have taken place among them more attributable to the large admixture of white blood visible in these tribes, than to any other cause? How many of pure Indian blood are now to be found among them? Are not those people rapidly dwindling away, and will they not soon be among the things that were? Have their numbers increased, or have they become strong? Do they love us with any deeper affection, or do they show gratitude for their civilization?

But, says the Christian philanthropist, it is our duty to