Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/17

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who so largely constituted the ragged, cutting edge of our civilization,—a profitless harrowing of the sensibilities, unless one delights in instances of uncontrolled depravity. It is with the Indian coming into his rights as a man through the fundamental art of agriculture,—how his rights in the real ownership of land have been conserved, and how violated, under regularly constituted authority; and especially with the acts of that prime arbiter of the Indian's destiny, the United States Congress, that these narratives have to do.

With the final placing of the Indians upon reservations thirty, forty, and fifty years ago the Government found itself, for the first time in its history, in full control of the Indian situation—and, consequently, for the first time with full responsibility for the Indian's care and civilization. The Indian's game—his livelihood—had disappeared before the advancing white man. He was subdued, generally friendly, and in a mood as receptive as the Indian mind is capable of. To turn him from the responsibilities of the tribal life to the first responsibilities of the civilized life was clearly to turn him from the pursuit of game for a living to the pursuit of agriculture for a living. That was the way involving the least abrupt transition; from the buffalo and the deer to stock-raising, from the gathering of roots and berries to the gathering of vegetables; and with this, education and Christian teaching. None but the very