Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/25

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


now show a belated eagerness to square ourselves with these Indians by allotting to them their choice of land from the poor remnants which have been left to them after the many choosings of the white man,—a pathetic spectacle, this granting Indians the choice of land on which no well-equipped white man could make a living. This portion of our great obligation is beyond redemption.

When we hear of dark injustice among the natives of Africa, or in Russia's Siberian wastes, we turn in horror from the oppressed to vent indignation upon the oppressor. But when the tale of our own Poor Lo is told, we lift our eyes to Heaven—not being so well able to see ourselves as to see others—and murmur, reverently, "'T is the Survival of the Fittest!" Those who think lightly are wont to exclaim, impatiently, that the Indian's story is a closed book. It is—nearly so; but the book of history is never closed, except by those who think lightly.

Ugly facts never stood out more plainly. In this Indian business Congress has persistently betrayed the nation's ideals at the behest of a small fraction of the people; the Rosebud land scandal of 1904 (told in the chapter, "Uncle Sam, Trustee") shows that it can be led as easily now as ever before. If in our self-satisfied conceit we think that other businesses have not led, and are not now leading, Congress to other betrayals of public trust, we, too, may as well say that history can tell us nothing, and close the book.