Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/27

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THE INDIAN RESERVATION

FIFTY years of the American Indian's story lies in the Indian Reservation. Year by year the story comes first-hand in the reports of each reservation agent to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; the Honorable Commissioner presents a review of the reports, with his comments and recommendations, to the Secretary of the Interior; and the Honorable Secretary embodies a brief of it in his annual report to the President. Then there are the Indian treaties (so-called, Heaven knows why), a whole bookful of them, with Uncle Sam as party of the first part, and Uncle Sam as absolute custodian of the party of the second part; and Executive Orders, in which the signature of the President makes and unmakes Indian country without the troublesome formality of consulting the Indians. And, too, when the Indian thinks his right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" extends beyond the confines of his reservation into his old hunting-grounds, the story shifts to the War Department, and Generals, Colonels, and Majors take a hand at the record.

So the Indian story threads its way through the various public documents, from eighteen hundred

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