Colonel William Penn Adair
Few, if any, of the institutions of the old Indian Territory reflected greater credit upon its people than the Indian International Fair, which held its annual exhibitions at Muskogee during the seventies and early eighties. In addition to representative and praiseworthy displays of the arts and crafts and productions of the people of the Five Civilized Tribes, there were programs of sports and speeches and music, thus making these notable events of great educational and recreational value to the people of Indian Territory of that period. At the fifth annual fair, held in Muskogee during the first week in October, 1878, Colonel William Penn Adair was invited to address the Indian International Agricultural Society. Colonel Adair was one of the most noted citizens of the Cherokee Nation at that time. He had been a soldier, was a shrewd lawyer and was generally regarded as a leader among his people. He was the officially recognized delegate of the Cherokee Nation much of the time during the last fifteen years of his life, which ended two or three years after this incident. His address, reviewing the history of the people of the Five Civilized Tribes and describing the conditions then existing among them, was published in the Indian Journal, at Eufaula, in its issues of October 9th and 16th, 1878, from the file of which it is reproduced for the readers of Chronicles of Oklahoma. Colonel Adair’s address follows.—EDITOR.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are Indians and to people not acquainted with our true capacity and condition, the idea of our having such a fair is at least novel if not incredible to very many of the white race. As a general rule the white people, especially those not well informed and at a remote distance from us, are apt to class all Indians alike; and with the Indian they generally associate the tomahawk and scalping knife with a ruthless disposition—regardless of his situation; while upon the same general principles I am sorry to say our wild brethren of the plains and mountains who have but little acquaintance with the whites class them—the whites all the same—seeking some Indian to kill or to cheat. But these prejudices, whether on the part of the white or the red man, are wrong, and the sooner the delusion is dispelled the better it will be for both races. As before stated, I am aware that a large portion of the people of the United States believe that the Indians are all savage barbarians and are, indeed, incapable of becoming civilized. I shall endeavor to show that this conception of the Indian race is inconsistent with the facts relating to that race and that in passing judgment upon the Indians the same criterion should be observed, applicable to the white race. To do this, I will have to beg your indulgence while I make a brief reference to the history of the Indian. Many of the wisest men that ever lived have puzzled their brains in vain to discover how and when the Indian first peopled this American continent and whether this continent was settled by the Indians before the rest of the globe was occupied by the balance of the human family or whether the Indian sprang from the same source that gave birth to the balance of mankind These are abstract questions that historians, philosophers and scientists, in my opinion, will dream over fruitlessly until Gabriel shall have sounded his trumpet at which time, and not before, doubtless they will be solved. As regards us Indians, I think we should content ourselves on these subjects, like Christians, with the revelations of the Bible, the book of God. That good book has no forked tongue and our white brethren have given it to us as the greatest of all lights to guide us in the true path of civilization and knowledge and it declares that all mankind, including the Indians, had but one and the same common parentage, Adam and Eve. As to whether Adam was a white man, an Indian, or a red man, is not material to us at
this late day; although the Bible says he was a redman which is signified by his name. Nor is it important for us to know how and when we came to America, but it should satisfy all men to know that God is all-wise and is incapable of error, and exercised as much wisdom in planting the Indians on this continent as he did in locating the balance of the human family elsewhere. If we are true to our natures, and believe in the teachings of the Bible and the Christian religion, we must believe that the Indian is a man like all other men, having an immortal soul, and possessing the very same passions, the same aspirations, and the same hopes, and being responsible to the same God, as the white man. Such are the relations as I understand them as regards mankind, that God himself has ordained, and certainly no particular race, whether white or red, has any material right or power to change them, any more, than it has to change any other of the works of God.
From this Christian theory I have advanced and reviewing the past as among the dead and the future pregnant with hope for all races of men it occurs to me that the most vital question that should concern us at this time as Indians, especially on this great occasion is: What duty do we, the present generation of Indians, owe to ourselves and our posterity? The answer to this question, it seems to me, covers no debatable ground, and is, that it should be our duty to push our people forward in civilization. To this great end, it is also our duty to encourage by all means possible all the industrial and instructive acquirements that constitute civilized communities, viz.; cultivate the soil, encourage education, the arts and sciences, establish good government, provide good houses, and rear domestic stock and other necessary commodities of subsistence and commerce.
In arriving at this conclusion, it occurs to me that it does not require the vision of a prophet, as no other course is left for use to pursue, because we, at least of this Indian country, are surrounded or engulfed by states and territories of the United States and have no other country to which we may go should we lose this.
Indeed there is no other country within the confines of the United States that we could obtain, if we so desired, because all the lands of the United States have been taken up or provided by law to be occupied by citizens of the United States.
We have exchanged the bows and arrows of our ancestors for the plowshare of civilization and instead of the war song we sing now the song of the husbandman; instead of the wild game, we have substituted our own domestic live stock; and were we so disposed, we could not live by the chase because the wild game is nearly all gone, at least to the civilized Indians of this country, while another ten years will take the buffalo from our brethren of the plains and mountains.
We are pledged to the Government of the United States and its citizens for perpetual peace and we have no enemy to fight so that, instead of the tomahawk and scalping knife in our defense, we present the olive branch of peace to the white race. You will thus see that having wisely admitted that our hopes for the future depend upon peace and civilization and having armed ourselves for the common struggle in all that makes up a civilized community that it is our duty not to retrograde nor to look back as "Lot’s" wife did, but to persist in our onward march to the full fruition of true civilization. In considering the civilization of our race another question seems to be presented by the doubting "Thomases" to which I have alluded, and that is whether the Indian race is susceptible to civilization. To us there can be no sort of doubt on the question in the light of our past experience. But to that class of men who are doubtful on this subject, and whose opinions are evidently based upon ignorance and prejudice, we should address our efforts for their better information and to such I would repeat what I have already stated, that, in the beginning of time God created man after his own image, and that the Indian is a man and that God in his infinite wisdom has not made the Indian race an exception to the rest of his divine works.
The Indians are not all alike in all respects, any more than the people of Europe, Asia and Africa are the same in every particular. When the Indians within the present territorial limits of the United States were first discovered over three centuries ago, they were variously estimated in population from one to three million—embracing hundreds of different tribes and Nations, and speaking as many different languages. Also, there was as much discrepancy in the physical appearance and mental endowments of the Indians, as among the nations and people of the old world. To illustrate, I would
say that a Cherokee or Creek or Choctaw would compare to a root digger Indian of the western mountains, about like an English nobleman would compare to the most degraded Ethiopian in regard to intellect and physique. And this comparison will be sustained throughout among all the Indians of America, as it will among the people of the balance of the globe. History tells us that a very large portion of the Indians of South America, Central America and Mexico were actually civilized when discovered by the Spaniards, while a large portion of them were savages. History also tells us that many of the Indians embraced originally in the territorial limits of the United States were, when first discovered, civilized; being tillers of the soil, and having regular governments with national metes and bounds, while many of these Indians were termed barbarians.
The historian of De Soto, the Spanish adventurer, that passed through the Muskogees, Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws, in 1541, states that he found these Indians tillers of the soil, living in towns and villages and cultivating large fields of corn, beans, etc., and having regular forms of government with territorial limits, and that the Muskogees had a walled city where the city of Mobile now stands, such as was found among the civilized Indians of South America, Central America and Mexico. De Soto had 600 armed and mounted men with him on his tour and in his "swing around the circle" after passing through the Creeks, Seminoles, Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws, he crossed the Mississippi River and went west to the Rocky Mountains, and thence southeast to the mouth of the Red River and died. This you will bear in mind was in 1541, 337 years ago. I mean no invidious comparison when I vindicate the truth of history by saying that at that time De Soto contradistinguished the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Delawares, Shawnees, etc., that bordered on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast from the Indians of the Plains by denominating the first names Indians who had fixed habitations and government as civilized; while he reckoned the Indians of the Plains as the Arabs of America whose mode of life in wandering over the plains after the buffalo without any fixed habitation as similar try that of the Arabs that wander to and fro over the deserts of the old world. The first record that we have show-
ing that any of these Indians came in possession of live or domestic stock was in 1541, at which time the Cherokees and Chickasaws in a terrible battle whipped De Soto and captured, so his historian says, about half (or 300) of his horses and it is but reasonable to suppose in view of the fondness of Indians for horses that this beginning afforded ample facilities from which, at least thereafter, the Cherokees and Chickasaws raised their own horses, but there is every reason to believe that our civilized Indians at a very early date acquired the habits and property of their discoverers, for they were an enterprising people.
History tells us that at an early day the Spaniards engaged in the slave trade on this continent and in so doing kidnapped hundreds and thousands of the Indians from the Atlantic and Gulf Coast to work their mines in the West India Islands. It is also stated that our civilized Indians embarked to a considerable degree in the same unholy cause so that they traded to the Spaniards their captives taken in war and obtained in exchange other property including live stock and doubtless in the course of time purchased colored slaves as such were introduced into the country in 1620.
This slave traffic became so lucrative that the Cherokees and Creeks, being more enterprising than the rest, began to kidnap each other’s citizens into slavery to the Spaniards and were about to go to war on account of the affair when the proprietary government of Carolina, about the year 1650, interfered and by negotiations established peace among them. In these negotiations the slave trade was abolished and the protection of the property including live stock and homes of these Indians was emphatically provided for which shows that at that early day they lived like other civilized people and owned personal as well as real estate property like the whites. I mention these facts merely to show that the Seminoles, Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Delawares and Shawnees, when first discovered, were at least as much civilized as the Spaniards and I might add in this connection that as regards the matter of slavery these Indians have since the late war of the rebellion proved themselves to be more civilized than the people of the United States because, owning as they did at the beginning of the war some 20,000 slaves, they, by their treaty of 1866, voluntarily emancipated
their slaves and made them a part of their citizen population with an interest in their lands and public funds, especially the school funds, which is far more than the government of the United States has done for the slaves of its citizens.
Indeed the chief of the Cherokees issued his emancipation proclamation freeing our slaves before the President of the United States issued his proclamation for the same purpose.
Recurring again to the matter of our leading nations and their capacity to adopt the civilization of the white race I need only refer you to the intercourse between these nations and the early proprietary and royal colonies that afterwards formed themselves into the present government of the United States to prove that these Indians have shown themselves capable of the white man’s civilization the histories of these colonies will show that all along during their colonial existence up to the adoption of their constitution in 1778 the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws were treated and considered as civilized people for in their numerous negotiations they were acknowledged as having regular governments and of being capable of declaring war and concluding peace and of owning the lands and villages and of owning live stock and such other personal property as the civilized colonists owned themselves.
Bartram, in his "travels" mentions that about the year 1770, he visited the Cherokees, Creeks or Muskogees, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws, and other neighboring tribes, and that at that time he found these Indians with regular forms of government and fixed theories of religion, each Nation having laws for the protection of life and property, even to the death penalty. He also alluded to their fine horses, cattle and hogs, and pronounces these Indians the finest horsemen and the best-drilled soldiers in America, and he also alludes to the Cherokee Chief, "Ah-tah-cullah-cullah," as speaking the English language with fluency and as being "renowned for his great wisdom," and further alludes to the fact that the people of these nations had considerably amalgamated with the whites, and that many of them had trading houses and mechanic shops and also spoke the English language. Soon after this period, we find that the united colonies under their articles of confederation and before the adoption of the present constitution of the United States, entered into negotiations
with the Cherokees and Muskogees and the other civilized Nations for the protection of these Indians in their person and property, including their lands, and horses, cattle, etc. In speaking further on this subject I shall confine my remarks more to my own nation, the Cherokees, than to the other nations because I know more about it than the others and what I shall say about the Cherokees will be substantially true in relation to the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, Delawares, Shawnees, etc.
As a further evidence that these nations were civilized according to the peculiarities of their autonomy and dialect, like other nations, and that they have proven themselves fully competent to adopt the civilization of the Anglo-Saxon race imported into this country, I will refer you to the historical fact that among the very first treaties made between the United States and the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws, provision was made for a fund to support their governments and for the establishment of schools among them. And in 1808, but twenty-one years after the adoption of the present constitution of the United States, the Cherokees and about the same time the Choctaws and Chickasaws, for the protection of person and property, adopted a written form of government and, in 1817, sixty-one years ago, the Cherokees adopted a written constitution and in 1827 adopted another in form and spirit like that of the United States. In 1819, the Cherokees also passed laws for the protection of missionaries among them, and to encourage their religious effort provided for national aid to such missionaries in the education of the Cherokee youths and in compelling them to attend the mission schools and to learn mechanic arts by apprenticeship. In 1825 the Cherokees established a national newspaper called the "Cherokee Phoenix." In 1824 the Cherokee Council authorized a census to be taken of the Cherokee Nation which shows the condition of the people to be that their population and condition were at that time (fifty-four years ago) as follows: Population 13,783; whites intermarried with Cherokees 215; slaves 1277; 18 free schools, 314 scholars, 36 grist mills, 13 saw mills, 762 looms, 2486 spinning wheels, 172 wagons, 2923 plows, 7683 horses, 22,531 cattle, 46,731 hogs, 2566 sheep, 480 goats, 62 blacksmith shops, 9 stores, 2 tan yards, 1 powder mill, etc.
From this tabular statement showing the advancement the Cherokees had made fifty-four years ago, any reasonable mind can conceive to what a state of improvement the Cherokees would soon by their own efforts have attained had they not been disturbed and broken up by the arbitrary action of the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee in extending their laws and jurisdiction over the Cherokee Nation, thus politically swallowing them up and flooding their country with a white population that soon absorbed or destroyed their property, broke up their schools and finally drove them west of the Mississippi River at the point of the bayonet, almost entirely bereft of any personal property.
In 1830, in order to alleviate as far as possible the wrongs of our Indian Nations, and to secure to them a "permanent home" where such aggressions as had been perpetrated upon them by states east of the Mississippi River could not be repeated, the Congress of the United States passed an Act setting apart the present Indian country, which we now own and occupy, and soon afterwards our nations, the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws ceded by purchase and exchange through treaty stipulations the lands they now occupy and obtained patents to them which are now of record in the General Land office at the city of Washington. The title that our Nations hold to their lands pronounced by the oft respected utterance of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments of the Government of the United States to be as perfect as that Government could give even to its own citizens. One great embarrassment I shall allude to is that our Nations have had to retard their progress in civilization. I refer to their removal to this country. In their removal six hundred of the Seminoles were chained and handcuffed and hundreds of the Creeks were moved in chains while all the rest were emigrated by military force so that it has been estimated by the authorities of the United States that each of our five civilized Nations, the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws lost in their emigration by death, caused by privation and suffering, one-third of their entire population. Besides this loss, millions of dollars worth of personal property was taken or destroyed east of the Mississippi River for which no remuneration has been given though provided for by our treaties.
Furthermore, this country was a wild wilderness at the time our Nations occupied it and our people had to improve new homes and open farms with the loss of nearly all the personal property (or its value) realized by their former labors.
In 1839 another written constitution, republican in form like that of the United States, was adopted by the people of the Cherokee Nation and their National Council soon afterwards enacted a code of written laws for the protection of person and property; and twenty-two years after their removal at the beginning of the late Rebellion, the people of the Cherokee Nation were among the most wealthy and prosperous people, according to population, on the Globe. At that time the people of the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations must have owned some twenty thousand slaves and cultivated large fields of corn, wheat, tobacco, cotton, rice, etc., while it was common for heads of families to mark and brand six hundred calves each year.
These people each year sold to the neighboring states and shipped to California, St. Louis, Chicago and New York thousands of beef cattle. I think that it would not be exaggerating to say that the Cherokees alone owned, at the beginning of the late Rebellion, 4,000 Slaves, 200,000 cattle, 1,200,000 hogs, 25,000 horses, and other personal property in proportion and that the same estimate will apply to the other civilized Indian Nations I have named. Also at the beginning of the Rebellion, the educational advantages of our Nation far exceeded those of the adjoining states at no expense whatever to the Government of the United States. At that time the Cherokees had some forty common schools and two high schools or seminaries, one male and one female, while our other Nations were comparatively in like circumstances so that a liberal education was within the reach of every Indian youth in the whole country at no expense to the United States.
But the War of the Rebellion cast still another cloud of darkness over our general prosperity and progress in civilization. Unfortunately for us, our common country was a battle field for both the Union and the Confederate Armies; and our people by military necessity were forced to take the one or the other side in the conflict between the United States and the Confederate States. It was as you all know impossi-
ble to observe neutrality in this contest. During the four years of the war the contending armies, directly and indirectly, plundered our country and what one army did not take the other did so that between their depredations and the general effect of the war, the Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles lost all their property of every description and had their houses destroyed or so wrecked as to render them of little value. For these depredations, our people as you know have never received any remuneration. A remarkable circumstance connected with the loss of the Cherokees is that the war destroyed about one-half of their people for at the beginning of the war they had a population of about 25,000, whereas at the close of the Rebellion, their census rolls showed their population to be only 13,000. From the same cause a great decrease in population also resulted to the Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws. But on the establishment of peace, twelve years ago, our people began to return to their homes and thousands of them on account of their extreme destitution were unable to return without assistance and very few returned with any household property, farming implements or live stock of any kind. As regards my own people, the Cherokees, I can say with truth that at least one-half of them had no animals or plows or farming implements of any kind with which to cultivate the soil. These had to cultivate their little patches with sharpened sticks and such animals and plows and hoes as their more fortunate neighbors could loan them, and I have known on solitary plow and horse to pass from house to house, over large settlements under loan for a whole season during the first two years that succeeded the war.
But providence seems to have smiled upon the efforts of our people so that in three years after the war they began to be self sustaining by their own labor and to-day the people of all the Indian Nations and Tribes of this country are in a state of prosperity that challenges competition from the neighboring states and territories. As an illustration of what progress the people of our Indian Nations of this country had made in 1872, seven years after the war of the Rebellion, I will refer to the testimony of the U. S. Board of Indian Commissioners who visited our country in that year and who, in their report, took a comparative view of the Territories of
Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the Indian Territory.
By a tabular statement, this Board demonstrated that the Indians of this country were making far more progress in education, agriculture and in all things that constitute civilized communities than most of the territories of the United States. This statement shows that the Indians of this Territory, in 1872, had a population of 98,505 and occupied 44,154,244 acres; cultivated 204,677 acres, raised 6,739,355 bushels of grain, worth $4,663,610; owned live stock to the number of 464,465 worth $4,947,101; had 164 schools with 5,093 students; expended on schools $127,408.92 annually; owned real and personal property exclusive of public domain and invested stocks worth $16,987,618.
After making this tabular comparison, the Board proceeds to remark in setting forth the hopeful condition of the Indians of this Territory in 1872:
"It will be seen from the comparison that the Indian Territory in population, number of acres cultivated, products, wealth, valuation and school statistics is equal to any organized territory of the United States, and far ahead of most of them. It has a smaller area than any of them and a larger population than any except Utah and New Mexico. It has more acres of land under cultivation than Washington Territory, over one-third more than Utah and more than twice as many as Colorado or Montana; and the number of bushels of wheat, corn, and other farm products raised in the Indian Territory is more than six times greater than in either Utah, New Mexico or Colorado.
"In 1871, the cotton crop of the Territory was about 270,000 pounds. This year the amount is increased and that the quality of the crop is good may be inferred from the fact that specimens exhibited at the fair of the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association received three premiums, amounting respectively to $500, $250, and $100.
"Although any addition to the force of these facts will seem needless it is but just to remark that the civilized Indians of the Territory had their lands devastated and their industries paralyzed during the war of the rebellion in the same relative proportion as other parts of the South and have not fully recovered from the effects and that the report of
this year shows an additional marked increase in population, acres of land cultivated, productions and wealth.
"The partially civilized tribes, numbering about 50,000 souls, have in proportion to their population more schools and with a larger average attendance; more churches, church members and ministers and spend far more of their own money for education than the people of any Territory of the United States. Life and property are more safe among them and there are fewer violations of law than in the Territories.
"The Cherokees with a population of 15,000 have two boarding-schools and sixty day-schools (three of which are for the children of freedmen) with an average attendance of 1,948 pupils, sustained at a cost of $25,000 last year.
"The Creeks, numbering 15,000 have three missions and 2,050 church members and an average Sunday-school attendance of 464. They have one boarding school and thirty-one day schools, attended by 860 pupils at a cost of $14,259 for the past year.
"The Choctaws and Chickasaws, numbering 20,000, have three missions and 2,500 church members. They have two boarding schools and forty-eight neighborhood day-schools. Thirty-six of these are sustained by the Choctaws at a cost of $36,500; fourteen by the Chickasaws at a cost of $33,000 last year."
It should be borne in mind that this report was made six years ago and that our Indian Nations and tribes have increased in population and the material resources of wealth and prosperity since that time to an almost unparalleled degree. For instance my own nation, the Cherokees have increased in population since 1872 from fifteen to near 20,000 souls, and it is but reasonable to suppose that the other Nations and tribes have had a similar increase; besides the several Nations and tribes of this country have adopted several thousand white people as their numbers.
From information I have been able to get, I am satisfied that the Cherokees have now in successful cultivation about 175,000 acres of land and will realize at least 3,500,009 bushels of corn, wheat and other grains.
From this information I think it reasonable to conclude that from the combined labor of the Cherokees and the other thirty-five Nations and Tribes of this Territory, there will be
raised by the cultivation of the soil, this year, at least 17,500,000 bushels of grain, worth at the estimate fixed by the Board of ’Indian Commissioners in 1872 on our products, at least $10,500,000. Besides the grain referred to, the Indians of this country, especially the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creek Nations, and in the Cherokee Nation bordering on the Arkansas River, from reliable information have raised this year not less than 1,200,000 pounds of cotton. As a further evidence that our Indian tribes are capable of civilization and are in a hopeful condition, financially as in all other respects, I would state that from what reliable information I have been able to procure from the Indian office in Washington, the funds of our Tribes and Nations, now in the custody of the United States, will aggregate about $10,000,000 upon which the Government pays the Indians an annual interest that is applied for national and school purposes; and from estimates obtained from the same source, the area of lands owned by our Nations and tribes, is about 44,154,240 acres, which, at the Government price, ($1.25 per acre) would make these lands worth $55,192,800. It was estimated by the Board of Indian Commissioners in 1872 that the personal property of the Indians of this country was worth $16,987,818; and it was not unreasonable to suppose that in view of the increase of population the resources of general improvement and wealth, for the past six years among our people, that this value has enhanced at least 33 1/3 per centum, which would make the value of our personal property at this time including the improvements or residences, $25,255,424, which being added to the $10,000,000 in the custody of the Government and the $55,192,800 as the value of the lands of our Indians and the $10,500,000 as the value of our present years products, would aggregate the sum of $98,343,224 as the amount in cash that the Indians of this Territory are worth to-day, at a low estimate.
As regards the raising of live stock by our people, I would remark that it will under the most favorable circumstances be several years before we can hope to be as abundantly supplied with that as we were before the late war but it is encouraging for us to know that under the most discouraging circumstances our people by their vigilance and industry have increased their scanty herds of cattle, horses, swine, etc.,
begun since the war, to such dimensions as affords ample home supply with a handsome surplus to ship each year to foreign markets. I have already alluded to the progress our people have made in educational matters before the late war, and also since the war, and up to 1872, as attested by the Board of Indian Commissioners and do not deem it necessary to say much more on the subject. But to show that our people in this as in all other matters tending to civilization are in a progressive condition, I would state that some time during the past winter, while a delegate with Mr. D. H. Ross at Washington, he and I had occasion to examine the records of the Bureau of Education in Washington, the various educational reports from the several states and Territories of the United States and the reports on the same subject from our several civilized Indian Nations; on a comparison of these reports found that our Indian Nations, in the matter of education and school facilities excelled most of the states and territories of the Union. It also appeared from the records of the Bureau that the Cherokees in respect to education were doing ten times better than the State of Arkansas during the centennial year.
This fact ought certainly to convince the people of Arkansas and at least the other border states to which Arkansas compares favorably that Indians are capable of civilization especially when they are no expense to the Government; and have as do the Cherokees a surplus of school funds in their Treasury.
The Cherokees have some 80 common schools, two high schools and one asylum or home for their indigent, blind, deaf, dumb, etc., all of which are in a flourishing condition, so that a liberal education even in the higher branches is in reach of every Cherokee while our orphans and other unfortunates are well provided for.
Respecting the Governments our Indians of this Territory have established for themselves, I would say that I have already shown that the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws have written governments, republican in form.
Each of these Nations has printed codes of both civil and criminal law, for the protection of person and property that are not excelled by the codes of the States, and Cherokees,
Choctaws and Chickasaws have national jails and prisons for the confinement and punishment of criminals, while all have methods of punishment provided for offenders even to the death penalty.
Also the Osages who have been denominated as "blanket" Indians, and the Modocks, who are styled as "savages" I am advised have written forms of Government as also have the Caddoes, Pottawatomies, a portion of the Pawnees, Senecas, and Shawnees, Quapaws and Kaws, and Caddos and by proper encouragement all the other Tribes in the country will soon have written Governments with systems of education similar to those already established by our civilized Nations.
Concerning religion, I would state that no people on earth are more religious than the Indians of this country. All are great believers in the "Great Hereafter" and the supreme being, as also, in future rewards and punishments and not less than fifteen thousand of the Indians in this Territory have embraced the Christian faith. There are hundreds of Native ministers among us, and the sacred scriptures are translated from the English into the Indian languages, so that the great masses of our people are a Bible reading people. In the course of a few years by proper exertions, all of our Indians will have repudiated their ancient traditional notions of religion in favor of the Christian faith.
From the time our people first came in contact with the "whites" they have encouraged Christian missionaries to come and labor with them. In this regard I am confident that our people have done more to encourage religion than the people of the United States have because they have offered premiums for it by proposing land grants to such missionary societies as may locate among them. This was done by the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws under their treaties of 1866. As a further evidence of the capacity and disposition of our Indian people to civilize after the manner of the white race, I will refer to the late report of our Indian Agent, S. W. Marston, made last year to the Department in Washington. In that report our agent, be it said to his credit, showed that our Nations, and Tribes, especially the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws were all provided with good Governments, and encouraged education, the mechanic arts, agriculture, religion and all things that con-
stitute civilized communities to a degree equal to that enjoyed by the adjoining states. Respecting the Cherokees, he said
"The Cherokees are well advanced in civilization and are an intelligent, temperate and industrious people who live by the honest fruits of their labor and are ambitious to advance both as to the development of their lands and the conveniences of their homes. In their council, may be found men of learning and ability and it is doubtful if their rapid progress from a state of wild barbarism to that of civilization and enlightenment has any parallel in the history of the world. What required 500 years for the Britons to accomplish in this direction they have accomplished in 100 years. They have ample provisions for the education of all their children to a degree of advancement equal to that furnished by an ordinary college in the states. They have seventy-five common day schools kept open ten months in the year in the different settlements of the Nation. Then for the higher education of their young men and women, they have two commodious and well furnished seminaries, one for each sex, and in addition to those already mentioned they have a manual labor school and an orphan asylum. All these buildings used for school purposes are after the best style of architecture and are equipped with furniture and fixtures of the latest and best manufacture.
They have 54 stores, 22 mills, and 65 smithshops owned and conducted by their own citizens. Their constitution and laws are published in book form; and from their printing house goes forth among the people in their own language, and also in English, the Cherokee Advocate, a weekly paper, which is edited with taste and ability by native Cherokees."
Besides what I have stated, I should remark that we have had two agricultural Fairs, this International one representing the whole country, and the Cherokee Fair, both of which have been successes, also we have the Grange society among us whose encouraging efforts at husbandry and the like deserves much credit. Also we have several lodges of the Masonic Fraternity and of the Odd Fellows among us, also Temperance societies and a splendid system of Sunday schools, and we also have our library and political societies as do other enlightened communities. I could say much more on these general subjects but from all I have said even the most skeptical are bound to admit that many of our Indian Nations are
already civilized and that the rest, even the Nomadic Indians of the Plains west are fully capable of civilization under proper management provided the United States Government will protect us in all our rights as it is bound to do under all circumstances and will not allow us to be disturbed by those who envy our condition and seek to destroy us to get our lands. Under these circumstances it is plainly the duty of our civilized Nations to address their efforts to the civilization of our nomadic brethren who are less favored than we are. How shall we do this? We should lead them into civilization by precept and example. A great movement in that direction has been inaugurated throughout our "Great Indian Council" organized under the treaties of 1866. In that Council the representatives of the uncivilized Tribes associated with those of the civilized Nations, and soon began to see the necessity of abandoning their nomadic habits and of adopting those of our civilized people. As a consequence many of these Indians of the Plains have actually gone to cultivating the earth in imitation of our civilized Indians. It is to be hoped that this Council will be sustained as our treaties require by an appropriation to pay its expenses by the Congress of the United States. Another method whereby our civilized people can be advanced in, civilization and our less favored ones can be led in that direction is by such patriotic institutions as this International Fair, which its patrons have very properly styled "A school of Instruction." Here all classes of our people, the civilized, the semi-civilized and the nomadic have an opportunity of coming together once a year, as friends, and to interchange ideas of improvement in all the varied pursuits of civilization. Here we see men and women from all grades of our people as representatives from all parts of the country with their works and the results and fruits of their labor in the cultivation of the soil, the arts and sciences of the sewing needle and the loom and the machine shop. Here also we see our men and women representing the Educational interests of the whole country and among them we see graduates from the finest Colleges in the United States as also graduated professional men, such as attorneys at law, and doctors of medicine, also we see the greatest benefactor of all the "bone and sinew" of the country, the Farmer, with his agricultural products and live stock of all kinds, his poultry and his numerous
grains, "the staff of life," we see also the cotton planter and the common laborer and all seem to be one people and we are gratified to know that all of these various representatives of the numerous and best interests of our people belong to our Indian race and are all as brothers and sisters. We also by invitation have among us on this occasion many of our white friends, ladies and gentlemen from our adjoining states, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas and we are happy to welcome them as our friends. Also by invitation we are honored by the presence of distinguished members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States who constitute the special Congressional Committee to consider the proposition of transferring the Indians to the War Department and we are happy to receive them as our friends and trust that in view of the hopeful and cheerful condition in which they have found us under the management of the Civil Department of the United States that there be no change made in our present condition and relations with the Government and especially that we be permitted to remain under the management of the Civil Department. Also, we see the different apartments of the Fair grounds and buildings arranged and equipped with admirable taste and in their appropriate places; we find for exhibition all kinds of the best quality of agricultural products and implements, productions of the machine shop, the needle, and sewing machine, and the loom, with many productions of the mechanic arts. In the live stock department we see exhibits of horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, etc., that are as fine as any grown in the neighboring states. All of these things are glorious evidences of the patriotism, civilization, prosperity, unity and friendship of our, Indian people among themselves and of the cordial relations existing between them and the Government and citizens of the United States. Every Indian in this country should rejoice at such a happy state of affairs and be proud of this International Fair because of its internationality for such usefulness and I trust every man and every woman in our entire country will encourage it and that not only the civilized Indians but also our nomadic brethren of the Plains and mountains will be encouraged to attend it and participate in it so that they may learn and follow the various branches of civilization illustrated and represented in it. Some of our brethren of the
Plains have heretofore attended this Fair with good results and we trust that no pains will be spared hereafter to induce them to continue their attendance so they, like our leading Nations, may be blessed with all the comforts and powers of enlightened people and thereby be able to unite with the civilized Nations in holding and defending our common country.
In conclusion, I should state that last winter while in Washington, when the Agricultural Congress of the people of the United States convened at that place, Mr. D. H. Ross, myself and the delegation from the Creek, Seminole, Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, by appointment from this Fair, represented our Nations before said Congress and were received by that assembly with very great kindness. In that Congress it was our pleasure to meet and confer with many distinguished men representing the various branches of agriculture and the arts and sciences including education and other industrial pursuits who represented the people from all parts of the United States. On that occasion we were assured by these representatives of the people of the United States that their people deeply sympathized with us in our efforts in civilization and that they would do all in their power to see us protected in our present prosperous condition and not disturbed in our relations with the United States and we witnessed the adjournment of the Congress under the conclusion that it was a true friend of the Indian. For further particulars to this Congress, I would refer you to its printed proceedings.