Indian Peace Commission

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If the savage resists, civilization, with the ten commandments in one hand and the sword in the other, demands his immediate extermination.

The Indian Peace Commission was a group formed by an act of Congress on July 20, 1867, in order "to establish peace with certain hostile Indian tribes." It was composed of four civilians and initially three, later four military leaders. Throughout 1867 and 1868 they negotiated with a number of peoples, including the Comanche, Kiowa, Arapaho, Kiowa-Apache, Cheyenne, Lakota, Navajo, Snake, and Bannock. The treaties that resulted were designed to move the tribes to reservations, civilize and assimilate native peoples, and transition their societies from a nomadic to an agricultural existence.

Quotes[edit]

  • I will sign, and if there is anything wrong afterwards I will watch the commissioners, and they will be the first one that I will whip.
  • You must have the protection of the President of the United States and his white soldiers or disappear, from the earth...We have not been making war with you. You are at war with us. We have not commenced yet.
  • [A]griculture and manufactures should be introduced among them as rapidly as possible; schools should be established which children should be required to attend; their barbarous dialects should be blotted out and the English language substituted.
  • If the savage resists, civilization, with the ten commandments in one hand and the sword in the other, demands his immediate extermination.
  • If it be said that because they are savages they should be exterminated, we answer that, aside from the humanity of the suggestion, it will prove exceedingly difficult, and if money considerations are permitted to weigh, it costs less to civilize than to kill.
  • The object of greatest solicitude should be to break down the prejudices of tribe among the Indians; to blot out the boundary lines which divide them into distinct nations, and fuse them into one homogeneous mass. Uniformity of language will do this -- nothing else will.
This building of homes for us is all nonsense. We don’t want you to build any for us. We would all die. My country is small enough already. If you build us houses, the land will be smaller. Why do you insist on this?

External links[edit]

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