Description

    "...the ruin of our tribes and people will be speedy and complete."

    Objections by Representatives of the Five Civilized Tribes Against Organizing the Territory of Oklahoma. [Washington]: [No printer or publisher indicated], [1885]. First edition. 8vo. 22pp. Beautifully quarter-bound with marbled paper over boards in a style reminiscent of the period. Fine condition.

    A bill for the organization of the Territory of Oklahoma was introduced in the House of Representatives on December 21, 1885. The bill established fourteen cardinal provisions by which a territorial government would operate, including the governance of the country of the five civilized tribes included in the territory. This then, became the subject of a series of arguments by delegations representing the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole and Chickasaw nations, who opposed such legislation, knowing by experience what the likely outcome would be. They knew that, should the legislation pass "the clamor of the greedy speculators and adventurers who seek to stimulate such a public sentiment as shall result in the removal of the treaty bars which separate them from their coveted prey." They forecast if "the territorial government of Oklahoma shall be organized, as provided in this bill, the ruin of our tribes and people will be speedy and complete. First will appear the scum of white vagabondage, which is always borne on the surface and at the front of the wave of westward emigration of the American people. Then will come the horde of railroad hirelings, organized raiders of the tribal rights of the Indians, backed up by corporate powers, whose all-pervading influence is stealthily at work, by day and by night, upon congress, courts and executive departments. . . . They will be followed by the grand army of sharp-witted, desperate land sharks, encouraged and emboldened by the ill-concealed sympathy of respectable citizens of neighboring states. . . . . The legislature after the first election will be chosen, not by the Indians, but by the railroad hirelings and land speculators. Its mission will be, not to guard the rights and interests of the Indians, nor to foster their moral, political and material progress, but to register and legalize the decrees of the men and corporations who will grasp and hold the reins of government. The only hope of the Indians would be in Congress and courts of the United States."


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    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
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