Title: Red and White; or a New Use for Indians

Periodical: Liverpool Courier

Date: September 21, 1892

Author: J. B. W.

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RED AND WHITE; OR, A NEW USE FOR INDIANS.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE LIVERPOOL COURIER.

SIR,—In your column of American news of to-day (16th inst.) you have the head-line "Indians on the Warpath," which presumably refers to the item below that begins:—"At a conference which was held last night to devise means for restoring peace to the Choctaw nation it was resolved to disband all the armed mobs at any cost."

Now it is not much-enduring "Lo" who is "on the warpath" this time. He ought to be, but he isn't. It is his white brother who is making things lively in the Indian territory just at present. The "armed mobs" are not red, but white, and the Choctaws to whom "peace is to be restored" are the victims of their lawlessness.

The facts set forth in your issue of the 13th inst. appeared to be something like this—In a certain district in the Indian territory, U.S.A., a little difficulty arose over the election of a governor. "The victory was claimed by the two rival candidates, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Jones, but Mr. Jones assumed the reins of government." This made the followers of Mr. Jackson "fighting mad." It was no case for mere gingerbread throwing. Blood must be had. Somebody must be killed. But who? To have shot Mr. Jones (which would have seemed the simplest way out of the difficulty) might be attended with unpleasant consequences to the shooters. To attack the followers of Mr. Jones might not be "healthy" either. What then? Why, kill a few Indians, of course! The very thing! No sooner said than done. "A mob of armed horsemen rode tot he residence of a full-blood Choctaw and killed him (no trouble, you see). They next went to the dwelling of Lyman Paley" (presumably a white man and a Jonesite), "but he used a Winchester rifle with effect, and they bear a retreat. After this they went to Sandbois, Indian Territory, where the slew three Choctaws, Jim Nelson, George Fraser, and an unknown man, after a stubborn fight with a section of the Governor's supporters."

Now all this forms a beautifully-instructive picture illustrative of the march of the times and the spread of civilisation. For years the American Government and American philanthropists have been engaged in the Sisyphus-like task of civilising the red man. Success has attended their efforts in many cases. Even on the large "reservations" of the West, where the majority of the Indians still keep up[ a dreary travesty of their old wild life, there are many that are farmers and teamsters who so "freighting: for the Government. But in the Indian territory, the district we are considering at present, and the scene of the events about recited, reside the Cherokees, Choctaws, Iroquois, and other sections of the once-famous "six nations" of song and story. These engage in cotton-planting, farming, and market-gardening, "An upper-lass Cherokee," says Theodore Roosevelt, "is nowadays as good as a white." Well, to reach the standard of some "whites" the Cherokee would not need to strain himself much. The picture of the settlers' hut in the wilderness with it stockade and loop-holed walls is a thing of the past. There is no need to fear— "—the fight in the mirk midnight
  And the shot from behind the tree;
The shaven head and the panted face,
  The silent foot in the wood,"
because the times have changed, and instead of the settlers' hut being defended against hordes of whooping, painted Indians (a picture now only to be seen at the Wild West Show) we have the spectacle of the house of the civilised Choctaw "Jim Nelson" or "George Foster" (no longer "Rushing Bear" or "Red Eagle") surrounded by cowardly mob of "white rowdies" engaged in "painting the town red" during election riots. No, there is not much inducement for the Indian to "civilise," but he is told it is the right thing to do, and he tries to do it, and to imitate as closely as possible his noble whiter brother. Said a Seminole to an American author, "Oh, yes, we keep Kismas. Plenty whisky, plenty drunk, plenty fight. All same white man's Kisman."—Yours, &c.,

J. B. W.

Title: Red and White; or a New Use for Indians

Periodical: Liverpool Courier

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.140.09 (1892 London)

Date: September 21, 1892

Author: J. B. W.

Keywords: Acculturation American civilization American Indians Assimilation (Sociology) Cherokee Indians Choctaw Nation Exhibitions Indian reservations Indian Territory Indians of North America Iroquois Indians Mobs Riots Scrapbooks Seminole Indians Traveling exhibitions

People: Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) London (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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