Indian Reservations Discussed By The Presidents Part II

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Grover Cleveland While In Office As President During the Term of March 4, 1893 to March 4, 1897

Volume: IX   Page: 544

                                                                                    Executive Mansion, December 3, 1894

To the Congress of the United States:

(excerpt) "Though the condition of the Indians shows a steady and healthy progress, their situation is not satisfactory at all points. Some of them to whom allotments of land have been made are found to be unable or disinclined to follow agricultural pursuits or to otherwise beneficially manage their land. This is especially true of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, who, as it appears by reports of their agent, have in many instances never been located upon their allotments, and in some cases do not even know where their allotments are. Their condition has deteriorated. They are not self-supporting and they live in camps and spend their time in idleness.

I have always believed that allotments of reservation lands to Indians in severalty should be made sparingly, or at least slowly, and with the utmost caution. In these days, when white agriculturists and stock raisers of experience and intelligence find their lot a hard one, we ought not to expect Indians, unless far advanced in civilization and habits of industry, to support themselves on the small tracts of land usually allotted to them.

If the self-supporting scheme by allotment fails, the wretched pauperism of the allottees which results is worse than their original condition of regulated dependence. It is evident that the evil consequences of ill-advised allotment are intensified in cases where the false step can not be retraced on account of the purchase by the Government of reservation lands remaining after allotments
are made and the disposition of such remaining lands to settlers or purchasers from the Government.

I am convinced that the proper solution of the Indian problem and the success of every step taken in that direction depend to a very large extent upon the intelligence and honesty of the reservation agents and the interest they have in their work. An agent fitted for his place can do much toward preparing the Indians under his charge for citizenship and allotment of their lands, and his
advice as to any matter concerning their welfare will not mislead. An unfit agent will make no effort to advance the Indians on his reservation toward civilization or preparation for allotment of lands in severalty, and his opinion as to their condition in this and other regards is heedless and valueless.

The indications are that the detail of army officers as Indian agents will result in improved management on the reservations.

Whenever allotments are made and any Indian on the reservation has previously settled upon a lot and cultivated it or shown a disposition to improve it in any way, such lot should certainly be allotted to him, and this should be made plainly obligatory by statute.

In the light of experience and considering the uncertainty of the Indian situation and its exigencies in the future, I am not only disposed to be very cautious in making allotments, but I incline to agree with the Secretary of the Interior in the opinion that when allotments are made the balance of reservation land remaining after allotment, instead of being bought by the Government from the
Indians and opened for settlement with such scandals and unfair practices as seem unavoidable, should remain for a time at least as common land or be sold by the Government on behalf of the Indians in an orderly way and at fixed prices, to be determined by its location and desirability, and that the proceeds, less expenses, should be held in trust for the benefit of the Indian proprietors. "


Volume: III   Page: 595

Regarding Reduction of Reservations

                                                                                                             Executive Mansion, January 9, 1888

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a communication of 30th of December, 1887, from the Secretary of the Interior, submitting, with accompanying papers, two additional reports from the commission appointed to conduct negotiations with certain tribes and bands of Indians for reduction of reservations, etc., under the provisions of the act of May 15, 1886 (24 U.S. Statutes at Large. p.44), providing therefore.


Volume: III   Page: 307

Subject: Proclamation against unauthorized occupancy in the Reservation


Whereas certain portions of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indian Reservation, in the Indian Territory, are occupied by persons other than Indians, who claim the right to keep and graze cattle thereon by agreement made with the Indians for whose special possession and occupancy the said lands have been reserved by the Government of the United States, or under other pretexts and licenses; and

Whereas all such agreements and licenses are deemed void and of no effect, and the persons so occupying said lands with cattle are considered unlawfully upon the domain of the United States so reserved as aforesaid; and

Whereas the claims of such persons under said leases and licenses and their unauthorized presence upon such reservation have caused complaint and discontent on the part of the Indians located thereon, and are likely to cause serious outbreaks and disturbances:

Now, therefore, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby order and direct that all persons other than Indians who are now upon any part of said reservation for the purpose of grazing cattle thereon, and their servants and agents, and all other unauthorized persons now upon said reservation, do, within forty days from the date of this proclamation, depart and entirely remove therefrom with their cattle, horses, and other property.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. [Seal}

Done at the city of Washington on this 23d day of July, 1885, and the year of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and tenth.

By the President

T.F. Bayard, Secretary of State

Volume: VIII   Page: 370

Subject: Round Valley Reservation

                                                                                                       Executive Mansion, January 5, 1886

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a communication of the 19th ultimo from the Secretary of the Interior, submitting, with accompanying papers in relation thereto, a draft of a bill "to provide for allotments of lands in severalty to the Indians residing upon the Round Valley Reservation, in the State of California, and granting patents therefore, and for other purposes."

The matter is presented for the early consideration and action of Congress.


Volume: VIII   Page: 374

Subject: A Bill providing for the sale of Sac, Fox and Iowa Indian Reservations in the State of Nebraska

                                                                                                     Executive Mansion, February 15, 1886

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a communication of the 12th instant from the Secretary of the Interior, submitting, with accompanying papers, the draft of a bill prepared by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to amend the third section of the act of March 3, 1885, "to provide for the sale of the Sac and Fox and Iowa Indian reservations in the States of Nebraska and Kansas, and for other purposes."

The matter is presented for the consideration and action of Congress.



Website: The History
Article Name: Indian Reservations Discussed By The Presidents Part II
Researcher/Preparer/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897". By James D. Richardson--a Representative from the State of Tennessee. Publisher: by Authority of Congress--1899. Ten volumes total. Copyright: 1897 by James D. Richardson.
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