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The recently published statistics of the American Indian Defense Association do nothing but give increased prominence to a state of affairs of which most people have been passively aware for some time. The Indian has been badly treated ever since the landing of Columbus, and in all probability he will continue to be badly treated until the last of his race have passed, or have been crowded, from their diminishing reservations; for his vote is negligible and his taxes do not contribute largely to the treasury of the United States. This condition of things is a black mark on the American escutcheon, but it is unfortunately a fact. The same phenomenon in miniature may be observed nearer at home after a heavy fall of snow, in a comparison of the well cleared streets of the Backs Bay with chose of the North End.
When defenders of the Indian base their attacks on an appeal to the national conscience, they are unanswerable, and when their shafts rebound dully, as from an impenetrable surface, they induce a most unpleasant train of reflection. But when they urge the preservation of the Indian civilization as a reason for increased appropriations, they err.
He is indeed a brave man, who would voluntary bare his neck to the axes of the sentimentalists, by suggesting that the Indian civilization has little to offer its more modern American counterpart, but such seems to be the case. Collections of old arrowheads, native drawings, intricate ceremonial dances--and there is little else. Even their contribution to the nation's scantly stock of fold-lore is imperceptible.
The Indian is doomed. His race is dying, and it will not be long before his poor hunting ground becomes pasture land for cattle, and--with the irony of chance--the returning buffalo. The manner of his going is a bitter reproach to his conquerors, but the blame must be based where it fairly belongs--upon ethical, and not aesthetical grounds.
Dr. Shapely might have been more delicate in his references to Yale and Harvard. Instead of stating crudely that Yale had scored again, he might have observed.
The darkening town of New Haven, Though now termed the city of night.
In the midst of eclipses
And solar ellipses
Remembers her Hadley and Dwight.
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