Fun_People Archive
6 Apr
QsOTD - Civilization & Savages, 4/6/99

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue,  6 Apr 99 12:04:40 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: QsOTD - Civilization & Savages, 4/6/99

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
Forwarded-by: Dan Peck <>
Forwarded-by: Sarah Boslaugh <>
From: Dan Peck <>

Here are a few quotations relating to how Native Americans (in the U.S. in
the late 19th century) had to be taught the virtues of civilized life and
broken of their savage customs.

"To bring [the Indian] out of savagery into citizenship... we need to awaken
in him wants.   Discontent with the teepee and the Indian camp is needed to
get the Indian out of the blanket and into trousers--and trousers with a
pocket in them, and with a pocket that aches to be filled with dollars!"
	- Dr. Merrill E. Gates (president of Amherst College)

"The head chief [of the Cherokees] told us that there was not a family in
that whole nation that had not a home of its own.  There was not a pauper
in the nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar... Yet the defect of the
system was apparent.  They [the Indians] have got as far as they can go,
because they own their land in common...  There is no selfishness, which is
at the bottom of civilization.  Until this people give up their lands and
divide them among their citizens so that each can own theland he cultivates,
they will not make much progress."
	- Senator Dawes (author of the Dawes Act, which forcibly divided
	  Indian lands formerly held communally)

Selfishness is the root of civilization?  Amazing what people reveal about
their values in such casual statements.  The above would be funny were it not
for the whole sad history of government dealings with the Native Americans.

The quotes are from "In the Absence of the Sacred" by Jerry Mander
(Sierra Club, 1991).

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