9
THE NATIONAL AND STATE INDIAN POLICIES

THE FEDERAL "PEACE POLICY"

THE INDIAN ADMINISTRATION of the federal government consisted of two programs, entirely distinct and apparently inconsistent. One regulated the treatment of potentially-hostile tribes like the Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches. The other was concerned with the management of tribes that were less dangerous because of traditional friendship, numerical weakness, or location. The peaceful Indians, who were partially cared for by the United States government, are of scant importance to this study and will not be discussed. They did not menace the frontier. Emphasis will be placed instead on the savages who bolted reservations in the Indian Territory and on the still-at-large savages who swept down from the high plains; both groups had a common purpose, the spreading of death and destruction in the western portion of the state.

With respect to the hostile bands the federal government followed what was known as a "peace policy." Its purpose was to assemble the wandering tribes on reservations having clearly-defined boundaries. There civilian employees, working under agents, instructed them in agriculture and otherwise educated them as much as possible. Only when the Indians left their reservations to commit acts of murder, plunder, or theft did they come under the jurisdiction of the Army.

Theoretically the system might have been an excellent one, but in practicality it was not satisfactory. To make a cordon around the reservation a large army would have been required. This, of course, was not available, and the military protection offered to settlers living near the reservations was inadequate. Hostile tribes encountered little difficulty

-177-

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