Wikiquote:Transwiki/American History Primary Sources The Young US and Native Americans



“The Indian tribes residing within the limits of the United States have, for a considerable time, been growing more and more uneasy at the constant diminution of the territory they occupy, although effected by their own voluntary sales. And the policy has long been gaining strength with them of refusing absolutely all further sale, on any conditions; insomuch that, at this time, it hazards their friendship, and excites dangerous jealousies and perturbations in their minds to make any overture for the purchase of the smallest portions of their lands.

“A very few tribes only are not yet obstinately in these dispositions. In order, peaceably, to counteract this policy of theirs, and to provide an extension of territory which the rapid increase of our numbers will call for, two measures are deemed expedient.

“First, to encourage them to abandon hunting, to apply to the raising stock, to agriculture, and domestic manufacture, and thereby prove to themselves that less land and labor will maintain them in this better than in their former mode of living....

“Second, to multiply trading houses among them, and to place within their reach those things which will contribute more to their domestic comfort than the possession of extensive, but uncultivated wilds.

“Experience and reflection will develop too them the wisdom of exchanging what they can spare and we want, for what we can spare and they want.

“In leading them to agriculture, to manufactures, and civilization; in bringing together their and our settlements, and in preparing them ultimately to participate in the benefits of our governments, I trust and believe we are acting for their greatest good.” Thomas Jefferson, confidential message to Congress to request funding for the Lewis and Clark expedition (January 18, 1803)

1805. “Brother, our seats were once large an yours were small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets.” Chief Red Jacket to an American Missionary.

1811. “These lands are ours. No one has a right to remove us, because we were the first owners. The Great Spirit above has appointed this place for us, on which to light our fires, and here we shall remain. As to boundaries, the Great Spirit knows no boundaries, nor will his Red children acknowledge any.” Chief Tecumseh to a messenger from President James Madison.