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Calvin Coolidge and "Indian Affairs"
by Calvin Coolidge
FROM THE MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF CALVIN COOLIDGE|
State of the Union Address
December 6, 1927
The condition of the American Indian has much improved in recent years.
Full citizenship was bestowed upon them on June 2, 1924, and appropriations
for their care and advancement have been increased. Still there remains
much to be done.
Notable increases in appropriations for the several major functions
performed by the Department of the Interior on behalf of the Indians have
marked the last five years. In that time, successive annual increases in
appropriations for their education total $1,804,325; for medical care,
$578,000; and for industrial advancement, $205,000; or $2,582,325 more than
would have been spent in the same period on the basis of appropriations for
1923 and the preceding years.
The needs along health, educational, industrial and social lines however,
are great, and the Budget estimates for 1929 include still further
increases for Indian administration.
To advance the time when the Indians may become self-sustaining, it is my
belief that the Federal Government should continue to improve the
facilities for their care, and as rapidly as possible turn its
responsibility over to the States.
The National Government is undertaking to join in the formation of a
cooperative committee of lawyers, engineers, and public officers, to
consider what legislation by the States or by the Congress can be adopted
for the preservation and conservation of our supply of petroleum. This has
come to be one of the main dependencies for transportation and power so
necessary to our agricultural and industrial life. It is expected the
report of this committee will be available for later congressional action.
Meantime, the requirement that the Secretary of the Interior should make
certain leases of land belonging to the Osage Indians, in accordance with
the act of March 3, 1921, should be repealed. The authority to lease should
be discretionary, in order that the property of the Indians way not be
wasted and the public suffer a future lack of supply.
Through its Bureau of Immigration it has been found that medical
examination abroad has saved prospective immigrants from much hardship.
Some further legislation to provide for reuniting families when either the
husband or the wife is in this country, and granting more freedom for the
migration of the North American Indian tribes is desirable.
State of the Union Address
December 4, 1928
The practical application of economy to the resources of the country calls
for conservation. This does not mean that every resource should not be
developed to its full degree, but it means that none of them should be
wasted. We have a conservation board working on our oil problem. This is of
the utmost importance to the future well-being of our people in this age of
oil-burning engines and the general application of gasoline to
transportation. The Secretary of the Interior should not be compelled to
lease oil lands of the Osage Indians when the market is depressed and the
future supply is in jeopardy.
THE AMERICAN INDIAN
The administration of Indian affairs has been receiving intensive study for
several years. The Department of the Interior has been able to provide
better supervision of health, education, and industrial advancement of this
native race through additional funds provided by the Congress. The present
cooperative arrangement existing between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and
the Public Health Service should be extended. The Government's
responsibility to the American Indian has been acknowledged by annual
increases in appropriations to fulfill its obligations to them and to
hasten the time when Federal supervision of their affairs may be properly
and safely terminated. The movement in Congress and in some of the State
legislatures for extending responsibility in Indian affairs to States
should be encouraged. A complete participation by the Indian in our
economic life is the end to be desired.