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Only an Indian

February 8, 1880 — Second Reformed Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia PA


I am only an Indian; I cannot use learned words like the men who can make the wrong seem the right. They are living under the protection of the law. They own that some of the Indians are citizens. What harm would it do to admit the rest to the same position? Reservations are used for Indians, says a commissioner, as nurseries for children. Is it so? Have the Indians been treated like children? If my father had all the money the whites owe him I would not have been educated by charity.

The whites have stolen my father’s property — his horses, and those of his friends — and they dared not pursue the robbers lest the United States should take their action as a declaration of war. The lives of the Indians are at the mercy of the whites. Who made the one-man power? Did our Creator mean that we should be treated so? I think not. Think of eleven hundred people being compelled to treat wholly with one man.

It has been asked, shall we amend the Constitution? I think it requires no amendment. All persons residing in the States are and have the rights of citizens. If the Indians are treated as men, as human beings, there will be no wars.

[In closing her speech, Bright Eyes paid a noble tribute to the judge who befriended the Poncas by taking them out of the hands of the military and bringing them into court.]



Source: Philadelphia Enquirer, February 9, 1880, p. 3.