People I Met in the East
Autumn 1879 — Platte’s Hall, San Francisco CA
“Oh, for shame! You who are educated by a Christian government in the art of war . . .
Yes, you, who call yourselves the great civilization; you who have knelt upon Plymouth Rock, covenanting with God to make this land the home of the free and the brave. Ah, then you rise from your bended knees and seizing the welcoming hands of those who are the owners of this land, which you are not, your carbines rise upon the bleak shore, and your so-called civilization sweeps inland from the ocean wave; but, oh, my God! Leaving its pathway marked by crimson lines of blood and strewed by the one of two races, the inheritor and the invader; and I am crying out to you for justice-yes, pleading for the far-off plains of the West, for the dusky mourner. . . .
You take all the nations of the earth to your bosom but the poor Indian . . . who has lived for generations on the land which the good God has given to them, and you say he must be exterminated. The proverb says the big fish eat the little fishes, and we Indians are the little fish and you eat us all up and drive us from home. Where can we poor Indians go if the government will not help us? If your people will help us, and you have good hearts, and can if you will, I will promise to educate my people and make them law-abiding citizens of the United States. It can be done-it can be done. My father, Winnemucca, pleads with you that the guilty shall be punished, but that the innocent shall be permitted to live on their own lands in Nevada . . .
We want you to try us for four years, and if at the end of that time we don’t learn, or don’t work, or don’t become good citizens, then you can do what you please.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle