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have wrought so well, and this department of labor, like that of missionary effort, should be chronicled elsewhere.
A few women have made philological, ethnographic, and archæological studies among North American Indians and have added the results to the aggregate of scientific knowledge, doing also more or less to preserve Indian records and material objects of value connected therewith, thus increasing the sum of human interest in the red man, and, by the same, his selfrespect and therefore his elevation and progress. But the request for this paper was for one regarding the late and general philanthropic work of women in behalf of Indians rather than for one giving the data referred to above, and which are less familiar to the writer.
The name of Helen Hunt Jackson deservedly stands first in the literary world as connected with modern effort by women for the deliverance of our native American Indians from oppression and injustice, as shameful as have been endured in any civilized land or by any race under the guardianship or power of any civilized government. The first letters and articles on this subject from her fascinating and popular pen were in the New York Tribune, the Christian Union, and other religious and secular newspapers and magazines, and were the outcry of a just and humane soul quivering with a poet's intense feeling and outraged sensibility at the discovery and realization of the unspeakable suffering of a capable and naturally brave race in a position where, to put the case comprehensively, no human right is treated as sacred, and where greed and passion alternately rob and destroy among their victims. Her quotations, from government documents and of proved facts, startled thoughtful readers, and her appeals rang like clarions through the souls of those who really heard them, and with peals whose vibrations have not yet ceased. Soon after she seriously took up the subject she visited, in Philadelphia, the officers of the Women's Indian Association, and expressed herself as delighted and still further inspired to find a group of earnest women already at work to make the facts of the Indian situation known, with the object of moving the people to demand of the government enacted justice for the wronged race. She wrote “A Century of Dishonor,'* a book which every patriotic and intelligent American should read, a condensed library on the Indian question and largely made up of quotations from public and official records, and introduced the book to the press and
* The latest and best edition is by Roberts Brothers, Boston, Mass.
pulpit of the country. She had a copy of it placed on the desk of every member of Congress the day but one before the second annual petition of the Women's Indian Association, of which she became a member, was presented to that body, January 27, 1881, and the writer, at the time also a guest of Miss Seward, vividly remembers with what anxious interest she noted quotations made from her book in the Senate Speeches to which both listened during the four or five days which followed. But the reception of this book was a disappointment to its author, and she said, later, in letters to and in conversation with the writer: “ It is not read as I hoped it would be ; I can count upon certain thousands who will read what I write because it is mine ; but not even all of these will read this book, and they must read something on the Indian question. I will write an Indian story.” To this resolve her facile pen, her poetic fire, and her genius for graphic delineation and clear, strong statement were given, and the story of “Ramona,” the data of which were procured among the Indians of California while she was a government inspector among them, was given to idyllic, classic romance, to the American conscience, and to the humane of all civilized society. She poured her heart into the story and her heart's blood out through its pages. She put the labor of the working years of an average life-time into that half-decade of toil for a hunted race, and so it was again, as not infrequently in this world's story, that the righteous zeal and the intense compassion of a quick spirit “ate up” the life, and another consecrated genius fell, another great heart broke. The massive cone of rocks, cast by loving hands from every State in our Union upon the lonely mountain grave which she asked for among the Indian haunts of Colorado, fitly marks the resting place of her dust, but her “soul is marching on,” still rallying, still inspiring unselfish souls to the cause she died for. The life given for others is a sacred life.
Another woman worker who has wrought with entire devotion and with the ability of genius for the Indian race, who began that work a year or two after “H. H.” felt her first inspiration, is Miss Alice C. Fletcher. Already a student accustomed to research she first went among Indians, in the summer of 1882, in the interests of scientific observation. Perceiving at once the wrongs and needs of the race, she became their enthusiastic friend, laid aside her scientific pen and pencil, and made a serious study of the situation of the people among whom her labors began, the Omahas of Nebraska. Representing their case to governmental authorities in Washington, and successfully awakening interest in their behalf among legislators, she drafted a bill and had the satisfaction of seeing its passage, and then of allotting their lands under it to these Indians in 1883–84. Nor was this all or even the chief part of her work. Her scientific researches since then, treating in monographs of Indian traditions, customs, ceremonies, music, and other subjects ethnographic, biological, or archæological, have been original and valuable. It was during the period covered by this work that she brought a party of thirty-six young Indians to the Carlisle and Hampton Indian schools, herself raising $1800 with which to meet the expenses of other Indians who begged to join the party and seek an education. She persuaded General Armstrong to undertake at the Hampton school, the training of young Indian married couples, in cottages built by funds she raised for their training, and by the success of this experiment introduced the department of Indian Home Building into the Women's National Indian Association, of which she is an earnest member, and for which department she has raised in all more than two thousand dollars, since expended in building Indian homes, such loanfunds being in various instances returned to the association and reloaned to other Indian beneficiaries. An exhibit of civilized Indian industries for the Exhibition of 1884-85, at New Orleans, was also prepared by Miss Fletcher, and a diploma of honor was awarded her for this labor and for the lectures she gave upon the exhibit during the exposition. Her book, entitled “ Indian Civilization and Education,” prepared in answer to a Senate resolution of February 23, 1885, under the direction of the Commissioner of Education, is an extended and valuable work, and was supplemented by her late journey to Alaska in behalf of Indian education there. Since that time she has, as a special agent of government, allotted lands in severalty to the Winnebagoes of Nebraska, and is at this date (January 1891) engaged among the Nez Percés of Idaho, having been first for such work an appointee of President Cleveland, July, 1887, and the only woman till recently so commissoned. In addition to these greater services she has rendered many others, such as starting the education of the first Indian woman physician,* and of several Indian students at law or in some course of special training ; inciting others to build here a chapel and there a school ; doing with unstinted energy and enthusiasm the great service which lay before her, and let
ting no chance slip to render the smaller aid. Possessed of a quick scientific perception, keen sagacity, great executive abil. ity, of undaunted and tenacious purpose, of clear judgment and strong mental grasp, her heroic labors have accomplished important and lasting results for the benefit of the Indian race.
But another chapter of Indian work began six months before “ H. H.” commenced earnestly to think or write on the Indian question, as she herself told the writer, when a noble woman in Philadelphia, whose attention was just then specially called to the wrongs of the red race by items in the daily press, brought these facts to the notice of a small group of Christian workers. This was Mary L. Bonney,—later the wife of Rev. Thomas Rambaut, D.D., LL.D.,—whose life had been given to educational work, who had liberally aided many Christian and philanthropic enterprises, who had an important share in inaugurating the Women's Union Missionary Society, and who had given largely for the training of young men, both white and colored, for the Christian ministry. President of a missionary circle,* she brought to its monthly meeting, April, 1879, facts regarding the efforts of railroad companies having roads through the Indian Territory, and of western senators and others, to press Congress to open that Territory to white settlement, and to set up there a United States territorial government, though solemn treaties with the civilized tribes bound the nation never to do this without their consent. Her sense of justice was shocked, and she felt that so gross dishonesty must be a vast hindrance to Indian missions, as well as a great injury to the moral sense of our nation. The story of what followed is an interesting one as furnishing another marked illustration of the fact that the human family is but one, and that when any branch of it suffers, the others, upon knowledge of the fact, will rise to the rescue ; and that leaders and groups of workers are separately and individually moved upon in accordance with one great over-plan and its clearly apparent, all-including, redemptive design. Miss Bonney printed a petition to the government, and copies were distributed in an anniversary meeting, but from pressure of business these were left unnoticed in the pews ; the missionary circle adjourned for the summer, and there the matter seemed to end. But, as Miss Bonney states in a sketch of the beginnings
* This was The Women's Home Mission Society of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, that of the Rev. George Dana Boardman, D.D., a society organized by the efforts of Mrs. Boardman, the gifted wife of that distinguished preacher and author, and largely in the interests of Indians.
of the movement, “ she presented," a month later, “ the facts she had gathered to her friend,” and “the two entered into covenant” and “ formed their plan of action.”* Miss Bonney as the senior principal of the Chestnut Street Female Seminary of Philadelphia, one of the most excellent and widelyknown educational institutions for young ladies in the country, originated by herself twenty-nine years before, and which became, in 1883, the Ogontz School, had little time for detailed investigation of wrongs to Indians or to use the avails of such study for arousing the public to their redress; but she had the means required and the heart generously to use these, while her friend the writer, deeply moved on behalf of Indians by the facts of their great wrongs, investigated the subject and gave herself to the work. Seven thousand copies of an enlarged petition, t with a leaflet appeal to accompany it, were circulated during the summer in fif. teen States by this volunteer committee of two, and those whom they interested, and the result in the autumn was a petition roll, three hundred feet long, containing the sig. natures of thousands of citizens. This memorial was car. ried to the White House, February 14, 1880, by Miss Bonney and two ladies, whom she invited to accompany her ; Mrs. George Dana Boardman, who presented the petition to President Hayes, and Mrs. Mariné J. Chase, who arranged the interview, and it was presented by Judge Kelly in the House of Representatives the 20th of that month, with the memorial letter written by Miss Bonney, the central thought of which was the binding obligation of treaties. It said, “ We would express that when a treaty is changed or modified the free consent of both parties is necessary"; and it urged faithfulness in the case, “because we are strong and the Indians are weak." Both the petition and letter were placed upon the records of Congress. Another petition and various leaflets
* See also the “Sketch and Plans” of The Indian Treaty-keeping and Protective Association, July, 1881, and “The Official Record” of The National Indian Association for 1882.
+ The petition was as follows: To the President of the United States, and to the Senate and House of
Representatives : We, the undersigned men and women of the United States, resident in or near -, do most respectfully but most earnestly request the President and the Houses of Congress to take all needful steps to prevent the encroachments of white settlers upon the Indian Territory, and to guard the Indians in the enjoyment of all the rights which have been guaranteed them on the faith of the nation.