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Mrs. A. S. Quinton was invited to speak for the women of the country and their work for Indians.
Mrs. A. S. Quinton, president of the Women’s National Indian Association. I can not speak for the women of the whole country, of course, but I have a message to this conference from the women of the Women’s National Indian Association, and I believe I speak for the women of the missionary societies of the churches. We all believe in what has been said in regard to land. We long for the destruction of the reservation system. We should be grateful to see the unnecessary reservation abolished at once, and it would be according to the thought of all the workers if Indian agents could be instructed to keep in view as the end of the Indian Service the winding up of all that is peculiarly Indian and the placing Indians fully as citizens. Most of the Indians, we believe, are ready for the change. Those not ready the women would desire to have protected carefully and prepared for citizenship as rapidly as possible.
In regard to the New York Indians, we women believe that they are ready for citizenship and that their reservations ought to be divided in severalty. Among the Seneca’s not a few have libraries, musical instruments, and are already truly civilized.
In the realm of law we should be very glad if genuine citizenship” could be given to all, thus letting the Indians realize that they are free citizens in fact. Citizenship should and could be made real by giving them all the privileges and protections that belong to citizenship. The women believe in the last appeal the appeal to the President; and we have felt for years that there was sufficient discretionary power in the hands of the President to reform many, if not most, of the evils of the administration of Indian affairs, and we should be glad to make that last appeal.
In the matter of funds there is great interest. We most heartily indorse what the Commissioner of Indian Affairs has said in his report. We should be delighted to see all the funds due the Indian tribes paid over to their individual members. Of course some money would be wasted and lost, but it seems clear that the great proportion of the funds would be more wisely used than now. When one sees that the Indians have earned a million and a half a year by civilized industries, one cannot be afraid that they would be left helpless. The Osages have been hindered in their industrial and moral development by their riches. The payment of their funds could be in such wise as to promote and hasten their civilization.
In regard to missions, what more can be said than has been said? If anything is to be achieved for any people, the wise thing is to do that which will best help them. The whole power of the man is secured if he recognizes his relation to God, heartily accepts that relationship, and makes right doing the rule of his life. Christian missions certainly do thus persuade men. Missionaries do much secular work also. We rejoice that in Manila they are doing work in an undenominational way. That seems like a clarion note of the millennium. The women wish that all Christian work for pagans could be done in that way; that we might teach Christianity pure and simple, and not churchianity. I can assure you that the women of the churches are interested in the evangelization of all these peoples named in this conference, and that they believe in combined effort, the combined efforts of all Christian workers, and especially in this Indian Service. The service, which is now most needed, is the consecrated service of those who can work along undenominational lines. And what privilege is there so great as to be permitted to share the divine work of the world’s evangelization by the methods laid down in the New Testament?