November is Native American Heritage month. This post is the first in a series of historic Presidential quotes on Native American rights and the political relations between the United States government and the first nations of this continent.
Fair warning: Most of these statements are not nice and, at times, can be difficult to read. (They also make excellent starting points for a research paper.)
The following quote is the first mention of Native peoples within the context of a presidential inaugural speech. It is also part of a very long list of objectives for the upcoming years in office, so I have included a few additional examples from that list, for purposes of context and comparison.
JOHN ADAMS INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1797
“…if a love of equal laws, of justice, and humanity in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufacturers for necessity, convenience, and defense;…”
“…if a spirit of equity and humanity toward the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to meliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them;…”
“…if a resolution to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; …”
“…can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.”