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.“
–United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.