RCC Honors History Project

Excerpt from President Harrison’s State of the Union Speech

Posted by kvictoria on March 22, 2009

During the past summer the Cherokee Commission have completed arrangements with the Wichita, Kickapoo, and Tonkawa tribes whereby, if the agreements are ratified by Congress, over 800,000 additional acres will be opened to settlement in Oklahoma.

The negotiations for the release by the Cherokees of their claim to the Cherokee Strip have made no substantial progress so far as the Department is officially advised, but it is still hoped that the cession of this large and valuable tract may be secured. The price which the commission was authorized to offer——$1.25 per acre——is, in my judgment, when all the circumstances as to title and the character of the lands are considered, a fair and adequate one, and should have been accepted by the Indians.

Since March 4, 1889, about 23,000,000 acres have been separated from Indian reservations and added to the public domain for the use of those who desired to secure free homes under our beneficent laws. It is difficult to estimate the increase of wealth which will result from the conversion of these waste lands into farms, but it is more difficult to estimate the betterment which will result to the families that have found renewed hope and courage in the ownership of a home and the assurance of a comfortable subsistence under free and healthful conditions. It is also gratifying to be able to feel, as we may, that this work has proceeded upon lines of justice toward the Indian, and that he may now, if he will, secure to himself the good influences of a settled habitation, the fruits of industry, and the security of citizenship.

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