background image
white river poems 363
is proper facilities,
and proper instruction.
Of course, you have got to use
a little force. I have spent
twenty-six years among
the Indians; have lived among
tribes whose language I spoke,
and know them intimately,
in their private relationships.
When we give these Indians
small farms, survey and fence them,
and let them have their own
horses and cows and sheep,
we will have done away
with the Indian tribal bonds
of which so much is made;
once a man sees that his food
is secure, he does not care
what his chief may tell him.
Nor should we go to looking
after the spiritual good
of the Indians, before
securing their physical.
Of course, that is a thing
to come after a while.
Meeker is grinning. I ask,
`Is he stupid?' -- `Oh, I think
for all his experience,
it's his inexperience,
which is hard to be aware of
for a man of action. Then,
I suppose the General,
who speaks from too far away,
could be expected no more