The Administration of Indian Affairs

April 22, 1929

Report Outline
Condition of Leading Indian Tribes
Investigations Amd. Proposed Remedies

Confirmation by the Senate on April 18, 1929, of the nomination of Charles J. Rhoads of Philadelphia to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs has paved the way for the general revision of Indian policies which, it was announced at the outset, would be one of the first tasks undertaken by the Hoover administration. Shortly after the new administration had taken office President Hoover accepted the resignation of Charles H. Burke of South Dakota who had served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs since the commencement of the Harding administration. It was later announced that Edgar B. Meritt of Arkansas, Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs since 1913, had been transferred to the Budget Department of the Indian Office, and that all other administrative officers of the bureau would retire or be transferred in order that the new commissioner might have a free hand in carrying out a complete reorganization.

The Rhoads nomination was sent to the Senate on the opening day of the present special session. On the same day, Secretary of the Interior Wilbur announced that the aim of the new regime would be to make of the Indian a “self-sustaining, self-respecting American citizen” as quickly as that end could be attained,

“The Indian shall no Longer be viewed as a ward of the nation,” he said, “but shall be considered a potential citizen. As rapidly as possible he is to have the full responsibility for himself. Leadership should be given the Indians rather than custodianship. The Indian stock is of excellent quality. It can readily merge with that of the nation. In order to bring this about it will be necessary to revise our educational program into one of a practical and vocational character and to nature plans for the absorption of the Indian into the industrial and agricultural life of the nation.”

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