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Newspaper Page Text
THE NEW INDIAN. BY FREDERIC J. HASKIN HE rumor that a unit of American Indians would be included in first division of troops to be sent to Europe is only a rumor. Secretary of "War Baker has announced himself opposed to it. He does not believe that the various nationalities and races that constit ute the American people should be separated in service, but should all fight as Americans. As a matter of fact, the number of Indians available for military service is extremely small. There are only 320,000 American Indi ans, located principally throughout the west and middle-west of these only about 40 percent speak English. Even of this 40 percent about half are women, while a great many more are either under or over the military age limit or for various reasons incapacitated. The War department, therefore, is not disposed to favor any plan calling for a special mobilization of Indians of military age but will register the same as other American male. Many students in govern ment Indian schools have already gone into training in various milit ary organizations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also opposed to any policy which treats the Indian as a race rather than an individual. Mr. Sells' declared policy is to make citizens of all Indians who are ready for the privileges and responsibilities which citizenship involves. In determining which Indians are competent to exercise the rights of cit izenship, the following facts will govern. If an Indian is of more than one-half white blood, other than in ex ceptional cases, he will be given full charge of his affairs, including his money and property, and the government thereafter withdraws its supervision of him. He may stay on the reservation or go out into the world, at his pleasure. He is a free man. Now, to all In dians of one-half or more Indian blood, the same privileges will be granted when, after thorough investigation, they are determined to be as competent to manage their own affairs as the average white man, except that it will be the rule to with hold patents in fee to forty acres of land belonging to each Indian, so that he may be in sured a permanent home. In addition to declaring competent and giving patents in fee to 11.