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Give the natives a chance, Mr. Carl

Caricature of Sec. of Interior Schirg introducing Indians to "the Ballot [box] the great protector of the Age."

According to Jeff Corntassel in Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood (Chapter 1).

CITATION: Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood by Jeff Corntassel with Lindsay G. Robertson, Richard C. Witmer II, University of Oklahoma Press, 2008

"Another caricature drawn by Thomas Nast in 1880 demonstrates a prevailing image of indigenous peoples as childlike during this period. According to the caption, granting the right to vote to indigenous people is deemed “the cheapest and quickest way of civilizing them.” As Natives appear awestruck and mystified by the ballot box, the secretary of the interior casually introduces them to “the Ballot, the Great Protector of the Age.” At the top of the cartoon, caricatures of African Americans, Scots, and Irish are depicted with the caption “Civilized by the ballot box.” Clearly, these images of indigenous peoples reflect the stereotypical childlike Native of the allotment era and depict the urgency on the part of Congress, missionaries, land speculators, and other interested parties to assimilate Native peoples into the U.S. system."

Wood engraving, March 13, 1880, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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