Ely Parker: Report on Indian Affairs to the War Department


Explanation and Analysis of the Documents

In 1867, responding to several tragedies in Indian affairs during the Civil War, including the 1862 Dakota War and the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, General Grant asked Parker, who had served informally as his adviser on Indian matters since the war ended, to develop an agenda for the reform of the BIA. In response, Parker proposed a four-point plan for “the establishment of a permanent and perpetual peace, and for the settling of all matters of differences between the United States and the various Indian tribes.” This lofty statement represented the idea shared by many non-Native policy makers and officials at the time—that such a goal not only was possible but also could be achieved expeditiously.

In his reform agenda, Parker focused on providing public oversight of policy administration by both Native and non-Native individuals and sought to establish and protect specific land rights for Native communities. Finally, he wanted to...

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Ely Parker (National Archives and Records Administration)

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