TO GEORGE W. WICKERSHAM
Washington, May 17, 1916
My dear Wickersham,—I am just back from a trip to South Dakota, where I, by ritual, a copy of which is inclosed for your perusal, made citizens out of a bunch of Indians who never can become hyphenates, and for this reason your letter has remained unanswered.
And just because we love you, and love ourselves even better, we will break all rules, precedents, promises, appointments, agreements, and covenants of all kinds whatsoever, and steal over to see you a week from Saturday. Just what hour I will wire you, and what time we can stay depends upon things various and sundry. But you may depend upon it that it will be as long a time as a very flexible conscience will permit.
Remember me, in terms of endearment, to that noble lady who desolated Washington by her departure. As always,
TO H. B. BROUGHAM
Washington, May 20, 1916
Dear Mr. Brougham,— ... I recently returned from the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota where I admitted some one hundred and fifty competent Indians to full American citizenship in accordance with a ritual. ... The ceremony was really impressive and taken quite seriously by the Indians. Why should not some such ceremony as this be used when we give citizenship to foreigners who come to this country? Surely it tends to instil patriotism and presents the duties of citizenship in a manner that leaves a lasting impression. Here is a story that should be interesting to all, if properly presented. Cordially yours,
INDIAN RITUAL ADMISSION TO CITIZENSHIP
The Secretary stands before one of the candidates and says:—
“Joseph T. Cook, what was your Indian name?”
“Tunkansapa,” answers the Indian.
“Tunkansapa, I hand you a bow and arrow. Take this bow and shoot the arrow.”
The Indian does so.
“Tunkansapa, you have shot your last arrow. That means you are no longer to live the life of an Indian. You are from this day forward to live the life of the white man. But you may keep that arrow. It will be to you a symbol of your noble race and of the pride you may feel that you come from the first of all Americans.”
Addressing Tunkansapa by his white name.
“Joseph T. Cook, take in your hands this plough.” Cook does so. “This act means that you have chosen to live the life of the white man. The white man lives by work. From the earth we must all get our living, and the earth will not yield unless man pours upon it the sweat of his brow.
“Joseph T. Cook, I give you a purse. It will always say to you that the money you gain must be wisely kept. The wise man saves his money, so that when the sun does not smile and the grass does not grow he will not starve.”