Cultural Genocide

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Nicholas Gordon

Adapted from the "Long-hair" letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Superintendent, Round Valley, California, 1/11/1902; and the reply by the Superintendent, 6/21/1902:

The wearing of long hair
By the male population
Of your agency
Is not in keeping
With the advancement they are making,
Or will soon be expected to make,
In civilization.

You are therefore directed
To induce your male Indians
To cut their hair.
With your Indian employees,
And those Indians
Who draw rations and supplies,
It should be an easy matter,
As non-compliance
With this order
May be made a reason
For discharge
Or for withholding
Rations and supplies.

The returned students
Who do not comply voluntarily
Should be dealt with summarily.
Employment, supplies, etc.,
Should be withdrawn
Until they do comply.
And if they become obstreperous
About the matter,
A short confinement
In the guard house
At hard labor,
With shorn hair,
Should furnish a cure.

The Reply:

Sir: Referring to your letter
Of January eleventh,
There are only two or three
Very old male Indians
Who wear long hair,
And I have not thought it best
To take severe measures with them,
As there is no disposition
On the part of any others
To follow their example.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon. Free for personal or non-commercial use.

Audio and Video Music: Bike Sharing to Paradise.
By Dan Bodan. Music free to use at YouTube.

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