Which U.S. President had the best policy re: Native Americans?

Define “best” as you see fit: devoted to the greatest good for the greatest number of Indians, committed to addressing their contemporary problems (unemployment and alcoholism nowadays, alas, IIRC), the most effective in redressing the errors or inequities of past U.S. policy, most respectful towards Indians, etc.

Then explain who and why, please.

I believe that Obama earmarked a bunch of the money in the stimulus package for Native Americans. Outside of that, I haven’t seen anything hit the level of national news since 2000, and previous to that I know that the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had been sending a tearful note to congress every year, for a good five or more years, pleading for money.

That’s like asking which Gestapo General had the best policy toward Jews. You might as well give honors to Indian Hater Jackson himself, since he was at least open and honest about his bigotry.

Well, Calvin Coolidge did sign the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted citizenship to all Indians born in the United States. So, there’s that. And symbolically, if nothing else, his successor’s vice president (Charles Curtis) was 3/8 Indian and grew up part of the time on a reservation.

So all U.S. presidents are comparable to the Gestapo General?

FDR had specific policies to help Native Americans. He passed the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which gave some of the land back to the tribes stolen from them and prevented the sale of tribal land to land robbers, and allowed tribal governments to own land. He also dedicated new deal money to create local jobs in cultural heritage education and preservation. And the New Deal programs employed almost 100,000 Native Americans, raising their unemployment rate much higher than it was pre-1929.

He wasn’t perfect, but he tried.

George Washington tried to protect the Native Americans and signed a treaty guaranteeing their borders. Unfortunately the Federal government didn’t have the power to enforce the treaty and it was violated by the states (especially Georgia).

It isn’t that I mind explaining the analogy. Its emphasis was not in comparing US presidents to Gestapo generals. Its emphasis was in comparing how much US presidents have cared about Indians to how much Gestapo generals cared about Jews. What gets me is that analogics, especially on this board, seems to be a completely unknown science. When arguing against an analogy, it is important to identify what is being compared — and very often, it is not subject to subject or object to object, but predicate to predicate.

Godwin’d in three posts.

"Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779

The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.

I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.

But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them."

That was an act of war brought about by Iroquois raids in the Great Lakes region during the American Revolution.

I’m familiar with the context. But it’s hardly what you would call friendly.

George Washington was not President when he issued that order you quoted.

Or maybe it was just a shitty analogy. There have been several presidents who tried to enact policies to help the Native Americans and it’s been at least a few months since we opened any new death camps. Were the secret police all in a flutter over how to make reparations to those Jews they torched? Maybe I missed the part at Nuremburg where Goering explained it all: “Ach yes, ve tried to help ze Jews. I personally ordered vun tousand urns airdropped over Krakow, as gesture off goodvill!”

Also, it’s possible that “analogics” is an unknown science on the boards because it’s just a word you made up.

I’m reading Undaunted Courage and it mentions that Jefferson (at one point at least) wanted to turn everything west of the Mississippi into an Indian reservation. Without knowing any more details, it seems noble, misguided, and naive all at the same time. Better than a lot presidents’ attitudes, though.

The initial surveys of the territory past the Mississippi River mistakenly described the region as the Great American Desert. It was thought to be incapable of sustaining agriculture. So the fact that Jefferson’s and subsequent administration thought it was a good place to resettle Indians is not necessarily a sign of good intent - it was the equivalent of sending them off to Siberia. It doesn’t help the reputation of the American government that once we figured out our error and realized that the “desert” was actually good farmland, we forced the Indians we had resettled there to give it all back to us.

The idea that Jackson, who adopted an Indian as his son, was racist against them, is actually laughable, and a generically stupid slur. Likewise George Washington. There are real faults which can be directed at both men - but that is not one of them.

The policy of both men was to shove off and break the back of any hostile tribes - any they felt would support and be supported by British forces in a war.

The question is which Presidents were racist about Indians; it’s which Presidents had good or bad policies about Indians. Jackson and Washington probably didn’t hate Indians. But they did intentionally kill a lot of them.

Oh please, please please please PLEASE don’t get him started. Please. Because I’m lurking through this thread, as I’m finding it very interesting. (I never knew that it was “Silent Cal” who granted citizenship to Native Americans, nor did I know that about FDR)

Washington also killed a lot of British. The Americans were, at various times, fighting wars with the natives. It’s a bit unfair to count war casualties against someone.