Usher Burdick



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Date of Work

Circa 1939


This undated draft of a speech written by United States (US) Representative Usher Burdick and titled "Shall the American Indian Remain in Bondage?" concerns public perceptions of the indigenous tribes in the US.

In the speech Burdick notes that there are two general opinions regarding indigenous peoples, one of which is that they are part of a historical, romantic way of living that is separate from present civilization, a stance he says destroys the present indigenous peoples by trying to "civilize" them. The second general opinion is that indigenous peoples are a part of present US civilization and that going back to the past is impossible.

According to the speech, within the Indian Bureau there are those who desire to perpetuate the "Indian of History" view by making indigenous peoples subservient to the US government. The draft concludes with a reference to a letter by a "descendant of the war-like Sioux" as proof that these peoples are capable of managing their own affairs. The text of this letter is not included with this draft.

While this draft is undated, a later version in this collection is dated June 8, 1939.

See also:

Speech "Shall the American Indian Remain in Bondage?" by Representative Burdick, June 8, 1939


Sioux, Indian Bureau

Organizations Referenced

Sioux, Indian Bureau, US Office of Indian Affairs, US Bureau of Indian Affairs

People Referenced

Usher Burdick


This speech draft is undated, however it is an earlier draft of a dated speech of the same name which is dated June 8, 1939. See "Related Documents" for a link to the official speech text.

Speech Draft