Indian Rights Association

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Zitkala is the Indian name for Gertrude Bonnin, 1876-1938.

From the guide to the National Council of American Indians records, 1926-1938, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

The Indian Rights Association was organized in Philadelphia in 1882. The early leaders of the association, including Herbert Welsh, sought to protect the interests and general welfare of the Indians. Through its monitoring and lobbying activities with executive agencies and Congress, the association, in its first forty years, gained the reputation of being the major non-governmental group to which Indians could turn for protection and support.

From the description of Indian Rights Association papers, 1864-1973 (inclusive), 1882-1968 (bulk), [microform]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122386792

The Indian Rights Association was founded in Philadelphia in 1882 to "bring about the complete civilization of the Indians and their admission to citizenship." In 1884 the Indian Rights Association opened a Washington office to act as a legislative lobby and liason with the Board of Indian Commissioners and the Board of Indian Affairs. The Philadelphia and Washington offices maintained almost daily correspondence until the latter office closed in 1939. Much of this correspondence is included in the collection. The Indian Rights Association also maintained close contacts with Indian agents and with Indians themselves through correspondence and almost annual field trips to reservations and settlements. The collection includes many reports and letters reflecting these contacts.

The responsibility for the Indian Rights Association's programs fell, largely, to five men, all of whom had lengthy careers with the Indian Rights Association: Herbert Welsh, Matthew Sniffen, and Lawrence E. Lindley, active in Philadelphia; and Charles C. Painter and Samuel M. Brosius, Washington agents.

From the description of Papers, 1830-1969 (inclusive), 1830, 1884-1967, 1969 (bulk). (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 122579926

The Indian Rights Association was a humanitarian group dedicated to influencing federal U.S. Indian policy and protecting Indians of the U.S. The first meeting of the Association was held on December 15, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the home of Herbert Welsh, who served as its Executive Secretary. "Like his friend Henry Pancoast, Welsh was what one student of Philadelphia society has referred to as a Proper Philadelphian. He was born in 1851 as the eighth child of John and Mary Lowber Welsh. John Welsh was the son of a successful Philadelphia merchant and also prospered in business. Herbert Welsh declined to follow in his father’s footsteps, and after inheriting sufficient property from his father and maternal grandfather, this enabled him to live comfortably by the standards of the upper-middle class of Philadelphia and to pursue his avocations." (William T. Hagan, The Indian Rights Association: The Herbert Welsh years, 1882-1904, Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1985, page 3.)

After traveling to Dakota Territory to visit a Sioux reserve with Pancoast at the invitation of William Hobart Hare (Protestant Episcopal Church Bishop of Niobrara), Welsh returned home with a new sense of conscience from facing the harsh existence of an American Indian’s daily life. He and others who formed the IRA were determined to help improve the present and future of American Indians by fixing wrongs that they have experienced and by bringing American public support to the plight of the Indian cause.

"The early leaders of the Indian rights Association (IRA) had a twofold purpose: to protect the interests and general welfare for the Indians, and to initiate, support, or oppose government legislation and policies designed to `civilize’ the American Indian. By the term `civilize,’ the IRA in 1882 meant measures designed to educate, Christianize, make economically independent, and absorb the Indians as individuals into American society." (Indian Rights Association Papers: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition 1864-1973, 1975, page 1.) Herbert Welsh wrote in 1882, "When this work shall be completed the Indian will cease to exist as a man, apart from other men, a stumbling block in the pathway of civilization; his empty pride of separate nationality will have been destroyed, and in its place the greater blessings which he or his friends could desire will be his, - an honorable absorption into the common life of the people of the United States." (Indian Rights Association Papers: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition 1864-1973, 1975, page 1.)

Throughout its history, the IRA was consistently successful as a lobbying group. The proficiency and commitment of its staff brought power and force to achieving IRA objectives. Investigative field trips (such as Theodore Hetzel documented in his travel journals), the long tenure of service by IRA board members and staff, and the vitality of the IRA public relations program (including the newsletter Indian Truth, which Dr. Hetzel edited for many years), gave the Association an edge in influencing federal legislation pertaining to Indian affairs. Also, “with continuous contact between the IRA employees, Indians and the Indian service staff on the reservations, the ability to research and determine the facts of a specific case through first hand investigations made it possible for IRA to quietly bring pressure upon the Commissioner of Indian Affairs or the Secretary of the Interior to make changes.” (Indian Rights Association Papers: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition 1864-1973, 1975, page 3.) For the span of about forty years, the IRA was the organization that American Indians looked to for help and protection, and for non-American Indians it was a useful source of information. Later organizations and groups brought additional protection and help to the American Indian people, but the Indian Rights Association was the forerunner.

From the guide to the Indian Rights Association pamphlets, 1884-1985, 1884-1935, (Fort Lewis College. Center of Southwest Studies)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn John Collier papers Yale University Library
referencedIn Cramton, Louis C. (Louis Convers), b. 1875. Louis Convers Cramton papers, 1896-1966. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Erl Bates papers, [ca. 1920-1960]. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Hare, William Hobart, 1838-1909. William Hobart Hare papers, 1883-1885. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Weinland, William H. Papers of William H. Weinland, 1853-1946. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Farnam family papers, 1721-1941 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Adams, John C., 1842-1895. John C. Adams papers, 1792-1932. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Theodore Hetzel papers, 1924-1991, 1964-1978 Fort Lewis College. Center of Southwest Studies
referencedIn Bates, Erl Augustus Caeser, 1889-1973. Erl Bates papers, [ca. 1920-1960]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Marsden, Edward, 1869-1932. Edward Marsden papers, 1890-1928. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Kane Family Papers, 1745-1955 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn William Zimmerman, Jr. Papers, 1933-1965 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Kane, John K. (John Kintzing), 1795-1858. Papers, [ca. 1800]-1892. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Indian Rights Association. Indian Rights Association papers, 1864-1973 (inclusive), 1882-1968 (bulk), [microform]. Yale University Library
creatorOf Indian Rights Association pamphlets, 1884-1985, 1884-1935 Fort Lewis College. Center of Southwest Studies
referencedIn Stokes, Anson Phelps, 1874-1958. Anson Phelps Stokes family papers, 1761-1960 (inclusive), 1892-1958 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Indian Rights Association. Papers, 1830-1969 (inclusive), 1830, 1884-1967, 1969 (bulk). Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Welsh, Herbert, 1851-1941. Letter : Pine Ridge Agency, Dakota Territory, to Rt. Rev. William H. Hare, 1883 Jun 20. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn George P. Hammond collection, 1933-1956. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Parman, Donald Lee, 1932-. Donald Parman papers, 1905-1913. Little Big Horn College Library
referencedIn Proctor, Redfield, 1831-1908. TLS, 1889 September 21 : Washington, D.C. to George Crook. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Welsh, Herbert, 1851-1941. Letter : Pine Ridge Agency, Dakota Territory, to Rt. Rev. William H. Hare, 1883 Jun 20. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn John Collier papers, 1910-1987 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Records, 1942-1967. Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School
referencedIn Francis Cushman Wilson Papers on Pueblo Legal Issues, 1913-1956, 1917-1930 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Faris, Chester E. Papers, 1860-1956. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
referencedIn John Nicholas Brown (1861-1900) papers, Brown (John Nicholas) (1861-1900) papers, (bulk 1881-1900), 1871-1900 John Hay Library, Special Collections
referencedIn Herbert J. Hagerman Papers, 1924-1932 New Mexico State Records Center and Archives
referencedIn Brown, Mary Farnum. Thomas Wistar Brown papers [manuscript] Haverford College Library
referencedIn McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1859-1936. Donation papers, 1880-1937. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Phelps-Stokes Fund. Phelps-Stokes Fund records, 1893-1970. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Indian Rights Association. Correspondence, with Henry Charles Lea, 1888-1897. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf National Council of American Indians records, 1926-1938 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Dawes, Henry L. (Henry Laurens), 1816-1903. Correspondence regarding the Five Civilized Tribes, January 1901. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
creatorOf Indian Rights Association. [Printed ephemera on the rights of American Indians in the Marian S. Carson Collection] Library of Congress
referencedIn Jones, Kumen, 1856-1942. The San Juan mission to the Indians, before 1942. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Blatchford, E. W. (Eliphalet Wickes), 1826-1914. Blatchford family papers, 1777-1987, bulk 1839-1965. Newberry Library
referencedIn George P. Hammond Collection, 1933-1956 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Rosenthal, Elizabeth Clark. Papers, 1876-1999. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn Marsden, Edward, 1869-1932. Edward Marsden papers [microform], 1890-1928. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Louis C. Cramton Papers, ca. 1865-1966, 1916-1965 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs. Records, 1758-1929 (bulk 1892-1917). Haverford College Library
referencedIn Indian Rights Association materials in the Theodore Hetzel papers, 1924-1988, 1964-1986 Fort Lewis College. Center of Southwest Studies
referencedIn Davis, Joshua, Rev., fl. 1884-1907. Notebook, 1884-1907. South Dakota State Archives
creatorOf Hagerman, Herbert James, 1871-1935. Herbert J. Hagerman papers, 1924-1932. New Mexico State Library
referencedIn Phelps-Stokes Fund records, 1893-1970 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn Grinnell, George Bird, 1849-1938. George Bird Grinnell papers, 1859-1939 (inclusive), 1886-1929 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn George Bird Grinnell papers, 1859-1939 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Anson Phelps Stokes family papers, 1761-1960, 1892-1958 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952. Edward Curtis papers, ca. 1900-ca. 1935. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Grinnell, George Bird, 1849-1938. George Bird Grinnell papers, 1859-1939 (inclusive), 1886-1929 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Farnam family. Farnam family papers, 1721-2002 (inclusive), 1850-1937 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Kane, Francis Fisher, 1866-1955. Papers, [ca. 1880s]-1955. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Collier, John, 1884-1968. John Collier papers, 1910-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Edward Marsden papers, 1890-1928 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
creatorOf Zitkala-S̈a, 1876-1938. National Council of American Indians records, 1926-1938. Harold B. Lee Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, John C., 1842-1895. person
associatedWith American Indian Defense Association corporateBody
associatedWith Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith Atwood, Stella M. person
associatedWith Bates, Erl Augustus Caesar, 1889-1973 person
associatedWith Bates, Erl Augustus Caeser, 1889-1973. person
associatedWith Blatchford, E. W. (Eliphalet Wickes), 1826-1914. person
associatedWith Bonnin, Raymond, 1880-1942 person
associatedWith Brosius, Samuel M., 1851-1936. person
associatedWith Brown, John Nicholas, 1861-1900 person
associatedWith Collier, John, 1884-1968. person
associatedWith Council on Indian Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith Cramton, Louis C. (Louis Convers), b. 1875. person
associatedWith Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952. person
associatedWith Davis, Joshua, Rev., fl. 1884-1907. person
associatedWith Dawes, Henry L. (Henry Laurens), 1816-1903. person
associatedWith Faris, Chester E. person
associatedWith Farnam family family
associatedWith Farnam family. family
associatedWith General Federation of Women's Clubs corporateBody
associatedWith Grinnell, George Bird, 1849-1938. person
associatedWith Hagerman, Herbert James, 1871-1935. person
associatedWith Hammond, George Peter, 1896- person
associatedWith Hare, William Hobart, 1838-1909. person
associatedWith Hetzel, Theodore, compiler person
associatedWith Hetzel, Theodore, compiler person
associatedWith Jones, Kumen, 1856-1942. person
associatedWith Kane, Francis Fisher, 1866-1955. person
associatedWith Kane, John K. (John Kintzing), 1795-1858. person
associatedWith Lindley, Lawrence E. person
associatedWith Marsden, Edward, 1869-1932. person
associatedWith McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1859-1936. person
associatedWith Montezuma, Carlos, 1866-1923 person
associatedWith National Council of American Indians corporateBody
associatedWith Painter, C. C. person
associatedWith Parman, Donald Lee, 1932- person
associatedWith Phelps-Stokes Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Proctor, Redfield, 1831-1908. person
associatedWith Sniffen, Matthew K., 1867-1942. person
associatedWith Stokes, Anson Phelps, 1874-1958. person
correspondedWith Unitarian Service Committee. Medical Missions. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Indian Claims Commission corporateBody
correspondedWith Weinland, William H. person
associatedWith Welsh, Herbert, 1851-1941. person
associatedWith Welsh, John person
associatedWith Wilkinson, Ernest L., 1899-1978 person
associatedWith Wilson, Francis Cushman, 1876-1952 person
associatedWith Zimmerman, William, 1890-1967 person
associatedWith Zitkala-S̈a, 1876-1938. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Sedan (Okla.)
Washington (D.C.)
Concho (Okla.)
Lake Traverse Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.)
Standing Rock Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.)
Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation (Utah)
Clinton (Okla.)
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.)
Lawton (Okla.)
Andarko (Okla.)
Subject
Federal--Indian trust relationship
Tribes--United States
Indians of North America--Government relations
Indians of North America
Indians of North America--Land tenure
Land tenure--United States
Ute Indians
Indians of North America--History
Tribal government--United States
Yankton Indians
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1864

Active 1973

Information

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Ark ID: w6bw1957

SNAC ID: 30397704