Source: Spokane Falls Review, 7/12/1890

Subject: Colville reservation

Headline: The Colville Reserve

Synopsis: Congress is about to discuss "opening" the 2,800,000-acre Colville reservation to white settlement. The land should be purchased at a fair price from the Indians, who are not developing it, and made available to industrious settlers. The Indians as well as the whites will benefit from this arrangement. The article claims that the reservations impede "civilization."


At the next session of congress an effort will be made to bring about opening to settlement of the Colville Indian reservation. Embraced within the limits of this reserve are 2,800,000 acres of land, owned by 700 Indians, the remnants of a number of tribes, but mainly Colvilles.

When one stops to figure out that every one of these Indians-men, squaws and children-is heir to 4,000 acres of land, that altogether they are not cultivating a thousand acres, and when he reflects that the progress of civilization, that magnificent wave started upon the steppes of Asia thousands of years ago, and now finding itself obstructed by the Pacific ocean and these large reservations, must pause in its magnificent destiny unless this handful of a vanishing race shall no longer permitted to stand as a barrier against everything that is progressive and useful to mankind-when one thus reflects he is deeply impressed with the necessity, the justice of giving these Indians land in severalty, paying them a fair price for the remainder, opening it to settlement and improvement. The Indians themselves are not averse to such a step. They do not cultivate any of the land, but hang around the borders between the reservation and the settlements and derive a precarious existence by drawing government rations, hunting and fishing and begging from whites. They would gladly avail themselves of an opportunity to sell this land, for even if it brought only $1 an acre they would all become comparatively wealthy.

It should not be forgotten that whatever value attaches to these lands is derived from their proximity to the outpost of civilization. The masses have toiled to make the Indian lands valuable, and it is a moderate request to ask that they now be given the privilege of purchasing that which has been made valuable by reason of their thrift and industry. The Indians have not added one dollar to the value of these lands.

While the Colville reservation is mainly mountainous, it is exceedingly well watered. The mountains are covered with luxuriant grasses, and many fertile valleys in between the lofty hills. Pine, tamarack, and cedar abound. But the greatest possibilities of this reservation are in the way of mineral resources.

So as long as this reservation is held in idleness for the benefit of a handful of Indians it will be useful neither to them nor the whites. Thrown open to settlement, it will soon become a land of pastures and fields, of mining and lumbering camps, and the Indians will share in the general development and prosperity.