ON SELFISHNESS & AMERICAN CULTURE "To bring [the Indian] out of savagery into citizenship… we need to awaken in him wants. Discontent with the teepee and the Indian camp is needed to get the Indian out of the blanket and into trousers--and trousers with a pocket in them, and with a pocket that aches to be filled with dollars!"- Dr. Merrill E. Gates (president of Amherst College) "The head chief [of the Cherokees] told us that there was not a family in that whole nation that had not a home of its own. There was not a pauper in the nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar… Yet the defect of the system was apparent. They [the Indians] have got as far as they can go, because they own their land in common… There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization. Until this people give up their lands and divide them among their citizens so that each can own theland he cultivates, they will not make much progress." - Senator Dawes (author of the Dawes Act, which forcibly divided Indian lands formerly held communally) Selfishness is the root of civilization? Amazing what people reveal about their values in such casual statements. The above would be funny were it not for the whole sad history of government dealings with the Native Americans. The quotes are from "In the Absence of the Sacred" by Jerry Mander (Sierra Club, 1991).