Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt Jr.
"I wish very much that
the wrong people could be
prevented entirely from breeding; and when
the evil nature of these
people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done. Criminals should be
sterilized and feebleminded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them.
The emphasis should be laid on getting desirable people to breed."- Theodore
Roosevelt, "Twisted Eugenics," The Works of Theodore
As a former great chief at Washington I was admitted to the sacred
room, or one-roomed house, the kiva, in which the chosen snake priests had for
a fortnight been getting ready for the sacred dance.
Very few white men
have been thus admitted, and never unless it is known that they will treat with
courtesy and respect what the Indians revere.
the house, which was sunk in the rock, was through a hole in the roof, down a
ladder across whose top hung a cord from which fluttered three eagle plumes and
dangled three small animal skins. Below was a room perhaps fifteen feet by
One end of it, perhaps a third of its length, was raised a
foot above the rest, and the ladder led down to this raised part. Against the
rear wall of this raised part or dais lay thirty odd rattlesnakes, most of them
in a twined heap in one corner, but a dozen by
themselves scattered along the wall.
There was also a pot containing
several striped ribbon-snakes, too lively to be left at large. Eight or ten
priests, some old, some
young, sat on the floor in the lower and larger two-thirds of the room, and
greeted me with grave courtesy; they spread
a blanket on the edge of the
dais, and I sat down, with my back to the
snakes and about eight feet from
them; a little behind and to one side of me sat a priest with a category of fan
or brush made of two or three wing-plumes of an eagle, who kept quiet guard
over his serpent wards.
the farther end of the room was the altar; the crude image of a
coyote was painted on the floor, and on the four sides of this coyote picture
were paintings of snakes; on three
sides it was hemmed in by lightning sticks, or
thunder sticks, standing
upright in little clay cups, and on the fourth side by eagle plumes held
Some of the priests were
smoking for pleasure and
they were working at parts of the ceremonial dress. One had a cast rattlesnake
skin which he was chewing, to limber it up, just as Sioux squaws used to chew
buckskin. Another was fixing a leather apron with pendent thongs; he stood up
and tried it on. All were scantily clad, in breech-clouts or short kilts or
loin flaps; their naked, copper-red bodies, lithe and sinewy, shone, and each
had been splashed in two or three places with a blotch or streak of white
One spoke English and
translated freely; I was
careful not to betray too much curiosity or
touch on any matter which they might
be reluctant to discuss. The snakes behind me
never rattled or showed any signs of anger;
the translator volunteered the remark that they were peaceable because they had
been given medicine-whatever that might mean, supposing the statement to be
true according to the sense in which the words are accepted by plains men. But
several of them were active in the sluggish rattlesnake fashion.
glided sinuously toward me; when he was a yard away, I pointed him out to the
watcher with the eagle feathers; the watcher quietly extended the feathers and
stroked and pushed the snake's
head back, until it finally turned and crawled back to the wall. Half a dozen
times different snakes thus
crawled out toward me and were turned back, without their ever displaying a
symptom of irritation. One snake got past the watcher and moved slowly past me
about six inches away, whereupon the priest on my left leaned across me and
checked its advance by throwing pinches of
dust in its face until the
watcher turned round with his feather sceptre.
Every move was made
without hurry and with quiet unconcern; neither
snake nor man, at any time, showed
a trace of worry or anger; all, human
beings and reptiles, were in an atmosphere of quiet peacefulness. When I rose
to say good-by, I thanked my hosts for their courtesy;
they were pleased, and two or three shook hands with me.
afternoon of the following
day the antelope priests-the men of the antelope clan - held their dance. The
snake priests took part. It was held in the middle of Walpi village, round a
big, rugged column of rock, a dozen feet high, which juts out of the smooth
surface. The antelope-dancers
came in first, clad in kilts, with fox skins behind; otherwise naked, painted
with white splashes and streaks, and their hair washed with the juice of the
yucca root. Their leader's kilt was white; he wore a garland and anklets of
cottonwood leaves, and sprinkled water from a sacred vessel to the four corners
Another leader carried the sacred bow and a bull-roarer, and
they moved to its loud moaning sound. The
snake priestess' were similarly
clad, but their kirtles were of leather; eagle plumes were in their long hair,
and under their knees they carried rattles made of tortoise-shell. In two lines
they danced opposite each other,
keeping time to the rhythm of their monotonous chanting.
The idea that our natural
resources were inexhaustible still exists.
Even though there is as
yet no real knowledge of their extent and condition.
The relation of the conservation of
natural resources to the problems of American welfare and
American efficiency had not
yet dawned on the public consciousness.
The reclamation of arid
public lands in the West was still a matter for private enterprise alone; and
our magnificent river system, with its superb possibilities for public
usefulness, was dealt with by the American government not as a unit, but as
a disconnected series of
pork-barrel problems, whose only real interest was in their effect on the
reelection or defeat of a Congressman here and there-a theory which, I regret
to say, still obtains.
The idea that the president is
the steward of the public welfare was first formulated and given practical
effect in the Forest Service by its law officer, George Woodruff.
laws were often insufficient, and it became well-nigh impossible to get them amended in
the public interest when once the representatives of privilege in Congress
grasped the fact that I would sign no amendment that contained anything not in
the public interest.
It was necessary to use what law was already in
existence, and then further to supplement it by presidential action.
The practice of examining every claim to
public land before passing it
into private ownership offers a good example of the policy in question.
This practice, which has since become general, was first applied in the
Enormous areas of valuable public timberland were
thereby saved from fraudulent
acquisition; more than
250,000 acres were thus saved in a single case.
Even more important was
the taking of steps to preserve from destruction beautiful and wonderful wild
creatures whose existence was threatened by greed and wantonness.
During the seven
and a half years closing on March 4, 1909, more was accomplished for the
protection of wild life in America
than during all the previous years, excepting only the creation of the
Yellowstone National Park.
The record includes the creation of five
National Parks-Crater Lake, Oregon; Wind Cave, South Dakota; Platt, Oklahoma;
Sully Hill, North Dakota, and Mesa Verde, Colorado; four big animal refuges in
Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana, and Washington; fifty-one bird reservations; and
the enactment of laws for the protection of wild life in Alaska, the
District of Columbia, and on National bird reserves.
These measures may be
briefly enumerated as follows:
The enactment of the first game laws for
the Territory of Alaska in 1902 and 1908, resulting in the
regulation of the
export of heads and trophies of big animals and putting an end to the slaughter
of deer for hides along the southern coast of the Territory.
for the preservation of buffalo and the establishment in the Yellowstone
1904 Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe
Doctrine states that the US will intervene as a last resort to ensure that
other nations in the Western Hemisphere fulfilled their
obligations to international
creditors, and did not violate the rights of the US or invite "foreign
aggression to the detriment of the entire body of American
Gifford Pinchot appointed 1st
Chief of the Forest Service.
Gifford Pinchot establishes the modern
definition of conservation as
a wise use
approach to public land.
Roosevelt cuts all relations with
Korea, turns the American
legation in Seoul over to the Japanese
military, deletes the word "Korea" from the
Record of Foreign Relations and places it under the heading of "Japan."
During the forty year occupation Koreans are forbidden to speak their
This is in exchange for Japanese acceptance of the continuing
US occupation of the Philippines.
Preserves set aside, the first of the National animal preserves.
1906 Grand Canyon Game Preserve of
Arizona comprising 1,492,928 acres established.
Monuments Act passes to preserve a number of objects of scientific
interest, and be wildlife refuges, for all time include:
Pinnacles National Monument in California, and the Mount Olympus National
Monument, Washington, which also form important refuges for
12,000 acres of Wichita Game Preserves are enclosed with a woven wire
fence for the reception of the herd of fifteen buffalo donated by the New
York Zoological Society.
passage of the Act of May 23, 1908, providing for the establishment of the
National Bison Range in Montana.
This range comprises about
18,000 acres of land formerly in the Flathead Indian Reservation, on
which is now established a herd of eighty buffalo, a nucleus of which was
donated to America by the American Bison Society.
The issue of
the Order protecting birds on the Niobrara Military Reservation,
Nebraska, in 1908, making this entire reservation in effect a bird reservation.
The establishment by Executive Order between
March 14, 1903, and March 4, 1909, of fifty-one National Bird
Reservations distributed in seventeen States and Territories from Puerto
Rico to Hawaii and Alaska.
The creation of these reservations at once
placed America in the front rank in
the world work of bird protection.
Among these reservations are the
celebrated Pelican Island rookery in Indian River, Florida;
Mosquito Inlet Reservation, Florida, the northernmost home of the
the extensive marshes bordering Klamath and Malhuer Lakes in
Oregon, formerly the scene of slaughter of ducks for market and ruthless
destruction of plume birds for the millinery trade;
the Tortugas Key,
Florida, where, in connection with the
experiments have been
made on the homing instinct of
and the great bird colonies on Laysan and sister islets in
Hawaii, some of the greatest colonies of sea birds on Earth.
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