My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK—On Wednesday I had a busy day, starting at the office at 9:30 with a meeting with a group of people and followed by a private interview. Then I had to hurry to meet some other people at the United Nations for lunch at noon. In fact, there were two groups of people from out of town, one from Connecticut and the other from California, and both were making their first visit to the U.N. Building. They also attended some of the meetings in the afternoon.

I am always interested to see the effect of a first visit to the U.N. headquarters.

As a rule, people who have never been to the U.N. do not give much thought to this particular landmark in New York City. But once they go and see it and look at it with a critical eye, and listen to some of the things that go on inside the building, their imagination is fired by what is represented there and they at once want to know more and express a desire to do something.

This is encouraging to anyone who feels as I do that the U.N. is the only machinery we have to help us gain a peaceful world.

I had a letter from a gentleman the other day who told me he felt the U.N. was a menace to our country and I am still trying to figure out how he could possibly think so.

My mail brings me many and varied challenges. The last was a letter from an Indian reservation, in which the writer bitterly complained that I talked about the rights of people in other parts of the world but never gave any thought to the fact that we here in the U.S. were paying very little attention to the original inhabitants of this country—the American Indians.

Today I received from the Association on American Indian Affairs a plea to beg the public to glance at the Indian side in the situation that faces the Indian tribes today.

The Federal administrative policy, as we all know, is to terminate the American Indian tribe as quickly as possible. Everybody has read articles giving the Indian Bureau's position and it can be heard over TV and radio. But what do the Indians themselves think? This is never brought to the attention of the public, and yet we should apply the principle of "consent of the governed" to the Indians as well as to other Americans.

The Association on American Indian Affairs has a newsletter, and the last one carries almost entirely the statements of the Indians on the grave land alienation issue that confronts them. Some of the churches are beginning to understand this problem, and Dr. Harold E. Fay has brought together some articles, written in the Christian Century, on the present situation of the American Indian.

These 400,000 original Americans deserve a hearing. More attention on the part of all Americans should be given to the way in which certain desirable ends from the Federal viewpoint are being pushed—action that seems most undesirable by the American Indian.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL