Remarks in Atoka, Indian Territory

April 05, 1905

I have only a moment in which to greet you and to say how glad I am to be here. I trust that in a short time I shall have the chance of greeting the Senators and Representatives of a State of a million and a half people. I wish to say that in greeting all of you I am especially glad to greet the children. I am glad to see the Indian Orphan Home children here and your public school children. I wish you to take care of the children who are going to run the State in about fifteen or twenty years, and see that they do it in the right shape.

You know that from this Territory I got many of the members of my regiment, and many of those were of Indian blood. In this Territory now and when it becomes a State you must see to it that everything is done to bring the Indians, the original owners of the soil, up to the highest standard of citizenship, and remember that your motto should be "all men up and not some men down." The easiest way to raise any of us is to raise all of us, and if you de press any of us, as sure as fate all of us will more or less feel the effects of that depression.

I have traveled all today through this beautiful Territory. You have the climate, the natural resources in agriculture and business that will make you one of the greatest States of the Union. It rests with yourselves to take advantage of these natural resources. You have got to work, and work hard. I do not have to say that to those who are the descendants of the pioneers themselves, for that is how work on the frontier has always been done.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Atoka, Indian Territory Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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