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NEW YORK—More and more people are becoming concerned over effective ways to use our surpluses. The idea of curtailing production when half the world is hungry does not seem a very sensible one, yet we know that whatever program is devised must take into consideration the effect on normal American exports and on the markets of friendly nations.

There are areas of the world, of course, where there are too many people; but there are other areas which have any amount of unexplored and uncultivated land. This is particularly true in South America. One wonders if it could be arranged on a businesslike basis to give surplus populations in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan an opportunity to settle in new areas of the world. This would mean, of course, money loaned for development purposes and for transportation; and it would mean probably, first of all, a backing of the World Health Organization with extra funds to go into these areas and make them healthy places in which to live.

Distribution has always been a problem. Yet it seems that if we did actually move people and then worked out a practical way for using our surpluses throughout the world without creating an economic upset of any kind, we could be started in the right direction.

Recently I received a letter from a woman on an Indian reservation which has given me an idea I wish we could carry out. The writer describes to me the unbelievable poverty in which our American Indians live. They were wards of the state. We were supposed to prepare them for citizenship. We have given them neither good education, good economic conditions, nor education for citizenship. When needed for war, we have used their young men, and now we are telling them they should cease to be wards of the state.

One quotation from this remarkable letter reads: "There isn't any work here. We need land and work, and not relocation off the reservation."

I wonder if it would not be a good idea to inaugurate here at home a Point Four program to deal with the troubles of our American Indians. We have been using Point Four in other parts of the world; why not use it here at home? We have trained people to work in other countries. It would be far simpler to train them to work here in our country. They have had to learn the ways and the customs of people in foreign lands. They can quite easily learn the ways and the customs of our own American Indians.

It is not fair to make untrained people leave their reservations and tell them they must be relocated and not be kept as wards of the state any longer, because what we are really doing is turning them over to the welfare departments of the different areas where they live. If we kept them at home instead and found skilled people to work with them, we might well do a Point Four program on the reservations which would meet the needs of this section of our population.

E.R.

(COPYRIGHT, 1956, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.)


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 26, 1956

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052

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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
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