The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. —Looking at the front pages of our newspapers these days it is astonishing how many headlines deal with violence—violence in Algeria, violence in the Congo, violence in South Vietnam. The fact that Armistice Day in France came and went without any riots is commented on as though this were a real achievement.

One thing I hope will occur to the peoples of the world is the fact that in a nation like ours, where there is no compulsion, we can still have even a recount of votes in a close election and without violence. This is the one encouraging fact I can pick out to be proud of in this gloomy look at headlines on the front pages of most of our newspapers.

The present session of the United Nations is scheduled to end on December 17, but the General Assembly will not have finished its work, and another session must be decided on to begin either shortly after Christmas or perhaps not until March or April. If it is put off until March or April it will give our President-elect more time to prepare for the leadership and the positions the United States must take in the next Assembly.

On November 11 a move was made and carried in the General Assembly to postpone the annual election of members to the Security Council and Economic and Social Council. This will allow the special Political Committee more time to consider demands made for representation on those councils by the new member nations of the U.N. It means probably that one of three decisions will have to be made: to move for an amendment of the Charter that would enlarge the two councils; to reallocate the seats already available to non-permanent members; or to leave the situation as it stood in 1945.

And somewhere along the line perhaps the Soviet Union is going to make a strong appeal for the inclusion of Communist China. In this regard I have come to the conclusion that the many people who feel this Soviet effort is not an honest one and that the Soviets would prefer not to see Communist China taken into the U.N. are interpreting the Soviets' intention wrongly. I believe that the Soviets consider it will be a safeguard for themselves to have Communist China as a member of the U.N. and bound by the same rules by which they are themselves bound.

This may all come out and be discussed during the debates on these council elections when they come up in the next session. The final decision will be of great interest to all of us and should be followed with great care.

Once again I feel compelled to urge the people of our country to take more interest than they have shown in the past in how we treat our native Indian population. Author Oliver LaFarge, who heads the American Association on Indian Affairs, has long tried to tell us about the remnants left of the people who were here when our white ancestors came to this country, but he gets little attention and cooperation.

For reasons of special interest many individuals and organizations have fooled and cheated our Indians and, most harmful of all, they have introduced them to the drinking of alcohol, which has meant destruction for them because the Indian reacts badly to it and it affects his health. We have boasted of giving the Indian education and of our generosity, but careful research will show that the education has been very spotty and the generosity extremely difficult to discover.

A few people here and there have been kind and understanding and fought for the rights of the Indian, but the real trouble is the indifference on the part of the great mass of our people. We seem to have completely forgotten that this country belonged to the Indians and that we subjugated them with superior firearms and complete ruthlessness.

My question is: how can we claim to lead in the world if we treat our own minorities with indifference and injustice?


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Syracuse (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 16, 1960

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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