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Those of us who live on reservations want to develop our resources to the potential maximum. Most of all we want assurance to a permanence of use. More grazing and agricultural land should be utilized by Indians. Livestock holding must be expanded. To do all this, there must be adequate land base before we can have a stable and well-balanced Indian economy. We want our day on earth perpetuated by a firm program which will permit us to retain a land base sufficient to enable economic stability. We want retention of all our rights. Indian thinking and expression has been suppressed too long. If we are to progress we must be accorded the privilege of helping to plan our own destiny. We have relentlessly asked for a sound development of our reservations and also for provisions to secure more education, vocational and professional training for our young people so that those who cannot be absorbed into reservation industries can find a place in some field of endeavor at the urban centers. Our problems are going to be difficult to solve if we must rely on non-Indian thinking entirely. There must be Indian participation if we are to get anything progressive. The word "Indians" must cease to be a mere bookkeeping term, or something that is discussed in euphemistic paper reports filtering back to the Indian Bureau in Washington. In the future we must be more realistic in our planning. Most important, it is our wish that all segments of Indianhood will embrace and subscribe to the praise-worthy work of the National Congress of American Indians. JUSTICE JOHNSON: Way back in the early history our forefathers, according to Will Rogers, met the Mayflower and extended greetings, and welcomed the pale face pilgrims to the shore. In that spirit we have been welcomed in the City of Bellingham. In that same spirit the people of this fine city have received us and have extended to us every courtesy. I have the honor of presenting to you this afternoon the Mayor of this great city, the Honorable Jack Mulhern. MAYOR MULHERN: Honorable Chairman, Members of the National Congress of American Indians and Guests: Since taking Office as the Mayor of Bellingham in June, it has been my pleasure to welcome to our City, many other organizations gathered in convention. Most of those organizations were all well known to me, I had some background of their activities and understood their objectives. Speaking very frankly, the invitation to welcome your group was received with great anticipation as this was the first I knew there was such an organization in existence. Consequently, considering the nature of your organization representing the true Americans, I have looked forward with a great deal of pleasure to appearing before your group. I hopes to talk to some of your officers and members to get an education as to the objectives and background of your National Congress of American Indians. -4-
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