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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1884
([1884])

Report of agent in New York,   pp. 139-140 PDF (970.9 KB)


Page 139

REPORT OF AGENT IN NEW           YORK.               139 
fifteen hundred boys and girls in the nineteen Pueblos, who attend no school,
but 
are growing in idleness, in indolence, in superstition, and amusing themselves
with 
the most obscene and repugnant dances, to tho eyes ofa civilized society;
and this 
they call a "sacred tradition" that they must carry on to their
posterity untouched. 
Shall an American Congress be willing to tolerate any longer such a state
of things 
among their poor Indians ? And will it, even in the presence of these facts,
assume 
such a slow gait as will not insure the happiness of these Pueblos for a
whole genera- 
tion to come? 
. This gloomy and truly sad picture, but true, has a way of being avoided
by declar- 
ing by law that the education of the Indian youth is obligatory for every
one of them 
between the ages of eight and eighteen years, under correctional pain; otherwise
this 
matter will ever be a question of time and money, a burden which the people
may 
not be willing in all probability to carry on their backs all the days of
their life. 
Compulsory and industrial education, as I said before, among the Indians,
is what we 
mostly need to improve the poor condition they lie in, after having traversed
through 
three distinct governments. So long as absolute discretion is given to indolent
parents 
to abandon the education of their children, so long as the law in this particular
re- 
spect is not compulsory, just so long will the Government and the people
be unguar- 
aunteed in the noble end they have proposed to themselves, i. e., the civilization
and 
education of the Indian. The boys and girls that return from the Carlisle
school, as 
well as those who attend the Albuquerque school, are the pride of every man
that ap- 
preciates education and desires the welfare of these Indians; but when they
return 
home they have to join hands with the agent, and thus deal with the gross
ignorance 
so deeply rooted in th'-ir people. 
Juan B. Lucero and Jos6 P. Abeytia, natives of Isleta, have two of their
children 
attending school here at the Christian Brothers' College, at their own expense.
These 
boys are progressing very rapidly. 
There are three day schools under this agency, supported partly by the Govern-
ment and partly by the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions. These schools
make 
*ome progress. The teachers are able, honest, and energetic, and avail themselves
of every means in their power to obtain a regular attendance. Their noble
efforts, 
however, are not appreciated by the Indians, who show such indifference-enough
to 
make anybody despair. This, and the little or no application in their youth,
goes to 
show very palpably that the system of local schools among these Pueblos is
not the 
best. 
In this connection experience teaches that the best way is to take the brood
out of 
the nest and send it to a place where, while they learn letters, they are
also taught 
better habits and a thoroughly different way of living. This I believe to
be, in my 
humble opinion, the shortest and surest way to educate these Indians and
to save 
them from the fatality of their former connections. Therefore I very respectfully
recommend this measure. 
Some one of my predecessors has said that these Indians are independent,
and that 
their councils for the admiuistration of justice are composed of wise men.
I ask the 
American people what independence can there be in men whose true picture
I have 
depicted above ? It is only the civilized, educated, and energetic man that
is inde- 
pendent. What wisdom is there in men who for centuries have lived among civilized
people and are not yet ashamed to go naked? 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
.              PEDRO SANCHEZ, 
Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
NEW YORK INDIAN AGENCY, 
Gowanda, September 22, 1884. 
SIR: I ha.ve the honor to submit herewith my first annual report of the New
York 
Agency. 
Owing to the delay in the furnishing of annuity funds, I have only visited
two of 
the reservations (the Cattaraugus and Allegany) under my charge, and my report
must necessarily be a very incomplete one. 
The thirty-one schools in this agency being under State superintendence,
it is only 
by courtesy that I get reports from them. I have received twenty-two that
show 
fair progress. The Thomas Asylum, for orphan Indian children on the Cattaraugus
Reservation, under the present superintendent, Mr. Van Yalkenburg, and his
wife 
-- matron, is one of the best institutions of the kind in the State, and
is doing a great 
work in civilizing the Indians of New York. The girls from the institution
find 
homes, and are in great demand as domestics in the adjoining villages. The
boys 
are instructed in farming and in the rudiments of some mechanical occupations,
and 
End 


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