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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1892
([1892])

The care of Indian schools,   pp. 610-618 PDF (4.3 MB)


Page 610

THE CARE OF INDIAN SCHOOLS. 
The labor, anxiety, and responsibility involved in the establishment and
car- 
rying on of boarding schools for Indians is very great, perplexing. and wearing.
None but those intimately acquainted with the facts involved can have any
true 
appreciation of the burden. I have thought that it would be well to set forth
some of these in order that those engaged in the work may have fuller sympa-
thy and support, and that their labors may be more completely recognized.
ADMINISTRATION OF INDIAN SCHOOLS. 
The position of superintendent of an Indian boarding school is no sinecure.
The superintendent needs to be a man of much more than ordinary ability,
since 
his position calls for business ability, intelligence, integrity, industry,
patience, 
and other high qualities of manhood. In the first place if it is a bonded
school, 
of which there are now about twenty-five, the superintendent is required
to give 
bonds for the faithful performance of his duties and is held responsible
for its 
financial administration. 
In some instances, the expenditures for the school during the year approxi-
mate a hundred thousand dollars. All that passes through th3 hands of the
superintendent must be accounted for by him with great particularity. He
can 
make no expenditures whatever without the authority of the Indian Office,
and 
must render a strict account, accompanied with proper vouchers, for every
dol- 
lar that he disburses. In making his-recommendations for expenditures of
the 
amount of money available for the maintenance of the school during the year,
he must take into consideration the necessities of the school in all its
parts, and 
so distribute his funds that no interest shall suffer. If new buildings are
re- 
quired, he must determine their number, character and cost. He is expected
to 
see to necessary repairs of all kinds. He must also anticipate all the wants
of 
the school in the matter of clothing, subsistence, books, apparatus, stock,
and 
all needed tools of every character, whether for farming or for the various
branches of industrial work. 
Where, as is often the case, the appropriation for the school is meagre,
it re- 
quires a great deal of planning in order to make the wisest distribution
of the 
money available. Congress conditions the outlay for each school for current
expenses upon the average attendance, which necessitates on the part of the
superintendent foresight and vigilance in order that his expenditures may
not 
exceed the per capita allowance. The requirements of the Indian Office in
the 
settlement of accounts are so rigid, and the regulations concerning money
so 
exacting, that the financial care devolving upon a superintendent is very
great 
and oftentimes very trying. 
In the next place, the superintendent is required to organize his school.
The 
success of the institution depends very largely upon the perfection of its
organi- 
zation. He must decide as to the number and kind of industries that will
be 
carried on; as to the various grades into which the pupils can be classified;
must 
select for the head of each department of work or instruction a competent
em- 
ploye; adjust their duties to each other so as to avoid friction; supervise
the 
matter of details of pupils for industrial work; so arrange study and labor
that, 
there will be no conflict, and must make such an assignment of duties and
of 
employes as will equalize their burdens and secure the best possible result.
All friction can not by any possibility be avoided, and under any circumstances
the labor must be heavy and often excessive. The friction can, however, be,
minimized and the tedium of labor reduced by a satisfactory organization.
If 
the superintendent be wanting in system, lacking in knowledge of human nature,,
deficient in firmness, or defective in good manners, it is very easy for
the ma- 
chinery of his school to get out of gear and to run very unsatisfactorily.
If,, on 
the other hand, he is skillful as an organizer and has tact as .well as good
judg- 
ment in his administration he may secure the largest amout! Qf wQr. with
the 
least amount of frictir4, 
610 


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