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

Reports of supervisors of education,   pp. 619-646 PDF (13.1 MB)


Page 619

REPORTS OF SUPERVISORS OF EDUCATION. 
REPORT OF SUPERVISOR OF EDUCATION, FIRST DISTRICT. 
August 31, 1892. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report in accordance with your
recent letter of instructions, to include " all matters that have come
under my 
observation as Supervisor of Indian Education for the first district, with
a re- 
sume of the educational outlook therein." 
I may state here, for the benefit of the uninformed, that the first district
com- 
prises Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota (excepting Standing Rock), Sisse-
ton in South Dakota, and Iowa. 
I will try to embrace herein all the information requested, so far as I can
do 
so and keep this report within proper limits, including, as far as possible,
the con- 
dition and needs of each school as to school room and industrial work, buildings,
etc. I fear I must do this generally, for to present the facts in the case
of each 
school at length would make my report too long. 
The annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs gives the number
of 
Indians on each reservation, with the number and location of the Government
schools; and the reports of the several superintendents give the condition
and 
character of the buildings. the attendance, studies pursued, various kinds
of 
labor performed, progress made. deportment of pupils, and all other matters
per- 
taining to school work. In the Commissioner's report will also be found the
num- 
ber, location, and general features of the many excellent denominational
Indian 
schools scattered through not alone this district, but through the whole
field of 
Indian life, and devoted to the education and Christianization of Indian
youth. 
In all of these schoo's are to be found competent and faithful teachers,
conscien- 
tious personal care of the children, and the true missionary spirit that
has al- 
ways animated those engaged in this beneficent uudertaking. 
I believe the test of the real absorption of the Indian into civilization
is not 
so much his book learning as his having abandoned his pagan customs, quit
dancing, cut his hair, dressed white fashion, and gone to work. Without both
the ability and the will to take care of himself by his own labor, I would
not 
give much for his claim to being a Christian. But I desire (myself not a
pro- 
fessing Christian) to bear this testimony: Unless the Christianization of
the In- 
dian is coupled with and made a part of his education, the harvest will be
only 
Dead Sea apples, fair sometimes upon the surface, the bitterness of ashes
inside. 
Concerning the teaching, it is good in all the schools. The teachers are
effi- 
cient and painstaking, and compare well with those who occupy similar pcsi-
tions in white schools. I have sometimes heard it said that in some of the
con- 
tract schools (and, to speak plainly, this shot is usually aimed at the Catholic
schools) " that in some of the contract schools about all the children
learn is 
the catechism and a little music and fancy work :" but the charge is
false, and 
is the offspring of ignorance and prejudice. They are as go d spellers, as
good 
readers, as good writers, as well taught in grammar, geography, arithmetic,
history, and physiology; as well drilled in music and calisthenics, as polite
in 
manners, as conversant with English, and as graceful in recitation and declama-
tion as can be found elsewhere. What more can ba required? 
Taking into consideration the many hindrances that exist, the teaching of
In- 
dians, as it now is, is entitled to words of encouragement and praise. It
is far 
from presenting a gloomy or a disheartening prospect. Still, although it
has 
reached the dignity of a system, it is, for many reasons, a very defective
one, 
visible quite as plainly and as painfully to those at work within and for
the sys- 
tem as to those who stand outside and criticize it so severelv. I wish hereafter
in this report to state some two or mere of these defects, and suggest what
I be- 
lieve to be the remedy. 
I may say here concerning the "educational status" in this district
that while 
619 
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