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

Report of special agent, Indian school service,   pp. 600-609 PDF (5.2 MB)


Page 609

REPORT OF SPECIAL AGENT, INDIAN SCHOOL SERVICE.                  609 
Perhaps som- white womnon in such poverty might not have felt called upon
to skin sheep to square up a husband's account. 
RELAPSING OF STUDENTS. 
Allow me to refer again to the letter written by Mr. Phillip Garrett and
re- 
quote a portion. He says: 
It is true to a much greater extent than we had hoped that young Indians
returning to the 
reservation after a thorough education relapse into a barbarous mode of life.
Especially is 
this so of the girls. etc. 
I do not know what reservations were visited by this gentleman, or how many
young people with a "thorough education" he found, but I know that
Indian 
pupils, even the best returned students, who have a " thorough education"
are 
very rare in the reserv-ations over which we travel. Without giving a broad
significance to the phrase, there are very few young Indians of my acquaintance
to whom the phrase will apply. It is a mistake to suppose that three, five,
or 
even ten years at an Indian boarding school gives one a thorough education.
No white chid receives such an education in that numbr of years; even a com-
mon English education; and the white child has the advantage of the language,
of heredily, of stimulating impulses, of the help of parents, and of good
libraries. 
Most of these helps are b  yond the reach of the Indian child. 
Among all the people who may be put under the heal of thoroughly educated
young Indians I know of none who have relapsed or in any way disgraced the
name or disappointed the expectations of friends. One might mention Dr. 
Chas. Eastman, Dr. Montezuma, Rev. John Eastman, Henry J. Kendall, etc. 
Have these young men relapsed?    ' Especially is this true of the girls."
 Espec- 
ially is this so of Dr. Susan La Flesche, Anna Dawson and Eva Henderson?
And 
the se young ladies have only a medical or normal training; not so very thor-
oughly educated. A dozen more might be mentioned. 
SCHOOLS ON RESERVATIONS. 
After making nearly two hundred visits to Indian schools, day schools, reser-
vation boarding schools and training schools, and learning something by per-
sonal obst'rvatio: upon m)re than seventy-five Indian reservations, I desire
in 
closing this report to speak of my very decided conviction regarding the
value 
of educational work on the reservations. Allow me to doso by calling attention
to 
the valuable utterances of Mr. T. W. Blackburn, before the Mohonk conference
in 1890, which fully express my opinions. Speaking of day schools, he says:
They are often the sole evidences of civilization in their localities, and
the nearest white per- 
son other than the teacher is 15,25,50, or perhaps 100 miles distant. The
environment is not 
encouraging and the progress of the pupils slow; but the camp school is invaluable
as a civil- 
izing force in the Indian country. Agent McLaughlin, of Standing Rock Agency.
says the day 
or camp school has a marked influence for good upon the old people as well
as the young. and 
that a drive among the tepees or huts will reveal its presence. A cloth spread
over a board or 
box for a table, a wash basin outside the door, the suggestion of an apron.
a white handkerchief, 
or perhaps a picture cut from a pictorial paper on the wall. are small things
in themselves, 
but these seen in an Indian settlement spea;? volumes of praise for the faithful
day school 
teacher. The day schools are despised by casual visitors. Official inspectors
condemn them as 
worthless; but the most intelligent agents favor them for their influence
upon the adults, for 
their usefulness in breaking the way for attendance at the boarding schools,
and because at 
many of them conscientious, earnest aud competent teachers have achieied
really remarkable 
results. 
The reservation boarding schools are the genuine leaven which will leaven
the whole lump of 
barbarism. They are the common schools of the Indian country, bearing the
same relations to 
the training schools that primary grades sustain to the grammar and high
schools of our cities. 
They are the inspiration of the child for something better, and lie at the
very foundation of the 
general plan of elevating the race by educating its children. They perform
their work faith- 
fully, and the best results to the whole body of Indians will be just as
certainly achieved, 
through these home schools on the reservations, as the intelligence of a
white community is in- 
creased by its common schools rather than its colleges and high schools.
It is my firm personal 
conviction, with all respect to those who think otherwise, that the salvation
of the In iian is in 
the reservation boarding school, where the great majority must be trained,
if tralined at all. 
These reservation schools are distant from public view. The teachers have
none of the stimu- 
lus of popular applause, none of the special advantages incident to an environment
of sympa- 
thetic civilization, yet theirs is far the most responsible duty, and they
merit your active, effe'ct- 
ive, philanthropic cooperation. 
Respectfully submitted. 
MERIAL A. DORCHESTER, 
Speciat Agcot Indian &'hoot Service. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
8397iTA       39 


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