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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I

Reports concerning Indians in North Dakota,   pp. 278-291 PDF (7.0 MB)

Page 278

There has been but little improvement in the condition of affairs among 
these Indians.  They are divided into factions, as you are aware, and can
agree upon any policy to pursue in getting rid of the difficulties with which
they have to contend. 
While these Indians are self-supporting, they hold their lands in common,
the title being in the band, and but little material progress Will be made
them under these circumstances. It is my judgment that there will be but
little improvement in the condition of affairs among these Indians until
plan is adopted so that the Department will have more control of their property
interests than at present. 
DE WITT S. HARRIS, Superintendent. 
FORT TOTTEN, N. DAK., August 17, 1905. 
The Fort Totten school is conducted in two divisions, the headquarters at
the old Fort Totten military post, and the Grey Nuns' department in separate
buildings about 1 mile north of the other, the Devils Lake Agency situated
The headquarters school at the old military post has a normal capacity of
about 235 pupils, and it is intended that it shall maintain an average of
225 pupils. Early in September measles appeared in this school, and further
enrollment was closed for several weeks. The epidemic continued *at intervals
until after the holidays. This epidemic interfered considerably with the
attendance during the first half of the year, so that the general average
did not 
much exceed 215, reducing the average for both schools to 323, or two less
the number for which appropriation was made. 
The general interest among the pupils and the discipline maintained in some
of the schoolrooms and departments were not as good as desired, and did not
compare favorably with past work. This was due in part to the epidemic 
of measles and the sickness resulting therefrom, and partly to listlessness
incompetency on the part of a few employees. This defect was largely remedied
before the close of the year, so that the school closed in better condition
prevailed earlier. While the general success of the school was not so positive
as in former years, still there was no marked failure in any department,
nothing calling for radical action to remedy. 
The industrial features of the school generally maintained their high stand-
ing, and with possibly one exception no complaint could be properly made.
This school is exceptionally well equipped and organized in industrial lines,
and care must usually be exercised to prevent monopolizing the interest of
pupils to the injury of literary work. The agricultural and dairy departments
made exceptionally good showings, the products in aggregate reducing the
public expenses of the school not less than $5,000, and furnishing varieties
additions to the pupils' bill of fare surpassed by few schools in the service.
The year of 1904-5 proved to be one of more than ordinary sickness, in 
addition to the epidemic of measles. There was probably more sickness than
in the two previous years combined, and with two changes in the resident
physician, with resulting temporary services, many hardships to both pupils
and employees resulted. No immediate deaths resulted, though in one or two
cases pulmonary troubles followed the measles, finally resulting fatally
the pupil had returned home. 
The enrollment of the Grey Nuns' department was most satisfactory. This 
school has formerly maintained an average of 90 to 100, and in one instance
about 105. This has usually required an excessively large enrollment by 
reason of the intermittent attendance. The school filled up more promptly
than usual, and the attendance was remarkably regular. Notwithstanding 
much sickness the last half of the year, the average for the full year 
exceeded 100. 
The epidemic of measles which prevailed in the other school during the first
half of the year was kept from this school until after the holidays. But
the pupils of this school were almost entirely Sioux full bloods, and as
had not been epidemic for many years, almost the entire school was stricken.

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