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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874

[Minnesota],   pp. 195-198 PDF (1.9 MB)

Page 195

Lac Courte Oreille, Wis., July 18, 1874. 
SIR: The first year of school on the reservation of the Lac Courte Oreille
band of Chip- 
pewa Indians having come to a close, the following report is respectfully
The school was opened July 16,1873, and Was continued, with brief vacations,
the year, closing Juue 26, 1874. Number of pupils enrolled in regular attendance
for same 
length of time, 110. Commenced first term with about 25, the number increasing
during the 
quarter to 50 or 60. The most encouraging interest was manifested, and I
considered the 
progress made all that could be reasonably expected. The teaching is mostly
from the black- 
board. The pupils all use slates, and learn to copy with surprising readiness.
During the 
winter 75 were in attendance, about one-half quite regularly; the remainder
came or not, as 
fancy or convenience dictated. A marked change in the disposition of the
Indians toward 
the school was observable after the supervision of the work. The interest
sensibly dimin- 
ished, and disorderly conduct increased ; still, I was able to keep tolerable
control, although 
sometimes with great difficulty. 
The classes have made steady progress in'reading and have learned something
of the use 
of numbers. At least one hundred have learned the alphabet and numerals,
and can read 
readily easy sentences in the First Reader. Many caD add, subtract, and multiply
small num- 
bers, and have learned about half the multiplication-table. A large class
have mastered the 
First Reader and nearly half the Second Reader; others less advanced. At
least 50 can 
print words and sentences rapidly and well. Some copy their lessons in script
as rapidly 
and correctly as molt children of their age in our common schools. Some twenty-five
books have been written through, and in neatness of appearance and progress
made will 
compare favorably with the first efforts of any class of children. Of course
much of their 
writing is merely mechanical, imitative ; still they have learned to understand
a great deal, 
and many lessons they can translate entire, giving the ideas correctly in
their own language. 
Enough has been accomplished under the adverse circumstances by which we
have been 
surrounded to justify encouraging hopes for the future. When their vexed
"pine question " 
has been settled, and they can feel renewed confidence in the justice and
good-will of the 
Government toward them, then we can go forward with our work under happier
But as hng as the present uncertainty continues, and they have none but the
present pre- 
carious resources for a livelihood, it is useless to expect any considerable
number to feel much 
interest in education. 
A few families, both half-breeds and Indians, have persevered in keeping
their children 
regularly at school during the year, and have been rewarded by a good degree
of improve- 
ment. There has also been considerable improvement in the manners and habits
of the 
children, greater attention to cleanliness, and an evident preparation of
dress for school, 
which was very gratifying. There has been no resort to corporeal punishment,
the only 
means of discipline being words of approbation or disapprobation to suit
each case. With 
a few exceptions, all have been willing to obey for the time. I am now giving
the school a 
few weeks' vacation, preparing to commence the next year in August. 
I have not kept an exact register of operations of the school, for the reason
that I have 
not had a suitable book, but from accounts and papers I have kept I believe
my report ap- 
proximates very nearly. Would be glad to receive a register for the ensuing
With great respect, I am, very truly, yours, 
Dr. I. L. MAHAN, 
United States Indian Agent. 
September 1, 1874. 
SIR: In accordance with instructions in circular letter of August 7, I herewith
my report for year ending August 31, 1874. 
Having only relieved my predecessor on the 1st day of July, my report will
be incomplete. 
This reservation being well adapted for farming purposes, I, on my arrival,
turned my im- 
mediate attention to the breaking of new land. I have already measured 268
acres that 
have been broken since July 1, and there are about 100 acres still to be
measured. A large 
portion of this breaking has been done by the Indians themselves. We are
now engaged in 
harvesting the crops, which, having been planted too late in the spring,
will not be large. 
I have thus far found the Indians all well disposed to work; the greater
portion of those 
near the agency are living in houses, and rapidly adopting the habits and
customs of civili- 
The Indians of the Otter Tail Pillager band, who have lately moved on the
have been located on the Rice River, seventeen miles from the agency, and
are working in- 
dustriously, building their houses and putting up hay for the coming winter.
Some break- 
ing has also been done for them. 
The Pembina Indians, for whom provision has been made on this reservation,
have not as 

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