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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883

Report of Forest Grove school,   pp. 180-183 PDF (1.6 MB)

Page 180

Forest Grove, Oreg., August 17, 1883. 
SIR: In accordance with instructions contained in circular letter of July
13, I here- 
with submit the annual report of this school: 
Forest Grove Indian Training School is located at Forest Grove, Oreg., 26
west of Portland, Oreg., on a lot consisting of 13 acres of land, 4 acres
of which be- 
long to the Pacific University and the remainder to private parties, all
of which has 
recently been leased for one year. The location as regards the immediate
ings and proximity to the Indian agencies, from which pupils are sent to
the school, 
is a desirable one. The town of Forest Grove has the name of being a moral,
ance town. There are about 18,000 Indians in Oregon and Washington Territory
within 300 or 400 miles of the school, and yet none of them near enough to
be in actual 
contact with Indian children attending the school. 
The buildings are two in number, with one shop building used at present for
wagon shop, buildings for the other trades being rented in town. Although
buildings are poorly constructed and not well adapted to the wants of such
a school, 
they have not been expensive, and no very serious inconvenience has been
felt in 
adapting them to the wants of the school. Buildings could be constructed
so as to 
save much of the labor that is now necessary. 
The want of a sufficient amount of land for farming purposes, fruit, and
stock rais- 
ing has been keenly felt, and the school will fail in one very important
point so long 
as there is no land belonging to it. We have been able to get about 90 acres
of land 
by giving a share of the crop for the use of the land, and have thus to some
supplied this want. 
The attendance at the school during the last six months has been very encouraging.
There have been many more applications for admission than we could accommodate.
The first two lots of children that were brought to the school came with
the under- 
standing that they were to remain three years, and that time having expired
were allowed to return home; but 15 of them have returned to the school with
intention of remaining two years longer. Those that have remained at home
with the exception of two, doin well. Three of the carpenters are working
at their 
trade in New Tacoma, Wash., taking contracts, furnishing all the material,
and build- 
ing houses. They are giving good satisfaction and are making good wages.
Indian agents have applied to the school for teachers for agency schools,
but Govern- 
ment salaries were not a sufficient inducement, as the boys who have learned
can get from $2 to $4 per day and plenty of work. The indications at present
to be that pupils leaving this school, after having completed the course
of study and 
learned a trade, will seek employment among white people. (But as most of
the In- 
dians upon this coast have good land, many will engage in farmIng, and for
this reason 
it is doubly important that the school should have a farm. 
There does not seem to be so encouraging an outlook for girls leaving the
school as 
for boys. There does not seem to be any good place for an Indian girl in
the present 
state of Indian society. Out of the 15 girls that were allowed to return
to their homes, 
11 have returned to the school and one other is very desirous of returning,
and two have 
been married to two young men who had been among the first to come to this
They have made comfortable, pleasant, and happy homes. 
Altogether 102 new pupils have been brought to the school during the last
months, and there are now in the school 151 pupils, and 10 others, who have
been here 
before, have requested us to reserve places for them, as they intended to
return in the 
fall. All that have been received recently came with the understanding that
were to remain five years. But it seems to me advisable that such pupils
as had made 
some advancement before coming here should only be kept until they have completed
the course of study and learned a trade. The school seems to be highly appreciated
among the Indians on the reservations from which children have been sent
to the 
school, and many of the parents of the children have expressed their gratitude
God and the Government for this opportunity of educating their children.
Of the 102 children recently brought to the school, 26 could speak English
well, 36 
moderately well, 10 could say a few words and understand any ordinary question
dressed to them, and 30 could neither speak or understand enough to be of
much ben- 
efit to them, and 6 had never been at school. 
Of the Indians at the reservations from which these children were brought,
96 per 
cent. are self-supporting, 60 per cent. wear citizens' dress, and 20 per
cent. speak 
English. From the above it will be seen that not only are there good school
among the Indians on this coast, but Indian society generally has made considerable
advancement in civilization. 
Religious instruction is provided for by the three churches in town, where
the chil- 
dren attend preaching and Sunday school every Sunday. School is opened each
ing with religious exercises conducted by the teachers, and the work of the
day is 
closed by religious exercises consisting of reading a short passage from
the Bible, 
comments, prayer, and singing, the exercises being conducted by the pupils
in the 

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