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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 285

oeiiaofl was taken by our more conservative Indians as a time not only for
but ma& opportunity for creating the vain Indian custom of giving away
ponies, calicoes, 
blankets, shw|I, C tc,, in honor of the deceased. But much of this show has
been done 
away with and the usual Decoration Day programme followed. There was an unusual
difference manifested this year; only tvo parties following the old custom,
and these 
were old people. 
During the past year we have numbered 17 houses thoroughly cleaned and white-
washed, besides the amount of cleaning done without the whitewashing. This
is gratify- 
ing to us inasmuch as it requires an amount of courage to keep these dirt-roofed
houses In trim appearance. The rains may come and demolish the beautiful
white walls 
in a few hours' time, leaving sad yellow and black streaks and spaces which
seem to 
mock at the efforts of the aspiring home-keeper. Now, field matron, a series
of calls is 
necessary with your essence of cheer and condolence, the while administering
doses of courage and a try-again spirit. You may fail to bring forth results,
but if so, 
it Is your turn to practice the try-again motto for months perhaps, but it
will succeed 
finally, and you are expected to shine in dark corners and serve amiably
and tirelessly 
amid surroundings that others would turn from in disgust or dismay. As a
which the name of your position implies, you are to work without honors that
in a manner to startle the world or swell the columns of a statistical report.
Realizing that " loving thy neighbor as thyself" is the keynote
which brings harmony 
to any community, we have endeavored to assist impartially the four religious
inations. And not only to give assistance to the societies separately, but
to bring about 
a liberal toleration of brotherly love each for the other. That we have succeeded
in a 
degree is evident in the spirit of sympathy manifested in times of sorrow
or of great joy. 
Each denomination feels free to call upon us for assistance or relief so
far as we may be 
permitted to serve, as entertaining their priests or bishops while making
visits among them, and contributing toward any special effort in their work.
Caring for the sick has ever been a pleasure to us, except in a few instances,
ignorance of our motives and means employed has brought bitter accusation
upon us and 
our efforts to relieve. 
The work of the past year differs in some respects from that of previous
service. We 
have aimed to give help to those who were willing to help themselves. Thus
we have 
made it possible'for a number of the better class of the young men to have
the oppor- 
tunity of personal privacy in the hygienic care of their bodies and dressing
and of sleep- 
ing rooms. These opportunities have been willingly claimed and practiced,
bringing about 
good results. 
We have not withheld special cases of nursing where we could assist, and
the old cases 
of providing for the care of scrofulous patients have had the same attention
as before.. 
Whenever we have had an interpreter at the sewing meetings it has been our
to hold an after meeting with the women, talking upon subjects of hygienic
life, such 
as care of winter apparel, economy in dressing, care of clothing of all kinds,
care of sick,; 
diet and cookery for patients, laundry work, showing vermin under microscope
to dem- 
onstrate the possible ravages upon the body, etc. 
Having suggested the making of garments, especially children's, instead of
the long-' 
practiced sewing of quilt patches, the societies were quick to act upon it
and have 
already made and disposed of a number of articles at a profit, moccasins
and quilts being 
sold to buy cloth for garments. Other pieces of goods were contributed and
a satisfac- 
tory result achieved, a good part of the cutting, fitting, etc., having been
done by the 
Indian women and girls. 
Ever since the field matron work began, those of us who have had the opportunity
being in it have had a long-felt want of having some occasion like a country
fair, at 
which time farm produce could be placed on exhibition, as well as the products
of the 
Indian woman's sewing society, to encourage the Indian men in their farm
work and 
the women in their effort to adopt civilized methods for benevolent work.
After all 
these years of urging, it seemed hopeless-to think of ever accomplishing
anything in this 
direction. But the advent of a new Catholic priest (who came among us over
a year 
ago) proved a godsend to help us out In this long-agitated movement. It was
in a little 
chat with him on the subject which revealed him ready to encourage and give
a hearty 
cooperation In our endeavor to have an Indian fair. The Indians accepted
the proposi- 
tion with much more Interest than in previous years and pledged their help.
The time 
set for the Indian fair was two months from the time we had a sewing gathering
to have it. Patchwork quilts, men's shirts, women's and children's gowns,
aprons, etc., 
were made to place on sale, as well as bead, porcupine embroidered moccasins,
war bonnets, girdles, baskets, pipes, etc. A lunch was served for the two
evenings of 
the fair. The bread for sandwiches was made by the Indian women. The sum
of 15 
cents a plate was charged for the lunch. The money cleared amounted to $255.53,
was laid aside for church and benevolent purposes. A number of our white
from neighboring towns encouraged us by their kind attendance and generous
Their presence gave help and added pleasure to the occasion. So the first
Indian fair 
ever held In the history of our three tribes here came and passed, no longer
as a dream, 
but a reality, which still remains as a profitable experience to our Indian
~FORT YATES, N. DAK., August 26, 190.5. 
The agency is located partly in North Dakota and partly in South Dakota.
For judicial purposes that portion located in North Dakota is attached to
ton County, N. Dak., and that portion located in South Dakota to Campbell
County, S. Dak. 
The nearest railroad points are as follows" Pollock, S. Dak., on the

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