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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 of superintendents of independent schools,   pp. 415-440 PDF (11.7 MB)

Page 435

SPRINGFIELD, S. DAK., August 23, 1905. 
The enrollment during the year of nine months was as follows: Yankton, 39;
Santee, 24, and Ponca, 11 pupils; total, 74. During June, by order of the
Office, the pupils were sent to their homes and all but two of the employees
furloughed. The average age of pupils was 10 years. 
I have found that the disposition on the part of Indian parents to inter-
fere with the regular attendance of the children at school is growing as
begin to realize that they have all of a citizen's rights over them. I have
insisted that if they wish their children to enjoy the benefits of the school
must be willing to allow them to remain here during the year unless a really
valid reason exists for their temporary removal; otherwise I refuse to readmit
pupils temporarily withdrawn. The benefits conferred in our boarding schools
are such as many white people are paying considerable sums yearly to enable
their children to enjoy. Regular attendance on the part of Indian pupils
is a 
very small price to pay for these benefits. 
The health of the school during the year has been particularly good, and
medical bill correspondingly small. Particular care was taken at the beginning
of the year to exclude unsound children, and in no case were we compelled
send a pupil home on account of poor health. We were fortunate enough to
escape all contagious and infectious diseases except three cases of eye trouble,
which we were able to keep from spreading to other pupils. Measles, scarlet
fever, and smallpox visited our neighborhood, but did not gain entrance to
school, though to escape them we were quarantined for several months. 
Our sanitary condition has been good. The water plant has continued to 
furnish an abundance of excellent water, the best to be found in this city.
The ventilating and heating plants have also been satisfactory. During very
severe weather we found it economical to help out the heating plant by using
several hard-coal stoves in less favored parts of the building. The winter
an unusually severe one in this part of the country. 
The literary work of the school has conformed as closely as circumstances
allowed to the course of study, and pupils have done faithful work. Miss
Hilton, in charge of this work, is an earnest and conscientious worker, and
iuany years' experience make her efficient. In addition to her other work
has given a number of the older pupils weekly lessons on the parlor organ,
allowing this work to interfere with the prescribed work of the school. Special
talks have been given weekly to the pupils by the superintendent on important
sanitary and hygienic matters, especially with reference to conditions to
met in the pupils' homes. The danger of tubercular infection, and metheds
avoiding it have been pointed out particularly. 
Domestic work has been carried on with a view to giving every pupil in the
school training in every department of housework. No girl is allowed to be
retained in one department for a long period in order to make the work of
that department less onerous to an employee at the expense of the pupil's
efficiency in other departments. Our domestic work is nearly all done by
simple methods which must be followed in the pupils' homes. We have nothing
in the way of machinery except such inexpensive hand-power washers and 
wringers as most people have in their homes to-day. 
The pupils' kitchen gardens have also had the usual attention, each girl
having a small garden under her own care, and also helping to care for the
general school garden. 
There has been a marked and gratifying improvement during the year in the
characters of the pupils generally, and noticeably so in some cases that
given us no little trouble in the past. 
I can not close my report without a reference to the great loss we have 
sustained as a school, and personally, in the decease of Supervisor A. 0.
who was ever a source of inspiration and encouragement to all, and whose
nobility of character was always seen in his readiness to acknowledge good
whatever form it manifested itself. 
WALTER J. WICKS, Superintendent. 

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