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

Report of Carlisle school,   pp. 161-165 PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 164

164                 REPORT     OF CARLISLE     SCHOOL. 
viewed and various tests applied before we can be at all sure that they are,
in any 
practical sense, their own. 
Language study, by means of sentence-making, abstracts of geography and history
lessons, descriptions and letters, has received more attention this year
than formerly. 
In the upper schools time has been well spent upon diaries, the daily notes
written upon slips of paper, and corrected before copying into the books.
The result 
of this labor is apparent in the letters and review papers. Although there
is still 
much bungling work, the May letters, written by scholars who have been with
three or more years, are, with few exceptions, good in composition, spelling,
and pen- 
The order and industry, especially during the last session, have been excellent.
Not one of the new Sioux pupils, who came from camp December 1, and only
one of 
the Navajos, was reported. Very few required even a reproof from their teachers.
Respectfully submitted. 
Principal Ed,,cational Department. 
Capt. R. H. PRATT, Superintendent. 
Carlisle Barracks, Pa., August 21, 1883. 
SIR: I have the honor, in compliance with your request, to present the following
report of the health and sanitary condition of this school for the past year:
There have been treated over five hundred cases, the larger part of which
simple diseases, such as slight colds and simple sore eyes. No malignant
has prevailed.  There were 20 cases of measles, all of which recovered without
any untoward complications. The pupils passed through the diseases incident
to the 
seasons with fewer serious cases than the same number of white persons in
the com- 
munity adjacent. 
There have been more cases of malarial fever than they have had in the town
Carlisle, due no doubt to the fact that many of our pupils came from malarial
tricts, and being subjects of the disease it is liable to recur under slight
Scarlet fever and diphtheria both prevailed in the town and community, and
number of deaths occurred from both. We did not have a single case in the
An epidemic of catarrhal fever, with many severe cases of throat and lung
tions, passed over this community in February and March. Our pupils were
not more 
affected by it than the whites; indeed, the most aggravated cases that came
my observation were among the employ6s and their families. 
There have been 6 deaths; 4 were from consumption, 1 from acute pneumonia,
I from dropsical trouble, following pneumonia in a syphilitic subject; 2
of these cases 
were diseased when admitted; 1 took his bed same day he arrived and 1 very
after. It will be seen that all the deaths that have occurred have been from
nary trouble, and all except 1 resulted from tuberculosis. The record shows
that a 
very large majority of the deaths since the organization of the school have
been from 
pulmonary affections. This accords with my personal observation and experience
among these people. 
The consolidated sick report of the Indian service for the year ending June
30, 1882, 
shows that out of a population of 144,822 there were 1,225 deaths, or 1 death
for every 
118 persons. There were 732 cases reported sick with consumption, and to
report a 
case of consumption means to report a death in a very large majority of cases;
I conclude that considerably-more than half the deaths from all causes in
the whole 
service were from consumption. Whether this is a larger death rate than occurs
from this disease among other races I have not the statistics at command
at present 
to show. Dr. B. G. Northrop, formerly State superintendent of instruction
for Con- 
necticut, and who has taken great interest in the Chinese and Japanese students
to the United States to be educated, told me that very many of those who
came died 
of pulmonary affections. 
'The opinion generally prevails that the Indians as a race are physically
strong. In 
regard to this I would say that where so much immorality and lewdness exists
as does 
among the Indians there must of necessity be a great deal of of venereal
disease. This, 
with its concomitant scrofula, which prevails extensively among them, due
to their 
utter disregard of all sanitary laws, and their use of improper and imperfectly
pared food, cannot fail to produce impoverished and debilitated constitutions.
Dr. S. 
). Gross, than whom we have no higher authority, says of syphilis, "A
poison so 
potent, so subtle, so diffusive in its action and so difficult to eradicate,
is well calcu- 
lated to make the most fearful inroads upon the system." Especially
is this true 
among tbe Indians, as their filthy habits and ignorance of remedial agents,
gives the 
(isease the best possible chance to ravage the system and impair the vital
Add to this sanguinary marriages, which are very frequent, as few marriages
are con- 

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