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

Report of Hampton school,   pp. 165-179 PDF (8.0 MB)


Page 176

176                   REPORT OF HAMPTON SCHOOL. 
vidual case, giving from one to three years to the latter. It is impossible
for Congress to 
legislate wisely in such matters. There should be discretion in such things
at the In- 
dian Office. Experience should have a hearing. These children should be sent
north 
and an appeal to private benevolence be made to supply the necessary but
moderate 
expenses of our Indian colony in Massachusetts. While the charitable are
willing to 
help in this cause, and it is well to call upon them, it is au unfortunate
fact that they 
have too often been called upon to do what they have felt was forced upon
them un- 
justly, and their liberal giving has been attended with no respect for those
who are 
really responsible for Indians. Politicians as a rule have faintly comprehended
and 
often prevented wise work for the Indian, and with good intentions have made
the best men reluctant to take hold of their education. The difficulties
found in the 
Indian only stimulate men; those found in official relations discourage them.
Send- 
ing Indians to Massachusetts for the summer has been our practice for five
years; 
leaving them there for a year or more is similar to Captain Pratt's admirable
plan of 
putting his pupils with the farmers of Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania. Another
year we might have 160 Indians in our care, placing 50 in Berkshire County,
Massa- 
chusetts, at a moderate expense. All such work should be connected with and
a part 
of a central institution, which shall receive the wild children, "break
them in," and 
then judiciously scatter them. 
Last January the faculty of the school took the following action: 
Resolved, That the duty of the Government to its wards, the sentiment of
the country, and the wel- 
fare and capacity as well as condition of the Indians, demand ajust and liberal
policy toward all well- 
conducted efforts for the education of the red race. 
Resolved, That when private institutions, properly approved by the authorities,
are willing for any 
reason to educate Indians for less than actual cost, for less than Government
can do it in its own 
schools of like kind, besides providing land, buildings, and outfit at their
own charges, they and not 
Congress should fix such terms; that such reductions should be voluntary
and not called for by our 
national representatives. 
Resolved, That the action of Congress in fixing, regardless of the recommendation
of the Department 
of the Interior and of the application of the Hampton Institute for a higher
rate ($175 per year, less 
than cost), the rate of $167 apiece, as the annual payment for the education
of Indians at this school, is 
unworthy of the Government, and unfavorable, as far as private charitable
efforts are concerned, to 
the cause of Indian education. 
This action explains itself. It is in behalf of combined private and public
educa- 
tion for the Indian illustrated at Hampton, a private corporation which attempts
to 
thoroughly carry out the best and broadest practical education. The Society
of 
Friends has received about 40 Indians into one of their schools in Indiana,
on the 
terms allowed to Hampton, and when they shall come to introduce elaborate
mechan- 
ical teaching will feel, as they even do now, the justice of our position.
Tfhe allow- 
ance of $200 a year for each Indian at Carlisle is by no means a generous
one. Hamp- 
ton's application duly approved, for only $175 apiece per year, has twice
been denied 
by Congress. We hope for better things from the next House, where the difficulty
seems to lie. The last Congress, as above stated, provided for the education
of 400 
Indians anywhere in the United States, excepting at Hampton and Carlisle,
at the 
rate of $167 apiece, who are to be kept, clothed, &c., for the entire
year, calling for 
their training in a more complete and difficult manner than, so far as I
know, is given 
in any school in the land for whites. We can do it here only because the
immense 
"plant" for the negro makes it possible. No other well appointed
school should have 
less than $250 apiece. Indeed, we have always kept at our own expense from
8 to 15 
more students than the Government has aided. Should Congress, both in respect
to 
Indian education and to Indian agents, be like a miserly man, going about
to find 
the cheapest article? The published debates show that a few legislators were
appre- 
ciative and liberal, but the result was a miserable allowance. You are no
doubt 
aware, Mr. Commissioner, that very few existing schools for whites are at
all adapted 
to educate Indians. I know of none. Such action does not stimulate but discour-
ages private charity, and far from represents the feeling of the people in
this matter. 
People may take Indians at that rate, but the work called for will not be
done. I 
regard the provision as most unfortunate for the cause of complete training.
It is 
adequate only when the labor instruction is simply in farming along with
the simplest 
education, or when Indians are put as apprentices into established workshops.
Well 
situated army posts under good officers seem to afford the best conditions
for econom- 
ical Government schools, from the large number that can be brought together
in 
buildings already provided. Private schools will never, I think, take over
50 pupils, 
seldom even half that number, which makes the cost pro rata much larger than
when 
there are 200 or more. What Captain Pratt does well at $200 apiece for 300
Indians 
a private school will find it hard to do at $250 apiece for 50 Indians. An
invitation 
from the Government to private institutions to co-operate in Indian education
result- 
ing in some conference would have a good effect, but does not seem to have
been 
thought of. The authorities seem as incapable of encouraging private effort
as they 
are incapable of discouraging the few who have undertaken it. 
Of the industrial training of our Indians I can only repeat what was reported
last 
year, that they are willing and apt to i ork; 12 of thema have recently,
at their own 
request, preferred to work ten hours a day-studying two hours at night-to
study- 


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