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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1884

Reports of agents in Dakota,   pp. 20-63 PDF (21.1 MB)

Page 62

62                 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN        DAKOTA. 
that they must learn to provide for themselves and families or go hungry.
The agent, 
should be something more than a mere office man to deal out rations, write
and decide petty quarrels. 
At this agency there never has been any settled policy for any length of
During the last seven years an agent's official life has only averaged about
months. While these frequent changes have undoubtedly been for good cause,
have been unfortunate for the Indians, the schools, and progressive agriculture.
new agent has his own peculiar ideas for governing Indians, managing the
and conducting Indian farming. No two probably have the same system for either.
Those who never saw an Indian until they met him on the reservation are generally
the most confident that their plan is the only correct one for their government.
result is that fatal errors have crept into the service. Frequent changes
of agents 
are attended with radical changes in management. Promises are made which
not to be and can never be fulfilled. These the new agent is expected to
carry out. 
He cannot do it, and confidence is lost. This is one of the embarrassing
features of 
this agency. 
The Government industrial boarding school at the agency was reasonably well
patronized during the last fiscal year. The highest attendance for any month
was 85, 
of which 53 were males and 32 females. Average attendance for the year, 64
1 . There 
were eight teachers and employgs engaged in conducting the school. The industrial
teacher, with the help of his Indian boys, cultivated thirty acres of land.
The till- 
age and vegetable garden are worthy of praise. Coming to the agency during
tion, I am not able to speak of the management of the school, nor the qualifications
of the teachers for their respective places. The school building is large'and
dious; located on an elevation fronting the river, it makes a fine appearance,
cannot fail to impress the stranger as being a noble contribution by the
to the cause of Indian education. 
This work among the Indians is full of interest to the Christian and philanthropist.
Indolent, dirty children are gathered into day and Sunday schools, taught
to read 
Dakota and English, and molded into civilized, Christian boys and girls.
The Bible 
has been translated into the Dakota language, as have other books adapted
to the 
understanding of the children and youth. These are taught in day and Sunday
schools. The result has been that quite a number of young men and women have
been turned out of these mission schools who can read and write, and who
Christian lives. St. Paul's boarding school, under the general supervision
of Bishop 
Hare of the Episcopal Church, with Rev. W. E. Jacob as superintendent, and
Agency Mission day school and White Swan Mission day school, under the care
Rev. John P. Williamson of the Presbyterian Church, are the three mission
at this agency. Each of these denominations have religious services on Sabbath,
arranged as not io conflict in time. In each of these churches there is religious
struction in both English and Dalota languages, Rev. Joseph W. Cook as rector
the Episcopal church, and Rev. John P. Williamson as pastor of the Presbyterian
church. Both these reverend gentlemen speak the Dakota language fluently.
is no conflict in their work, but both labor in harmony for the present and
welfare of the Yankton IndiAns. Supplemented by the good influences of these
voted men, the agent is greatly aided in managing the turbulent spirits of
his agency. 
The reports of the mission work here show an average attendance of Indian
and youths for the last fiscal year of 59. Teachers and employ6s, 9. The
reports also- 
show that there are 344 Yankton Indians, communicants of the two churches,
of which 
198 belong to the Episcopal Church, and 146 to the Presbyterian Church. In
Episcopal Church, males 84, females 114. In the report from the Rev. Mr.
son the ,inembers are not classified, but it is presumed they are in about
the same 
ratio as to sex. 
Saint Paul's boarding school and chapel, where the mission work by the Episcopal
Church is done, are models of neatness. The school building and grounds are
inclosed, trees planted, which, with lawns, walks, and drive-ways, make it
the most 
attractive feature of the agency. The Presbyterian building, used for school
poses and divine service, is a plain wooden structure, which with its coat
of pure 
white paint and tidy interior is a good example for Christian and heathen
to follow. 
The plain preacher and pure man who holds service in this humble chapel was,
was his father, a pioneer in Indian missionary work. 
The health of the Indians is generally good. Owing to exposure, poor houses,
and a 
stupid indifference to the laws of health, there are more pulmonary diseases

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