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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1884
([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
orders, 
and decide petty quarrels. 
At this agency there never has been any settled policy for any length of
time. 
During the last seven years an agent's official life has only averaged about
eighteen 
months. While these frequent changes have undoubtedly been for good cause,
they 
have been unfortunate for the Indians, the schools, and progressive agriculture.
Each 
new agent has his own peculiar ideas for governing Indians, managing the
schools, 
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.
The 
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
ought 
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. 
SCHOOLS. 
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
vaca- 
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
commo- 
dious; located on an elevation fronting the river, it makes a fine appearance,
and 
cannot fail to impress the stranger as being a noble contribution by the
Government 
to the cause of Indian education. 
MISSIONARY WORK. 
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
lead 
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
the 
Agency Mission day school and White Swan Mission day school, under the care
of 
Rev. John P. Williamson of the Presbyterian Church, are the three mission
schools 
at this agency. Each of these denominations have religious services on Sabbath,
so 
arranged as not io conflict in time. In each of these churches there is religious
in- 
struction in both English and Dalota languages, Rev. Joseph W. Cook as rector
of 
the Episcopal church, and Rev. John P. Williamson as pastor of the Presbyterian
church. Both these reverend gentlemen speak the Dakota language fluently.
There 
is no conflict in their work, but both labor in harmony for the present and
future 
welfare of the Yankton IndiAns. Supplemented by the good influences of these
de- 
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
children 
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
the 
Episcopal Church, males 84, females 114. In the report from the Rev. Mr.
William- 
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
all 
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
pur- 
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,
as 
was his father, a pioneer in Indian missionary work. 
SANITARY CONDITION OF THlE INDIANS. 
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
among 


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