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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1892
61st ([1892])

Report of superintendent of Indian schools,   pp. 526-599 PDF (34.5 MB)


Page 598

598   REPORT OF SUPERINTENDENT OF INDIAN SCHOOLS. 
of economy in keeping these wards of the Government in school, rather than
allow- 
ing them to run wild on the plains; and the question remains to be answered,
In 
what way does it appear that the educated Indian is worse than the uneducated
one? Certainly these records seem rather to corroborate the testimony.of
many wit- 
nesses as to the improvement made by education. The fact is, our troops are
now 
being called in from the Indian country and located with reference to our
large 
cities, and we are using our Indians to keep down the whites; and testimony
accu- 
mulates as to-the value of our school traiing. 
The forts were given up because the Indians had outgrown them 
intellectually, morally, and socially, and the existence of the forts was
a 
brutal-menace to a people well behaved and controlled by moral means. 
A gentleman of intelligence and long observation, having lived in 
close contact with the Indians over a large field for twenty-six years, 
writes clearly and explicitly upon the question of progress: 
In the year 1866 I joined a party of emigrants bound for the gold fields
of Mon- 
tana. When we reached what is now known as the Sisseton Reservation I saw
my 
first live Indian, and my experience among them began. From that date to
the 
present time I have been constantly with them, covering the territory from
the 
Rocky Mountains to the Minnesota boundary, witnessing the many changes they
have undergone in their gradual development from the life of a savage to
the posi- 
tion now occupied by many of the more progressive Indians on this reservation.
The experience has taught me that, while it only requires a few short months
to 
make an Indian of a white man, it will, as a rule, require two generations
to make a 
white man of an Indian; but it can be and is being accomplished. * + 
To sum up, I am satisfied that the Indian is capable of becoming civilized,
and 
that the general policy now being pursued by the honorable Commissioner is
the 
proper course to accomplish that end. But we must ever bear in mind the fact
that 
it is what our Scandinavian friends would call a "big yob." 
In closing, I tespectfully ask attention to the following suggestions 
from a letter addressed to me by the intelligent gentleman just quoted. 
In view of his long personal acquaintance with Indian reservations and 
Indian schools and his large ability as a business man, I think his sug-
gestions worthy of consideration and deserving of a place here: 
The policy adopted by the honorable Commissioner in abolishing the sectarian
and 
contract system is, in my opinion, highly commendable. The question at issue
is not 
that we should make a given number of Catholics or Presbyterians or Methodists
or 
Baptists, but that we shall qualify as many of the rising generation as possible
to go 
out into the world and be able to take care of themselves and fulfill the
duties of good 
citizenship. No man can be a good citizen and desirable neighbor unless he
pos- 
sesses the principles of Christian morality. Hence if we desire to make a
good citi- 
zen of an Indian we must teach him the principles of morality as an adjunct
to his 
practical knowledge of farming, tailoring, carpentering, or any other trade
or pro- 
fession he might wish to engage in, and permit him to choose his particular
creed or 
church for himself after he has reached the years of discretion. Hence the
Commis- 
sioner is bound to use his influence in securing the services of good, sound,
practical, 
moral men to fill the positions of agents, superintendents, and other offices
where 
they come in daily contact with the Indian. 
Having got rid of the sectarian and contract system he should next locate
and 
organize his nonsectarian industrial schools upon the reservations or in
as close 
proximity thereto as possible. The superintendents should have sole charge
of all 
matters pertaining to their respective schools, and be placed entirely beyond
the 
jurisdiction of the agent, in order to avoid any possible conflict of authority.
I am 
of the opinion that Mr.  's idea of forming a board of visitors for the schools
is 
a good one, and I suggest that a fair way for their appointment would be
as follows: 
One member to be nominated by the agent. one by the superintendent, and the
third 
to be chosen by the first two appointed, all to be confirmed by the honorable
Coin- 
missioner. The duties of the board should be to visit the schools and shops
at least 
once each quarter and report their finding to the Commissioner. Wherever
practica- 
ble and the Indians of the reservation are sufficiently intelligent, the
nominations 
should be made from their number. When no suitable person can be found upon
the 
reservation to which the school belongs I would then appoint the members
of the 
board from the more advanced Indian schools or from other reservations. 
Next, where industrial schools are located upon reservations I should transfer
the 
agency physician, carpenter, and blacksmith to the training school, where
a hospi- 
tal could be maintained for the care of the sick of both the school and of
the reser. 


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