University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 599

vation. The object of the transfer of the carpenter and blacksmith is, first,
to save 
the duplication of their salaries; second, it throws all the repairing, etc.,
into the 
school shops, where it can be done by and with the assistance of the pupils
who are 
learning those trades, thereby giving them a more varied experience than
they could 
ever gain in the shops where everything was being cut new from whole cloth.
successful mechanic was ever wholly matured by his experience in a single
shop or 
in a single line of work; his success depends upon his ability to combine
the knowl- 
edge of two or more instructors. A schedule of prices for repairs for harness,
plows, etc., could easily be arranged, and the cost of such repairs could
then be cred- 
ited to the schools and debited against the treaty fund from which the Indians
being supported. The repairs should be done upon the written requisition
of the 
Another reason why this transfer should be made is this: It will not be many
years before the Indian will have to go down to his individual pocket and
pay for 
all such work, and the sooner he begins to realize the fact that he can not
go to the 
agency shops to loaf free of expense, and at the same time have the results
of his 
carelessness rectified, the better for him. Teach him that the shops are
intended to 
be places of industry and business, and that when he has occasion to visit
them it 
is for a definite purpose, and not simply to idle away time. Still another
object of 
the transfer is to lessen the headquarters duties of agents and head farmers,
as, un- 
der the present system, the time of the agent is almost wholly consumed by
the cor- 
respondence and routine work of the office; while, as a rule, head farmers
have de- 
generated to assistant issue clerks and foremen of shops, and, incidentally,
to board- 
ing-house keepers, seldom, if ever, seeing an Indian at work upon his farm.
1 believe that farmers should be retained at all reservations, including
those where 
lands have been allotted in severalty, as there is all any one man can do
in manag- 
ing the police, paying annuities, settling disputes between whites and Indians,
encouraging the Indian in his farming operations. 
Having gotten the industrial schools and shops organized, I think that the
missioner will have to be very careful in selecting superintendents, if he
expects to 
find men who can manage them successfully and economically. 
Having thus relieved the agents and farmers of the principal share of petty
work about the immediate vicinity of headquarters, the Commissioner should
them to strictly attend to their legitimate duties, viz: Visit the Indian
at his home, 
advise him as to the location of his house and stables, the shape of his
fields, to see 
that his stock is free from contagious diseases, to direct him in regard
to the care 
and breeding of stock generally, to familiarize themselves with the surroundings
each individual Indian family, and make an honest effort to prove to the
Indian that 
the Government has an object in view, and that it is entitled to some practical
turn for its vast expenditures. 
Of course, there are some of the larger agencies where this general plan
might not 
be consistent with treaty obligations; but, in my opinion, it will fit a
large majority 
of cases, and will, I believe, have a tendency to encourage the "red
man" in his dif- 
ficult travels over the "white man's road." 
It is my opinion that what the Department is most in need of is more agents
farmers who will take an interest in caring for and instructing those under
charge, instead of spending their time in devising schemes to secure larger
ations to be expended in such manner as to advance their personal political
or financial condition. Doctor, could you have been here during the past
two weeks 
and witness the spending, by the Indians of this reservation, of the $25,000
paid to 
them in cash, you would no longer be in doubt as to the capability of the
Indian to 
become civilized. 
I have the honor to submit herewith the annual report of Mrs. Merial 
A. Dorchester, appointed as a special agent to aid me ini my work. 
Superintendent of Indian Schools. 

Go up to Top of Page