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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. 1-155 PDF (58.6 MB)

Page 14

excellent plan to have one reform school, to which chronically re- 
fractory pupils may be sent. We are every year swelling the list of 
unnecessary and undesirable nonreservation schools. One of these 
superfluous institutions might be set apart as a reform school where 
should be gathered the children whose presence elsewhere is a moral 
menace, yet who have not passed the stage where bad impulses crys- 
tallize into the criminal habit. Here the young offender, instead of 
being herded with hardened evil doers and professional jail birds, 
would have a chance to change his ways and earn his restoration to 
a respectable place in life. 
For example, during the year last past the entire plant of the 
Menominee Boarding School, at Green Bay, Wis., was burned, as 
were also the school and assembly hall at Oneida, Wis., and the mess 
hall at Rice Station, Arizona. Fortunately the children were got 
out of the buildings in time, and no lives were lost; but had the 
Menominee fire occurred later in the night the result would prob- 
ably have been too horrible for thought. The Menominee and Rice 
Station fires, as has since been discovered, were the work of incen- 
diaries among the older pupils. I have instructed the superintend- 
ents to confer with the United States attorneys about having the 
guilty parties regularly indicted and tried, as would be done in the 
case of young white persons; for incendiarism in the schools has be- 
come too frequent within the last few years to be passed over indul- 
gently, and the only way to teach our Indian youth respect for the 
law under which they must live when they come into the full rela- 
tions of citizenship is to let a few of them feel the pinch of its dis- 
pleasure by way of a warning to the rest. The presence of such 
ill-disposed pupils in a school full of innocent children is a wrong to 
the latter; on the other hand, the penitentiary is scarcely the place 
in which to confine a young person who still retains a germ of self- 
respect. For such wayward pupils there should be a special pro- 
vision, and T trust that Congress at its coming session may be per- 
suaded to enact the legislation necessary. 
Besides the danger of undermining the moral health of wholesome- 
minded children by introducing the unwholesome-minded freely 
among them, it seems to me that we are making a mistake in not 
establishing somewhere-preferably in the Southwest-a school for 
children suffering from tuberculosis, the disease which is more gen- 
erally disseminated than any other among the Indians. In their 
own homes these little ones can have no sort of sanitary surroundings, 
and only in rare instances proper medical care. The most stringent 
rules, moreover, which the Office of Indian Affairs can prescribe for 

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