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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the years 1921-1932
([1921-1932])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 2, 1921,   pp. [1]-69 ff. PDF (26.8 MB)


Page 9

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.                 9 
NEEDs.-There is a very general conviction that all Indian children 
of the first, second, and third grades should be required to devote 
more time to the study of English. "Arrangements are being made 
to meet this demand as rapidly as funds will permit. Additional 
school rooms and additional teachers will be provided so that all 
pupils of the first three grades' in all schools can be kept in the 
academic department all of each day. Formal industrial instruc- 
tion will then be begun in the fourth grade. 
It is not anticipated that additional funds for conducting Indian 
schools will come through larger appropriations; the necessity, there- 
fore, confronts us of applying measures of economy with such care 
and wisdom as will not cripple essential activities but make substan- 
tial gains by better organization, closer supervision, and more effi- 
cient instruction. In this way pupils should be enabled to accom- 
plish a standard grade of work within a shorter period than is now 
done, which would result in an earlier completion of the courses pro- 
vided and'some consequent reduction of Federal expenditure. 
A thorough revision of the course of study has been made, with the 
intention of having it effective within the current school year. 
HEALTH. 
The year covered by this report has shown an increase of popula- 
tion, an excess of births over deaths, and has compared favorably 
with other years respecting the health of the Indian people. There 
have been epidemic invasions on several of the reservations; and 
owing to a shortage of regular physicians and nurses, progress 
against tuberculosis and trachoma was not entirely satisfactory. 
PREVENTION OF DISEASE.-As the line of progress advances  society 
in favored communities seeks more and more to advance itself 
through appeals to all agencies that may offer protection and con- 
tribute to its welfare. The time has come when preventive medicine, 
with its coadjutants, philanthropy and social uplift, must be applied 
to the solution of the health problems of the Indian Service. Hered- 
ity, which may be defined as the genetic relation between successive 
generations, is now recognized as an important factor of preventive 
medicine. Its laws should be taught in the Indian schools, particu- 
larly with regard to their application to health. Education and en- 
vironment have but limited power to improve an imperfect-basis of 
human life, but diseases and impairments that can not be cured may 
be prevented. 
The physician, as well as the sanitarian, is helpless in the presence 
of many deplorable conditions, both in the individual and in society 
at large, which are inherited from ancestors-conditions which 
might have been prevented, but can never be entirely remedied when 
they' exist. Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes said more than a half cen- 
tury ago that the time to begin the training of a child is a hundred 
years before its birth. The best protection that one can have against 
disease is inherited vital energy manifesting itself in healthy organic 
cells that will respond to every favoring force of habit, environment, 
education, and training that may encompass them, while at the same 
time offering stern resistance to all inimical influences and factors 
that beset them. 
MEDICAL POLICY.-The Indian Service countenances no fads and 
trusts no fanciful theories; its policy is to make use of all scientific


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