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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855

[Southern superintendency],   pp. 119-177 PDF (23.0 MB)

Page 176

No. 90. 
August 30, 1855. 
SrR: To respond to your letter of August the 1th, I send you my 
annual report of the Osage manual labor school of the year 1855. 
Our Osages advance but very little towards civilizafion; idle habits 
and reluctance to labor will soon doom many to a grave of dishonor; 
itl is said that upwards of 400 Osages have died since last winter of 
smallpox and other contagious diseases. My connexion with them, 
during eight years, calls upon me to bear them testimony that they 
are a nation of superior natural talents, which, in the hearts of many 
a superficial observer, may leave hope of amelioration; but as long as 
idle habits and a lack of Christian morality prevail all hopes must 
fail with them. It is indeed visible that our Indians have become 
more affable, social and friendly to the white man; they frequently 
speak of making fields for their families, of raising stock of horses, 
cattle, hogs, &c; some have commenced, and abandoned making rails 
for fields, others have purchased hogs, and a few head of cattle. But 
soon all their hopes and resolutions disappear, being checked by un- 
favorable seasons. Others place their hopes upon the education of their 
-children, but these, on leaving school, are without means to com- 
mence in the world. I can barely witness an increase of a few farms 
and somewhat slight propensity of imitating the white man. - At our 
arrival -in this nation we counted five farms, there are now twenty- 
five farms. Many of our Indians, if we may believe their words 
rather than their deeds, begin to value the benefit of education. 
,Some, disregarding a national custom, abstain from boring and dis- 
figuring the ears of their children; through the medium of education 
they may grow up accustomed to a civilized life. These parents impress 
on the minds of young children the idea that they are to learn, and 
to follow the life of the white man; and we have experienced that 
similar early impression upon the heart of a child produced good 
effect. Never did we witness, except of late, that children were sent 
to our school at their own request; nor had we, in any of the pre- 
ceeding years, the gratification of seeing the children at school 
unanimously satisfied, whence spring other blessings of filial obedience
and docility, with the consoling fruits of morality and fast improv- 
ments in learning. 
Some few of our first and oldest pupils are now settled in life; seem 
indeed happy and satisfied in their calling. But having never heard 
from the lips of parents that- they were destined for a life of industry
and comfort, they rather hope in the future education of their children,
with-whom they trust to find a comfortable home in old age. As 
these young parents seem to love their former teachers, and retain an 
attachment to the place where they have received an humble education, 
they visit us regularly on Sundays and solemnities; these visits and 
customs lead them perceptibly to better habits, and cannot but make 
salutary impressions upon the minds of the growing generations. It 
is a known fact that the female education was undervalued, at our 

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