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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

[Southern superintendency],   pp. 131-172 PDF (17.5 MB)


Page 142

CHEROKEE INDIANS. 
earth" the means and advantages that have built up the nations of 
the greatest name. Then there will be something to exchange or to 
use in our own country. Then the cantons and plains of this fertile 
land will put on the appearance of Eden. 
These remarks may be considered a digression in a report of this 
kind; but from my conception of education and the schools, it neces- 
sarily involves the subject I have endeavored to notice. 
Many of the students of the schools understand and speak the Eng- 
lish very imperfectly, and many do not speak it at all. This is one of 
the most formidable difficulties connected with the schools. This is 
the reason why some of the schools have been in operation eight or 
ten years, and have not presented any applicants for admission to the 
high schools.'  Teachers have been content to let boys and girls strive 
to memorize English sounds without teaching them the meaning. 
Indeed, many teachers have not been able to do anything more. To 
put an English teacher into an Indian school without his knowing the 
English language, or having lexicon or grammar to assist him, will 
do but little to educate the pupils. Just as well put a Chinese teacher 
into an English school without those helps to teach the school in 
Chinese. The process of such schools or scholars must necessarily be 
slow and tedious, They are required to learn the English by hearing 
it spoken. Some hear it but seldom. It takes a long time for an 
Indian boy to learn the English well enough to understand his les- 
sons, only hearing the teacher speak or a transient visitor. To con- 
duct such a school with much success the teacher must understamd the 
Cherokee as well as English. The student must have an Indian 
English lexicon and grammar, and lessons suitably adapted; but we 
have none of those facilities. Our teacher only speaks the Cherokee, 
hence we are compelled to suffer some of the schools to drag along at 
a very slow rate. I have required the teachers, however, to instruct 
the pupils orally in the English language. This plan succeeds well 
at the Delaware town school, the only place where we have a teacher 
who speaks both languages. 
I have made it a rule to employ native teachers educated at our 
own schools in preference to others. This has been the occasion of 
some dissatisfaction in some neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods 
have not been willing to receive a teacher so young and inexperienced 
as many of the graduates are. I have nevertheless, deemed it the duty 
of this office to give the graduates a trial as teachers of the common 
schools, and it gives me much pleasure to say that generally they 
have succeeded well. They have advanced the pupils rapidly, and 
taught them more thoroughly and systematically than many teachers 
that had to be employed a few sessions ago. It is a question of some 
debate whether females are competent and proper persons to be em- 
ployed as teachers. Some schools are opposed to such teachers, others 
refuse to receive them. I have endeavored to accommodate the wishes 
of the people on this question as far as possible; but at the same time 
have considered it not only prudent, but very right to give the female 
graduates an opportunity at least equal to that of the others to make 
themselves useful, and to show that they are capable of affecting the 
destinies of the country as well as the other sex. My own opinion is 
142 


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