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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879

Reports of agents in Dakota,   pp. 19-52 PDF (15.7 MB)

Page 49

REPORTS OF AGENTS IN         DAKOTA.                  49 
understood. Now what had those 207 Indians to do here? They remained five
Dancing, feasting, and exchanging presents was the order of the day. Corn-fields
hay, at the most critical time, were entirely neglected, and when the visitors
left, many 
of the Indians here were without shirts, hats and other necessary garments,
given them away, and in a short time this office will be besieged with applications
passes to visit Fort Berthold, that our Indians may share the benefit of
being visitors. 
At the industrial farm school, now one year established, and located 15 miles
of the agency, are 15 boys, under the immediate charge of Rev. Mr. Hendricks,
by five lay brothers of the Benedictine order, of Saint Meinrad, Spencer
County, Indiana. 
These brothers are all mechanics and artisans, and are teaching the boys
their respect- 
ive trades, as tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, and farmers. The boys are
making good 
progress and developing habits of industry. Since they have been located
at this farm 
they have broken seventy acres of land, erected their own buildings, the
largest being 
20 by 58 feet and 12 feet high. This building serves as tailor and shoemaker
shop, living 
and sleeping rooms for the community dwelling there. In addition to this
they have erected a stable 16 by 24; ice-house, 16 by 24; two cattle corrals;
1 root cellar, 
14 by 20; one chicken-house, 1 hog-pen; cut and hauled 90 logs for a new
house, broken 
two acres for a garden and fenced it with pickets. 
The corn, potatoes, pumpkins, and melons stand on the farm as good as can
be ex- 
pected on newly-broken sod. In the garden, which is subsoiled, they have
all kinds of vegetables for household use, and the crop is being abundant.
This farm 
school has been supplied by the government with one span of horses, one span
of mules, 
2 wagons, 2 breaking plows, 4 yoke oxen, 10 milch cows with 10 calves, 4
brood sows, 
1 boar, and 50 domestic chickens. A new frame school-house and workshops
are under 
contract to be completed in the present season. This will not only serve
as a comfort- 
able home, which will increase the attendance, but will also be the means
of raising 
such a number of mechanics that white labor will cease to be a necessity
on the 
agency. During haying-time the Indians called constantly for boys from the
farm school 
to show them how to mow and how to stack hay. 
Of the boys' boarding-school we can be justly proud. This school is under
the im- 
mediate charge of Rev. Jerome Hunt, principal, with an assistant teacher,
Charles E. 
DeGrey, an educated half-breed. The building is 20 by 80 and 10 feet high.
In this 
school is a regular attendance of 45 boys, whose progress is simply remarkable.
are instructed in the English language, and their progress is very rapid.
The greater 
portion of them have been in the school less than two years, and most of
them can 
now read and write with the greatest facility. Their writing, even on the
with chalk, is woniderful; and we doubt if there is any number of scholars
of the same 
age in any common school in the country who either learn with the same facility
equal them in penmanship. Writing with them is a favorite study, and as they
fine eyes and steady hands, their power of imitating any style of handwriting
nearly incredible. None of these scholars have advanced beyond reading, writing,
and the four fundamental rules of arithmetic, but they show a capacity to
learn that 
leads us to believe that they can qualify themselves for any vocation in
life. The 
morals and social behavior of these scholars are a credit to themselves and
to their 
teacher, Rev. Jerome Hunt, whose efforts in their behalf have been untiring,
and whom 
they venerate both as a father and a higher being. Such is the popularity
of this 
school, that the Indians, young and old, are anxious to attend, and applications
admissions have every day to be refused on account of room. Could we have
necessary buildings, the attendance in this school would be increased to
at least 200, 
as the Indians now see the contrast between the clean, well fed and clothed
attending school and the condition of the children in their camps and houses.
lay brothers do the household work, in which the school boys assist. In addition,
there is a garden of about 12 acres attached to the school, which is cultivated
by the 
scholars, and an abundant supply of vegetables of all kinds has this season
While these scholars understand English and respond with alacrity by action,
they seem to have a reluctance to speak the English language. This is common
all the Indians, and the only way I see to remedy this is to introduce white
boys into 
the school of the same age, keep them there the same as the Indian boys are
and I think that in their plays and gambols the Indian b~ys will begin to
talk English 
to the white boys and lose the feeling of shame that keeps them from doing
it now. 
One white boy to every ten Indians, I think, would he sufficient. 
4 TND 

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