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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
([1883])

Report of Hampton school,   pp. 165-179 PDF (8.0 MB)


Page 166

166                 REPORT OF HAMPTON         SCHOOL. 
itself, both mentally, morally, and physically, of the duties of citizenship,
and, not 
whether it can be done, nor yet how to do it, but that getting the men and
the means 
of doing it is the question? The point is, really, what is the nation's will
in the mat- 
ter ? That has not yet been decided. The weakness and inefficiency at Washington
is that of the people themselves. The Indian question is one of honor and
justice. 
The negro question involves the salvation of the country. The former touches
the 
nation at no vital point, save as its broken pledges are sure in time to
work out their 
revenges. It has a dramatic interest and present popularity which the other
has 
outgrown. Will the red race finally have a faithful constituency of friends,
like that 
of the blacks, who will steadily sustain the educational work for them that
to suc- 
ceed must be perpetual? 
National aid has weakened the work for the Indians, as the lack of it has
strength- 
ened that for the negro; which latter now, however, can, I believe, stand
the effect 
of it. The time for it has come. Well-meant legislation has been a curse
to the 
Indian and in many ways still is. The ignorance and indifference of Congress
in this 
matter are well nigh discouraging. A result of it is the annoying. harassing
posi- 
tion of those who attempt co operation with the Government in the matter,
which 
keeps in the background men able and willing to more than double such work
as 
Carlisle and Hampton are doing. Money appropriated to found Indian schools
over 
a year ago still lies in the Treasury, while funds needed to make existing
work more 
efficient cannot be had. A plan should be devised which shall give to competent
men the details of the difficult, delicate task of Indian education and civilization
never to be accomplished while a legislative body attempts executive work.
The 
most natural and simple way seems to be to make the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs 
an independent, responsible officer, at the head of a Department, with ample
discre- 
tion; and to create an educational bureau, with a strong man at its head.
The pres- 
ent hydra-headed management is a good illustration of "how not to do
it." 
There is a class of men in the army, now that its fighting days are about
over, who 
can be spared to help settle the Indian question. and are better than any
other for 
the iurpose; not because they are officers, but only so far as they are educated,
ex- 
perienced men, of high character and capacity; they have many advantages
of posi- 
tion. Then, the economy of it! Civilian agents (excepting a few too valuable
ever 
to lose to the cause) are not a success, with which the parsimony of Congress
in 
giving meager salaries has had much to do. At first hopeful, I am now satisfied
that 
nothing but this fatal parsimony must be expected, along with wasteful expenditures
in other ways. Whatever can come of thoughtful study of our Indian problem,
and 
of well-directed executive energy in working it out, is not, I believe, to
be looked for 
as things are; while prompt, wise, and decisive action is imperative. To
merely 
study and be interested in Indians is one thing; to work for their improvement,
to 
learn their condition and meet practical obstacles, is to lose faith in present
methods, 
not because of the system itself, but because of the men who apply it and
the mixed 
control of affairs; while faith in the Indian is sure to grow. Success will
not be the 
outcome of a system of laws or regulations, but of a practical wisdom and
devotion 
of which there are to-day many individual illustrations in the Indian service.
Missionary work for Indians, during the past forty years an unobtrusive but
vastly 
underrated effort, has been the most important success of all. There is nothing
to 
compare with its results among the Cherokees, with the Sioux at Santee, at
Peoria 
Bottom, and at points in Minnesota and elsewhere. Government has constructive
power only in material things. It can build custom-houses and bridges and
railroads, 
but on the moral side it is critical and obstructive rather than helpful.
It has very 
slight results in character to show for its care of Indians for several generations.
REPORTS OF TEACHERS. 
By Miss Isabel Eustis, in charge of classes: There have been 110 Indian students
at Hampton during the year; one has died, leaving the number at present in
school 
109, 41 girls and 68 boys. 
They represent 16 tribes. 
Sioux -....................---------62  Absentee Shawnee-------------------.4
Gros Ventres  -                        Apache .............................
3 
Mandan ...-    ......    -....8        Pawnee--------------------------2
Rees-    -   -Papago ............................. 2 
8ac and Fox ........      ...       7  Menomonee-.........................2
Omaha -------------------------- 6  Yuma ...............................
1 
Pima............................... 5  Onondaga...................... 1 
Winnebago.    .    .    ..----------------------- 4 
T wventy-two Indian students, a much larger number than ever before, are
taking 
the regular normal course; in the senior class, 1; middle class, 2; junior
class, 19. 
Twelve Indian boys have voluntarily become work-studentM this year There
can be 


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