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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1892
61st ([1892])

The care of Indian schools,   pp. 610-618 PDF (4.3 MB)


Page 615

CARE OF INDIAN SCHOOLS.                       615 
against the cutting of their hair as an infringement of their rights and
an in- 
dignity imposed upon them. the difficulties of the case become greater. I
wit- 
nessed down in Arizona. at Keam's Ca,.on. the reception of a group of Moqul
boys, brought in by Chief Lololomi. The boys had beaut.iful. glossy, black,
long, 
straight hair. but unfortunately it did not bear close examination, and when
they had submitted their hair to the scissors and their locks were thrown
into 
the fire there was, in the lan-riuage of one present, a great destruction
of the 
innocents. The superintendent of the boarding school at Fort Yuma told me
that she found it practically impossible to keep the older boys in school,
be- 
cause she insisted, for good and sufficient reasons, on cutting their hair.
The 
same difficulty has been met elsewhere. 
It should be borne in mind also that in many cases the Indians live on im-
mense reservations like the Navajo, covering 12,000 square miles, or on others
which, though not so extensive, are still very great. Transportation is difficult.
Supervisors are sometimes obliged to go on horseback or in wagons, traveling
many hundreds of miles, in quest of children. Oftentimes they are met with
the 
statement that there are no children, that they ai e all dead, or that they
are 
not at home. It is quite common for children when they see a white man ap-
proaching to make for the brush and hide themselves like quails, as I witnessed
on the Fort Hall Reservation, or to be concealed by their parents under blankets
or in out-of-the-way places, where they lie until after the white visitor
has dis- 
appeared. 
These facts are given to illustrate the extreme difficulty of recruiting
pupils 
for the Indian schools. Others might be mentioned, but these are sufficient
to 
show that nothing but the most systematic, r-ersistentwork on the part of
the 
Indian Office, the most faithful carrying out of orders on the part of agents,
and 
the most enthusiastic efforts on the part of school superintendents and others
charged with the responsibility will succeed in gathering these little ones
into 
the schools so amply and beneficently provided for them. 
Nevertheless, it should be recognized that many Indians are eager for the
ed- 
ucational advantages afforded their children and are even demanding that
schools 
should be provided for their benefit: and it is worthy of being repeated
that, 
notwithstanding all the difficulties in the way, rapid progress is 'being
made in 
the matter of filling the schools with pupils. Especially is this the case
among 
those tribes which have longest enjoyed educational advantages. For instance,
it is a comparatively easy matter to secure pupils from the Oneidas, in Wiscon-
sin, or from the New York Indians. 
One very gratifying fact is that usually studenis returned from schools to
their 
reservations throw the weight of their intluence in favor of education, and
one 
of the pleasant experiences of superintendents and teachers is the welcoming
into school of relatives or friends of those who hare formerly been pupils.
In 
fact, if educational work for the Indians can be prosecuted for the next
few 
years as it has been in the last few the great mass of Indian children will
be in 
school. 
INDIAN SCHOOL DISCIPLINE. 
There are practical difficulties connected with the management of Indian
boarding schools which those unacquainted with them little understand, and
it 
is impossible to estimate correctly the work of the schools without a knowledge
of these difficulties. One of them is connected with the retention and discipline
of the pupils. 
There are now in active operation 14 Government industrial schools in Penn-
sylvania, Oregon, Nebraska, Kansas, and other States situated at a considerable
distance from the reservations. There are also a considerable number of board-
ing schools, known as contract schools, such as those at Hampton, Va.; Phila-
delphia, Pa.; Wabash and Renssalaer, Ind.; and others in Minnesota, New Mex-
ico, and elsewhere. These contract schools, both Protestant and Catholic,
are, 
so far as the present statement is concerned, on precisely the same footing
as 
the Government schools and are called upon to contend with exactly the same.
difficulty. 
It seems desirable that Indian children taken from their homes to these dis-
tant institutions should remain there for a series of years without returning
to 
their parents. In the first place. the expense involved in taking them from
their 
homes to the schools and returning them again, is a large item. Congress
aP- 
propriates for their transportation $40,000 a year, and this is substantially
re- 
quired in keeping the schools filled, even where those received remain for
a con- 
F 


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