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

Reports of supervisors of education,   pp. 619-646 PDF (13.1 MB)


Page 622

622               REPORTS OF SUPERVISORS OF EDUCATION. 
The next best thing to success is to deserve it, and if the schools are not
all 
successes the teachers, although always held accountable, are often but little
to 
blame. I present this as the truth in my (late) district (and as my supervision
of 
it has ended I certainly have no motive for overstating the case), that with
few 
exceptions every Indian school therein is well conducted in all respects,
so far 
as it can be with the means afforded; and that where anything is lacking
it is 
not usually because of carelessness or inattention on the part of employds,
and 
the " lack," Whatever it may, would be supplied if the means therefor
were fur- 
nished; and, furthermore, that as to the personnel of the employes, as to
faith- 
ful and efficient teaching, as to care and kindness for the children, as
to food, 
lodging, and raiment, a5 to cleanliness, as to proper supervision during
recrear 
tion, as to care and attendance, food, medicine, and nursing in sickness,
and as 
to the daily lesson of Christian character, by both precept and example,
the 
schools will bear inspection, and they deserve the confidence and supporting
sentiment of all good people. 
I do not limit this tribute to the Government schools, but include in it
all, both 
Catholic and Protestant. The "few exceptions" are confined to two
or possibly 
three. Still, the "good ones" are not'all equally good. Some are
more capably 
managed than others, for, depend upon it, it requires capability to manage
an 
Indian school; and, besides, some are liberally provided for in many ways,
while 
others are niggardly supplied, and with many things that are merely plain,
everyday necessaries of life some are not supplied at all. 
When I say they are all, or nearly all," good," I do not wish to
b5e understood 
as saying that afiy of them are good enough. They can, and I believe they
will, 
all be made better, and still better than they now are. This will come about
through more carefully considered appointments, through more thorough su-
pervision, through much candid, face-to-face, and kindly criticism and profita-
ble conference between supervi.ors and employes, and betwe n employes them-
selves, and, finally, by an awakened understanding that the Indian school
sys- 
tem requires both intelligent legislation and liberal treatment. 
The reservation boarding schools in this district provide but little oppor-
tunity for properly learning the mechanical arts. Of " Imanual labor"
there is 
commonly an abundance, to wit: ]Yousehold work for the girls and door-yard
and barn work for the boys. Tere are a few exceptions, notably the Fort Tot-
ten school and the large agricultural school at Clontarf, Minn. There are
a so 
regularly and without fail each s ason at the White Earth school, under 
Mr. Hume's excellent management, 7 acres of the finest garden in the State
worked entirely (not partially, but entirely) by the pupils under Mr. Hume's
direction. It furnishes an abundant supply of all kinds of vegetables for
the use 
of the school during the entire y-ar. 
I do not believe that t -e mechanical arts can be taught to advantage in
the 
reservation schools, nor do I believe that they are taught to the best advantage
at any of the schools. The candid truth appears to me to be that the best
place 
for a youth, white, black, or red, to learn a trade is in a white community
with 
a practical master mechanic. If the boy wants to learn a trade let him go
into 
a "workshop' and learn it! Let him rise at 6, go to work at 7, work
his ten 
hours instead of three or four; let him see with his own eyes and take part
with his own hands in the daily busy income and outgo of the shop; let him
be 
industrious and diligent to learn, and in four years he will have become
a capa- 
ble mechanic. Confine him for the same time to a (so called) "industrial
pur- 
suit"7, in a Government (so called) industrial school, and at the end
of four years 
he will hardly have learned enough to earn a dollar a day. I am not insensible
to the value of " trade schools," nor entirely ignorant of the
important work 
they are accomplishing; but, as between the practical, wage-earning workshop
of the town or village and the industrial department of the Indian training
school, as at present conducted, I am sure I would not for one moment hesitate
were the subject my own son. 
It can easily be gathered from the tenor of this report that the writer is
a be- 
liever, not only in Indian education, but that he regards as of the greatest
im- 
portance (among others) four things connected with it, namely: 
First. The proper place to educate the Indian is upon or near his home, unless
indeed the more proper way is to arrange for his education so as to "remove
him from Indian life to white civilization, never to return," a proposition
that 
is both foolish and cruel. 
Second. The facilities for teaching the mechanical arts should be either
much 
increased or else entirely done away with. It is true that "the Indian
makes a 
fairly good mechanic," but it is equally true that the dominant charaoteristica


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