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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 642

642           REPORTS OF SUPERVISORS OF EDUCATION. 
which the Indian pupils from the great scope of Indian country will have
tG 
contend in the development of their farms. 
On the completion of the buildings now in process of construction, the ca-
pacity of the school will be about 350. It should be increased to at least
500, 
it seems to me. The proceeds of this magnificent farm will contribute quite
an 
important item in defraying the expense for operating the school. 
Returned students.-One of the important factors in the Indian educational
prob- 
lem, is, "How shall the fullest measure of practical results be secrired
"  "What 
policy should be inaugurated towards the returned students?"  The 20th
of last 
January I received a communication from the Indian Office bearing date of
the 
15th of the same month and containing the following paragraphs: 
Under the system of Indian education now in operation, provision is Blade
for the training 
of a large number of Indian youth in schools off reservations, both in Government
and contract 
schools. More than one-fourth of all the Indian pupils enrolled last year
were in such schools. 
This method of education has been in operation during a sufficient length
of time, perhaps, to 
furnish a partial basis for estimating its efficiency. 
Conflicting opinions have been expressed as to its ultimate net value. Some
claim that the 
"returned student" retains the habits and principles acquired during
his school life away from 
home and becomes an uplifting force among his people. Others insist that
upon his return 
home he is dragged down by his surroundings, and sometimes "relapses"
into even a worse con- 
dition of civilization than is found among those who remain at home. It is
also affirmed that 
at schools distant f*#m home the health of the students becomes undermined,
and that a con- 
siderable portion of them return home only to die. On the other hand, it
is claimed that in gen- 
eral the health of students improves while they are away at school. Other
opinions on the 
subject fill all the space between these extremes. 
The office should be in possession of information from which a trustworthy
opinion can be 
formed as to the worth and permanency of the training given in such schools.
In the letter above mentioned supervisors are instructed to give such in-
formation as can be obtained from facts and specific instances rather than
opin- 
ions and generalizations. 
Since receiving the instructions from the Indian Office, as stated above,
I have 
given the subject special investigation and am gratified to state that the
result 
of my labors in this important direction is very satisfactory, and in the
light of 
information, reliably obtained, I can safely assert that the result of Indian
edu- 
cation, off reservations, is much more favorable than many are inclined to
ac- 
knowledge. In short, the per cent of those who succeed is as great as is
found 
among whites, whose environments are decidedly in opposition to their advance-
ment, and whose culture, received at school, is no greater. 
The facts are, there is a misconception as to the grade of these industrial
train- 
ing schools relative to the character of mental training given. We hear them
often spoken of as "Haskell College," "Carlisle University,"
and the like, which 
indicates that the work that is expected of these institutions is not well
under- 
stood. When it is remembered that the course in mental development in these
schools is very much limited, not extending beyond the grammar grade, for
the 
most part, a modified opinion of these schools will be formed. 
In-the investigation of the record of "returned students," I have
the follow- 
ing, and mention these specific cases as an indication of the results that
may be 
expected from the training that these Indian children receive from the schools
off the reservations: 
I find Thomas Alfred, afull blood Shawnee Indian, a Hampton student, formerly
-county surveyor of one of the new counties in Oklahoma, lives near Tecumseh,
has a neat home, and is respected as an efficient, faithful officer and earnest
Christian gentleman. A Miss Johnson, educated at Carlisle, has been in the
Government service for a number of years and is now taking a more advanced
course in the high school at Carlisle; she is an excellent teacher. Her sister
is now doing very acceptable work as teacher in the Quapaw boarding school.
Both are Wyandotte girls. Robert Burns is Government interpreter at Chey-
enne and is doing well. Miss Jackson, a Seneca young lady, I believe, is
an 
accomplished stenographer anc is making good wages as instructor in a short-
hand school. Special Agent Litchfield informs me of two Shawnee boys, Alfred
and William Shawnee, who assisted him in making a large payment, doing all
the clerical work, and he says that he never had better assistants in all
his ex- 
perience of over twenty years in the Indian service. Mr. Walker, a Wyan-
dotte, is a successful teacher at the Quapaw school, and his brother is also
engaged in school work at the same place, both doing well. A young Modoc
who came to the Modoc Reservation, near Seneca, Mo., less than twenty years
ago, with the remnant of Capt. Jack's band, after the terrible battle of
the 
Lava Beds, is iovernment interpreter and is one of the most trusty and pro-
gressive Indians that I have met. He claims to have loaded the guns for Capt.
Jack during the unfortunate encounter, but is now a Christian, earnestly
de- 


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