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REPORT OF THE WORK OF THE BUREAU OF EDUCATION FOR THE NATIVES OF ALASKA, 1917-18.
PART I. GENERAL SUMMARY.
During the year the field force of the Bureau of Education in Alaska consisted of 5 superintendents, 1 assistant superintendent, 116 teachers, 9 physicians, and 11 nurses. Sixty-nine schools were maintained, with an enrollment of 3,635. School buildings were erected at White Mountain, whither the Eskimos had migrated from Council; at Elim, within a tract on Norton Sound which had been reserved by Executive order for the use of the Eskimos formerly inhabiting the village of Golovin; at Fort Yukon, to replace the school building which the erosion of the river bank bad rendered unsafe; and at Tyonek, where the small log building bitherto used for school purposes had proved to be inadequate; at Metlakatla a residence was erected for occupancy by the principal teacher. The wisdom of the policy of setting aside selected tracts within which the natives can readily obtain fish and game and advantageously conduct their own enterprises has again been demonstrated by the success of the colony at Noorvik, in Arctic Alaska. With their advancement in civilization, the Eskimos living at Deering, on the bleak sea coast, craved a new home. Lack of timber compelled them to live in the semiunderground hovels of their ancestors, while the killing off of the game animals made it increasingly difficult for them to obtain food. An uninhabited tract on the bank of the Kobuk River, 15 miles square, abounding in game, fish, and timber, was reserved by Executive order for these Eskimos, and thither they migrated with their household goods and herds of reindeer. On this tract, in the Arctic wilderness, the colonists under the leadership of the teachers, within two years have built a village with well laid-out streets, neat single-family houses, gardens, a mercantile company, a sawmill, an electric light plant, and a wireless telegraph station, which keeps them in touch with the outside world. Affairs at Metlakatla, on Annette Island, have made satisfactory progress. The legality of the Annette Island Fishery Reserve has been established by the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, December 9, 1918, and plans for the development of the colony can now confidently be carried into effect. By a lease dated April 30, 1917, the Secretary of the Interior, on behalf of the Mctlakatlans, granted to the Annette Island Packing Co., of Seattle, fish-trapping privileges within the reserved waters adjacent to Annette Island and permission to erect and operate a cannery on Annette Island. For these privileges the lessee guaranteed the payment of not less than $4,000 during the season of 1917 and of not less than $6,000 per annum for five years beginning with 1918. It is expected that the revenues accruing from this lease will enable the Secretary of the Interior to take over, for the Metlakatlans, the property of the lessee within the reserve and to arrange for the operation of the cannery by the natives themselves.
The Annette Island Packing Co. expended during 1917 and 1918, including interest, $32,766.44 in the construction of cannery buildings; the royalties of those seasons amounted, with interest, to $17,330.71, leaving a balance of $15,435.73 to the credit of the company, December 31, 1918. The company packed 65,806 cases of salmon during the season of 1918.
In May, 1916, the representatives of the Bureau of Education succeeded in organizing among the natives the Metlakatla Commercial Co., with a capital of $2,295 and 30 shareholders, to conduct the mercantile business of the settlement. The auditing of the affairs of the company in January, 1919, showed a capital of $21,140 at that date and a net profit of $13,721. The number of stockholders had increased to 156. In addition, the company had reliabilitated and operated the sawmill and had furnished lumber for the cannery building and for other buildings in the village.
The returns to the natives of Metlakatla from the Annette Island Packing Co., for the season of 1918, amounted to $70,252.55, distributed as follows:
Erection of cannery buildings:
Labor-------------------------------------------- $2,755.56 Piling ------------------------------------------- 619. S1 To Metlakatla Connmercial Co.— For lumber----------------------------------- 9,031.62 For miscellaneous---------------------------- 49.00 - - $12,455.99 Operation of cannery: Fish royalties----------------------------------- $11,966. 69 Labor------------------------------------------- 1, 869. 19 Trap fees --------------------------------------- 500.00 Purse seiners (196,012 fish) -----________________- 12, 023.25 To Metlakatla Commercial Co.— For labor contract---_____ ------------------- 29, 909. 08 For miscellaneous ------------___________---- 1, 528.35 ---------- 57,796.56 --~ Totill---------------------------------------------------- 70,252.55
The income and wages resulting from the cannery lease, guaranteed through five successive years, and the prosperity of its commercial company assure the economic restoration of the Metlakatla colony. Economic conditions among the natives of Alaska have been greatly affected by the war. The cost of food, clothing, and manufactured articles imported from the States has increased as much as 300 per cent. The Bureau of Education has, therefore, through the agency of its teachers, urged the natives to live, as much as possible, independently of imported articles and to depend upon native products, not only for their own benefit, but also for the assistance they can thereby render to the country in conserving its food supply. New impetus has been given to the endeavor of the Bureau of Education to train the natives in the raising of vegetables for their own use and for sale. Efforts in this direction have produced encouraging results, especially in the upper Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Kotzebue Sound regions. In widely separated parts of Alaska the natives showed their gratitude to the Government, which has done so much for them, by zealously cooperating in activities which helped to win the war; they willingly complied with the requests of the Territorial food administrator, liberally purchased Liberty bonds and War Savings Stamps, organized branches of the Red Cross, formed knitting and sewing societies in many villages, and contributed toward the support of the “Alaska bed” in one of the American hospitals in France. Congress appropriated $62,500 for the support of the medical work of the bureau among the natives of Alaska during the fiscal year 1917–18. Nine physicians and 11 nurses were employed; hospitals were in operation at Juneau, Nulato, Akiak, and Kanakanak; as heretofore, medical supplies were sent to teachers remote from a hospital, physician, or nurse, for use in relieving minor ailments. During the year the building at Kanakanak, erected as a school building in 1909, was enlarged and remodeled for hospital purposes; the hospital building at Akiak, begun in 1917, was completed. At the Juneau hospital the policy was inaugurated of receiving native girls for theoretical and practical training as nurses. This action will result in the training of a considerable number of girls who will render effective service in improving the health and in raising the standard of living in the native villages to which they return. As the natives of Alaska advance in wealth and independence it is natural that they should wish to assume part of the expense of their medical service. The honor of takićg the first step in this direction belongs to the natives of Hoonah, who, during the latte: part of the year, paid the salary of a physician and started a fund for the erection of a hospital in their village. Pending the time when the congressional appropriations will permit the bureau to assume the entire expense of the medical care of the natives in southeast Alaska, the Commissioner of Education entered into an agreement with the woman's board of home missions of the Presbyterian Church by which the board assumed the entire responsibility for the medical work in the villages of Klawock and Hydaburg and agreed to rent to the bureau its hospital building at Haines for use as a tuberculosis sanitarium, the board also assisting in the maintenance of the sanitarium during the first year. There were in Alaska June 30, 1918, approximately 120,000 reindeer. The reports from the reindeer stations for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1917, the latest complete information received, show a total of 98,582 reindeer, distributed among 98 herds. Of the 98,582 reindeer, 67,448, or 69 per cent, were owned by 1,568 natives; 3,046, or 3 per cent, were owned by the United States; 4,645, or 5 per cent, were owned by missions; and 23,443, or 23 per cent, were owned by Lapps and other whites. The total income of the natives from the reindeer industry during the fiscal year was $97,515. The total number of reindeer, 98,582, is a net increase of 20 per cent during the year, notwithstanding the fact that 13,144 reindeer were killed for meat and skins, or were lost. Reindeer fairs, or conventions, were held during the winter at Igloo, on Seward Peninsula; at Unalakleet, in the Norton Sound region; at Noatak, in the Kotzebue Sound district; and at Noorvik, on the Kobuk River. These annual fairs have become a recognized feature of the reindeer industry; they bring together Eskimos from a large extent of country, who spend a week together thinking about and discussing not only subjects relating to the reindeer industry, but also matters of importance affecting the Eskimos as a race. The competitions and exhibits promote interest in the various phases of the work; comparison of methods result in increased efficiency; personal intercourse makes for good fellowship and develops leaders who are recognized as such by the Eskimos themselves. An important result of the fairs was the organizing in northwestern Alaska of the Eskimo Reindeer Men's Association, the object of which is to awaken the natives to their own responsibilities and to secure united sentiment and action in important matters affecting the Eskimo race.
LIST OF PERSONS IN THE ALASKA SCHOOL SERVICE, 1917–18.
William T. Lopp, superintendent of education of natives of Alaska, and chief of the Alaska Division, Seattle, Wash.
EMPLOYEES IN THE WASHINGTON OFFICE.
William Hamilton, acting chief of the Alaska Division, Pennsylvania.
Edward D. Carmack, stenographer and typewriter, Tennessee.
EMPLOYEES IN THE SUPPLY AND DISBURSING OFFICE, SEAtti.E.
Harry C. Sinclair, supply agent, Maryland.
Mrs. Iva M. Knox, stenographer and typewriter, Washington.
Walter C. Shields, northwestern district, Nome.
Nurses, and Teachers of Sanitation.