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The lack of snow during the winter made travel so difficult that the reindeer men did not hold the annual fair at Akiak. The fair at Shaktoolik was postponed, and finally a fair was held at Unalakleet. The interest shown and the work done was of a nature to speak volumes for the good accomplished at the gathering. The natives were encouraged to appoint their own committees aid manage their affairs. Several meetings were in their charge, and only reindeer men were allowed to take part. The bureau's representatives outlined the work to be done, gave them a start, and then left them to carry out the plan, assisting only when some problem arose that had to do with the Government and the Alaskan code. These fairs are a wonderful stimulus for the industry and are invaluable as training schools and should be continued.
All meat offered for sale brought good prices, the lowest price paid being 20 cents a pound at St. Michael.
REPORT of John H. KILBUCK, AssISTANT suPERINTENDENT of schools IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT.
With the exception of the principal teacher in Akiak, the teachers in the four schools in the Kuskokwim region were new to the work among the Eskimos in Alaska. Although much handicapped on account of strange conditions of climate and of people, it is a pleasure to know that all of the teachers resolutely coped with drawbacks. The village work was especially well attended to, and in this way the new teachers quickly won the respect and affection of the natives. The teachers who remain are now in a position to gain greater results, both in the classrooms and in the homes of the people. The general feeling among the natives is in favor of the schools, and for this reason the usual rule is good attendance and good application on the part of the children. The Eskimo child is as eager for learning as are other children, and it learns quickly from a successful teacher. The teachers at Bethel had to contend against the white man's dance. This form of amusement has taken a strong hold of the natives; the white men foster it and do everything to encourage it. The natives do not realize as yet that they are paying dearly for the pleasure they get out of these dances. This dancing craze has just come to Akiak, but the sentiment among the older people against dancing is strong enough, we believe, to prevent it from taking hold of the people to any great extent. After the teachers had emphatically set forth the dangers that go with dancing, the natives themselves placed themselves on record as being opposed to its introduction into their village. At Quinhagak a number of miners and prospectors had for years been spending their winters. Here the missionaries and the teachers have forehandedly looked after the social part of the village life by furnishing harmless amusements for the entire community. Among the communities composed of natives and whites, Quninhagak must be given the credit of being the best-behaved. There is another dance that must be taken into serious consideration, and that is the native dance called Kuvgagyagak, a dance in the nature of a potlatch. The more advanced of the natives are giving up this dance, but it is doubtful if it will become obsolete in the near future. One village invites one or more of the other villages to its dance, and besides entertaining the visitors, it will, as requested by the visitors, turn over to them any piece of personal property they request. Usually the hosts not only dance to the limit of their wealth, but draw on their credit as well. It is supposed that the visitors will give away stuff to equal or even excel the value of what they received from their hosts, but this
Quigillingok furnishes a good example of the evil of this play or dance. The Quigillingok natives had made a good catch of fish in the summer, and in the fall after the ice had formed they further increased their food supply with a record catch of tomcod. The previous sealing season had been good, and the catch of fur greater than it had ever been. The people were never better off in their lives, and being so well off they wanted to make their reputation. Accordingly they invited several villages to a play. Each individual wanted to outdo some rival in giving. The visitors went away well off, taking even the guns and traps of the hunter. Before the play was over a storm set in and lasted a long time. During all this time the hosts fed their guests and their dogs. Before the sealing season set in the natives of Quigillingok were short of food and many were at the point of starvation. The season was backward, and if relief had not been obtained from the missionary and his wife almost the entire village would have succumbed to hunger. Rumors of their condition reached me. I deemed it wise to send a relief party with reindeer meat and what other provisions I could get. Three fat deer were butchered, which, with 100 pounds of flour, the same amount of beans, and 25 pounds of prunes, were dispatched in two dog sleds May 3. On June 15 I accompanied the missionary, Mr. Drebert, from Bethel in his motor boat to Quigillingok. From the store at Bethel I obtained 500 pounds of flour, 8 cans Eagle milk, 3 cans lard, and 100 pounds corn meal. We found 32 people at Quigillingok; the rest had either gone up to the fishing camp or were still at the sealing camps. These people were the worst off, and to them we gave the above provisions, which would tide them over to fishing time. We found one woman who had been left by her sister and brother to die. She was unable to stand, and as she was in a hut that had no roof, water and slime were all around her. She just had a dry spot her size; no food, not even water to drink. She said that she was waiting for the end, for there was nothing else to do. We made provision for her care, and on our return up the coast we looked for and finally located the brother and sister. I made it plain to the young man that something not very pleasant would happen to him if he did not at once go to his sister and take care of her. He went, and the woman is now getting well fast. It is reported that children were allowed to starve, which may be true, for the people became dehumanized by hunger. I took one man who was far gone and managed to get him to the hospital. Dr. Lamb worked heroically with him, but we could not save him; he died July 14. Up to the time of my visit 23 had died at Quigillingok and 18 in the surrounding villages as a direct result from this shortage of food. Since then, I learned, 5 or 6 more have died. Quigillingok had a population of 300, and another village, Tshalin, had 200. Food conditions were unusually bad in the entire Kuskowin Walley, but these two villages suffered the most. The stores at Bethel, Akiak, and Quinhagak were sold out early in the spring; so that even miners and prospectors could not get a pound of flour. Mrs. Carrie W. Lamb donated the flour and beans sent to Quigillingok in May, and the Rev. Mr. Butzin the prunes; Mr. Butzin placed the dog team at my disposal, and later the launch, all free of cost. Much credit is due the missionaries, the Rev. Mr. Drebert and his wife, for the way they took hold of the situation, giving their own provisions and even cooking for as many as 180 people. It was no easy task to feed starving folks who wanted more than was good for them. Now that the people have recovered, they are loud in their appreciation of this unselfish couple. The lesson of the whole matter is this: There was no 0°". ots starvation; it was brought about by that play. Other people v
so great a supply of food weathered the adverse conditions of the spring in good shape. Quigillingok natives will have to work hard for years before they will get over the effects of this starvation. The dogs are all gone, nearly all of the huts have been burned. There are many widows with children who will have to be helped by somebody. This is a good time for either the Territorial or the Federal Government to prohibit these potlatches. The work of the Bureau of Education is commanding the respect of the people of the Kuskokwim Valley by the establishment of the Government Hospital for Natives of Akiak. This hospital is a boon to the whole valley. Patients from the Yukon, from the headwaters of the Kuskokwim, from the mouth of the river, and from the bay as far as Goodnews have already taken advantage of this boon. To us old-timers it is a great privilege to see so many of these patients return home cured. The building is a credit to the builder who, virtually single handed, stayed with his job and did such conscientious work. The Kuskowin people, both white and native, are proud of their hospital. And now what do we need more on the Kuskokwim? First and always more money, to put up modern schoolhouses at Bethel, Akiak, Quinhagak, and Eeek, and to establish new schools. Every school should have a gymnasium.
REPORT OF ARTHUR H. MILLER, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SOUTHWESTERN DISTRICT.
During the fiscal year ended June 30, 1918, I have traveled by boat, train, automobile, dog team, snowshoe-mushing, and on foot 10,098 miles on tours of inspection of schools and native villages and attending to other official business in connection with the superintendent's office. These tours have occupied 245 days, the remainder of the year being spent in the office at headquarters, Anchor. age, Alaska. Anchorage has not only proved a practical working center for the administering of the affairs of the district, but has made possible giving special attention to the natives of the Cook Inlet region. In this rapidly developing section the resources of the country are being utilized for commercial purposes. Inadequate provision is made for the native during the readjustment and special attention must therefore be given him. All of our attempts to reach the school at Akhiok have thus far been unsuccessful. This is partly due to its inaccessible location, and partly to trying to include it in our itinerary when en route to other schools, and do so without excessive expenditure of the travel authorization. From the information I was able to obtain while on Kodiak Island, there is a population of 50 or 75 natives at Karluk who are without school privileges. There also appears to be a need for more effective medical relief for the natives of Akhiok. In Knik and its vicinity is a native population of more than 100. Nearly all of the white residents of Knik have moved away from there since the coming of the railroad. The Territory having maintained a school at Knik, the writer discussd with the Territorial commissioner the advisability of arranging a transfer of the school building belonging to the Territory to the Bureau of Education. There is also great need for a school at Perry. This village is practically isolated from civilized life, except as the natives, numbering about 100, visit the canneries at Chignik, more than 60 miles up the peninsula. When we visited Perry last May we were agreeably surprised when the natives hoisted the American flag as the steamer Dora approached their village. These natives
have taken excellent care of the houses built for them by the Government in 1912, when they were brought as refugees from the Katmai volcanic eruption to this excellent hunting and trapping region as their future home. Many of the 22 houses visited by the writer were well kept and clean. The building now occupied by the trader would answer as a temporary living quarters for a teacher and as a schoolroom until a school building can be built. The income of these natives last year was $1,100. This was derived exclusively from the sale of furs. If these furs had been sold at auction in Seattle they would have brought three times that amount, and $500 expended last year for the relief of destitution among these natives would have been saved. Between 30 and 40 children at this village have no school privileges or civilizing influence. I recommend that a school be established at Perry during the fiscal year 1918–19. The need of a more clearly defined policy.—There appears to be a lack of well-defined understanding as to the responsibility for the care and education of certain classes of natives on the part of the Territory. In several instances the United States district judge for this district, who is custodian of the Indigent fund, has referred calls for medical aid and assistance to breed natives to this office, for whom it is our understanding that the Bureau of Education can not be held responsible. We therefore feel the need for a more clearly defined policy establishing the responsibility of this bureau before the Territorial officials and the public in cases of this kind. There is also a large number of communities in the Southwestern District, and very likely some in the other districts, where the Territorial schools have a small enrollment and native children are living in the same community, but not in sufficient numbers to justify the establishment of a native school. These native children are permitted to attend the Territorial school only in rare instances, and then at the option of the local school board. Where schools are already established it appears to be impracticable to compel the parents of white children to place their children in the same schoolroom with natives. It appears theoretically plausible, but it is, I believe, impracticable. However, in communities where all the patrons of the school petition for a school for mixed races permission should be granted accordingly. Evidence that this matter is receiving consideration in the Territory is shown by the following letter to me from Gov. Riggs, June 20, 1918: I have your letter of June 12, concerning the establishment of a school at Chitina, and I am glad to note that you see the necessity of such a school, and trust that some plan may be evolved whereby the native children can be given a measure of relief. The question of schooling of native children with the whites is a matter that we should endeavor to correct by legislation during the coming session. I think that where a school district applies for permision to establish a school for mixed races they should be given authority to do so. For instance, on the Koyukuk we have an application for the establishment of a school district at Wiseman, which we are unable to grant owing to the fact that 4 of the 10 children of school are are not of the white race. I should be very glad indeed to have your suggestions concerning proposed legislation. Morals of the natives.—There is less immorality and debauching of natives living in this district at the present time than for many years. There is still far too much. The “dry law,” which went into effect throughout Alaska on January 1, 1918, is one of the best measures for the protection of the native. Patriotic activities of natives.—The natives of the Southwestern District are not only intensely interested in learning the facts concerning the present war, but they have everywhere shown their appreciation of the assistance rendered them by their benefactor, the United States Government, by doing what they can help to win the war. The more prosperous villages have contributed
donations to the Red Cross work, and in the villages where they were unable to give cash they have voluntarily made articles to be sold, and part or all of the proceeds from such sales have been given to the Red Cross Society. Reports show that not less than $500 has been given to Red Cross work by natives of this district, and after the fishing season more will be contributed by them. Home guard organizations for military drill among natives at the different schools are in process of formation. Many of the articles shown at the Anchorage Industrial Fair will be sold and the proceeds used to help finance the campaign against “Kaiserism." Health, sanitation, and economic conditions.—There has been no serious epidemic during the year. About one-half of the school reports show about an equal number of births and deaths. The Copper River and Cook Inlet regions lave had a slightly greater number of deaths than of births. The villages of Koggiung and Akhiok have had considerable sickness. Con
sidering the long and unusually severe winter, health conditions have been.
good. Monthly reports of the teachers indicate conscientious and faithful work on their part in rendering medical assistance to the natives during sickness. I have personal knowledge of teachers having nursed the sick through long periods of illness in a very efficient manner. At those schools where water was obtained from swampy ground the endeavor has been made to improve the source of supply by driving of sand points that were sent by the Supply and Disbursing Office. These well points have thus far not been in all cases a success, and the villages of Unalaska and Tatitlek should have a gravity water system to supply the schools and villages. The water supply at Tyonek should also be piped from higher ground to the school building and village. The great exodus from Alaska (on account of the war is creating a scarcity of labor, and we are making every effort to induce employers to at least try native labor and give them an opportunity to earn their living. For the first time the Alaska Road Commission is employing about 25 natives of the Copper River to do road work on the Waldez-Fairbanks trail. The superintendent of the Copper River Railroad and the engineer in charge of railroad construction for the Alaskan engineering commission kindly consented to employ native labor and report their work quite satisfactory. About 25 of the English Bay natives have been employed at the iron mine at Port Chatham. This action, we hope, will reduce the destitution in the Copper River and Cook Inlet regions. The Tyonek Native Cooperative Store is an evidence of the improved economic conditions at this village. This enterprise was started on but $950 capital stock, $950 loaned the store by the teacher, and on credit. Five hundred pairs of first-quality snow shoes were made by the natives and sold in Anchorage for $3.15 per pair. A net profit of $397.14 was made the first year, from sales amounting to $3,740.05. This spring $1,100 more was subscribed by the natives to the capital stock of the store. With a successful fishing season they would have been able to pay in this amount, but the king salmon run has been almost a failure, and unless the red salmon run is good most of this amount can not be paid in before another year. Economic progress at Tetilek is in part shown by the fleet of 15 power boats, which is the principal factor in enabling the natives of that village to earn $25,000 per year fishing for the canneries and towing timbers to the mines and canneries. Five years ago these natives had no boats except dories. In 1916 the Copper River Indians, through the extensive cannery fishing in the Copper River, were made almost destitute wards of the Bureau of Education, necessitating the sending of large quantities of supplies each year since