Page images

a little medical relief, and the introduction of reindeer among the northern and western tribes. This assistance has been given them though the organi. zation of the Alaska Division of the Bureau of Education. Hecause of the fact that the native population is very scattered and the villages have rarely over 200 or 300 inhabitants, and generally much less that, that, the bureau's educational efforts have been rather hampered. Were the natives located in large settlements of 500 or more, their education, medical relief, and industrial advancement would be simplified considerably. To this end the bureau has gradually been working toward attracting the natives to selected sections of land which have been reserved for the exclusive use of the natives and the bureau. These reserves are not to be confused with the Indian reservations of the States, as they in no way interfere with the liberties and freedom of the native inhabitants thereon. By establishing industries on these reserves which will give the natives work the year around, schools that have more than the elementary grades, and by placing the care of their physical welfare in the hands of trained medical employees, the bureau will be able to secure maximum benefits to the natives. As long as the bureau's work is confined to numerous small villages, only minimum results can be expected at a heavy cost per capita. At the present time the small schools do not justify grammar grades, and it has been customary for advanced native children to enter the Indian schools of the States. This usually results in physical breakdowns, due to the change of climate, environment, and absence from home. It should be possible for native children to advance as far along educational lines as they desire without the necessity of leaving home. This can come only when the natives are persuaded to live in larger communities which will justify the establishment of larger and more complete schools. The concentration of the bureau's work on large villages, made possible through the favorable conditions of the reserves, will hasten the arrival of the day when the native of Alaska will take his place along with his white brother in the affairs of the Territory. That the natives are loyal to the United States has been especially proved the past year through the work which the natives have contributed for the Red Cross and the purchases they have made of Liberty bonds and War Savings Stamps. Through the agency of the teachers, Red Cross auxiliaries have been established in many native villages, and the zealous and untiring work of these native organizations is a great credit to them. The work done in knitting, sewing, etc., for the Red Cross is equal to the best work done by white organizations. The purchase of bonds and stamps has not lagged behind the Red Cross work, and while complete statistics of the Bureau of Education are not yet available on this subject, the reports from 11 native villages in southeastern Alaska show that $12,320.85 was contributed toward war-relief funds and that $9,700 worth of Liberty bonds and $283.70 worth of stamps were purchased. In these villages there are 1,303 Red Cross members, and during the year 16 sweaters, 32S socks, 113 wristlets, 220 gun wipes, 30 scarfs, and 12 moccasins were made for the Red Cross. It has been very gratifying to hear the numerous expressions of regret by natives throughout the Territory that they should have been exempted from the operations of the draft law, and it is hoped that the matter will be adjusted so as to allow the natives to share in this as well. Their participation will be a credit to the Territory, as have been their other war activities. The need of a power boat for the bureau's work has been especially emphasized this year. The schools have been supplied this season with the

[ocr errors]

greatest difficulty, and the shipments to the various stations have been necessarily haphazard and unsatisfactory. A notable example of the difficulties encountered is the shipment of hospital supplies and subsistence stores for teachers and a physician into Bristol Bay, which were to have been sent in by the August trip of the Dora. This trip, the last of the season for that section, was suddenly canceled and no other means was available. Since the supplies were imperatively needed by the stations in Bristol Bay, arrangements were finally made with the Pacific American Fisheries to carry them to King Cove, from which place the Coast Guard cutter Unalga is expected to have taken them to Unalaska, where they are to be transshipped to Bristol Bay via the Admiral Watson. Whether the needed supplies reached their destination is still a matter of conjecture. With a boat of its own, the bureau would have its shipping problems very much simplified. Such a boat would be used during the summer for the shipment of supplies and transportation of employees, who now must quite often be sent in small gas boats and vessels of doubtful seaworthiness. The bureau should not have to be placed in the position of asking its employees, who are self-sacrificing enough to enter its service, to risk their lives and property in reaching their stations. After completing the summer's shipping, the boat would be available as a training ship at the bureau's stations in southern and southeastern Alaska, where navigation is open throughout the year. Thus the boat would be put to useful service the year around. It is to be hoped that Congress will promptly make possible such a boat for the bureau. To a considerable extent, the questions arising in connection with the fishing industry of the Territory involve the consideration of the natives' welfare. The native people of Alaska are primarily fishermen. They are an important factor in the industry, and fishing to them is essentially a means of livelihood. The elimination of fish from the natives' diet means the omission of the greater part of his natural food, resulting in actual want and serious illness. Consequently, the question of commercial fishing in the rivers of Alaska is of vital interest to the natives. The past year has seen the partial closing of the Copper River to commercial fishing. Whether the regulations issued are sufficient to result in reestablishing the food supply of the Copper River Indians will be ascertained after they have been in force a reasonable length of time. The establishment of a cannery at Andreafsky, on the lower Yukon, brings up a similar question. While one or two canneries would probably not seriously interfere with the supply of fish for the upper Yukon, it is very probable that the number of canneries would increase each year until the river would become overfished, as was done in the Copper River. If commercial fishing must be permitted in rivers, a policy of limited fishing is the only one that will safeguard the food supply of the natives.


In the list of duties for the teacher of a native school there appears that of medical relief, which assumes considerable proportions if the village is of good size. Some of the more important centers of native population are provided with trained nurses, but at the majority of villages the teacher must attend to the physical welfare of the inhabitants. Each school is provided with a very complete standard medical set, consisting of the more common medicines and medical equipment, with a view toward enabling the teacher to relieve the less serious ailments and afford temporary relief in cases requiring the attention of a physician. Each station is also provided with a medical book written especially for use in connection with the medical equipment furnished the schools. Through necessity some of the teachers become quite expert in this phase of their work. In this they are aided materially by the fact that the natives have marvelous recuperative power and quite often only a little medical assistance is necessary to bring them back to health. During the past year the Bureau of Education also operated a very complete 20-bed hospital for natives at Juneau, which was kept filled the greater 1kirt of the year. The hospital at Kanakanak, on Bristol Bay, was enlarged and completely equipped for 11 beds capacity. A modern hospital was erected and placed in operation at Akiak, on the Kuskokwim. Its capacity is also 11 beds, together with comfortable quarters for the staff. A small hospital, in charge of a physician and nurse, was also maintained at Nulato, on the Yukon. In addition to the hospitals, physicians were stationed at Nome and Cordova, and contracts were had with resident physicians at Ellamar, Candle, and Council to care for cases in their localities. Besides a traveling nurse for southeastern Alaska, nurses were appointed at St. Michael, Unalakleet, and Metlakatla. In view of the thousands to be reached and the vast territory to be covered, it is readily apparent that the above means of meeting the medical needs of the natives is wholly inadequate. The bureau's appropriation of $62,500 is just half of the minimum amount needed during normal times to make an effective beginning. On account of the great advance in prices of drugs, etc., not less than $150,000 should be appropriated for this year. Educational advantages are of little benefit to the native if he is not assisted at the same time in keeping his body healthy, so as to enable him to make the best possible use of that which his mind acquires. The appropriations for education and medical relief of the natives must necessarily go hand in hand and the proper equilibrium maintained between them. This fall the bureau plans to open a tubercular sanitarium at Haines, establishing the same in the building formerly occupied by the Presbyterian Mission Hospital. To avoid a duplication of work in southeastern Alaska the mission board has turned this building over to the Bureau of Education for its use in maintaining a sanitarium, and the bureau has relinquished its medical work at Hydaburg and Klawock, where the mission board will be in exclusive charge of the medical work among the natives. The arrangement should be mutually advantageous. The establishment of a tubercular sanitarium has been planned for several years and will fill a long-felt need in southern and southeastern Alaska. In the past tuberculosis, which is quite prevalent among the natives, has been very hard to combat since isolation of the cases was impossible. The spread of the disease was therefore unavoidable. However, with a sanitarium at hand, to which the patients can be sent for proper diet, treatment, and instructions, a long step will be made toward checking the disease in the section which the Haines establishment will serve. With a hospital at Juneau for the surgical cases, and a sanitarium at Haines for tubercular patients, southeastern Alaska will be served very effectively. It is to be hoped that Congress will soon enable the Bureau of Education to make similar provisions for the other sections of Alaska, which are equally in need of medical assistance.


In 1892, and continuing for 10 years, 1,280 reindeer were imported into Alaska from Siberia. From this nucleus there are to-day in Alaska over 110,000 reindeer, distributed over all of western Alaska from the Alaska I’eninsula on the south to Point Barro on the north. On account of the unavoidable delays in securing reports from all the herds, complete statistics for the year are not yet available. The Bureau of Education report for the year ended June 30, 1917, shows a total of 98,582 deer in Alaska, distributed aumong 98 herds; 67,448, or 69 per cent, were owned by natives; 23,443, or 23 per cent, by Lapps and whites; 4,645, or 5 per cent, by missions; and 3,046, or 3 per cont, still remain Government property. The ownership of the native deer was divided among 1,568 natives, of whom 170 were apprentices and 1,398 owners and trained herders. An income from their deer amounting to $97,515 was realized by them. The income accruing to owners other than natives announted to $35,002, making a total income realized from the reindeer industry of $122,517. Reindeer were introduced into Alaska by the Government in order to insure a food supply and economic independence for all the natives of Alaska living in sections where deer could be propagated. The industry is now firmly established, the widespread distribution of the deer being the result of a system of apprenticeship whereby the most likely natives are taken on as apprentices by the herders for four years, receiving during that time 6, 8, 10, and 10 deer for the first, second, third, and fourth years, respectively. If at the end of the fourth year the apprentice has served satisfactorily, he becomes a herder, assuming charge of his deer. He in turn is required by the rules and regulations to take on apprentices in the same manner that he served as apprentice. The perpetual distribution among the natives is thereby assured. Since the deer were imported for the benefit of the natives, the industry has been restricted to them as much as possible. No native is allowed to sell female deer except to another native or the Government. Until 1914 no white Inen had acquired deer, except the Laplanders, who had been brought to Alaska at the time of the introduction of reindeer into Alaska for the purpose of teaching the natives the art of herding. For their services the Lapps were given reindeer without restrictions as to future sales of female deer. By this means it was possible for Lomen & Co., of Nome, to acquire 1,200 deer in 1914. The next two years this company made additional purchases from the missions at Golovin and Teller, the latter of which has since been the subject of litigation by the Department of Justice at the request of the Interior Department. The case is based on alleged violation of contract by the Teller mission, which, in common with other missions in Alaska, received deer from the Government for the purpose of assisting in the distribution of deer among the natives. All missions have always been held by the department to be under the same restrictions as native owners. The final outcome of the Teller case will determine the department's action regarding the Golovin sale, which is similar to the Teller case, except that the Golovin contract appears to have been an oral one made in the early days of the industry, the exact terms of which can not be definitely established. The decision in the Teller case will also have an important bearing on all deer now owned by the missions. The details of the above have appeared in previous issues of the annual report of this office. Up until the present the industry has been supervised by local representatives of the Bureau of Education, but it has now grown to such proportions that a scientific management is imperative. At least two or three experienced stockmen should be placed in the field to give their entire time to the study of the problems of the industry. Diseases of the deer should have careful attention, as well as scientfic herding, breeding, butchering, and marketing. The reindeer of Alaska represent an immense food supply, not only for the Territory, but for the entire country. The economical and permanent entry of reindeer meat upon the market of the country is a problem that will require much study and caref

management. The present high prices of beef, pork, and mutton make this an opportune time to take up this subject energetically. It is important to the country, as well as to the Territory, that the increased appropriation asked for by the Bureau of Education be allowed by Congress in order to make possible the employment of the experts mentioned. Undoubtedly the white owners of herds will cooperate. Reindeer are cursed with warble flies, which were evidently brought to Alaska with the original herd. If the warble pest could be eliminated there is no renson why a glove industry equal to that of Sweden could not be established right in Alaska. The following table shows what a financial success this phase of Government enterprise has been during the 25 years since its inception:

Valuation of 67,448 reindeer owned by natives in 1917, at $25 each_- $1,686, 200

Total income of natives from reindeer, 1893–1917 (25 years) ------- 56S, 352 Valuation of 31,134 reindeer owned by missions, Laplanders and other whites, and Government, 1917---------------------------- 778, 350 Total income of missions and Laplanders and other whites from reindeer, 1893–1917 –- 214. 443 Total valuation and income-------------------------------- 3, 247, 345 Total Government appropriations, 1893–1917---------------------- 317, 000

Gain (926 per cent for 25 years, or an average annual gain

of 37 per cent) --- ---- - 2,930, 345 Perhaps the attitude of the Bureau of Education is somewhat at variance with my own, but I believe that where the reindeer industry can be encouraged among the whites without detriment to the natives every assistance should be offered, as it is only through the white owners and shippers that it will be possible to add to the food supply of the country at large. With the herds scattered over such a large extent of territory, and with such great distances to travel to reach the few shipping points on our west coast, it will soon become necessary to establish cold-storage plants at certain points in order to preserve the meat of the surplus deer. In this the whites interested in the industry can be of greatest service to the native deer men. The Government has no funds with which to create a market, nor with which to preserve the meat for the market, so that this particular branch of the industry must naturally fall to the whites.

« PreviousContinue »