« PreviousContinue »
5 Indian college had been founded at Cambridge. Yet, in due time, this success was swept away by the fears and prejudices which developed under the baneful influences of the Indian wars. Similar successful work under the direction of Revs. John Cotton and Richard Bourne in Plymouth colony shared the same fate.
White Massacre of
Praying Iudians. the
SERGEANT AND WHEELOCK Other memorable efforts in the eighteenth century were robbed of their fruits by similar causes, intensified by a number of disorganizing factors incident to the revolutionary period. Prominent among these is the work of Rev. John Sergeant at Stockbridge in Massachusetts and that of Rev. Eleazer Wheelock in Connecticut and New Hampshire.
The work of Mr. Sergeant, which involved the establishment of day schools, of a boarding school and an experimental “outing system,” was almost ideal in conception, but ended with the deportation of his Indians to the west. Dr. Wheelock's labors led to the establishment of an effective. training school and, indirectly, to the creation of Dartmouth college "for the education and instruction of youths of the Indian tribes in this land in reading, writing, and all parts of learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and christianizing the children of pagans, as well as in all liberal arts and sciences, and also of English youths and any others.” Only the last purpose was destined for achievement.
PERSISTENCE OF SPIRIT OF WORK It is interesting to note that, in spite of practically total external failure, the spirit and even much of the form of these early enterprises persisted. Their impress is observable to-day in almost every prominent feature of the Indian school organization of the United States.
Among these I would point out the establishment of day schools in or near Indian villages or settlements and their organization as a means for the domestic and industrial uplifting of Indian family and village life, as well as for the
instruction of children; the establishment of industrial boarding schools in territory occupied by Indians, with their opportunities for introducing among the young a taste for the amenities and refinements, as well as for the duties and responsibilities of civilization; the establishment in civilized English-speaking communities of advanced training schools for the fuller equipment of “choice Indian youths" for full citizenship in white communities or for missionary work in the ideals, institutions, and arts of civilization among their own people; the universal stress in all schools upon instruction of boys in the arts of husbandry and certain trades and of girls in the domestic arts; the “outing system” which places partially educated Indian girls and boys as paid helpers in suitable English-speaking families and affords them instruction in the ordinary public schools; the importance attached to religious and ethical training.
SHORTCOMINGS On the other hand, it is to be deplored that a number of valuable features of the early schools have been abandoned and even supplanted by opposite tendencies. Among the latter are to be reckoned the unintelligent warfare waged against the Indian idiom; the introduction of certain brutalities of military discipline under the influence of soldiers who for a time controlled Indian schools; an equally unin telligent effort on the part of some schools to wean Indian youth from Indian association by throwing contempt upon the Indian and by stimulating a feeling akin to hatred of Indian family ties; and a variety of measures and devices inspired by a policy of compulsion and repression, rather than by a spirit of development and benevolent helpfulness.
Serious harm came to the government schools from time to time from the fact that until 1893 patronage and partisanship entered as a weighty, perhaps the weightiest, factor in the appointment of officers and employees. Thanks to the constant vigilance of the Indian rights association, the Mohonk conference and a number of other societies earn
estly interested in the welfare of the Indians, these evils are steadily yielding. They have been greatly reduced since 1893 by the application of civil service rules to school employees, and it is hoped that in these matters every new dawn will bring a better day.
PERIOD OF INACTION Before entering upon a descriptive account of the Indian school work of the present day, it is desirable to indicate in
few words the successive steps that have led to their organization.
After the revolution, congress and the country as a whole were so much absorbed with the duties of self-establishment that little heed was paid to Indian education. A number of minor appropriations are recorded on the basis of treaties with a few tribes, and at a few points missionary zeal continued a fitful activity. During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, however, a great religious revival again directed general attention to Indian education as a Christian and national duty.
RESUMPTION OF WORK Missionary bodies took up the work with renewed zeal. Congress responded in 1819 with an appropriation of $10,000 in addition to certain treaty obligations. In 1820 the president was authorized to apply this sum annually in aid of societies and individuals engaged in the education of Indians. In 1823 the sum of $80,000 was expended in 21 schools maintained by missionary bodies ; $12,000 of this amount had been contributed by the government.
In 1825 the number of such schools had risen to 38, the entire expenditure for these to $202,000, of which the government, directly and indirectly, had contributed $25,000. In 1848 there were reported in operation 16 manual training schools, 87 boarding schools and other schools.
These schools continued to increase in number and efficiency up to 1873. They were under the control of missionary bodies with such scanty aid from the government as the small appropriations afforded. Only a few small day schools had been established by the government directly under treaty provisions.
GOVERNMENTAL ZEAL After this time, however, the government entered upon an era of almost feverish activity in the establishment of strictly government schools ; first, day schools, then boarding schools and industrial training schools. Congress kept pace with this zeal in the liberality of its appropriations.
In 1877 it appropriated for schools, outside of treaty provisions, $20,000, in 1880 $75,000, in 1885 $992,800, in 1890 $1,364,568, in 1895 $2,060,695, in 1899 $2,638,390. During this period the average attendance rose in similar ratio from 3,598 in 1877 to 19,648 in 1898.
The increased appropriations by congress for the education of Indians naturally stimulated a desire on the part of the government to control the expenditures directly and in detail. Possibly this desire was much enhanced by the fact that such expenditure opened to the party in power a rich field for patronage.
At the same time it was discovered that the constitution, by implication at least, forbade the appropriation of public funds for denominational purposes. Concurrent conclusions, unfavorable to government support of missionary schools, were further strengthened by the fact that the Roman Catholic church had gradually outstripped the Protestant missionary bodies and was absorbing the lion's share of government support.
DECAY OF MISSIONARY EFFORT During the first half of the century the Protestant missionary organizations had had well nigh a monopoly of government support; but, later on, the Roman Catholics had wrested from them the preponderance. In 1889 the Catholic church drew from the appropriations for this purpose $347,672, as against $128,518 drawn by Protestant bodies. In 1892 these amounts had risen to $394,756 for the Catho
lics and $160,874 for the Protestants. In 1893 the Methodist Episcopal church withdrew from participation in government aid without, however, abandoning its schools. In 1895 this example was followed by the Presbyterians and Congregationalists, in 1896 by the Friends, and in 1897 by the remaining Protestant denominations. This left only the Catholics in the field with an appropriation of $198,228.
This process was aided by congress which, in 1894, had declared its policy of gradually abandoning all support of denominational schools. This policy has since been followed, so that in 1899 the appropriation was reduced to $116,862.
PRESENT ORGANIZATION In their present organization the Indian schools under government control are designated as day schools, as reservation boarding schools, non-reservation boarding schools, and as industrial and normal training schools.
Day schools — Day schools are located in Indian villages or near Indian camps or settlements. They are, as a rule, in charge of a male teacher and his wife, who acts as housekeeper, or— more particularly in the pueblos of New Mexico and in the Indian villages of Southern California -- of a lady teacher and an Indian housekeeper. The children spend from five to eight hours during five days of the week under the care of these employees and return to their homes in the evening. At noon they are furnished a substantial luncheon, except in the pueblos of New Mexico and in the villages of Southern California, where they generally return to their homes during the noon recess.
The instruction is of the simplest character. The children are taught to speak, read and write the English language within narrow limits, to cipher, to draw and to sing. In addition they get some rudimentary notions of geography, of natural history and of United States history. The methods are borrowed largely from the kindergarten and from object teaching.
Much stress is laid upon habits of cleanliness and order,