Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

of the cows and hogs is done by the men. This, of course, decreases the cost of administration. If additional farm land should be provided as recommended in this report a large amount of the labor could be performed by patients so that operating expenses need not be proportionately increased.

“ Doctor Hummer is a great believer in the outdoors for his patients. All possible opportunities are afforded them to be in the fresh air, and only those who are complete invalids and physically unable to move around are kept in the house when the weather is at all suitable for them to be around. Their general health is good for such classes of patients, and there is cheerfulness everywhere. Nearly 30 tribes are now represented at Canton. Naturally those that are nearest have sent the greatest number of patients—Sioux 19, Chippewa 16, and Menominee 12. But there are 6 Papagoes, and the same train which took me to Canton brought 2 women patients from the pueblo of Taos.

“I have not visited the many county and State hospitals where Indian insane are being cared for. From my general knowledge of such institutions in the large, I think it may be questioned very seriously, if most of the Indians committed to them are as well treated as they are at Canton. The average per capita cost there is less than it is at other places where the Government is paying for such care. A careful survey alone can disclose all the facts.

I am not one of those who believe that the Indian Bureau can or ought to be terminated within a few years. Hence it is not obnoxious to me to increase its equipment for its work. In fact, the quickest and cheapest way to bring it to an end is to enable it to so perform its duties that the Indian as an Indian will cease to exist, will have been merged into our American life. I am convinced that it has been a serious disadvantage to discontinue some of the schools which have been laid down of recent years, and the talk of abandoning others has wrought great damage and has materially held back Indian progress. Similar reasons make me arrive at the conclusion that the wisest policy is to strengthen such Federal enterprises as the Canton Asylum.

It doubtless will require the expenditure of a considerable sum of money to accomplish what is necessary to be done at Canton. The work of the Indian Bureau is not one where even in these times there should be a curtailment of expenditure. We are dealing with human beings, not with fails and fancies. If the Indian problem’ is ever to be solved, it will only be by bringing the Indian into our American life as a component part of it. It is the most shortsighted of policies to assume that this can be done efficiently and speedily unless it is done rightly. A hundred dollars or a hundred thousand dollars spent advisedly now is greater economy in the end than a niggardly policy which results in cutting everything down below the minimum, for it means that the endeavor will have to be strung out over a many times greater period, with all the additional expenditure of work and money, to say nothing of the economic loss to the Nation caused by the delay in making out of the Nation's wards selfsupporting citizens, each contributing his share to the common weal.

“It is not easy to place in the order of their importance the mperative needs of the Canton Asylum. Probably the first, however, is an increase in the size of the farm. At present the total acreage is rather less than 100, from which must be deducted the ground occupied by buildings, lawn, recreation space, roads, etc. This reduces the actual available land to about one-half, with a result the herd, already too small to supply the inmates with abundant milk, has to be pastured on the lawns in close proximity to the buildings at times when the patients are not using them, and in addition we have the illuminating spectacle of a herd of cows, the property of our great Government, grazing along the public highways because that same Government is too penurious to purchase a few acres of meadow adjoining its property already owned. Canton is a town that has experienced a “boom.” That was several years ago. Land prices have declined and become stable and are now slowly advancing.

'It is likely that no more favorable time for a purchase will present itself than now. With a little effort an adjacent farm of excellent land can be purchased, as the settlement of an estate makes its sale advisable. I strongly urge that this increase of resources be provided at once.

“ With the increase of the land the herd of milch cattle should also be increased. At present the cows are no credit to the institution. They are scrubby and poor producers. The whole herd should be regularly turberculin tested in accordance with the best practice. Many of the patients are afllicted with tuberculosis, or have a predilection in that direction. With the greater amount of land the herd of hogs could also be materially larger. There might be a chance to fatten ind kill beeves also. The present buildings are reasonably

66

[graphic]

adapted to the needs of such a hospital. There should be, however, a separate provision made for epileptics, of whom there are a number. Every consideration of modern practice and humanity demands that these sufferers should be cared for in a way which is impossible when, perforce, they can not be separated from the other inmates. If this were done some additional capacity would be provided that would be acceptable. It should be remembered that some 30 tribes are represented by the present 90 patients. Certainly the provisions made are not excessive.

“One seemingly small matter shows how bureaus become indurated and common decency is seemingly forgotton. In such an institution there are frequent deaths—several each year. There is a small cemetery on one corner of the grounds where those are interred for whom no other provision is made. Several years ago the superintendent was instructed that the expense of putting up a small gravestone was not warranted, and since then the graves have remained unmarked. Records of all interments have been kept with care on a map in the office. But it seems that there is no excuse imaginable that would justify the failure to put up a simple inscribed marker at each grave.”

Chairman Vaux also recommended that a recreation hall, or gymnasium, to be used also as a chapel, should be built; a central heating and lighting plant, with refrigerating machinery should be installed; the kitchens should be modernized; hospital beds of the modern sanitary white enamel iron type should replace the present furniture and wells should be bored to strike the copious veins of sweet, soft water which can be reached at a depth of 300 feet.

PONCA INDIAN AGENCY, OKLAHOMA.

The Ponca Indian Agency, having jurisdiction over the Ponca, Otoe, and Tonkawa Tribes, in north-central Oklahoma, with Superintendent George Hoyo in charge, was inspected by Commissioner Flora Warren Seymour in April, 1923. Parts of her report follow :

“The country in which these Indians live is in the heart of the oil excitement. The Tonkawa oil fields are considered the most active in the State. This means wealth for many of these Indians. It likewise means demoralization of various sorts. The Indian does not need the discovery of oil to foster a love of chance or a disinclination to labor; but his natural tendencies along these lines are developed with amazing rapidity by the speculative fever which has seized upon the country. It is the existence of oil here that probably is the reason for the long extension of the trust period on the lands of these tribes.

“ It is said that for a year or two after the closing of the tribal schools (four years ago) the children attended no school whatever. The following compilation of school attendance statistics for the present year shows a far better condition; nonreservation schools, 56; boarding schools, 112; mission schools, 5; public schools, 159; high schools, 2; not in any school, 38; total enrollment, 234. This is, of course a record of enrollment, not attendance. There is, apparently, no employee here whose prime duty is the checking up of enrollment and attendance.

I learned that 20 years ago the Indian children of these tribes were caught and brought to school in an almost wild state, practically unclothed, quite unacquainted with the use of soap and water, and inclined to protest against the processes of education with tooth and nail and by summary departure if vigilance were relaxed. Two decades of endeavor has resulted in their voluntary attendance, decently clothed, speaking English readily and not entirely averse to bathing, though without initiative in this manner.

In these respects the Indian child of this section is not markedly unlike the white children all around him. He can enter the public schools of the State without creating any feeling of prejudice against him.

“I would recommend that a greater proportion of the Ponca, Otoe, and Tonkawa children be enrolled in the public schools of Oklahoma and that the use of the Government boarding schools be confined to those who are orphans or destitute, or whose ill health makes necessary a sanitarium school. I would further recommend that a day school inspector be assigned to this jurisdiction to see that the children are not only enrolled in the schools but that their attendance is regular. The Oklahoma compulsory education law requires an attendance for only one-half of the school term; this is inadequate, and inadequate as it is, not rigidly enforced. There should be a

supervision over the Indian children with the purpose of attaining a much higher standard of attendance than this.

“The report and recommendations of School Inspector R. L. Spalsbury were read with much interest. In his recommendation that public school contracts be promptly completed, and that the buildings of the Ponca school be sold, I heartily concur. His suggestion that the Otoe school be made into a reform school for incorrigible children points to a situation which, in my brief visit, I was unable to estimate; it is no doubt made from a study and knowledge of the needs of the jurisdiction, and so is worthy of serious consideration.

The recommendation that this agency, together with the Pawnee Agency, be combined with Osage appeals to the reasoning mind as a proper one. The situation as to location, nature of development and commercial interests is quite similar in all three. With the further development of oil fields will arise in these lower jurisdictions the problems that have already been met in the Osage region. Centralization would seem to be a beneficial move."

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

PAWNEE INDIAN RESERVATION, OKLAHOMA.

The Pawnee Indian Reservation, of which Mr. J. C. Hart is superintendent, lies between the Osage and Shawnee jurisdictions in north-central Oklahoma. It embraces a prosperous country of agricultural and mineral wealth. This superintendency was visited by Commissioner Flora Warren Seymour in April, 1923. In the report of her survey of conditions she said, in part:

“Of the 112,000 acres originally allotted the Pawnee only about 45,000 acres remain in the hands of Indian owners. Of this not more than 5,000 acres are even nominally farmed by Indians. The leasing system is seen here in its complete manifestation. Pawnee School and Agency are located within a mile of the town of Pawnee. The school has been maintained there for more than 40 years. The buildings are in need of redecoration, but are not otherwise in bad condition. From an academic standpoint the work is excellent. The children are alert, responsive, and happy. Their discipline and spirit are admirable. The industrial training, however, is less satisfactory. The rooms assigned to industrial work are small and overcrowded. The work is not emphasized.

“ The school has about a hundred pupils drawn from neighboring tribes in addition to the Pawnee and Kaw Indians. The children, with few exceptions, come to school speaking English. Many attend the public schools and there is a good enrollment in the grammar and high schools in the town of Pawnee. On the whole it appears that the Pawnee are abundantly supplied with educational opportunities and are availing themselves of them so far as school attendance is concerned.

“Everywhere one finds substantial and attractive houses which have been built at the suggestion and under the supervision of the agency. Many of them are well furnished and carpeted. The automobile is universal. The outward appearance is of comfort and well-being. But the well-built bungalows are often deplorably dirty. Their dooryards are bare. There are no trees, few farming implements, and seldom any stock, for a cow or chicken would interfere with the all too prevalent habit of visiting. The Indians who are actually farming their lands are few in number. Idleness, vicious habits, and ' indifference to sanitation have their results in the frequent cases of tuberculosis, trachoma, and skin diseases. In spite of their material prosperity the Pawnee Indians need much. More than anything else they need the sense of responsibility and the habit of work. These the leasing system discourages. What the school should labor to give the Indian, the fostering care of the Government over his lands take away. This system stifles all initiative.

“Undoubtedly, in 1928 (when the extended trust period expires) there will be an appeal for the further prolongation of the trust period. This will not be a solution of the difficulty. It will not be in any valid sense even a postponement of the solution. After 1928 to conserve the estates of the allotted Indians of more than 35 years of trusteeship and to lease these lands and manage the money for the allottees will mean to provide a fund for the continued idleness of both young and old. No Indian will meet responsibility until it is placed upon him; and the present system is relieving him of all responsibility.

1

"It seems to me that this is a time to decide on a future policy for the Pawnee Indians. The remaining five years of the trust period should be used in preparation for the ending of the trust. Further extension should be only for the old and helpless, who must always be a burden on the Government. I offer the following recommendations:

“(1) The leasing system should have a thorough study with a view to placing responsibility upon the Indian whenever it is possible to do so. This may work some hardship, but it is a necessary hardship if restrictions are ever to be released.

“(2) The use of the boarding school should be restricted to orphan children or those whose health does not permit their attendance upon the public schools. Able-bodied parents should be made to assume the responsibility of feeding and clothing their own children.

“(3) There should be a day school inspector assigned to this reservation to see that the children are enrolled in the public schools and that their attendance is regular.

“(4) Special attention should be given to the placing of the young men leaving school. If they have inherited lands they should be encouraged to settle upon them and farm them. If they have learned trades at school they should be urged to find employment. There should be a distinct bridging of the gap between school and adult life at the point where the system of Indian training now breaks down completely.

“(5) There should be a field matron to help the young women leaving school to keep up in practice the habits of cleanliness and industry which it has been the endeavor of the school to teach them. Especially among the young married women the field matron's work is needed to emphasize the care of infants and the need of sanitary homes and habits. She should be a woman of intelligent judgment who would realize that the need is for instruction, not charity.

“The material needs of the Pawnee Indian are, in general, well supplied ; often too well supplied for his best interests. His real needs now lie in the field of character and conduct. The utmost wisdom is necessary in dealing with such a situation as this."

SHAWNEE INDIAN AGENCY, OKLAHOMA.

66

Commissioner Flora Warren Seymour, in April, 1923, made a survey of conditions in the Shawnee Indian Agency in north-central Oklahoma. The population of the five tribes of this jurisdiction includes 2,288 Citizen” Potawatomi (of whom less than 200 are known as Indians or make claim upon the agency as such) ; 537 “Absentee” Shawnee; 194 “ Mexican” Kickapoo ; 612 Sac and Fox; 78 Iowa; total population, 3,709. Practically all the Kickapoo, four-fifths of the Shawnee, and half of the Sac and Fox are full-bloods. Among the Indians all grades of development are apparent, from the clinging of the Kickapoo to his savage existence to the practical disappearance of the bulk of the Potawatomi in the white population. Commissioner Seymour's report reads, in part, as follows:

“As a result of the vigorous policy of Superintendent J. L. Suffecool, backed by the splendid work of the field matron, Miss Esther Ruger, the day-school inspector, Mr. H. K. Boggess, and the farmer, Mr. Collins, practically every child of these tribes is now in school. Those who are most needy have gone to the Cheyenne-Arapaho boarding schools to the West. More than half are in the public schools of their district, where their attendance, conduct, and progress average well with the records of their schoolmates.

Strict supervision makes for regularity in attendance and another helpful factor has been the issuing of clothing and books to pupils in many cases where the parents could not provide them. These tribes have now a practically perfect school enrollment.

“It would seem that every possible problem of reservation life is presented in this jurisdiction. The Kickapoo are among the least influenced by civilization of all Indians. They build their wickiups of reed mats fastened on a framework of saplings. A hole left in the top of the structure permits the smoke from the wood fire to escape; another hole, with a piece of sacking flapping in front of it, serves as a door. In the dim and smoky interior children and dogs play indifferently in the ashes and roll over the dirty mats that serve as tables, chairs, beds, carpets. From the walls hang pots heavy with soot, mats in progress of construction, chunks of raw meat, and the rope

66

and blanket hammock which holds the youngest child. Everywhere are dirt, disease, and discontent.

"For the older generation, clinging to its filth and its dozens of inexplicable tabus, there is little to hope in the way of change; the relief of distress is about all that can be accomplished. Even with the younger generation the progress is bound to be much slower than we could wish. But as one looks back on the progress made in other Oklahoma tribes during the past 50 years, there is ground for encouragement. And the active personal efforts of the superintendent, field matron, and day-school inspector are accomplishing much. The children have been brought to attend school, the health of the young and old is receiving such attention as the inadequate medical facilities of the agency will permit, and a constant succession of friendly visits serves to discover and relieve many of the most pressing needs. The work that is being done here is ample proof of the fact that the true solution of the problem lies in personal contact, not in law or theory.

“ The Shawnee afford a still further proof. The Big Jim Band has been reluctant and hostile until very recently. The one encouraging feature was the poverty of the band, which made industry imperative. Since the white man did not lease his land, the Indian had to get his living from it at first hand. The Shawnee are thus largely self-supporting, but their wretched little one-room log houses, often without a window, bear testimony to their need for direction and guidance. Throughout the band the faithful and persevering work of the field matron is bearing fruit. Many as are the needs of these people the situation is a hopeful one.

“ To go from these tribes to those in the northern part of the jurisdiction is indeed a change. The land, stretching up to Cushing and the oil country, is more open; and the work of Mr. Collins, the farmer, is in evidence. The houses are well built and reasonably clean; actual farming operations are being carried out satisfactorily; the children are in the public schools.

The problem of the young people is receiving attention, too. I visited the homes of several young couples where the good effects of wise and friendly supervision were apparent in improved farming and housekeeping, more intelligent regard for sanitation and health, and nearer approximation to the moral code of the white race. These things all mean a strong effort on the part of young men and women to combat the old influences that pull them back to savage tribal ways. They mean, too, an approach to bridging the perilous gulf in Indian progress--the period of readjustment which must follow the return from school to the home. Here, as at other times and in other places, the solution of most of the difficulties lies in friendly, personal contact.

“ The question of health is an acute one among all the tribes under this jurisdiction. There is a contract doctor who treats those who come to the agency at stated times, but there is no provision for the more serious cases where continued visits or hospital care is essential. Especially among the poorer Indians who can not afford to employ a physician, the need is desperate. Meanwhile the buildings of the Shawnee School are in the main unoccupied. Superintendent Suffecool has kept them in repair and preservation, so that the opening of a hospital would be principally a matter of equipment and the establishment of two or three positions. I can not recommend too strongly the establishment of this institution. The need is pressing; the outlay would be small indeed compared with the results to be gained. This should be an immediate concern of the Indian Office.

“ While I saw at this agency some of the most backward Indians I have ever known, I saw also work of such a quality and spirit that it gave me new hope for the Indian people. A few years ago the closing of the school brought about a difficult condition. The situation has been met admirably, and in the conditions existing to-day one sees the first steps toward the goal to which all efforts among the Indians should be directed.”

Commissioner Seymour submitted the following recommendations: (1) There should be a second field matron assigned to this jurisdiction ; (2) contracts for the tuition of Indian children in the district schools should be promptly approved and provision made for the allowance that may be necessary if the children continue to attend school, such as clothes, books, and like necessities; (3) the salaries of the field matron and day school inspector, sadly inadequate, should be increased; (4) the Littleax School should be given every assistance possible and proper in the direction of another schoolroom; (5) immediate steps should be taken to equip and maintain a hospital at the Shawnee School plant.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »