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BOARD OF INDIAN COMMISSIONERS.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 20, 1897. SIR: We have the honor to submit the twenty-eighth annual report of the Board of Indian Commissioners.
When the Board was organized, it was hoped that before the end of the nineteenth century the Indian problem would be substantially solved, and all Indians incorporated in our body politic as American citizens. That hope has not been and will not be wholly realized, but the progress toward the desired result though slow, has been great. The last year has contributed its full share. Though marked by no exciting events, it has shown steady advance along the lines heretofore defined as the settled policy of the Government, sustained by enlightened public sentiment. Evidence is abundant of increasing attention to agriculture and to other forms of productive and profitable industry. The Indian is learning in many ways to earn his own livelihood, and is acquiring a right estimate of the value and the proper use of money.
Not the least important feature of progress during the last year is the extension of civil-service rules so far as to include nearly all employees in every branch of the Indian service. Of the 635 white persons employed in the field--that is, at the various agencies—552 are now in the classified service. Of the remaining 83, 48 are agents, inspectors, and commissioners, and 17 military officers acting as agents. The other 18 hold subordinate positions below classification. Indians are appointed to positions for which they are deemed competent, without examination by the Civil Service Commission. In this manner 1,434 receive employment, and are paid by the Government an aggregate of $258,140.
In addition to the above, the entire Indian school service has been brought under the civil-service rules, with the single exception of the superintendent of education, who, like the agents and inspectors, is nominated for confirmation by the Senate. In this service there are 2,070 persons employed, of whom 705 are Indians, whose pay the last year amounted to $148,766. That so large a number of Indians are found fit for employment in Government positions is gratifying proof of the efficiency of the Indian training schools, and it is our hope that graduates of these schools will, ere long, fill a majority of such positions.