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It is as impossible to reach the Indian with a view to his deliverance from the immoral tendencies of his present mode of living, without regard to his antecedents before admixture with the white people, as to approach him religiously, while treating him as wholly without reverence or conscience. Through every phase of his life, as already illustrated, he is shown to possess qualities which have sterling social value and strong bearing upward instead of downward in the social scale; hence, in increasing numbers, in longevity, and in gradual acquisition of property he is holding his own with his neighbors in proportion to his advantages.
Something more than statistics should be noticed. In the light of existing surroundings, compelled to associate with white people, and under obligations to advance with them in harmony with the governing laws, moral, social, and political, the Indian has neither right nor power to hold back. His ancestral codes no longer apply to his present condition. A tribe or race has ceased to be the unit of value. That unit is the individual man, the individual woman, the individual child. Wampum associations must be exchanged for written law, and irresponsible chiefs must be held to strict account under intelligent codes, voluntarily adopted, under the sanction of the state, or by the interposition of the state in behalf of the people, who have no power to protect themselves.
Lingering pagan customs, which, no longer having a specific reason for their existence, repress aspiration, confuse all social relations, demoralize youth, antagonize the spirit of the age, outrage the public sentiment of those who would be their friends, do not stand as rights on the level with the right of soil, to be exercised in the face of the evils they engender. The perpetual guarantee by the United States and the state of New York of their titles to the land they rightfully own never can be held to be a guarantee that the social and political customs of the sixteenth century shall be assured at the close of the nineteenth century.
Inquiry was diligently made respecting the number of recognized immoral characters living on the respective reservations. These inquiries were made with the population list in mind, and always of different persons. There was almost an invariable concurrence of testimony, specifying how many and who openly violated the laws of chastity. The largest estimate for any reservation was less than 20; at some reservations not even 6 could be named. The latest divorce suit tried before the peacemaker court at Cattaraugus witnessed a bold and earnest assertion of the plaintiff's rights, warmly supported by the people, which rang out as if new life and courage had possessed the friends of reform. The inferior and sometimes corrupt men who have almost invariably held judicial positions long kept in the background many who desired justice. 9 marriages at Cattaraugus and 6 at Tonawanda during the census year, with additions to the churches only after rigid examination into the antecedents of the parties, have done much to quicken the progressive party and evoke an outspoken challenge of the pagan party to a final contest for deliverance from the existing evil. The moral tone is low, but residence in the small cabin, or even in the single-room cabin, elsewhere sufficiently described, is not the prime source of the evil. It is when different families come into improper associations, as in crowded tenement houses, that all natural restraint is lost; and the people of the Six Nations, with all their unhappy surroundings and poverty in this matter, have suffered opprobrium beyond their true desert in the judgment of christian America.
At the Onondaga reservation, where there is no semblance of a court and no regular method of approach to any organized and certain source of relief, the moral plane is below that of the other reservations. The condition is deplorable; jealousies, local antagonisms, and the rapidly ripening struggle for an advance, even here, lead both parties into much injustice, and the statements of neither were accepted as fully reliable; but the sweeping charges so often promulgated have neither truth nor christian grace to qualify the wrong they do.
The New York Indians are not, as are many western Indians, a decided gambling people, nor more given to betting on games than the white people. Debased by early associations with white people, without the restraints of education or religion, they are an example of a demoralization from without rather than from natural causes within. A day among them and their immediate surroundings, a Sabbath day in August, 1890, presented facts bearing upon this statement. The Indian Presbyterian church at Tonawanda, adjoining Akron, had a morning service and Sabbath school, the exercises in all respects befitting the day and occasion ; while nearly a mile westward, at the new council house, 65 young men of the pagan party were playing the javelin game and getting ready for an evening pagan ceremony. Near the house of George Moses, southward, about 20 pagan women were boiling supper for the coming entertainment. Still farther south, in view from the front steps of 2 christian churches, about 130 white men and boys were racing horses on a regular track, or looking on, and the barrooms of the village were open, but the Indians were present at neither. These pagan sports were taking place between the Indian's and the white man's center of christian effort. The object lesson is a statistical fact bearing upon the condition of the Six Nations during the census year.
TEMPERANCE AND MORALS AMONG THE SAINT REGIS INDIANS. With the Saint Regis Indians quarrels are rare. When once disarmed of suspicion their hospitality is generous for their means, and rudeness or discourtesy has no natural place in their intercourse with visitors and strangers.
Ignorance is the key to much of their passivity, and the safeguards which religious forms have placed about their homes lack intelligent application to their outside relations through the unfortunate failure to combine with
religious teachings and observances instruction in any other language than their own. This will be noticed elsewhere. Their social life and their homes must have intelligent communication with the outside world before they can aspire to a higher life.
The temptation to use spirits, which easily masters the unoccupied classes of any community, has had its effect here as on the other reservations, and, aside from the church influence, there is little formal effort at temperance work. Intemperance is not general, but, as at Cattaraugus, it is often found among the men who have the greatest capacity for good, and these intemperate leaders stand in the way of the immediate start of their people toward a strong life.
Immorality among the Saint Regis Indians, other than intemperance, is also rare. The statistics of the family relation show that constitutional diseases have not destroyed their vigor, nor have they become debased through immoral practices. However humble the home, it commends its home loyalty and home increase to the respectful consideration of the native-born white citizens of the United States. The Saint Regis people, like the other Iroquois people, have noble blood in their veins and are better qualified for useful citizenship than several of the white races which seek America for a change of living. There are men upon each reservation who honor and illustrate the virtues and capacities of true manhood, and women who are conspicuous for their domestic life, purity of character, and christian grace.
EDUCATION, SCHOOLS, AND LANGUAGE.
EDUCATION. The pagan element, as a general rule, is opposed to education, because only through ignorance can the force of old traditions and tribal independence be retained. Exceptions are sometimes found to this opposition, as in the case of an old man at Allegany, who said: “They wouldn't let me go to school when a boy. Now I see how I missed it”. Jackson Gordon (Snipe) also said : “ There is no school near us, but 20 pupils could be had for a school when we want it”. Another, at Tonawanda, who had to employ an interpreter to sell his hay, said : “ They used to tell us that the devil would roast us in a red-hot kettle if we went to school. Now, every time I am bothered to do business with white folks I wish the devil had roasted them”.
Families with small means, unwilling to make any effort to change their condition, claim that they need their children for home work. Even when they enter them at the beginning of the term they do not enforce their attendance. The children themselves, to a large extent, inherit careless, sluggish, indolent natures, and a lazy spirit, which forms a decided element in Indian life. Punctuality is confessedly “not Indian”. There is no remedy for the existing apathy and opposition but the compulsion of law through some methods not yet realized. Indian children do not lack capacity or reasonable industry when they are held by systematic constraint to their work.
In some respects their capacities are above the average standard of the white people. They are more uniformly good penmen, good musicians, and excel in drawing; but the statements of the Indians themselves as to reading, writing, and speaking the English language magnify the facts. Their reading, as a general rule, goes little beyond the slow mechanical utterances of fixed lessons. Letters are merely objects easily memorized and related to each other in their fixed order, but the thought involved is rarely recognized. There are bright exceptions in all the schools, as well as among adults ; but the ability to read ordinary books and papers is an aftergrowth. Writing, to many, is even more difficult than reading, but their mechanical copying, for which they have a natural faculty, will compare favorably with that of the best schools of the same grade in any state, girls and women doing better in this respect than boys and men. In several families the educated women have the care of their husbands' books and correspondence, and their social temperaments lead to letter writing, as among the white people. Thus, Mrs. Abbie Parker, of Cattaraugus, conducts a successful school at Cornplanter, across the Pennsylvania line, which is attended by 9 white boys and 3 white girls, and her letters are examples of good composition, and their tone is that of a faithful, earnest, christian worker. She has a good normal-school training, to which at least 20 of the Seneca girls now aspire. Mrs. Hattie Spring (Heron), wife of Hanover Spring (Wolf), also a normalschool graduate, speaks and writes with purity of diction and expression, has refined manners, grace and dignity, and a personal carriage which would not discredit the best society. Mrs. Hattie E. Poodry, a retired teacher, who also taught freedmen in the south, Mrs. Spring, and Elizabeth Scanandoah, the afternoon teacher at the Onondaga state school, all had the benefit of normal-school training at Albany. Discrimination against advanced education for the reservation or elsewhere is poor economy and wholly unsound in principle.
In contrast with these cases is the fact that very few of the men who can conduct ordinary conversation in fair English can clothe the same ideas with correctly written forms. Their court records, books, and correspondence, with the exception of those portions of the records of the Seneca nation kept by Sylvester Crouse, the clerk, are generally full of errors. A fairly written constitution, elsewhere cited, was revised by a citizen lawyer. “I do it if you want me do it" illustrates one form of a common statement, and the simplest connection of subject and predicate is the most common. This is partly because their own language is limited, and only careful training can secure good results. Edward M. Poodry thus illustrates this idea : “ The Seneca language can not carry what the English can”. Taking from his parlor table the Buffalo Courier, he read the following sentence : “ The diplomatic correspondence concerning the Bering strait embroglio does not seem to relieve the situation from embarrassment”, adding, “ You can not translate that into Seneca. There is no mental preparation or material out of which to explain the matter".
The Indian mind, which is quick to catch practical relations and natural correspondences or associations, lacks the mental discipline and the mental qualities which grasp pure logic. Their language seems to lack the stock from which to frame a compact and harmonious postulate. This accounts for the unusual backwardness of their children in pure mathematics. Mr. Poodry also has a suggestion upon this matter. He says: “ Our people, especially our old men, have no conception of numbers any farther than hundreds. When you get to thousands it is always a box or so many boxes, because in old times the annuities were paid in gold, the amount, $1,000, being so marked on the box”.
The deportment of Indian children in the schoolroom is exemplary. Those who attend are well dressed and well behaved. At fully 20 schools visited there was no whispering or side play when the teacher's attention was diverted. Obedience is willing and prompt; but tardiness and irregular attendance, as elsewhere intimated, seem to be instinctive, as punctuality at church or other definite appointments proves to be a missing factor in their life. The success of the Friends school, of the Thomas Orphan Asylum, and of normal-school training in the education of the Indian lies in the enforced system and routine of duty which exact punctuality and accept no compromise ; hence, the restriction of the school to rudimental grades has a radical defect, and ends almost at the threshold of real education. They return home after mere primary training and at the very point where the more intelligent can catch glimpses beyond their reach of opportunities for teaching or some other profitable calling in life through educational development. Once at home they drop into the old ruts, utterly unable to put their primary training to practical use. For this and related reasons the failure to convert the unfortunate manual labor and farming school into a mechanical or high school form was a double disaster. Even now the revival of the enterprise, so well initiated and with property and buildings susceptible of immediate use, would send a current of vitalizing force throughout the Six Nations and arouse anew those aspirations for education which have fallen off during late years because of poverty and want of systematized hearty support from the state of New York or the Congress of the United States.
SPECIFIC SCHOOLS. The New York schools upon the 5 reservations are as follows, viz: 1 at Onondaga, employing a male teacher in the morning and an Indian female teacher in the afternoon ; 3 at Tonawanda, employing 1 male and 2 female teachers; 6 at Allegany (a seventh building being abandoned), employing 2 male and 4 female teachers; 10 at Cattaraugus, although numbered to 11 (the Thomas Orphan Asylum school practically counted as number 4), with 2 male and 8 female teachers, and 2 at Tuscarora, one being taught by Miss Emily M. Chew, a native Tuscarora woman of good education, winning address, and admirable tact both for teaching and government.
With the single exception of the dilapidated, unattractive, unwholesome "mission boarding-school building" at Tuscarora, long ago unfit for school use, all the state buildings are well lighted, ventilated, and attractive. In this building, against all adverse conditions, Miss Chew makes the best of her discouraging surroundings, and holds her pupils fairly well by her magnetic force. Prevalence of the measles kept an unusual number at home the past year, and the interest of educated and christian parents seems to be lessened by the failure of the state to build a new schoolhouse. The Tuscarora nation has repeatedly declared a readiness to share in the expense of such an enterprise.
The old dormitory of the former boarding school is partly woodhouse and partly barn. In one wing Miss Abigail Peck, the veteran former teacher and missionary, resides, and at the age of 80 retains a fresh memory of her earnest work, which began in 1853. The original school was organized as early as 1808 as a mission school, in charge of Rev. Mr. Holmes, the first missionary to the Tuscaroras. In 1858 the American board of foreign missions transferred the school to the state of New York.
The second school at Tuscarora is taught by Miss Alla Sage, daughter of Mr. William Sage, who devoted many years to teaching and promoting the welfare of this people, and he and his family have been among the most patriotic and self-sacrificing pioneers of Niagara county. This teacher, as well as Miss Chew, is compelled to endure another discrimination against the teachers of Indian schools in receiving only $7 instead of $8 per week. There are special difficulties in teaching Indian youths. The conditions require patience, tact, and endurance beyond that required for pupils who can at least understand the spoken English language and promptly associate the words with familiar objects or thoughts.
SCHOOL DETAILS. The Onondaga school, first in order, is taken as an illustration of the difficulties and embarrassments attending the teacher's work. The building, erected by the state of New York at a cost of $500, is especially attractive and well located. A glance at the map will show that a great majority of the families live within a mile's distance. Rev. John Scott teaches in the morning and Miss Elizabeth Scanandoah, an Indian, teaches in the afternoon. At the fall term, 1889, the school opened with 12 scholars. The daily attendance during the 5 days of the first week was, respectively, 12, 19, 28, 21, 19, a total of 99. The totals for the succeeding 8 weeks were, respectively, 145, 132, 127, 159, 129, 81, 172, 177, the last being during the week before Christmas. Average daily attendance for first week was 19.8; for the succeeding 8 weeks as follows, viz: 29, 26.4, 25.4, 31.8, 25.8, 16.2, 34.5, 35.4. The total number entered on the register during that period was 64. At the winter term only 45 pupils were registered, the attendance being, by weeks, 61, 84, 68, 75, 91, 112, 89, 113, 80, 130. At the spring term 50 registered, the attendance being, by the week, 89, 130, 123, 103, 62, 88, 123, 90, 108. The highest attendance on any one day during the year was 32, on the 10th of April, 1890. Only 12 attended every day, even during the Christmas week, and one of these worthy of mention was Julia Hill, aged 13, daughter of Daniel Hill, who missed but one day in the term. 9 other pupils attended 40 or more days, and 26 were quite regular, securing more than a month of fairly conservative instruction. The correspondingly fair attendance for the winter term was 18 and for the spring term 14. 2 boys were above the age of 18. Of the others registered, 32 were males and 30 females, between the ages of 6 and 18, the average age being 10.66 years.
Those who lived farthest away were frequently the most punctual in attendance. One scholar, who came from far up Lafayette creek, the home of Abram Hill, a venerable Oneida chief and a christian man, lost but one day during the month of December; the highest average of the year, however, was attained during this month. These details indicate that in this school and in other schools there are thoroughly faithful, ambitious, wide-awake, cleanly, well-dressed pupils, seemingly both happy and proud in showing their acquirements before strangers. They are neither bashful nor bold, but self-possessed, obedient, and willing. If the number of similar pupils could be doubled at Onondaga it would revolutionize as many households for the better.
The tabulation of the following data is impracticable owing to the variety of the information obtained:
TONAWANDA SCHOOLS. SCHOOL No. 1, frame building, cost $287; total annual salaries of teacher and employés, $252; all other expenses, $45; Indian contribution for fires, $10; accommodations for 35 scholars; largest attendance at a single session, 24; 9 males and 16 females attended 1 month or more; 8 males and 15 females are between 6 and 18 years of age; 1 male and 1 female are under 6 years of age; average age of pupils, 10 years; average daily attendance during the year, 9; largest average for a month, 18, in June, 1890. Illness of the teacher and a temporary supply scattered the children. The school is on the north and south road leading to the manual farm building.
SCHOOL No. 2, frame building, similar to No. 1 in cost, equipment, salaries, accommodations, and expenses; largest attendance at a single session, 29; 27 males and 12 females attended 1 month or more; 24 males and 12 females are between the ages of 6 and 18; 1 male is over 18 and 2 girls are under 6 years of age; number of months of school, 9; average age of pupils, 11 years; average attendance during the year, 15; largest average attendance for a month, 21.6, in June, 1890. It is a model school, admirably conducted, situated on the central triangle, where the Baptist and Methodist churches are located.
SCHOOL No. 3, frame building, similar to No. 1 in cost, salaries, etc.; largest number present during the year, 28; 23 males and 19 females attended 1 month or more; 1 girl under 6 years of age; average age of pupils, 10 years and 8 months; school maintained for 9 months, with an average daily attendance of 10, the average during September being 12.75, the highest for the school year. Mr. Charles Parker, the teacher, exhibited marked enthusiasm in his work, as well as pride in the progress of his pupils. The school is on the north crossroad.
ALLEGANY SCHOOLS. The 6 schools upon the Allegany reservation are similar, each costing the state $322.33. Indian contributions for fires, $6.25; salaries, $276.50; all other expenses, $52.08; repairs during the year, $26. 22 for each school building.
SCHOOL No. 1, which had 2 lady teachers during the year, is at the fork of the road, west of the Allegany river, nearly opposite the old mission house, in a pagan district ; estimated accommodations for 50; largest number present during the year, including some white children, 23; 4 males and 2 females attended 1 month or more during the year; 1 male under 6 years of age, 3 males and 2 females between 6 and 18 years of age; average age of pupils, 11.33 years; average attendance during the year, 4; largest average attendance any month, 5, in October, 1890. Edmond Bone, jr., the grandson of William Bone, who claims to be the only living Seneca of full blood, missed school only 22 times during the year.
SCHOOL No. 2 has accommodations for 50; largest number present, 26; 18 males and 12 females attended 1 month or more during the year; 2 of the females were under the age of 6 years; average age of pupils, 10 years; average attendance during the year, 9.5; largest attendance any month, 16, in May, 1890.
SCHOOL No. 3 has accommodations for 50; largest number present during the year, 40; 4 males and 9 females, all between the ages of 6 and 18, attended 1 month or more during the year; average age, 10.33 years; average attendance, 13.66; largest average attendance any month, 15, in December. Cornelius Fatty, son of George Fatty, was absent only 11 days in the year.
SCHOOL No. 4 has accommodations for 45; largest number present during the year, 21; 16 males and 10 females attended 1 month or more; 2 females under 6 years of age; average age, 9.5 years; average attendance during the year, 13.5, in December, 1889. John Plummer, son of Nathaniel Plummer (Deer tribe), attended school every day, viz, 172 days during the year, and during 22 terms, or 7.33 years, missed school but 1 day when well (and that at the request of his father) and 3 weeks when sick. Special schedule 60 (Allegany) is that of the family of Stephen John, of the Plover clan, and a school trustee. His 3 children attended 156, 157, and 158 out of a possible 172 days. The school is near the Presbyterian church.
SCHOOL No. 5 abandoned.
SCHOOL No. 6 has accommodations for 50; largest number present, 23; 13 males and 11 females attended 1 month or more; 3 males and 4 females under the age of 6; 10 males and 7 females between 6 and 18 years of age; average age, 8 years; average attendance, 13; largest average attendance during any month, 14.5, for the month of June, 1890. This is the school at Carrollton, a strong pagan district; but Howard Redeye, age 11, son of Sackett Redeye (Plover), attended school 163 out of a possible 166 days, and 2 other pagan children attended 159 and 160 days, respectively.
SCHOOL No. 7 has accommodations for 45; located near Quaker bridge and Friends' schoolhouse; largest number present during the year, 27; 12 males and 10 females attended 1 month or more during the year; 3 males and 2 females under the age of 6; 9 males and 2 females between 6 and 18 years of age; average age of pupils, 9 years; average attendance during the year, 8; largest attendance during 1 month, 10, in October, 1889.
CATTARAUGUS SCHOOLS. The 10 schools upon the Cattaraugus reservation are similar in design, cost, and accessories to those of Allegany, and with the same superintendent, Mr. Joseph E. Hazzard, of Randolph, Cattaraugus county. He writes frankly that he "can not secure competent teachers at the rates authorized”. The result has been that young and immature persons from his own neighborhood have undertaken this work, some of them as their initial training in the school-teacher's profession. The best educated parents complain. The attendance fell off at the fall term, 1890, and the work of training the Indian youth is not wisely and smoothly developed. The new teacher at Newtown, the most populous pagan center, is experienced, and will succeed. In every instance the compensation is inadequate. An examination which will admit a young man or a young woman to the privilege of teaching a primary school of white children, unaccompanied by tact, experience, and