National Geographic : 1915 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE knowing how, and a third class, of those who know but have no tools. For these there is help-the teacher farmer for the one and a small loan in the form of tools for the other.* There are those, too, for whom it is too great a jump to pass from hunting to farming, but who can herd cattle, and for these the government is providing herds for their ranges. Congress has been liberal in its appropriations for these things, and with a stable policy and ad ministrative efficiency these Indians can be gradually lifted into usefulness, full self-support, and into entire independ ence. THE ORATOR AND TI-I LOAFER Then there is the "proud" red man who idly clings to the traditions of his race and talks of its past with such dignified eloquence, declaring in one glowing mo ment against the injustice of requiring service from those who once owned the continent and in the next sentence plead ing for rations. This man is half brother to him who has degenerated under the orphan-asylum system into a loafer. My confidence is that for all these there is some hope, for most of them much. But from what has been already said * EXTRACTS FROM TYPICAL LETTERS FROM INDIANS "You can't make the Indian independent by doing his business for him." -A Kickapoo Indian. "Indians ought to live like men--not like boys."-A Colorado Ute. "We will never better our condition while we are wards of the nation." -A Yakima In dian. "As long as we have money in the U. S. Treasury we will not do much work, and work is our salvation."-An Oklahoma Kiowa. "Government should not listen to the plea of a few backward Indians who are opposed to progress and are contented to live at the expense of government and of industrious In dians." -An Iowa Sac and Fox. "My children attend public schools; I pay taxes; why should I be under government supervision?"-An Oregon Indian. "The government cannot all the time take care of the Indians."-A Wisconsin Indian. "Indians now hampered by delays, regula tions, and red tape . . . and these things have made them discouraged."-A Tulalip In dian. "No greater blessing could come to the In dian than to be compelled to think for him self." -An Oklahoma Seminole. it will be perceived that in the direction of Indian affairs I believe it wisest to give our chief concern to those who are willing to work, who show evidence of a rudimentary ambition, and to convert the Bureau of Indian Affairs into a great cooperative educational institution for young and old, reducing to the minimum the eleemosynary side of its work and its trust functions. It sounds trite, but it has its significance here, that it is not so important to conserve the wealth of a people as to develop their capacity for independence. For the young the schools* are doing much, especially the day schools on the reservations. By way of answer to those who are troubled at the neglect of the Indian, it may be noted that since 1863 we have expended $85,ooo,ooo in the edu cation of the Indian. Beginning with $20,000 a year, the annual appropriation for this purpose now reaches nearly $4, 500,000. Those schools are most useful in which emphasis is laid upon the in dustrial side of life. There are no better schools, I am well advised, than many of our reservation schools, where each child is taught the rudiments of learning and to be useful in practical things-reading, writing, and arithmetic; how to plow and sow, hoe and harvest; how to build a house and shoe a horse,, or cook a meal, * It is reported that there are 84,229 Indian children of school age. Of these 6,428 are in eligible for school, leaving 77,801 eligible for school. Of this number 22,775 children are in government schools, as follows: In the 37 non reservation boarding schools conducted outside of the Indian country there are enrolled 10,857 children. In the reservation boarding schools situated on the various reservations there are 9,700, and in the government day schools on the reservations, which resemble closely the ordinary district schools of the States, except that they offer industrial training, there are 7,218 children. Of the children enrolled in mission schools there are 1,379 in mission boarding schools under contract with the gov ernment and 3,450 in mission schools without contract. There are enrolled in the public and private schools 25,924 Indian pupils of which the Indian Office has record. This would leave 15,906 Indian children eligible for school privi leges, but not reported as being in school. Of this number probably 6,000 in the Navajo and Papago country are without school facilities, but the greater part of the remainder are en rolled undoubtedly in public schools, but not reported.