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Identified Persons

Aaron Wells; Emerson D. White; James McLaughlin; John M. Carignan; Josephine Wells; Louis Primeau; Major Edmond Mallet; Maria Galpin; Maria L. Van Solen; Mary J. Clement; Rev. Martin Kenel; Rose Cournoyer; S. Sewell; Sister Gertrude McDermott; Sister Rhabana Stoup

Identified Places

Agricultural Boarding School; Agricultural School Standing Rock Agency; Cannon Ball Day School; Dakota Mission Day School; Fort Yates, Dakota; Grand River Day School; Industrial Boarding School; Marmot Day School; No. 1 Day School; No. 2 Day School; No. 3 day School; No. 4 Day School; St. Elizabeth's Mission Day School; Standing Rock Agency


Major Edmond Mallet


Secretary of the Interior



Approximate Date

December 29, 1888

Original Item Medium

Correspondence; Report

Accession Number


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Draft of final report

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U.S. Indian Inspection Service,

East Pierre, Dak,December 29, 1888

The Honorable,

The Secretary of the Interior

Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to submit this re-

port on my examination of the Schools under the

jurisdiction of the Agent for the Indians of the

Standing Rock Agency, Dak., made on December

6-12, instant, under Department instructions dated November

28, 1888.

I was unable to visit all the day schools

on account of the great distance ^[[from the agency headquarters]] of some

of the, and the

[[strikethrough]]?[[/strikethrough]] threatening weather ^ [[in this northern latitude]] at this season of

the year. I fully appreciate the desirability of visiting

the more [[strikethrough]] neglected [[/strikethrough]] distant schools - those situated in out

of ^[[the]] way places - but that cannot well be done

in dakota, in mid-winter. [[strikethrough]] I can report, therefore,

only on those schools which I actually visited[[/strikethrough]]

The following ^[[names]] are the schools which I could not visit:

No. 3 Day school, 15 miles W. of agency, Miss Rose

Cournoyer, teacher.

U.S. Indian [[?]]

U.S. Indian Inspection

No.4 Day School, 50 miles S.W. of the agency, Mr.

Louis Primeau, teacher.

Dakota Mission Day School, 32 miles S. of the agency,

conducted ^[[by]] [[strikethrough]] at the expence of [[/strikethrough]] the Congretational[[strikethrough]]ist[[/strikethrough]] Church.

Grand River Day School, 40 miles S.W. of the agency, John M. Carignan, teacher, and his mother, Mrs. M.J. Clement, assistant teacher.

Marmot Day School, 30 miles S. of the agency

Emerson D. White, teacher.

St. Elizabeths's Mission Day School, 35 miles

S. of the agency, conducted by the Protestant Episcopal


[[Strikethrough]] The schools which I did inspect are the following[ [/strikethrough]]

I ^[[examined]] [[strikethrough]] inspected [[/inspected]] five schools, as I report on each


1. Industrial boarding School.

This school, located on the Agency Square,

is the Government boarding school. It is conducted by

a [[strikethrough]] small [[/strikethrought]] community of seven Sisters of the Order of

St. Benedict ^[[of the Catholic Church,]] assisted by a lay Sister who

is a teacher ^[[of classes]] and one man, not of the community,

who is industrial teacher, i.e. farmer and worker

out-of-doors. Sister Gertrude (McDermott), is the

superintendent and principal teacher. She is of Irish

parentage, [[?]] in the United States, and an energetic

progressive and [[strikethrough]] most competent [[/strikethrough]] ^[[superior]] woman and a most

competent superintendent and teacher. The [[strikethrough]] rest [[/strikethrough]] ^[[other members]] of the com-

munity are of German birth or parentage

and speak English fairly well ^[[only.]] ^[[All the members of the corps

[[strikethrough]]? personnel of the schools[[/strikethrough]] of teachers are energetic,

and much devoted to the interests of the school,

and well fitted for the positions which they occupy.

the excellence of the school and the progress the pupils

are making prove this beyond question.

There are 104 ^[[Indian and half-breed]] pupils in the school - 79 girls and

young women,[[strikethrough]] ? small and large [[/strikethrough]]; and 25, ^[[the later]] all

12 years of age or [[strikethrough]] lesser [[/strikethrough]] under. There are also 5

white girls and 2 white boys, the children of employees

and teachers, enrolled, but [[these latter]] did not attend

on the day when I made a formal examination

of the school. [[strikethrough]] They are day pupils. [[/strikethrough]]

all the classes recited before me and all were

proficient in their[[respective]] lessons [[strikethrough]]?[[/strikethrough]]

The A.C.C.class ^[[recited from]] [[[strikethrough]] are taught by [[/strikethrough]] object lessons.

The classes in the readers read very well. The spelling

and defining was even better than the reading. The class in

geography exhibited wonderful powers of memory in ^[[the pupils ? the teachers]]

The writing on the black-board was very good,

the larger girls filling out incomplete sentences with

great facility and explaining the parts of speech with

astounding readiness. The copy-books were well filled

and kept neat and clean. The singing

of patriotic songs and hymns was exceedingly good;

several pupils in turn played the organ accompany-


All the children were neatly clad in well

fitting garments and looked healthy, cheerful

and happy. The polite, easy manners of the pupils,

especially of the larger girls, was very noticeable.


I am satisfied that this school is the best

that I have thus far visited. The agent, who

has better opportunities of knowing the fort than

I have, assured me that [[strikethrough]] they [[/striketrhough]] nearly all the pupils

were making satisfactory progress. That is entirely

in the line of my own judgment.

The text-books are ^[[I believe]] those furnished by the Government:

[[strikethrough]]?[[/strikethrough]] McGuffey's ^[[and Sheldon's]] readers, Appleton's and Ray's arithmetics, Mitchell's geography, Kerl's grammar

Child's health primer,[[??]]; De Graff's School-

Room Chorus, etc. I also saw [[strikethrough]] a few [[/strikethrough]] some approved Catholic

hymn books.

The school furniture was good but not

elaborate or expansive. There ^[[appeared to be]] a sufficiency of it. The sanitary con-

dition of the school appeared to be very good.

There are six means of egress from the building in case of fire.

It Being easily accessible, I visited the school

several times, and each time I found large

[[strikethrough]] classes [[/strikethrough]]details of girls in the kitchen ^ [? the cooking, baking],etc and in the sewing

room, cutting and making dresses under-clothing, etc.

I found in visiting the building that the sisters

are far from leading a luxurious life, their

rooms and their furniture being the plainest.

But everything is exceptionally clean and neat.

Some of the Sisters expressed a desire to have a larger

and better sitting-room up stairs, but I do not feel

justified in recommending anything in the line of their

request, especially as some improvements in the building has already

been authorized by the Department.

The great needs of the school are (1) larger and improved

classrooms and (2) better facilities for processing water. The

agent informs me that the Department have already authorized

him to make an addition to the building for a new

class room and that he will build in the spring. He

is also in communication with the Department relating to

improved water facilities. The water is now hauled in [?]

from the river to the school, and I recom-

mend that the agent be authorized to connect water

mains with the ^[water systems] of the military fort [[strikethrough]] to furnish [[/strikethrough]]

so that a plentiful supply of water for cooking, washing, farm

and other purposes, especially, for the protection ^[of the school and agency homes] from accidental

fire, may be obtained.

2 Agricultural Board School

This school is located 16 miles south of the agency

and is in charge of Father Martin (Kenel) Order of St.

Benedict, superintendent and principal teacher, assisted

by a community of six Sisters of the same Order

[[strikethrough]] and 2 Brothers also [[/strikethrough]] who are in charge of the

girls, and 2 Brothers,also of the same Order

who are mechanical and industrial teachers. [[strikethrough]] of the boys[[/strikethrough]]

The establishment consists of [[strikethrough]] (1) The outer building five ? [[/strikethrough]]

three school buildings, a farm and its out-houses ^ [and a church]. The pupils,

all Indians and half-breeds, number 100, -63 boys

and youths, and 37 girls. After attaining the age of

twelve years, boys in the Industrial Boarding School

are transferred to this establishment. The Father and

Brothers have charge of the boys, and the

Sisters, the girls. They live a separate life,

except that they meet in the class rooms and

in the [[strikethrough]]chapel[[/strikethrough]] church.

The farm, of 104 acres, is well cultivated, and

all the boys are trained to cultivate the soil and

to take ^[care] of the stock. Last season there [[strikethrough]]production of

the farm ?[[/strikethrough]] were sown 17 acres in wheat, 53 acres in oats

17 acres in corn, 9 acres in potatoes and 8 acres

turnips and ^[other] vegetables. The stock consists at this time

of 1 mule team, 1 horse team, 3 yokes oxen,^[1 boar, 1 sow] 11 pigs,

1 bull, 8 cows, 4 heifers, and 5 calves. A plentiful supply

of hay was made for the winter.

The agricultural department of this school is the

most practical thing I have yet seen in the Indian

country for the advancement of the Indian people in

civilization and self support.

The industrial department consists of a blacksmith shop and a carpenter's shop, but these appeared to me to

small affairs and to be ^[somewhat] neglected ^[in the interest of] the agricultural department.

[[strikethrough]]??[[/strikethrough]] I do not know the policy of the Government

toward these [[strikethrough]]departments[[/strikethrough]] shops being an agricultural

school, it is perhaps not desirable to develop its

trades departments when there are so few pupils.

I state the facts for the information of the Department.

The pupils in this school are not as far ad-

vanced in [[strikethrough]]book learning[[/strikethrough]] letters as are those of the

industrial ^[Boarding] school], yet their recitations were creditable.

The classes are of lower grades and the pupils are

less proficient in their lessons, but in these

respects the ^[school is] far in advance of any day school

[[strikethrough]]that[[/strikethrough]] I ever visited. As the male teachers consider the

agricultural and industrial departments of equal im-

portance with the class exercises, so the Sisters [[strikethrough]]think

and they denote special attention to[[/strikethrough]] consider the training of the

girls in house keeping ^[and farm] duties and in cutting, making

and repairing clothing as of paramount importance. OVER*

[[strikethrough]] I would not like to be understood as saying that the

primary branches of a English education are neglected,

or that the pupils are not making satisfactory progress,

for such ??? what I ^[mean to] state is that ?

compared with the Industrial School its pupils are not so far

advanced in letters.

The school is full to over[[/strikethrough]] The agent [[strikethrough]]explained[[/strikethrough]] stated to me that

*Much attention is given to singing, ^[in the school] and [[strikethrough]]at my request[[/strikethrough]] the

pupils sang a number of patriotic songs whilst I was there.

After some words of encouragement which I pronounced to teachers

and pupils the whole school sang "Kinds words can never die"

with a spirit that gave me new views on Indian capacity

to utter singing notes.

fault had been found in the past with the method of

teaching practiced by the teachers at this school; [[strikethrough]]but[[/strikethrough]]

and he [[strikethrough]]explained[[/strikethrough]] added that the cause of complaint was removed

in great part, the teachers having procured new, approved manuals on the

modern art of teaching, ^[which [[strikethrough]]for study[[/strikethrough]], ? student] and having devoted much time

in improving their proununciation of the English language.

The teachers still speak with their German accent, but

their pronunciation is ^[still of educated foreigners and] fairly good, - much better than that

of the ^[quality of the educated] half-breed teachers in the day schools. Father

Martin (Kenel) and Sister Rhabana (Stoup), the prin-

cipal teachers, speak English very well, indeed.

All the teachers are [[strikethrough]]greatly much[[/strikethrough]] ^[sincerely] devoted to their work

and are themselves satisfied that there ^[are] satis-

factory results ? from their labors.

The text books used in the school are ^[the same as] those used

in the Industrial School, a list of which is given in

paragraph 9, ? report except that ? geography, ^[????? of Mitchell's.]

No classes in history were heard in my presence,

but Father Martin stated that he had ? Murphy's

Elementary History of the United States, Balto : 1887, as

a text book. [[strikethrough]] for the higher cla[[/strikethrough]]

The furniture of the school is very plain but

sufficiently good, so far as I was able to judge. [[strikethrough]]The blackboard[[/strikethrough]]

[[strikethrough]]in the class room are ??, according to

the views of modern educators.[[/strikethrough]]

The sanitary condition of the buildings is good.

[strikethrough]]but that cannot be said of their sufficiency[[/strikethrough]]

As regards the sufficiency of some of the rooms,

^[in what is known as the North Building] some improvements are imperatively demanded. The school

room, now divided into two parts by a partition of cotton

[[strikethrough]]hanging f[[/strikethrough]] forming a rude screen is entirely too

small, and illy lighted. Then there is not sufficient space

for blackboards. The dining room is very small and [[strikethrough]]much[[/strikethrough]]

insufficient to accommodate all the pupils at ?. The kitchen and baking room are

entirely too small to admit of a [[strikethrough]]large[[/strikethrough]] ^[sufficient] detail of girls

to to their work. [[strikethrough]]?[[/strikethrough]]

After carefully viewing the premises ^[in conferring with the agent] with the view

to recommending some improvements, I came to the conclusion

that the ^[present] school room should be used as a dining

room and that the present dining room should form

part of the kitchen. This would [[strikethrough]]?[[/strikethrough]] create a

necessity for [[strikethrough]]a new[[/strikethrough]] the erection of a new building

or a new wing to the old one for suitable class

rooms. Such a new building or wing [[strikethrough]]to the old

building[[/strikethrough]] is absolutely necessary and it should be provided

for without unnecessary delay. I fear that Agent

McLaughlin is ^[disposed to be] over-much economical and I would

suggest that when authority is given him to make

these improvements now recommended and that he be

furnished with suitable plans for a good

school ^[room with separate] class rooms, with all ? improvements.

The building known as the "Wash-Room" is

a log hut so badly constructed, and so illy heated,

that it is impossible to iron clothes in it. There

is great necessity for a Laundry building

in which the washing and ironing can be done

[[strikethrough]] and ??[[/strikethrough]] properly. A portion of this new

building might ^[adequately] be set apart as an oven or baking-room.

[[strikethrough]]Another great need is[[/strikethrough]] All the water ^[for the ?] has

to be [[strikethrough]]brought[[/strikethrough]]^[carried in barrels] from the Missouri River. [[strikethrough]]??[[/strikethrough]] A tank and windmill ? to supply water

for the [[strikethrough]]whole ? is[[/strikethrough]] school and farm

and for protection from accidental fire is

much needed, ? I recommend that the Department

[[strikethrough]]take ? action on this[[/strikethrough]] authorize the agent to

make this improvement also, if [[strikethrough]]this can[[//strikethrough]] possible.

3 No. 1 Day School.

This school is located 18 miles N. of the agency

and is under the charge of Mrs. Maria L. Van Solen.

nee Galpin, a half-breed woman of middle

age ^[whose white husband has deserted her.] When I visited the school there were ^[29 pupils present -] 16 boys and

13 girls [[strikethrough]]present[[/strikethrough]. ^[The teacher stated that] the number enrolled was 35, but

23 had had the measles and a number ^[of them] were not

sufficiently recovered to attend school. The recitations

and singer was fairly good. The more [[strikethrough]]majority of the[[//strikethrough]] ^[more advanced]

pupils had been directed to write sentences on their slates and the majority of these referred to

a large dog named Bruno, (which was still

lying before the fire [[strikethrough]]when doing my[[/strikethrough]] ^[when I] visited the

school), and to the expression of satisfaction at the

expected visit of the agent. The girls , [[strikethrough]]exhibited their[[/strikethrough]]

who are taught to sew, exhibited [[strikethrough]]some of[[/strikethrough]] ^[specimens of] their

needle-work which was really very creditable to both

the girls and their teacher. The pupils are small

children and they are not far advanced in their

studies, but the school is a good one and progress

is being made. ^[The school furniture is very poor.] Mrs. Van Solen appeared to ^[be] well fitted

for her position off teacher of small children in an

Indian camp, having a fair ^[English] education herself, [[strikethrough]]and[[/strikethrough]]

speaking the Dakota language exceptionally well, having

always lived with white people, ^[and being devoted to her work], but she would not

be considered a [[strikethrough]]good[[/strikethrough]] ^[first-class] teacher ^[if she worked] in the public schools of

our ? States.

The school building is illy adapted for the purpose

for which it is used. It consists of a medium sized

room, [[strikethrough]]used as the school room, and a room used as

a bed-room by the teacher, so small that it holds only

a bed, a trunk and a [[strikethrough]]small heating[[/strikethrough]] stove, leaving no space ^[?] to move

about. The school room is poorly furnished, and is

? used ? heated by a cooking stove, upon which

is used[[/strikethrough]] room ? both as a classroom and the teachers' kitchen, sitting room, etc, ; and a [[strikethrough]]? very[[/strikethrough]] small room,

[[strikethrough]] in which is the teacher's bed a trunk so small that[[/strikethrough]]

holding only a bed, a trunk and a small heating

stove, ^[and] leaving no space for one to move about in.

I am of the opinion that a new school house,

built after the pattern of the day-school at the

Rosebud agency should [[strikethrough]]be erected[[/strikethrough]] replace the one

now used [[strikethrough]]??[[/strikethrough]] by Mrs. Van Solen's school.

4 No. 2 Day School

This school is situated in an Indian camp, 3 miles

N. of the agency, and is under the charge of Mrs. S.

Sewell, a Frenchwoman and a widow. She speaks English

well, but with a prounounced French accent. She is a

new teacher, very earnest ^[in her work] and I think possesses special

apptitudes for her office. There were ^[23 pupils-] 17 boys and

6 girls in the school when I visited it, and they

appeared to be doing well.

The school building [[strikethrough]]??[[/strikethrouogh]] is comparatively

good, but there is not a sufficiency of

blackboarding. The agent promised to improve

the class-room in this respect.

5. Cannon Ball Day School

This school is situated near the Cannon Ball

river, 25 miles N. of the agency. Mr. Aaron

A. Wells, and educated half-breed and Mrs.

Josepphine Wells, his wife, a white woman of ^[French] Cana-

dian origin, are the teachers.

There were present, when I visited the school,

55 pupils, [[strikethrough]]23 girls[[/strikethrough]] 32 boys and 23 girls,

some of them quite large. The capacity of the

school is 60. The classes are not foar advanced,

and the pupils did not impress me as [[strikethrough]]making[[/strikethrough]] ^[having made]

much progress, for children of their age.

A mid-day meal is furnished the pupils

at this school and I found several of the larger

girls assisting Mrs. Wells in the kitchen.[[strikethrough]]I judge

that[[/strikethrough]] Mrs. Wells has a large number of small chil-

dren of her own, and I judge that she can do

but little for the school except to ? the

cooking for this meal. She appeared to be a hard working

^[well disposed] woman. Mr. Wells is the teacher of the classes

and devotes all his time five days in the

week to his work. [[strikethrough]]Yet[[/strikethrough]] I am not satisfied

that he is above mediocfrity as a teacher, although

Agent McLaughlin, who has better opportunity

of judging of the effectiveness of his effors, thinks

well of him ^[as an educator] [[strikethrough]]??[[/strikethrough]] and of the progress

his school is making.

The school building is a delapitated old log

house, whith sunken floor, illy-lighted or dismal,

and wanting in proper blackboards and seats. The

water closets were blown down last year and ^[they] have not

been replaced. The agent stated that he has estimated

for a sufficiency of seats which ? had been

allowed and the school would soon be well sup-

plied. He also [[strikethrough]]promised to[[/strikethrough]] stated that water-closets would

be supplied without unneccessary delay.

The [[strikethrough]]??[[/strikethrough]] pupils at this school, bright

large boys and girls, more than 50 in number, are, in my opinion,

entitled to a much better school than [[strikethrough]]they[[/strikethrough]] is

provided for them. Indeed, I feel, that a well

conducted agricultural or industrial school is most desirable

at this place, and if the Department is supplied with funds

for this purpose I recommend that a first-class

school be erected near the Cannon Ball River to

replace the day school.

Summary of Recommendations

1. That better means of obtaining water for the ?

boarding school be ffurnished. See par. 13 p. 4, this report

2. That a new [[strikethrough]]class[[/strikethrough]] school room, a new laundry

and better water facilites be furnished ? agricultural Boarding school.

See par. 25-27. p. 9

3. That an improved school house should be erected for

No. 1 Day-School. See par. 30, p. 11

4. That a better school be proveded at the

Cannon Ball River

Very respectively

Edmund Mallet

Indian Inspector

Standing Rock Agency

Report on Schools

Dated Dec. 29, 1888

Report of Inspection of Schools at Standing Rock Agency Made December 6-12, 1888




Native American Schools, Native American Education, Nuns, Priests, Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict of the Catholic Church