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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
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
Secretary of the Interior
December 29, 1888
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U.S. Indian Inspection Service,
East Pierre, Dak,December 29, 1888
The Secretary of the Interior
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
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
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
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
Standing Rock Agency
Report on Schools
Dated Dec. 29, 1888
Edmond J. Mallet Collection. Emmanuel d'Alzon Library Manuscript and Photograph Collection.
Native American Schools, Native American Education, Nuns, Priests, Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict of the Catholic Church