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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


Folder Name





Draft of final report

Digital Reproduction Information

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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.

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 Church. [[Strikethrough]] The schools which I did inspect are the following[ [/strikethrough]] I examined [[strikethrough]] inspected [[/inspected]] five schools, as I report on each separately:-

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 community 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 accompanyments.

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. [[strikethrough]]?[[/strikethrough]] I am satisfied that this school is the best that I have thus far visited. The agent, who has better opportunites 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 Governmnet: [[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 expensive. There appeared to be a sufficiency of it. The sanitary condition 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 recommend 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]]

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 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 advanced 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 importance 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] 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. [[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.[[strikethrough]] The school is full to over[[/strikethrough]]

The agent [[strikethrough]]explained[[/strikethrough]] stated to me that 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 principal 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 satisfactory 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 introduced Murphy's Elementary History of the United States, Balto : 1887, as a text book. [[strikethrough]] for the higher class[[/strikethrough]]

The furniture of the school is very plain but sufficiently good, so far as I was able to judge. [[strikethrough]]The blackboard in the class room are outright insufficient, 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 [[/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 crowded at meal time [[/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 modern 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 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 feasable 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 [[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 of 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 United 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. Josephine 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 far 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 children of her own, and I judge that she can do but little for the school except to supervise 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 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 estimates had been allowed and the school would soon be well supplied. 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 Industrial boarding school be furnished. 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 the 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