SILETZ INDUSTRIAL BOARDING SCHOOL,
Siletz Agency, Oreg., August 28, 1895.
SIR: I have the honor to submit my first annual report of the Siletz industrial boarding school for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1895.
I took charge of the school on the 18th of last September and found an insufficient number of employees, who were putting forth every effort, doing double and sometimes triple work to maintain anything like order and discipine.
The total enrollment for the year was 9541 girls and 54 boys. The greatest number in attendance at any one time was 92. The attendance for the year by quarters was as follows: First quarter, 81; second quarter, 88; third quarter, 91; fourth quarter, 89.
Schoolroom work.From the beginning of the school, on the first day of this year, up to the 1st of March there were many changes in teachers, and anyone who is acquainted with school work understands the result of frequent changes in instructors; but from that time on to the close of the school excellent work was done in the schoolroom. The progress was equal to that of white schools in similar grades. The pupils were placed as nearly as possible in the grade in which she or he belonged. Promotions were carefully and judiciously made, with an "eye single" to the best interest of the pupil and school. Text-books were used as closely as possible according to the course of study as laid down by the Superintendent of Indian schools.
The school was divided into six grades, Miss Emma Miller having the three in the primary room and Mr. B. Stillwell having charge of the three in the advanced room. In due regard for Professor Stillwell, I must say that he is an able instructor and an excellent disciplinarian.
The children, one and all, use the English language; in fact, there are a great many who can not speak a word of their mother tongue. I did not at any time hear a word of Indian language spoken during the school year, and it is a fact to be commended that not once was there an occasion to use or to hear that old-time and oft repeated command, "Stop talking Indian," that is often used in so many Indian schools by the employees.
Industrial work.Details were not made at stated times, but at irregular intervals; that was thought to be to the best interest of the school. As a rule, these boys and girls are willing workers, anxious to do and always delighted to show how well they can do their work.
The girls were taught to sew, darn, patch, knit, and quite a number can with a high degree of exactness cut, fit, and make their own dresses or other garments from start to finish without any assistance from the seamstress. They also cut and made pants for the little boys, and so apt are they that they can make all kinds of garments equally as well as their white sisters, who have better advantages.
Last year the boys, under the supervision of the industrial teacher, tended and raised an abundance of pease, beans, cabbage, carrots, turnips and potatoes. They produced enough potatoes to last the school the entire year, and the prospect for another good crop of vegetables is very flattering. Besides doing the farm and garden work and the necessary chores about the school, the boys were regularly detailed to do laundry work, to make beds, and keep their dormitories in good order.
During the latter part of the year 15 cows furnished an ample supply of milk and butter, and through the vacation four boys remained at the boarding hall to milk the cows and churn the butter, which was packed away for the school for next winter.
The girls are so proficient in caring for the milk and in the laundry, kitchen, and dining-room work and the keeping of their dormitories in order, and in fact in housework in general, especially the older girls, that they need but very little instruction other than would be given to ordinary girls.
The buildings are in very good repair and are being treated to a coat of paint both inside and outside. I am also glad that the sewerage is being overhauled during the vacation and water-closets placed in the dormitories and the stairways for fire escapes put up, as recommended by Supervisor Rakestraw.
The health of the school up to the month of April was unusually good, but at about that time several children were confined to the hospital, and so on up to the close of the school there were from two to four in the hospital all the time. And, notwithstanding the good nursing by Mrs. Newlen and the closest attention and efficient medical aid by the good Dr. Hardin, in April a little girl succumbed to the dreaded disease of consumption, and later on, in June, two boys who had been sent home sick died, and also a little girl, since the closing of the school, died on the 4th of July.
Before leaving this subject I want to thank the parents of the children and the other kind friends and yourself, in behalf of the employees and for myself, for the great manifestation of kindness and assistance given in times of sickness and death. And I also want to say that at no time, day or night, was there a single employee but who was willing to do even more than her or his part to assist in caring for the sick.
The visit of Supervisor Rakestraw and his counsel with the Indians last January, followed by a visit by Inspector McCormick, who was "alle samee like Rakestraw," had a wonderful influence on the older as well as the younger Indians, and one that resulted in much good for the school and agency in general. Come again, gentlemen.
Religious services.A union Sunday school was maintained in which most of the employees took part, and was regularly attended every Sunday by all the children. The superintendent is a native, and the exercises were something like any ordinary Sunday school.
Rev. Mr. Potter, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, preached every third Sunday in the morning, and then in the evening and on the Sundays between Mr. Potter's time of preaching services were conducted either by U. S. Grant or John Adams, both natives and ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Rev. Father Bucor frequently visited, preached, and administered to the spiritual wants of the Catholic portion of the Indians on the reservation.
In conclusion I want to thank you and your clerk, Mr. James Gaither, for your willing and ever-ready support and encouragement given at all times for order and discipline; also the employees for their aid in the management of the school. And, last, I wish to say that much of the success of the school was due to the encouragement and commendations received at your office from the Indian Office at Washington.
G.W. MYERS, Superintendent.
United States Indian Agent.