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[Excerpt from Chapter V. Organization of the Federal Indian Work, pp.122-127]

Education. As will be repeated again and again throughout this report, practically all activities of the Indian Service should be educational in the broad sense. All employees in the Division of Planning and Development will be primarily concerned with Indian education, whether they are specialists in health, in economic advancement, in family and community life, in legal affairs, or in the more formal education given in schools. Under the present heading of education, however, will be considered only those positions concerned more directly with schools.

In the vitally important field of the school program, much planning and development is needed to meet changed conditions and to bring the Indian schools abreast of the schools in progressive white communities, to make them fit better into the general educational systems of the states in which they lie, and to bring about that greater diversity of educational practice and procedure called for by the great diversity in the advancement of the Indians in the different sections of the country and in the economic and social conditions which confront them. Fortunately in this field the national government already has in its service a considerable body of well-qualified specialists in the different branches of educational activity which will be involved, notably, in the Bureau of Education and the Federal Board for Vocational Education. Much can therefore be achieved through cooperative effort. It would seem as if the wisest procedure would be at the outset to secure for the Division of Planning and Development one permanent specialist in education, selected because of his breadth of knowledge of the general field and his contacts with the educational activities of the country. He should be able to advise with the Commissioner and with the administrative officers in charge of schools in planning projects and serve as the liaison officer to secure from other organizations—national, state, and private—the specialists needed for particular projects. Experience may demonstrate that some of these specialists brought in for temporary assignments are rendering such valuable aid that they will be retained for very considerable periods. In this connection it should be pointed out that colleges, universities, and educational systems are recognizing in an increasing degree the desirability of releasing their specialists for special service in projects of public importance. They recognize that they themselves profit in the long run from such a practice whatever may be the immediate inconvenience. Thus, the Indian Service will probably find that it can enlist for its work some of the very best men and women in the country, persons who will accept temporary appointments though they would not consider a permanent position.

Economic Development. Possibly the outstanding need of the Indian Service lies in the general field of economic development, because here the Service is, at present, at its weakest.

Abundant evidence indicates the extreme importance of agriculture. It is by far the dominant industry among the Indians. The economic resources of most of them are predominantly agricultural. Agriculture, in practically all its forms, means an outdoor life. The Indian by inheritance is, of course, an outdoor man; and even if this were not the fact, the data regarding his health would indicate the necessity of directing him toward outdoor work. It follows therefore that great attention should be given the subject of agricultural development.

Agricultural Economist. The first need of the Service with respect to agriculture is an agricultural economist who, with other members of the Division of Planning and Development and with the administrative officers, can make a real study of the agricultural possibilities of the several jurisdictions and formulate a more or less permanent educational agricultural program which will be fitted to the resources of each jurisdiction and will not be subject to change with changing superintendents.

Cattle and Sheep Specialists. Since much of the Indian land is fit only for grazing and since cattle raising and sheep raising are each specialties, there is need, at least for several years, for a well-qualified man in each of these two subjects. Sheep raising appears to offer exceptional opportunities.

Agricultural Demonstrator. Great improvement is needed in instructing Indians in agriculture and especially in furnishing them leadership and encouragement. The permanent staff should therefore include one man thoroughly posted on agricultural demonstration work, with wide acquaintanceship among the agricultural extension workers of the country, especially of the Middle West and the Far West. In this instance personality is important, for this official should be able to stimulate the local forces in the field and, more important, the Indians themselves. Several superintendents have demonstrated the possibility of rousing in the Indians pride in accomplishment. The person selected for this position should have this power to a marked degree.

Although other agricultural specialists would be needed from time to time in the temporary positions already described, it is believed that with these four positions created and ably filled, reasonably rapid progress could be expected in the formulating of well-considered plans and in getting them under way. Again attention should be called to the fact that the form of organization proposed would permit of utilizing the temporary services of specialists from the United States Department of Agriculture, from state departments, and from state agricultural colleges and experiment stations.

Vocational Guidance. Since not all Indians wish to be agriculturists and since not all reservations offer real opportunities for agricultural development, consideration must be given to getting Indians established in other industrial pursuits. Some movement to cities is already in evidence and more, rather than less, lies ahead. Intelligent planning and development in this field affords a real opportunity for constructive service, which will bear fruit in two ways. First, it will aid Indians in getting placed and adjusted, something which they very much need because of their lack of contact with urban industrial conditions, their lack of knowledge of these conditions and requirements, and their natural timidity when in direct contact with white competition. Second, the experience gained in these efforts will give real data for revising and developing the industrial training given in the Indian schools. It would hardly seem as if the Indian Service itself would have to develop an elaborate machinery for finding positions. For this branch of the work, it should establish connections with existing agencies—national, state, and local. It will, of course, require field employees on the reservations to make this work effective. The first need is for a thorough study and a well-developed plan. The person selected should be well-qualified for making contacts and preferably should have a fairly wide acquaintanceship with persons engaged in placement work.

Native Arts and Industries. The survey staff has been impressed by the possibilities of the development of native Indian art and its application as an enrichment to our industry. Already, possibilities in this direction have been demonstrated by private organizations and activities. The whole subject is considered more at length elsewhere, both from the economic standpoint (pages 531 to 533) and from the social and psychological (pages 645 to 651). It would seem that, encouraged and developed, it would not only add materially to the economic resources of the Indians, many of whom are in great need, but it would also furnish them the opportunity to make a distinctly Indian contribution to our civilization, which would appeal to their very proper racial pride. The possibilities are such that the national government could well afford for several years to retain at least one competent person, who with assistance from temporary specialists could go into the matter thoroughly and determine its possibilities.

Family and Community Life. The second broad field in which much remains to be done is in planning and developing well-rounded programs relating to family life, home conditions, and recreation. These subjects are closely interrelated with health, school, and economic efficiency. The conditions found by the survey and detailed recommendations with reference thereto are presented in detail in other sections of the report (see the chapter on Family and Community Life, especially pages 629 to 638, the chapter on Health, especially 259 to 274, and that on Education, especially, pages 348 to 351 and 399 to 402.) The purpose here is briefly to point out the positions in these fields which should be provided for in the Division of Planning and Development.

Public Health Nursing. Under the present administration, the Indian Service has recognized the need for well-trained public health nurses to visit the Indian homes, both to care for the sick and to give instructions in matters relating to health. It already has on its central staff a public health nurse whose duties are to develop this highly important activity. The beneficial results of this work are already apparent, although the Service has been handicapped by lack of funds for its rapid extension. The Division of Planning and Development should include at least one specialist in this field, so that as rapidly as possible the needs of the several jurisdictions for this important service may be determined and presented to Congress for appropriations. The necessity for the rapid development of this Service is so great as to warrant the recommendation that at least one well-equipped person be free to devote all her time to planning and development, relieved of all responsibilities for the routine of administration.

Home Demonstration Work. The Indian Service has long recognized in the field the need for what is known generally as home demonstration work, but the standards which it set for this activity, arrived at years ago when such activities were in their infancy, have been too low to be effective. It has recently made a noteworthy advance in connection with teaching domestic science and home making in the schools, through the employment for its central staff, of a person technically trained and experienced in domestic science and home making. It needs to apply the same principle in its work on the reservation. The first step in this direction should be securing for its Division of Planning and Development a person thoroughly trained and experienced in home demonstration work in rural communities so that it may have the benefit of the great body of knowledge and experience that has been accumulated in this field.

Social Service. The Service apparently has never had the advantage of the great body of knowledge and experience which has been accumulated through what, for lack of a better term, is called social work and which concerns itself with aiding handicapped families or individuals in adjusting themselves to their environment. The leading colleges and universities now give courses covering these fields and several special schools of high rank have been established to train persons in the principles involved and their application. Persons with this excellent training and with wide and successful practical experience are available. One such person should be on the central staff of the Indian Service so that it will have the benefit of this type of knowledge and be kept in contact with the organizations that are now rendering such service in white communities, both urban and rural. The need for work of this character in the Indian Service is striking, as will be apparent from reading the section of this report regarding family life (pages 547 to 661).

Law and Order. The Division of Planning and Development would be incomplete without one permanent man with excellent legal training. He should have, in addition, a broad social background, as many of the legal matters with which he will be concerned are distinctly social in their nature—marriage and divorce; the handling of petty offenders, juvenile and adult; the provision of legal aid for the poor and ignorant in cases which are petty from a national standpoint but vital to the individual Indian who is trying to get on his feet and finds himself victimized by his sharper neighbor. The questions of whether the Indians should be subject to state laws regarding marriage and divorce and crime, for example, cannot be answered by one uniform decision, applicable to the entire Indian country; they must be answered by detailed studies of particular jurisdictions with due regard to the social and economic conditions of the Indians and their geographical location or, in other words, their isolation. These subjects are, of course, discussed in detail in other sections of the report (pages 743 to 811). It is believed that they demonstrate clearly the need for a permanent position to be filled by a person competent to bring to their consideration specialized knowledge and wide experience and to establish contacts with organizations having special experience in these fields.

 

[Excerpt from Chapter VI. Personnel Administration, pp.156-159]

Indian Employees. Here a few words should be said regarding the policy of preferring Indians for appointment in the Indian Service. This policy is excellent provided the Indians possess the requisite qualifications, and every effort should be made to give them, or enable them to get, the training and experience essential. The policy is extremely unwise when it is given effect by lowering standards. Teaching positions in Indian schools are created for the purpose of educating Indian children. They exist for the Indian children and not to furnish teaching positions for Indian girls where training and experience would not enable them to qualify for the positions in other schools. Little evidence exists to indicate that the fact that they are Indians gives them any special advantage that offsets their lack of standard training and experience. They are probably neither much better nor much worse than any other teacher would be who had no more training, except insofar as they are limited by the narrowness of their background and experience in life. The object of the Indian Service should be to equip Indian girls to meet reasonably high standards so that they can get positions either in Indian schools or in nearly any public schools. If they can qualify under the same standards which are established for white teachers, then it is reasonable to give them preference in the Indian Service. They should not have a monopoly on Indian Service positions and be unable to qualify for positions outside.

When Indians fully qualified are secured, the same conditions of employment should be applied to them as are applied to white employees in the same or similar classes of positions. It is a serious mistake to countenance marked differences. For example, certain reasonably permanent Indian employees are not included under the retirement system. No deductions are made from their salaries to aid in the support of the retirement system and no benefits are available for them as they grow old or incapacitated. Because of this omission, some superintendents are placed in a distinctly embarrassing situation. One Indian has for many years been employed at a station remote from the agency. He is the only representative of the government there. He is said to have done excellent work in the past and apparently he is popular with the Indians in his vicinity. Advancing age is obviously impairing his efficiency. He gets about only with considerable difficulty and is forced more and more to require Indians to come to him instead of going to them. The superintendent feels the need for a younger man; but if this faithful Indian employee is dismissed, he will be turned out of the government quarters he has occupied as a home and will have little means of support. His Indian friends will be incensed, and without understanding all the minutiae of civil service status and the retirement system, will cite the case as showing discrimination against Indians. Under the same circumstances, the white employees would be given a retirement allowance. Why does the government slight the Indian?

At another jurisdiction the director of the survey was asked by a stately old Indian chief of police for an opportunity to present a personal matter. Arrangements were made for an evening meeting. The old man brought a carefully preserved file of papers consisting mainly of letters which had been written him by army officers and civilian superintendents commending him for specially meritorious service. Some of them dated back to his service as a scout for the government when troops were in the country, and others related to his work in aiding in rounding up a band of outlaws. He was conscious of the fact that he was old, perhaps too old, for a chief of police, and he wanted a pension. Several superintendents have done excellent work in aiding the old scouts who worked with the troops in establishing their rights to military pensions, but it is often hard to get the necessary evidence. This old chief of police ought to be entitled to a civil retirement benefit because of the length of his service as a civil employee.

In the matter of quarters, too, the effort should be made to prevent discrimination. Unquestionably, white employees, as a rule, have come from homes which are physically superior to those from which Indian employees have come, yet the Indians are quick to note the sometimes marked difference between the accommodations furnished white employees and those furnished Indian employees, especially if tribal funds are used in support of the agency. It is probably true that the Indians on the reservations visit more frequently and more intimately the homes of the Indian employees. It is therefore highly desirable that these houses be in a sense models, not elaborate or ornate, but examples of reasonable standards in housing, sanitation, and housekeeping. Several of the homes of Indian employees visited were, in fact, models insofar as the Indians could make them so with what the government supplied as a foundation. Most Indian employees would doubtless take care of what the government might supply in the way of improved accommodations. Those who did not could be "romped on," to borrow a pet expression from one superintendent who maintains standards on his reservation and at his boarding school by encouraging those who are doing good work and systematically "romping on" those who are slack.

Members of Family as Employees. The same principles regarding rigid qualifications should apply in hiring the husbands or the wives of Indian Service employees. If the wife of the doctor is a qualified trained nurse, it may be advisable to give her preference in appointment because of local housing conditions, but it is extremely unwise to make local housing conditions the deciding factor and to appoint a doctor's wife to perform the duties of a hospital nurse despite lack of training. It may be convenient to appoint the wife of the engineer to a position as girls' matron. The fact that both can be employed may help to offset the fact that each salary in itself is too low to maintain a family, but the wife may have none of the qualities really needed in the position of girls' matron. Illustrations might be multiplied almost indefinitely, but the principle is obvious. Each position must be filled by a person qualified to fill it; relationship to another employee, like Indian blood, is a matter of secondary concern.

 

[Excerpt from Chapter VII. Statistics and Records, pp.172-176]

Statistics of Economic Efficiency. To some persons the question of Indian health is the major one before the Indian Service. Others direct their main attention to the releasing of the Indian from wardship and giving to him the same status with respect to his property as is possessed by the legally competent white adult. Although some confusion exists regarding certain of the details, the assumption, broadly speaking, is that when the Indian is given this status, he passes from the jurisdiction of the national government and ceases to be one of its responsibilities. Decisions regarding declaring an Indian competent and giving him complete possession of his property are, therefore, among the most fundamental that the Indian Service is called upon to make.

Because of the fundamental nature of this decision, one would expect to find in a well-administered service, carefully kept and compiled records and statistics, the records to serve as a guide in passing upon individual cases and the statistics derived from them to serve as a means of studying and reviewing the effect of past policies and as a guide in formulating new ones. As these policies are perhaps generally written into statutory enactments, such data are especially necessary for the Congress and its committees and for those officers of the Washington office, who are very properly looked to by Congress for formulating specific recommendations for legislation.

Possibly the best criterion for determining the competency of an Indian for release from wardship would be a reasonably accurate record of his accomplishments in those fields which are indicative of competency. What have been his means of livelihood in the past? What has he earned each year in these fields by his own efforts? To what extent has he depended for his own support and for that of his family upon unearned income, such as rent from leased land, distribution of tribal funds, the sale of surplus lands, and other such sources upon which so many Indians are largely dependent for their existence? What ability has he demonstrated to improve and develop his property? What advance has he made in his standard of living and in family life? What is the condition of his health? What is his mental equipment as evidenced by his education and his practical success? To what extent do his family support his efforts? What capabilities has his wife demonstrated? The answers to such questions and others like them should not be based on the opinion of the present superintendent or the farmer who happens to be in charge at the time an Indian applies for his fee patent or a certificate of competency. They should be recorded regularly and systematically as a part of the system, to serve as a guide to the local staff in directing its work in behalf of the Indian while he continues under wardship and as an index largely to govern in that supreme decision, made when he is declared competent. They would indicate what Indians are really eligible for consideration for competency. They would operate as a barrier for the Indian who, although economically incompetent, is exerting every possible effort to be declared so for the purpose of getting the power to sell his property so that he may for a brief period live riotously on the proceeds. They would make more difficult the task of the white man who seeks to have the Indian declared competent so that the white man may get possession of the Indian's wealth at a fraction of its value. They would bring to sharp attention the wise, thrifty, astutely competent Indian who values highly his status of incompetency because it saves him from taxes and frees him from the economic dangers faced by his tax-paying neighbors.

The Indian Service at present lacks these records, gathered regularly and systematically as a part of the day's work. At times a so-called survey or census is undertaken, which gets a picture of conditions as they are at the time, but these data rapidly get out of date and give little basis for watching progress and directing activities. The best records, apparently, are those made by progressive superintendents, who are themselves actively working with their Indians, encouraging them in economic activities and improving their social conditions, and who find that they need records for the direction and control of their own work. These superintendents, however, are the ones who least need supervision and prodding from the Washington office. That office greatly needs accurate and reliable data such as these, so that it may reward those officers who are doing really constructive work and prod or remove those who are content to let things drift along. It should not be dependent on what data the superintendent turns in, but should itself prescribe the information to be reported and the methods to be followed in its preparation and should submit it to such checks and verifications as may be necessary to secure its substantial accuracy.

Data Regarding Indians Declared Competent. Data regarding the Indians who have been declared competent are extremely meager, although such facts are probably the best basis for test of the success or failure of fundamental policies and their application. One would expect to find readily available data showing what proportion of the Indians who have been given fee patents have retained possession of their property in whole or in part and, if in part only, to what extent. Likewise, one would expect some considerable body of facts relating to what has happened to those Indians who were given fee patents and lost their lands. Have they, in fact, demonstrated their capacity by making their way despite the loss of their property, or are they living on their relatives or squatting on land belonging to others and living under conditions not as good as those of the Indian never declared competent? What has been the history of Indians who have gone to the cities from the reservations or the Indian schools and attempted to make their way in white communities? To what extent is it wise to foster such a movement?

The facts to permit of answers to these basic questions are not available. At the instance of the present survey, the Indian Office requested the superintendents to prepare certain very limited data as to the number of Indians who have received fee patents since the passage of the Burke Act and the number of these who still retain their property. Several superintendents said that the fee patentees were beyond their responsibility, as in law they are, and that it would require more time and expense than they could put upon it to determine accurately who had and who had not sold their lands. Data regarded as reasonably accurate were received with respect to 13,872 Indians who had received fee patents between 1906 and 1925, of whom 2859 or 20.6 percent still retain some or all of their land. No information was secured as to how much they retained or whether it was unencumbered or mortgaged.

If these figures may be regarded as typical, then four-fifths of all the Indians specially selected for their competency have not retained their property. It does not necessarily follow that they have all failed to stand upon their own feet and that they are all still in need of educational and developmental assistance from the national or the local government if they are to be adjusted to our civilization, but these figures clearly demonstrate the need for the actual facts on the subject. For a superintendent or for the government to take the position that these fee patent Indians, officially declared competent, are of no concern to the nation, is entirely to misinterpret the problem of the government and to substitute an artificial legalistic criterion for the real tests of social and economic facts. The responsibility of the government is to bring the Indians to the point where they are fitted to be independent, reasonably competent citizens. If the government through its officers has declared them so to be when in truth they were not, the social and economic problem remains, regardless of the legalistic status of those Indians.

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