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Ethnography Site / Dakota Nakota
Lakota / Education
for Indian Schools, 1890
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, "Rules for Indian Schools;"
Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1890
(Washington, D C, 1890), cxivi, ci-clii.)
The Sabbath must be properly observed. There shall
be a Sabbath school or some other suitable service
every Sunday, which pupils shall be required to attend.
The superintendent may require employees to attend
and participate in all the above exercises; but any
employee declining as a matter of conscience shall
be excused from attending and participating in any
or all religious exercises
All instruction must be in the English language. Pupils
must be compelled to converse with each other in English,
and should be properly rebuked or punished for persistent
violation of this rule. Every effort should be made
to encourage them to abandon their tribal language.
To facilitate this work it is essential that all school
employees be able to speak English fluently, and that
they speak English exclusively to the pupils, and
also to each other in the presence of pupils.
Instruction in music must be given at all schools.
Singing should be a part of the exercises of each
school session, and wherever practicable instruction
in instrumental music should be given.
Except in cases of emergency, pupils shall not be
removed from school either by their parents or others,
nor shall they be transferred from a Government to
a private school without special authority from the
The school buildings should be furnished throughout
with plain, in- expensive, but substantial furniture.
Dormitories or lavatories should be so supplied with
necessary toilet articles, such as soap, towels, mirrors,
combs, hair, shoe, nail, and tooth brushes, and wisp
brooms, as to enable the pupils to form exact habits
of personal neatness.
Good and healthful provisions must be supplied in
abundance; and they must be well cooked and properly
placed on the table. A regular bill of fare for each
day of the week should be prepared and followed. Meals
must be served regularly and neatly. Pains should
be taken not only to have the food healthful and the
table attractive, but to have the bill of fare varied.
The school farm and dairy should furnish an ample
supply of vegetables, fruits, milk, butter, cottage
cheese, curds, eggs, and poultry. Coffee and tea should
be furnished sparingly; milk is preferable to either,
and children can be taught to use it. Pupils must
be required to attend meals promptly after proper
attention to toilet, and at least one employee must
be in the dining room during each meal to supervise
the table manners of the pupils and to see that all
leave the table at the same time and in good order
So far as practicable, a uniform style of clothing
for the school should be adopted. Two plain, substantial
suits, with extra pair of trousers for each boy, and
three neat, well-made dresses for each girl, if kept
mended, ought to suffice for week-day wear for one
year. For Sunday wear each pupil should be furnished
a better suit. The pupils should also be sup- plied
with underwear adapted to the climate, with night
clothes, and with handkerchiefs, and, if the climate
requires it, with overcoats and cloaks and with overshoes.
The buildings, outhouses, fences, and walks should
at all times be kept in thorough repair. Where practicable,
the grounds should be ornamented- with trees, grass,
There should be a flag staff at every school, and
the American flag should be hoisted, in suitable weather,
in the morning and lowered at sun- set daily.
Special hours should be allotted for recreation. Provision
should be made for outdoor sports, and the pupils
should be encouraged in daily healthful exercise under
the eye of a school employee; simple games should
also be devised for indoor amusement. They should
be taught the sports and games enjoyed by white youth,
such as baseball, hopscotch, croquet, marbles, bean
bags, dominoes, checkers, logomachy, and other word
and letter games, and the use of dissected maps, etc.
The girls should be instructed in simple fancy work,
knitting, netting, crocheting, different kinds of
embroidery , etc.
Separate play grounds, as well as sitting rooms, must
be assigned the boys and the girls. In play and in
work, as far as possible, and in all places except
the school room and at meals, they must be kept entirely
apart. It should be so arranged, however, that at
stated times, under suitable supervision, they may
enjoy each other's society; and such occasions should
be used to teach them to show each other due respect
and consideration, to behave without restraint, but
without familiarity , and to acquire habits of politeness,
refinement, and self-possession.
Corporal punishment must be resorted to only in cases
of grave violations of rules, and in no instances
shall any person inflict it except under the direction
of the superintendent to whom all serious questions
of discipline must be referred.* Employees may correct
pupils for slight misdemeanours only.
Any pupil twelve years of age or over, guilty of persistently
using profane or obscene language; of lewd conduct;
stubborn insubordination; lying; fighting; wanton
destruction of property; theft; or similar misbehaviour,
may be punished by the superintendent either by inflicting
corporal punishment or imprisonment in the guardhouse;
but in no case shall any unusual or cruel or degrading
punishment be permitted. ...
A regular and efficient system of industrial training
must be a part of the work of each school. At least
half of the time of each boy and girl should be devoted
thereto -- the work to be of such character that they
may be able to apply the knowledge and experience
gained, in the locality where they may be expected
to reside after leaving school. In pushing forward
the school room training of these boys and girls,
teachers, and especially superintendents, must not
lose sight of the great necessity for fitting their
charges for the everyday life of their after years.
A farm and garden, if practicable an orchard also,
must be connected with each school, and especial attention
must be given to instruction in farming, gardening,
dairying, and fruit growing.
Every school should have horses, cattle, swine, and
poultry, and when practicable, sheep and bees, which
the pupils should be taught to care for properly.
The boys should look after the stock and milk the
cows, and the girls should see to the poultry and
The farm, garden, stock, dairy, kitchen, and shops
should be so managed as to make the school as nearly
self-sustaining as practicable, not only because Government
resources should be as wisely and carefully utilised
as private resources would be, but also because thrift
and economy are among the most valuable lessons which
can be taught Indians. Waste in any department must
not be tolerated.
The blacksmith, wheelwright, carpenter, shoemaker,
and harness maker trades, being of the most general
application, should be taught to a few pupils at every
school. Where such mechanics are not provided for[,J
the school pupils should, so far as practicable, receive
instruction from the agency mechanics.
The girls must be systematically trained in every
branch of housekeeping and in dairy work; be taught
to cut, make, and mend garments for both men and women;
and also be taught to nurse and care for the sick.
They must be regularly detailed to assist the cook
in preparing the food and the Laundress in washing
Special effort must be made to instruct Indian youth
in the use and care of tools and implements. They
must learn to keep them in order, protect them properly,
and use them carefully.
*In some of the more advanced schools
it will be practicable and advisable to have material
offences arbitrated by a school court composed of the
advanced students, with school employees added to such
court in very aggravated cases. After due investigation,
the amount of guilt should be determined and the quantity
of punishment fixed by the court, but the approval of
the superintendent shall be necessary before the punishment
is inflicted, and the superintendent may modify or remit
but may not increase the sentence.