By Jon Reyhner, Jeanne Eder
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Additional resources for American Indian Education: A History
Pagan superstition could not . . suffice to make the Indians practice the virtues of our civilization and avoid its attendant vices. Several people have desired us to countenance the dances of the Indians and to observe their festivals; but their habits, being the result of free and easy mode of life, cannot conform to the intense struggle for life which our social conditions require. (Quoted in Milloy 1999, 36–37) Indians in Canada did not benefit from the loosening up of assimilationist efforts that occurred in the United States in the 1930s (see chap.
Hartley Crawford, formalized development of manual labor schools to educate Indian children in farming and homemaking (ARCIA 1838). Crawford even took four Indian boys into his home. In 1842 Crawford stated that “the greatest good we can bestow upon” Indians “is education, in its broadest sense—education in letters; education in labor and the mechanic arts; education in morals; education in Christianity” (ARCIA 1842, 379). His successor, Commissioner William Medill, reported in 1845 that the Choctaw were supporting twenty-eight neighborhood schools with treaty funds.
In 1861 there were 147 Indian schools, and ten years later, near the end of the treaty period, 286 with 6,061 students. Almost half those schools were in the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek Nations in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. The difficulty of convincing parents to send their children to schools can be seen in the 1857 Pawnee treaty that stipulated that parents who refused to send their children to school regularly would have money deducted from their annuities (Layman 1942).