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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Indians, North American

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INDIANS, NORTH AMERICAN (see 14.452[1]).—In the region N. of Mexico, to which this article is confined, the Indians are no longer warlike nor do they resist to any extent efforts for their civilization. The United States Government assumes that health, education and industry are essential to the Indian's self-support and citizenship. The settled policy is, therefore, to hasten his advancement in these particulars and meanwhile to protect his personal and property rights. Under the administration of the Bureau of Indian Affairs there are provided health supervisors, school and agency physicians, field matrons, nurses, travelling dentists and hospitals for all forms of disease, but with special reference to the care of infants and expectant mothers, and the treatment of tuberculosis and trachoma. For education, the Government conducts 184 day schools, 61 reservation and 29 non-reservation boarding schools with an attendance of over 25,000 pupils, and provides courses of study combining academic and industrial training adapted to Indian needs and temperament. The aim is to prepare girls to become good housewives and mothers in their home communities and to fit boys for practical farming, or to give them such elementary knowledge and practice in mechanics as will lead to skilled workmanship. At seven of the larger schools vocational training extends through the tenth grade and at one of them is a thorough commercial course. In 1920 these advanced schools enrolled 5,300 students; their graduates readily found remunerative employment in agriculture, the trades and business pursuits. In all Federal schools prominence is given to hygiene, to moral conduct, to religious culture and to the practice of thrift. State public schools in 1920 were accessible to and enrolled more than 30,000 Indian children. Over 5,000 are cared for in mission and private schools.

To promote reservation industries there were maintained, in 1920,

eight demonstration and four experimentation farms, and several hundred farmers, stockmen and assistants living near Indian communities were employed for purposes of oversight and instruction in modern methods of agriculture and the breeding and handling of live stock. Loans were made to energetic Indians from tribal or Government funds as initial capital for beginning their self-support. Special attention was given to the reclamation of arid and semi-arid Indian lands, resulting in the irrigation of about 350,000 ac., with nearly a million more under project. The annual increase in crop values was nearly equal to the cost of the investment. Tribal herds of sheep and cattle were maintained on a number of reservations with financial profit, but chiefly to encourage individual ownership and enterprise in live stock. The affairs of the Alaskan Indians were supervised by the U.S. Bureau of Education. Sixty-seven schools were conducted, with a field force of 6 superintendents, 9 physicians, 13 nurses and 133 teachers. Five hospitals were maintained and native girls were taught nursing. The work was carried on in 67 villages scattered along the coast and on the great rivers. Imperfect transportation and adverse climatic conditions rendered the service very difficult, but progress was substantial.

In Canada the Department of Indian Affairs has administrative charge of all Indians and Eskimos. There were in 1911 103,661 Indians and 4,600 Eskimos in Canada, a total of 108,261; in 1919 105,998 Indians and 3,296 Eskimos, a total of 109,294. The Spanish influenza affected the increase for 1920, and the approximate figures for that year were 105,800 Indians and 3,200 Eskimos, a total of 109,000. The Indians and Eskimos are located on reserves in different parts of the Dominion, and the Department of Indian Affairs directs through its 114 agencies the activities for their education and health, and the development of agriculture and other pursuits among them. The less civilized groups are stationary in population, but the more progressive show an appreciable gain in number and physical standards. The educational work comprises 247 day, 58 boarding and 16 industrial schools. The staff of an agency, which may control from one to 30 bands, usually includes, besides the agent, a medical officer, clerk, farm instructor, field matron, stockman, constable, etc., whose work is supervised by inspectors. The Indian population is chiefly W. of Lake Superior. In the vast region E. of the Rocky Mountains, where the aboriginal title was extinguished, the Government promised gifts in cash and lands and aid in education and agriculture. Food was supplied for a time, following the disappearance of the buffalo, but is now practically discontinued, as farming, stock-raising and, in the more remote districts, hunting and fishing furnish means of livelihood. In British Columbia no cession of the Indian title was sought or obtained, but adequate reserves have been set apart, many of which are suitable for stock-raising and to some extent farming and horticulture, and the same assistance in education and agriculture is given as in the Prairie provinces. In the older regions of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec the Indians are entering more and more into the life

of the country as farmers, artisans, teachers and lumbermen, with
some few as surveyors and physicians, and are increasingly becoming

citizens. Enfranchisement, however, which establishes full citizenship, is extended with great discretion, since, if prematurely conferred,

the Indians concerned cannot hold their own with white men.

Under the policies outlined the N. American Indians in the United States and the Dominion made unusual progress during the decade 1910-20. Their population at its close was greater than at any time in the preceding half-century. They depend less upon “medicine men” and more upon medical science and sanitation. As compared with earlier periods, they are giving more attention to permanent homes; are less nomadic and superstitious. Their women are better house-keepers, and infant mortality is decreasing. The day of paint and feathers and blanket garb is passing. Nearly two-thirds of their number wear citizens' clothing. The younger, school-trained element is creating a new leadership manifested in changing habits, customs, industrial pursuits and social life. Marriage by tribal custom giving way to legal rites, and crime is diminishing. In the United States approximately three-fourths of the Indian children suitable age and health are enrolled in some school, Federal, state or mission. There has been a steady increase in the number of Indians who speak, as well as of those who read and write, English, and a friendly Indian sentiment towards the schools generally prevails. Substantial advancement is noticeable in agricultural operations and stock-raising, the use of modern machinery and methods, in the large additions to individual funds, and the increasing citizenship through the acquirement of fee title to lands, as well as in the lively interest the Indians now show in exhibits of their industrial products at fairs, where they compete with one another and with the whites.

The acceptance by the Indians of the principles of government and civilization was proved by their conduct in the World War. In the United States the number of Indians in military service was more than 10,000, three-fourths of whom enlisted. In Canada the number exceeded 4,000, all volunteers, as they were exempted from the operation of the Military Service Act. The percentage of Indians of military age in the war was probably equal to that of the whites and their proportion of volunteers even greater. They were mingled almost entirely with white organizations and were highly commended by their officers for their intelligence, courage, discipline and efficiency. The Indians ineligible for war duty were equally patriotic. They were active in Red Cross and other relief work, and responded to emergency demands for all productive labour. In the United States they subscribed $25,000,000 for Liberty Bonds, and purchased upwards of $2,000,000 in War Savings Stamps.


Indians in the United States Exclusive of Alaska

Population and Citizenship.

1911 1920


 Population  322,715   336,337 
 Received allotments of land 164,215  175,433 
 Received patent in fee to land 76,033  119,800 
 Received trust patents to land  88,182  55,633 
 Citizens 179,830  184,968 


Educational and Vital Conditions.

1911 1920


 Children eligible for school 63,411  82,856 
 Children in Federal schools 23,647  25,396 
 Children in public schools (State) 11,000  30,858 
 Children in mission and private schools 4,750  5,546 
 Total children in all schools 39,397  61,800 
 Capacity of all schools 43,015  62,298 
 Could speak English  121,431   173,193 
 Could read and write English 79,843  126,331 
 Church-going Indians 104,529  146,176 
 Missionary workers among the Indians 472  627 
 Hospitals and sanatoria maintained 50  85 
 Capacity of hospitals and sanatoria 1,268  2,190 
 Patients treated 8,408  16,954 
 Given medical examination 42,645  67,053 
 Wearing citizens' clothing 238,410  296,841 
 Families living in permanent homes 46,379  64,195 
 Arrested for drunkenness 2,057  568 
 Deputies employed for liquor suppression  154  42 
 Marriages by tribal custom 606  237 
 Marriages by legal procedure 1,177  1,636 


Industrial Activities and Resources.

1911 1920


 Indians engaged in farming 24,489  49,962 
 Number of acres cultivated 383,025  890,700 
 Value of crops raised $1,951,752  $11,927,366 
 Irrigated acreage cultivated 454,485  607,044 
 Indians benefited by irrigation 27,145  37,030 
 Crops on irrigated lands $3,008,338  $15,773,349 
 Home buildings, furniture, and farm implements $10,029,184  $30,657,763 
 Individual funds in bank $10,735,723  $38,035,476 
 Value of live stock sold $900,000  $4,080,375 
 Value of all live stock $19,471,209  $35,158,731 
 Value of timber cut $1,398,166  $2,060,559 
 Income from land sales and individual leases $8,402,669  $11,686,726 
 Engaged in native industries 21,235  26,949 
 Employed by private parties 3,204  13,079 
 Employed in Indian Service (regular and irregular) 8,577  12,244 
 Value of products from native industries $847,456  $1,869,907 
 Earnings from private parties $591,672  $2,654,008 
 Earnings from Indian Service $1,269,958  $1,586,141 
 Income from minerals, chiefly oil, gas and coal $1,406,001  $23,838,382 
 Total value of individual and tribal property  $523,134,254   $751,725,329 
 Total income of Indians $21,092,923  $72,696,431 
 Total revenue to Indians from minerals for decade ended June 30 1920  $83,796,622 


Indians in Canada

Property Values.

1911 1920


 Land in reserves  $29,421,972.50   $51,535,245.00 
 Public buildings, prop. of bands 932,052.00  1,245,800.00 
 Private fencing, buildings, implements, etc.  5,412,035.35  8,103,160.00 
 Live stock and poultry 2,587,841.80  4,443,970.00 
 General and household effects 2,012,708.40  2,586,902.00 


 Total value of real and personal property  $40,366,610.05   $67,915,077.00 


Sources and Value of Income.

1911 1920


 Farm products, including hay $1,459,962.46  $3,462,147.00 
 Beef sold or used for food 236,753.36  450,415.00 
 Received from land rentals and timber 66,072.12  154,446.00 
 Wages earned 1,540,021.10  2,521,618.00 
 Earned by fishing, hunting and trapping 1,511,053.85  1,863,886.00 
 Earned from other industries 852,944.63  1,714,988.00 
 Annuities paid and interest in Indian Trust fund  (not reported)  621,341.85 


 Total  $5,666,807.52   $10,788,841.85 


 Average per capita value, real and personal property  $674.43 
 Average per capita income 107.13 


(C. Se.)

  1. These figures indicate the volume and page number of the previous article.