US Indian School

Below is the descriptive introduction to Souvenir Views of U.S. Indian School, Quapaw Agency. Wyandotte, Indian Territory. 1904. Published by the United States Government, Souvenir Views was a 12 page propaganda brochure showing various activities of the school’s attending children through photographic depiction.

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In the northeastern portion of the Indian Territory, known as the Quapaw Agency, situated on a hill north of the little town of Wyandotte, and overlooking beautiful Lost Creek valley, through which the ‘Frisco System’s main line east and west passes, is the United States Indian School for the benefit of the Indian children of the several tribes, namely: Wyandot, Seneca, Eastern Shawnee, Ottawa, Modoc, Quapaw and United Peoria and Western Miami Indians, of the Agency. The reservations of these several tribes, aggregating about 212,298 acres, composed of wooded uplands, fertile valleys and prairies, well watered by numerous clear streams; a truly beautiful country, comprise the Quapaw Agency.

The School, locally known as “The Mission,” but more correctly designated as the U. S. Indian School, was first organized as a Mission School by the Friends’ Church in 1872, being supported by the Society of Friends for a time, when, the Indian Office, acting on the then established policy, made a contract school of it, continuing the management of the Friends until 1880, when the contract system was ended and it was established as an Industrial School, wholly supported and controlled by the Government. When the allotment of lands in severalty took place, 160 acres of land was reserved for school purposes, confirming the occupancy of land that had been set-aside for such purposes by the Wyandot tribe of Indians.

The school plant is a fairly well equipped institution with capacity for one hundred and thirty pupils. The school is, and has been from its beginning, well attended by the Indian children of school age within the Agency, many of whom, having finished the course here, have entered and continued their studies in some of the various non-reservation schools also supported by the Government. Quoting from the report of a Superintendent in charge of the school fourteen years ago: “The enrollment of the school was as large [two] years ago as the past year. It has always been well patronized by the Indians, and many of its graduates have won fine credit in other schools, and not a few have married and built comfortable, self-sustaining homes.”

Industrial training and work in the literary departments are given equal attention. The girls receive instruction in the various branches of Domestic Science and home making, while assisting in the Industrial Departments. A [portion of] the time of the boys is devoted to farming, gardening, care of stock, carpentry, and all of such training as will tend to equally develop [their mind] and hand and will enable them, we trust, to successfully cope with whatever life offers after school days are finished.

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The United States Indian School was first organized as a Mission School by the Friends’ Church (Quakers) in 1869, with classes officially beginning in 1872. It was administered by the Society of Friends until 1880 when the United States Government took it over and established it as an Industrial School for the benefit of the several Indian children of the Wyandotte, Seneca, Eastern Shawnee, Ottawa, Modoc, Quapaw, and United Peoria and Western Miami of the Quapaw Agency; however, by 1920 the school population was mostly Cherokee. The school resided on 160 acres until it was closed on June 15, 1980; henceforth, the land was promptly returned to the Wyandotte Nation On June 27, 1980.

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