Haskell Institute, located at Lawrence, is one of the industrial or trade schools maintained by the United States government for the education of Indian girls and boys. The institute was founded in 1882 through the efforts of Dudley C. Haskell, then a member of Congress. The citizens of Lawrence donated 280 acres of land lying south of the city for a site and Congress appropriated $50,000 for the erection of buildings. Work on the buildings was at once started and the school was formally opened in 1884 under the supervision of Dr. James Marvin with 17 pupils enrolled. The growth of the institute has been steady, and the original farm has been added to until it now contains nearly 1,000 acres under careful cultivation. New buildings have also been added to the place until now there are nearly fifty. Most of the buildings are of stone, only three being constructed of brick. They are lighted by electricity, heated by steam and furnished with sanitary conveniences. Among them are three dormitories, one for girls and two for boys, a domestic science and art building, fine modern hospital, employees' quarters, several shop buildings, warehouse, cottages, dairy barn, horse barn, etc.
No pupil is received at Haskell who is under fourteen years of age. The law provides that "A child showing one-sixteenth or less Indian blood, whose parents live on an Indian reservation, Indian fashion, who, if debarred from the government schools, could not obtain an education, may be permitted in the reservation day and boarding schools, but it is preferable that it be not transferred to a non-reservation day and boarding school, without special permission from the office. Children showing one-eighth or less Indian blood, whose parents do not live on a reservation, whose home is among white people where there are churches and schools, who are to all intents and purposes white people, are debarred from enrollment in the government non-reservation schools."
When a pupil has been enrolled in a non-reservation school "it can not be taken to another no-nreservation school without the consent of both superintendents and the commissioner of Indian affairs," and the superintendent of every Indian school is accountable for every pupil enrolled under his charge. Another law provides "that no Indian child shall be sent from an Indian reservation to a school beyond the state or territory in which the said reservation is situated without the voluntary consent of the father and mother of such child, if either of them be living, and if neither of them are living, without the voluntary consent of the next kin."
When an Indian boy or girl is over eighteen years of age, he or she may personally sign an application to be enrolled in one of the Indian schools, but even in this case the parents are consulted. In 1911 there were 836 pupils enrolled at Haskell Institute, but the average enrollment is about 700. Of the 836 Indians enrolled 524 were boys and 312 girls. Nearly 700 were half Indian blood, or more, and 426 of the number were full blooded Indians.
A library with all books required for reference is maintained in the school building. In connection with it is a reading-room, with a good supply of periodicals and newspapers where the students may pass the time. Nearly 60 different tribes of all sections of the country are represented at Haskell, and this naturally gives rise to a diversity of religious services. People are encouraged to maintain their own church relations under the guidance of that particular denomination. Proselyting is prohibited and change of religion by minors is not allowed without the consent of parents or guardian. The only religious service at the school is an undenominational Sunday school, a service held in the chapel, the Catholics and Protestants meeting separately. Early Sunday morning service is held by the Catholic priest from the Lawrence parish and on Sunday evenings the different religious societies hold their meetings.
In 1911 there were 8 literary societies and a debating club, which included in their membership practically every pupil in the school. These societies meet on the first and third Friday evenings of each month from October to April. Each society is governed by officers of its own choice and election from among its members. In the more advanced societies, the rules governing public assemblies are taught and followed, a teacher being present, as critic, at each meeting.
The literary department of Haskell carries the pupil through the work covered in the eight grades of the public schools of the country and no higher course is given or required except in the business department. Any pupil desiring to go farther is encouraged to attend the high school in Lawrence and there have been cases where the student lived at the institute and did so, or even attended the state university. The academic course includes arithmetic, geography, language, reading, history, writing, spelling and physiology. Industrial education is given special attention.
The school also has a commercial course of three years, planned to fit the pupils to become accountants, clerks, stenographers and all round practical business men. The course is thoroughly practical and business transactions are actually carried on by the pupils. When a student leaves Haskell it is the aim of the institution to have him well equipped for the everyday life of an average American citizenself-supporting and self-respecting.Pages 828-830 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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