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The education policies for American Indian children in the early history of America was developed first by the efforts of the missionaries who wanted to christianize American Indian people and they planned to do this through the education programs of their various missions. After the missionaries established schools and set education patterns than the federal government also began school systems for American Indian children. The federal government used the various treaties as a base to establish schools and developed requisitions and various policies as time went on. It will be pointed out that this system was followed at the Santee Sioux Reservation.

The Santee Sioux Reservation establishment took place from 1866 to 1869. Prior to white contact this particular band of Santee was made up of a group called Mdewaukanton who lived in the area today called Minnesota. The largest known group of these people is the Dakota Nation. The smallest group is the called the Isanyanti which is a Dakota word that translates loosely "knife people dwellers" and are made up of the following: Mdwaukanton(Spirit Lake Dwellers), Cessation (Fisher's Camp), Wahpeton (Leaf Dwellers), and the Wakpekute (Shoot the Leaf).

After the Dakota War of 1862, many of these people were displaced. They either punished by hanging, condemned to prisons in Davenport, Iowa or forcibly removed from their home territory. Many of the Mdewaukton were sent to central territory to a place known today as Crow Creek Reservation.

Through the help of missionaries, the prisoners of war were released and transferred by steamboat to the Niobrara area in North Central Nebraska. Women and children accompanied these prisoners. The river route they were transported was down the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri and then up the Missouri River to Niobrara.

This group of mainly Mdewaukanton was first moved just east of the present site of the town of Niobrara, Nebraska. Then they were moved to Bazile Creek and later to the present site of Santee. The decisions for the establishment of the Santee Reservation was the result of several treaties, the last one being the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty which provided the foundation for most of the following legislation that affected the Santee Sioux.

The Act of Divide the Great Sioux Reservation determined the boundaries of the Santee Reservation, the land purchased by the Santee Normal Training School and the land allotments for tribal members. "To each head of a family, on quarter of a section; to each single person over eighteen years, one eighth of a section, to each orphan child under eighteen years; one eighth of a section; to each other person under eighteen years of age now living, one sixteenth of a section.

The establishment of the Santee Sioux Reservation was finalized in the summer of 1869, when the boundaries were determined. The original tract of land was twelve miles from east to west and averaged about fifteen miles from north to south; encompassing 15,075.92 acres. It included some good agricultural land in the southern and eastern parts but the majority was grazing land.

Now that the Santee Sioux Reservation was formed the missionaries had ideas to christianize and educate the Dakota people of the Santee Sioux Tribe. This was the godly duty of the missionaries. For example, churches were built during this period and some are still in use today; such as the Episcopal Church at Santee which is 124 years old This christianizing went hand and hand with the actual classroom education plans of the missionaries.

The main person who wanted to form a school for the purpose to educate Native people to become missionaries to their own people was the Reverend Alfred Langley Riggs. D.D. Only one year after the Santee Sioux Reservation establishment was final, Riggs founded the Santee Normal Training School in 1870 as an academy for the training of Native teachers. They had an enrollment of 111 students from the immediate area. Other began to come from other Dakota (Sioux) communities. This school was still in operation in 1933. Although the purpose was to have a denominational school, the various government agencies pressured for a government manual training school which was formed later, and was separate from the Santee Normal Training School.

The important policy of the Santee Normal Training School was the instruction in the Dakota language, especially in the teaching of theology. Riggs was strongly convinced of the importance of teaching in the Dakota language. As an educator and linguist, he understood that the thought and philosophy was closely tied to the spoken Dakota words, The world view of the Dakota people was also reflected in the Dakota language.

The government agencies were strongly opposed to the use of the Dakota language in the classroom instruction at the Santee Normal School but gave aid for those students who were not from Santee. The government helped by giving them food rations. Then Riggs had asked the government to subsidize the tuition payments of the students which they agreed to do. This aid increased from $12,271.00 in 1883 to over $12,00 annually in 1893.

The agents continued to pressure Riggs to discontinue teaching in the Dakota language or they would withdraw their financial support. Riggs argued that the use of the Dakota language was "Indispensable to best instruction." Things, not names are what the true teacher must grasp." Government agent Janney said, "So long as they were educated in their native tongue they were still Indian. And, as everyone knew, the primary aim of our Indian policy was to transform Indians into white men." The theological classes had to be suspended as this course was held almost entirely in the Dakota language. The training if the interpreters had to be terminated too; as the government commissioners ordered.

In spite of Riggs arguments for teaching in the native language, the government agents would not relent and eventually government aid to the school was stopped altogether in 1893.

In 1871 the Santee Normal Training School had developed a printing press and printed many materials in the Dakota language. Therefore, this school had perhaps inadvertently helped keep the Dakota language preserved by the printed words. Many words were translations from English and into the Dakota language; the many commonly used works were the Bible, hymnals and other religious writings. These books are still used in some families today. Older people still read from this particular Bible written in the Dakota language are still being used. This helps them hear the Dakota language in a slower rhythm and helps them learn the language.

In summary, the use, the printing and the preservation of the Dakota language was accomplished by the missionaries. While the United States Government wanted to rid the country of American Indians through its policies, and wanted to rid the Dakota people of their own language. It never occurred to them that one could learn many languages that builds the intellect. One example of this is a former student of the Santee Normal School, Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman who started school not knowing the English language and was able to learn English and compete successfully at Dartmouth College and later at the Boston University, where he received a medical degree. This demonstrates that one can be grounded in the Dakota language and still succeed academically. Therefore, the Dakota language does not have to be eradicated in order to educate the Dakota child. The United States government policy to erase the Dakota language in schools has been proven wrong long ago.

Santee Normal Training School Education Policies


Bernice Blakney

Graduates--IHUNIPE KIN.



Arthur T. Tibbs........Pastor.......Cannon Ball, N.D.
Alice C. Conger-Keeler......Teacher......Greenwood, S.D.


Frank H. Peterson.....Died..........Union City, Wash.
Susan H. Wanmdisun-Bahr, Housekeeping........Santee, Neb.


Lucy L. Johnson-Wright....Died.........Yankton, S.D.


Samuel O. La Pointe......Real Estate.......Dixon, S.D.
Lily M. Williams-Traversie...Teacher.....Whitehorse, S.D.

class OF 1899

Stephen M. Jones......Y.M.C.A. Sec'y......Mitchell, S.D.


Etta R. Crawford.....Housekeeping......Good Will, S.D.
Mamie D. Elder......Died...............Elbowoods, N.D.
Kate H. Fruh-Tibbets.....Housekeeping.....Cannon Ball, N.D.


David P. Flyinghawk.....Farming.......Greenwood, S.D.
Fred Frazier.........Farming........Santee, Neb.
Jennie I. Conger......Died........Andrus, S.D.


Henry Roe Cloud......Student.........New Haven, Conn.


George T. Firecloud.......Missionary.......Harlem, Mont.
Howard E. Frazier......Carpenter.........Santee, Neb.


George Cole........Farming........Pierre, S.D.
Mary L. Cote.......Died.........Andrus, S.D.
Grace O. Eastman.......Teacher......Okmulgee, Okla.
Alice T. Frazier........Teacher.........Pine Ridge, S.D.
Jessie H. Frazier.......Housekeeping........Santee, Neb.
Lucy H. Kitto-Campbell.....Housekeeping...Santee, Neb.


Bear, Samson.......Hotelkeeper......Santee, Neb.
Lonedog, Charles......Farming......Pine Ridge, S.D.
Frazier, Harriet......Housekeeping.....Naper, Neb.
Frazier, Margaret H..........Housekeeping......Santee,Neb.


Mitchell, Albert C.........Farming.......Elbowoods, N.D.
Rouillard, Levi M........Missionary Assis't.....Rosebud, S.D.


Baker, Louis.......Farming.......Elbowoods, N.D.
Eagle, James......Interpreter.......Bismark, N.D.
Williams, Luther A.....Ranching..........Whitehorse, S.D.
Rouillard, Harriet.......Housekeeping.....Rosebud, S.D.


In the early years of this school we paid all of the expenses of the pupils traveling and clothing and board because there was no other way to do. The Indians had not come to understand the value of the best schooling. But now the Indian people have come to be citizens and Christians they value education and especially the knowledge of the Bible. So they are anxious to do as far as they are able what other free and independent citizens do, and contribute more every year towards the support of their children in this school.

Each pupil now pays his own traveling expenses and clothing. The older pupils are expected to work ten hours each week in part payment of their board. For the rest of their work time they receive wages according to the value of their work.

At the beginning of the school year the parents should deposit with the Principal some money for purchasing new clothing. A deposit is also made by new pupils for use of school uniform. Pupils who have a long way to come and who are exceptionally poor may receive some aid through kindness of Christian friends.

Santee Normal Training School woonspe tipi en tona yakonpi kin tobanyan okihipi hehanyan heyake on iye oieiyapi. Wayawa hipi kin otoiyohi mazaska onge yuha hipi, qa A.L. Riggs itancan kin awanyakekiyapi kinhan, tohan heyake einpi kinhan takudan ieagi sniyan yuhapi kta.

Qa nakun den wayawa unpi hin tohanyan tanyan htanipi kin on wieunkieajujupi. Oape wanji mazasa wanji qa salidogan hehanyan. Tuwe tanyan htani kin wokajuju wankanwapa icu ecee, qa tuwe tanyan econ sni kinhan hukuya eyaku. Koska wanji wi wanji en wokanjuju tonana ikiciyawapi kin he tokata wi kin en saupa tanyan skan kinhan wokajuju wankanwapa ieu kta. Token tanyan skan qais sicaya skan kinhan hena owasin unkieiya wapi. Wayawa unpi mazaska kamnapi hena on heyake qais wowapi ou opetonpi kta ou awanwicunkiciyakapi.

Nakun wayawa unpi kin anpetu wakan waji htanipi etanhan oape wikeemna taku kamuapi hena wotapi kin on hdajujupi. Tu we anpetu wakan wanji en oape wikcemna nom htani kinhan he etanhan hanke, eape wikcemna, wote kin on hdajuju. Qa oape wikeemna iyaye ein heua mazaska on wicunkicajujupi. De eciyatanhan wayawa unpi kin wsakayedan wotapi kin hdajujupi. Koska wanji oape wanji mazasa zaptan ieu kinhan he anpetu wakan wanji wote kin on kaspapi zaptan hdajuju. Tuka koska wtapi kin anpetu wakan wanji mazaska wanji sam okise, $1.50,yusota ece. Hecen tonana hdajuju esta he nakun waste. Dakota oyate en taku hdajujupi kte ein he woonspe tanka wanji ee. Qa de hecen econpi kta onspewwieukiyapi kta iyecetu. Tohan ikeewiesta taku sanpa hdajujupi kinhan sanpa woonspe wastete yuhapi kte.





"The whites were always trying to make the Indians give up their way of life and live like white men--go to farming, work hard and do as they did and if the Indians had tried to make the whites live like them, the whites would have resisted, and it was the same way with many Indians."


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