In the Matter of Indians at Public Schools


Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington D. C.


      I have the honor to state that in accordance with instructions contained in Circular No. 1126, dated May 27, 1916, I wrote to the Superintendent of public schools of all the counties under my jurisdiction, advising them that the Government had made an appropriation to pay tuition of Indian children attending public schools in all cases where such children or their parents do not contribute to the payment of taxes toward the public school revenue and requested them to furnish me a report, giving the names and ages of all Indian children in their counties who were attending public schools and for whom tuition should be paid, for the reason above stated.

      Only three Superintendents replied to my request. One of these showed but one Indian child attending public school whose parents did not pay taxes. Another one showed that the Indian children who were attending public schools were only temporarily located in the district where they were working at a cannery. The other one reported two districts in the country where tuition should be paid for Indian children attending public schools.

      As soon as the blank applications were received I sent copies to each of these Superintendents with instructions as to how they should be filled out are returned. Two of these were never returned, but the Superintendent of Mason County returned the blank with one application for both districts, [the] application could not be used in the shape it was received. I then sent other blanks to the Clerks of the Boards of Trustees in these two districts. One of these was filled out, but the correspondence shows that the children who had been attend had left there and come to the Cushman School. In the meantime the Clerk of the Board of District No. 2, Mason, County, which is near the Skokomish Reservation, reported that the seven Indian children from the reservation who had been attending the public school had been dismissed. A copy of his letter dated November 27, 1916, is enclosed for your information. Later on I wrote to him for a full statement of the reasons for the dismissal of these children. A copy of his answer fated January 18, 1917, is enclosed for your consideration, but before this was received I sent him another application to be properly filled out. This was acknowledged in his letter of January 20, 1917, a copy of which is herewith enclosed.

From this correspondence you will see the prejudice that exists among the public schools against the attendance of Indian children, which makes it impracticable to obtain contracts for the attendance of Indian children in public schools.

On the application for public schools contract I find this statement, “Indian children, who under the laws of the state in which they live, are entitled to the privileges of the public school should not be included in the number of pupils asked for. Superintendents will specifically report to this Office all cases where such privilege is denied.”

I wish to invite attention to Section 1, of Article 9. Of the Constitution of the State of Washington which reads as follows: “It********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************e application blanks it seems to me that no contracts should be made for the payment of tuition for Indian children attending public schools.

I request specific instructions as to whether of not I shall make further efforts to have contracts entered into for the payment of tuition of Indian children.

Very respectfully,

                  Very respectfully,


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