Recruitment Report from Rosebud and Pine Ridge Sioux Agency
Telegram from Richard Henry Pratt, in the Yankton Agency, to the commissioner of Indian Affairs informing him that 47 boys and 17 girls from Rosebud as well as 12 boys and 6 girls from Pine Ridge have been recruited. Pratt notes that these children will be escorted east to the Hampton Institute.
Henry Pratt wrote and sent this telegram to the commissioner of Indian Affairs. Focusing on the message and the language of the telegram, what was Pratt trying to communicate? R.H. Pratt emphasizes that many of the children of the Sioux chiefs were taken for the Hampton Institute. Why do you think that is the focus of the message? Who was Pratt trying to impress?
Why did Pratt consider it better that they got “nothing from crazy”?
How did the relationship between the US federal government and the tribes change with this new policy of removing children to federally sponsored boarding schools?
This source is a telegram from Richard Henry Pratt, in the Yankton Agency, to the commissioner of Indian Affairs informing him that 47 boys and 17 girls from Rosebud as well as 12 boys and 6 girls from Pine Ridge have been recruited to the school. Pratt notes that these children will be escorted east to the Hampton Institute. The Hampton Institute Indian School was a former military prison that was founded by General Samuel Chapman Armstrong in 1878 and was supported by Richard Henry Pratt.
One interpretation of this message is that "crazy" is referencing Crazy Horse, the Lakota Sioux chief. Crazy Horse was a war leader of the Oglala Sioux band in the late nineteenth century. He fought against the US government to resist encroachment by white American settlers on Native American territory. He fought for his people’s way of life. He led his troops in many battles, most famously in the victory against Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. The following year, American militiamen murdered him. Pratt’s statement highlights that he was proud that so many chiefs turned over their children for relocation to boarding schools. However, Crazy Horse was not one of them. Ask students to consider how this telegram helps explain the levels of government that were involved in carrying out Native education policy.
I have forty seven boys & seventeen girls from Rosebud twelve boys & six girls from Pine Ridge a large proportion progeny of chiefs nothing from crazy think I had better go on east & let C contact party to Hampton answer quick Pratt (sic)