« PreviousContinue »
for the education of Indian pupils enrolled in public or high schools of the district involved, or by the acceptance of Indian pupils in such schools without cost to the United States; and in computing the amount of recoupment for each project interest at 3 per centum per annum shall be included on unrecouped balances."
This requirement brought forth numerous protests from the public school districts involved, and it is quite evident that some schools will not be built, unless there should be a change of attitude on the part of local public school officials.
The regulations covering expenditure of the appropriations for these structures, approved by the Assistant Secretary on October 28, 1935, provide (omitting the text of the appropriation item):
(1) Immediately upon receipt of these regulations officials of public school districts entitled to the benefits of the above Act and the local Indian Service superintendent and representative of the Indian Educational Service will confer and acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Act and these regulations and jointly determine the needs of both Indian and white children.
(2) Interest public school officials who desire to accept the assistance authorized in accordance with the terms of the act and these regulations will immediately so inform the Commissioner of Indian Affairs through the local representtaive of the Indian Service. In such cases a joint report, showing the decision as to the needs of both white and Indian children should be submitted, with a statement that it is mutually agreeable, if this is the case, or an explanation of the points on which there is disagreement. A statement by the responsible representative of the State or public school official that the terms of the act are accepted, including the provision for monthly payments for work in place, repayment within & period of 30 years, and interest at 3 percent per annum on unrecouped balances, will be required.
(3) As soon thereafter as practicable, plans for construction or improvement authorized by the act should be prepared under the direction of the local or State authorities, without cost to the Federal Government, in accordance with the provisions of the act, and forwarded through the local Indian Service representative for submission with his recommendations and any comments which he desires to make, for the approval of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
The following districts have accepted the terms of the act and the regulations issued pursuant thereto:
White Swan, Wash. Where acceptances have been received plans have been submitted for review and criticism. In some cases, as at Browning, Mont.; Marysville, Wash., and the projects on the Fort Peck Reservation, Mont., actual construction is in progress. Some districts have sought and obtained aid from the Works Progress Administration, thereby reducing the amount eventually to be exprended from this appropriation.
The building at Pine Ridge will be erected by the Indian Service.
The Cannon Ball project is under contract. The Fort Yates buildings are being plannid by the Indian Service, and construction will be authorized as soon as the plans are completed.
Because of numerous delays in connection with negotiations with some of the school districts, all construction will not be completed by the end of this fiscal year. We are therefore requesting that the unexpended balance be continued available for use during 1938.
Mr. Johnson. Why is it necessary to continue this appropriation?
Mr. DODD. Because some of the buildings have not yet been completed. As you will recall, when Congress passed these acts, they authorized gratuity appropriations, but when the appropriation was made, a proviso was attached, making the investment repayable in a period of 30 years, with interest at the rate of 3 percent.
Some of the districts, because of financial conditions, have not been able to meet this requirement, but they are gradually coming in and accepting those terms, and the buildings are going ahead.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. That is to help you continue that in those already there?
Mr. Dodd. Yes; the appropriation of $931,000 was made in the second Deficiency Appropriation Act of 1935, and some of the school districts have already accepted the acts, and the buildings have been completed. On page 85 of our justification we show the schools that have accepted the terms of the act as to the repayments and the regulations issued, and there are still others that are giving the matter consideration now. Every once in a while a new district comes in accepting the terms of the act, and expressing a readiness to go ahead with the building.
All of this appropriation was authorized by numerous acts of Congress, 16 or 17 in number, approved on June 7 and 11, 1935.
There is no new money involved in this item,
CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC HIGH-SCHOOL BUILDING, PINE RIDGE, S. DAK.
Mr. Johnson. The next item is the public high-school building at Pine Ridge, S. Dak. This also continues the availability of a previous appropriation.
Mr. Dodd. The justification in support of this item is as follows: The act of June 7, 1935, authorizing this appropriation provided: “That there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $125,000 for the purpose of cooperating with the public-school board of Shannon County, South Dakota, for the construction and equipment of a consolidated public high-school building, at Pine Ridge, South Dakota: Provided, That said school shall be conducted for both white and Indian children without discrimination, and that practical training for vocations and home economics be provided, and that the cost of education of white children shall be defrayed by the State and local public-school authorities, in accordance with such agreement or agreements as may be made between the Secretary of the Interior and State or local officials, and any and all sums of money obtained by reason of such agreement or agreements shall be available for re-expenditure for support and maintenance of said school.”
When the appropriation was made the same provisions as to plans, specifications and repayment of construction costs, were applied to this school, notwithstanding the text of the authorizing act. In all of the numerous enactments authorizing construction of public-school improvements, the act relating to this project was the only one which contemplated operation of the new facilities by the Federal Government. In all other cases the schools to be aided are to be operated by local public-school authorities, and financed from State and county revenues, supplemented by tuition payments from funds appropriated to the Indian Service. In this instance, because of the predominant Indian population, tuition will be collected from whites attending this school.
In the 1937 Interior Department Appropriation Act text was inserted to exclude this appropriation from the requirements imposed by the Second Deficiency Appropriation Act, fiscal year 1935.
Plans and specifications for the project are in preparation, and it is our hope that the building may be completed by June 30, 1937. Because of unfavorable weather it may be necessary to suspend operations during the winter months, thus postponing actual completion beyond the close of the fiscal year. For safety, we are suggesting that the appropriation be continued available for another year. so that there will be no question as to its completion.
CONSTRUCTION, ENLARGEMENT OR IMPROVEMENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOL
BUILDINGS, WELLPINIT SCHOOL DISTRICT, STEVENS COUNTY, WASH., AND HAYS SCHOOL DISTRICT, MONTANA
Mr. Johnson. The next item is for the construction, enlargement, or improvement of public school buildings, authorized by special acts passed during the last session of Congress.
Mr. Dodd. We offer the following justification in support of this item:
This item is to make effective the authorizations contained in the act of May 15, 1936 (49 Stat., p. 1273), reading as follows:
“That there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $75,000 for the purpose of cooperating with Wellpinit School District Numbered 49, Stevens County, Washington, for the construction and equipment of a public-school building in the vicinity of' Wellpinit, Washington: Provided, That the expenditure of any money authorized to be appropriated herein shall be subject to the condition that the school maintained by said district in such building shall be available to all Indian children of the Spokane Indian Reservation on the same terms, except as to par. ment of tuition, as other children of said school district: Provided further, That such expenditures shall be subject to such further conditions as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior." and a similar act approved on the same date (49 Stat., p. 1274) which provides:
“That there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $50,000 for the purpose of cooperating with the Hays Public School district, Hays, Mont., for construction and improvement of grade and high-school buildings: Provided, That said schools shall be available to both white and Indian children without discrimination, except that tuition may be paid for Indian children attending in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That expenditures of moneys authorized hereby shall be subject to such further conditions as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That this appropriation shall be reimbursed in not more than 30 years without interest, either through reducing the annual Federal tuition payments for the education of Indian pupils attending such school, by the acceptance of Indian pupils in such school without cost to the United States; or in such other manner as the Secretary of the Interior may direct: And provided further, That plans and specifications shall be furnished by local or State authorities, without cost to the United States, and upon approval thereof by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, work shall proceed under the direction of local or State officials, payment therefor to be made monthly on the basis of work in place and upon vouchers approved by a responsible official of the Indian Service."
Wellpinit, $75,000.-This construction will be of benefit to Indians of the Spokane Reservation, Wash. There are no Government boarding schools for the children of this reservation. Practically all children are attending local public schools.
During the fiscal year 1935 there were 150 Indian and 38 white children enrolled in the Wellpinit School. The school is located in an Indian community, and the white children attending the school are those whose fathers are employed by the Indian agency or are living on nontaxable Indian land. A gradual increase in attendance at the school for several years to come is anticipated. Reports indi, cate that there are 57,120 acres of nontaxable land and 7,200 acres of taxable land within the district. The Federal Government has recently acquired options for purchasing nearly all the taxable land. If this purchse is consummated the power plant of the Washington Power Co. at Little Falls would be the only taxable property in the district. The present school building at Wellpinit has only classrooms for the grades and high school. The building is of frame construction and has been developed by additions to a one-room school. There is no gym, nasium nor place for industrial classes. The first and second grades are conducted in basement rooms. The shop-work and home-economics instruction and other work of this character is very important for Indian children, but these courses cannot be carried unless a better school plant is provided
If a new building is constructed, it is planned to offer junior and senior highschool subjects, and to have a gymnasium, assembly hall, and other classrooms: Various branches of agriculture and home economics can then be offered to students The Spokane Reservation offers opportunities for agricultural development.
The Indians of this locality appreciate the value of an education and are eager for their children's advancement. The 4-year accredited high school at Wellpinit is the only high school on the reservation.
Hays, $50,000.-Hays is the center of population for the southern part of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Mont. The nearest high-school facilities for this section are at Harlem, 50 miles distant. During the fiscal year 1935, 6 white and 94 Indian children attended the Hays public school. There are about 25 Indian children who should be in high school. Those who are attending have had to go to the Harlem high school where they are boarded and maintained at Government expense. If a high school were established at Hays it would care for these Indian children.
Two classrooms at the Hays School are conducted in an old, inadequate, dayschool building. The third room is located in a building in ancther part of town. The arrangement is very unsatisfactory. The three classrooms are reported small and poorly lighted. Both graded and high-school facilities are urgently needed. Part of the difficulty which this district is having is due to closing the Fort Belknap boarding school. This increased the enrollment at the local public school from 30 to 100. A further increase in attendance is anticipated in the future, since more Indian children are now continuing through high school. It is reported that a number of children of high-school grades from the nearby towne oi Zortman and Sandusky, mining towns in the Little Rocky Mountains which have no high schools, would probably enroll at Hays if high-school facilities were available. A new school building is desired having for elementary classrooms, two high-school rooms, and facilities for vocational classes. The estimated cost is $50,000.
There are 486,400 acres of taxable land, with a taxable value of $407,864. In addition, there are on the reservation town lots and improvements thereon in Hays and Lodge Pole town sites. The valuation of these lots and improvements in the two towns will not exceed $10,000. There are 253,440 acres of nontaxable Indian land in the district. The increased demands upon this district are largely due to the Indian children enrolled, and their welfare would be served by provision of adequate public-school facilities.
AMENDMENT TO TEXT OF APPROPRIATING ITEM Mr. Dond. In connection with the text of this item, I would like to offer an amendment for the consideration of the committee.
On page 166 at the end of line 5 change the period to a colon and insert:
Provided further, That in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior the construction and improvements authorized for the Hays Public School District, Montana, may be planned, erected and operated by the Indian Service in which event the requirements of the Act of May 15, 1936, and of this paragraph, with reference to the preparation of plans, the erection of buildings and the recoupment of expenditures are hereby waived.
Since the act was passed authorizing this appropriation, the Indian Service has taken over the operation of this school, and instead of paying tuition hereafter to the public school district, we will be operating the school. If white children are enrolled therein, we will collect tuition on their behalf.
Therefore, the provision with reference to recoupment, preparation of plans, and so forth, is entirely out of place.
That was done in connection with the building on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
With respect to the Pine Ridge School, we have advertisements for bids out at the present time. If you agree to this amendment we expect to handle the Hays situation on exactly the same basis.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Who starts these authorizations, or why are they necessary for school buildings for Indians?
Mr. Dond. The authorizations usually start by the introduction of a bill in Congress, by the Member of Congress from the particular district involved.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. It is not done at your special instigation?
Mr. Dodd. We have not instigated any of these. We have given many of the bills our support, because we recognize the value of the work that is being done by these public-school districts.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Of course the primary object of a Congressman would be, normally, to get more Federal funds for the Government to run the school and lift the taxes off of his constituents, but is not the public policy more in favor of leaving the white control where it is considerable, at least, and let the Indians have the supervision of the State superintendent and the county superintendent?
Mr. Dond. That is being done in a great many cases, but in the Hays situation that I have been discussing, it is almost entirely an Indian community.
Mr. FICKINGER. There are only about 6 white children and about 100 Indian children there.
Mr. DODD. I may say, in further justification of this policy, that we have urged the attendance of many of the Indian children at these public schools. We closed some boarding schools and put the children in public schools, but the facilities of the public schools have been inadequate and the expansion has been necessary.
They are perfectly willing to take these Indian children, but they are no doubt up to their limit in debt and are not able to make the necessary capital outlay for providing the necessary building facilities.
CHANGE IN POLICY IN RE BOARDING SCHOOLS
Mr. LAMBERTSON. I do not like to refer to it, but I notice at this time the situation in comparison with that of 4 years ago. They have discontinued a lot of these schools, and they are now asking to have them reopened, and, in some cases, they are the same schools.
These changes have all come about in 4 years. That is a little reversal of policy in the conduct of these schools, is it not?
Mr. Dodd. Yes, there is some reversal of policy, to this extent: The boarding schools were operated for many years, and they took the Indian children off of the reservation.
As Mr. Beatty, our Director of Education, said yesterday, a child living right across the road from the boarding school was put in there for the whole school term.
What we are doing now is to reform the use to which these boarding schools are being put. That is, we make them junior and senior high schools, educating the youngsters in the grades near their homes, and then using the boarding schools for the higher education because there are no high-school facilities to which they can go.
It is not altogether a reversal of policy.
I think we are safe in saying that it was our own shortsightedness in the beginning in not planning quite far enough ahead, and we now see the need of that type of planning.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Then Mr. Hastings was right, 4 years ago. I remember the argument 4 years ago here; how he hung on for hours, arguing against your policy of discontinuing the boarding schools.
Mr. DODD. Mr. Hastings objected to the wholesale discontinuance of the boarding schools. Nevertheless, I think he later agreed that in some cases, at least, we were right, especially in those cases where we were taking little tots, 6, 7, or 8 years of age, out of their homes