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Missionary Life Among the Dakota Indians

By Mrs. J.F. Cross It is hard to get the most interesting experiences of a missionary’s life, because they belong to the daily routine and so are often unmentioned. But here is a description of life and travel among the Indians, by the wife of a missionary just going to the Dakotas: The land of the Dakotas—what a distance! How long the miles seemed from my home! How frightful the land seemed to me, from the tales of blizzards and cyclones! How strange to go to live among the Sioux Indians, known to me principally for the Minnesota, Fort Fetterman and Custer massacres; to be a friend to Sitting Bull, Brave Bull, Gall, Grass, Swift Bear, Red Cloud and many others with names no less picturesque! With such impressions I left my home to accompany my husband to his home and work at Rosebud Agency, South Dakota. I was soon relieved of the idea of the distance, for only a few hours took us across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota to the border of Dakota. Here we left the railroad to attend the general conference of the Dakota Mission at Flandreau. How quickly all the impressions of years can be changed, when the impressions are wrong and we see the true state of affairs. In this case, seeing hundreds of bronzed faces, lighted up with joy, as they sung “I hear Thy welcome voice” in their own tongue, there was enough to change all my former opinions of Indians in general and of the Dakota Indians in particular. It was like coming into a new world. That is,...

One Day’s Missionary Work

A Trip Among the Out Stations The out-station work among the Indians is a feature almost peculiar to the Indian Missions of the A.M.A. These stations are the picket-lines pushed forward into the Reservations beyond the line of established schools and missions. Each one consists of a cheap home connected sometimes with a cheap school-house, and these are occupied by one or two native Indian missionaries who teach and preach, and thus accomplish an immediate good and lay the foundation for the more permanent church and school. The Association has about twenty such stations on the Cheyenne and other rivers in Dakota. One of the teachers from Oahe gives a racy sketch of a trip among some of the out-stations. We make room for a large extract, regretting that we have not space for more. The Journey We started Thursday morning, going about seven miles above the Mission to cross the river. We took dinner at the house of a white man who has an Indian wife, and then started out on the long drive. Our direction was almost due west, a little south toward the Cheyenne River. We reached an out-station on the Cheyenne about dark, where James Brown, a Santee Indian, is stationed. Two of our Santee school-girls are here, and it was encouraging to see their neat dress, and hear them use their English, though they so seldom see any one with whom they have occasion to use it that it is not easy for them. The next morning, the girls had classes in reading and writing. Some of the children were ragged and dirty, with...

Letters from Miss Collins

No facts in this field can be of more interest to the readers of the Missionary than those contained in the following thrilling account of the conversion of three young Indians in Miss Collins’ mission field. We give the facts as written by this self-sacrificing missionary. Last Sabbath, Mr. Riggs came up from Oahe and we had communion, and there were five children baptized and seven grown people, and seven more were examined and advised to wait till the next communion. It was a most interesting season. Three of the young men were the leaders in the Indian dance. They have always been the head ones in all Indian customs. A year ago, one of them said in the dance that he should follow the Indian customs a year longer—give himself up to them wholly and try to be satisfied, and if he had in his heart the same unsatisfied feeling, the same longing, that he then had, he should throw it all away. On last New Year’s day, the same young man, “Huntington Wolcott,” came to me and said—”Last night I arose in the dance and told them that I had given the old customs and the old Indians a fair trial, and that they did not satisfy, now I should leave them forever and give myself to God, and if any others were ready to follow to arise and so make it known. The other two leaders arose, stood silently a moment, and walked out.” From that time they have given themselves up to singing, praying and studying the Bible. They had, for two years, been halting...

Conference with Indian Commissioners

The Annual Conference of the Board of Indian Commissioners with the representatives of the various religious bodies having charge of Indian Missions was held in the parlors of the Riggs House, January 8th. The presence of Senator Dawes, Representative Cutcheon, and other distinguished persons, gave weight to the deliberations, and special interest was added to the meeting by the troubles now prevailing in the Dakotas among the Sioux Indians. Commissioner Morgan, Captain Pratt of the Carlisle School, General Armstrong of Hampton, and the Secretaries of the Missionary Societies presented an array of facts and of recent information that gave a more favorable aspect to the situation than is generally entertained. The disturbance among the Indians is confined to at most 5,000 among the 250,000, and strong hopes are entertained that serious bloodshed may be avoided. And yet, so great is the uncertainty hanging over this matter, that before these lines reach our readers, the daily press may give sad news of battle and disaster. The discussions of the Conference were ended with a series of resolutions, the purport of which may thus be summed up: The Dakota trouble is confined to a small number of Indians, and is due to the inevitable opposition of the chiefs and anti-progressive elements among the masses of the Indians. The removal of experienced Indian Agents for political reasons was deprecated, and the importance of permanence in the lines of policy pursued in the educational and Christianizing influences was emphasized. Larger appropriations by the Government to establish an adequate system of common-school education, until every Indian child is enabled to attend school, compulsory education...

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