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The Ramona School
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By Dist. Sec. J.E. Roy.
I had the pleasure, in Santa Fé, January 13th, of attending an entertainment given by the Ramona pupils in honor of Miss Platt, one of their teachers. Gov. Prince and his wife, and several of the citizens, were present as invited guests. After the singing of several songs, and a statement made by Prof. Elmore Chase, the Principal, fourteen of the scholars rendered, in the action of nature and the speaking of English, Mrs. Bentley’s dialogue, “The Old Year’s Vision and the New Year’s Message,” as found in the January number of The Youth’s Temperance Banner. One of the large boys first came in as an old man, clad in a mantle and trembling on a staff, to repeat the “Old Year’s Vision.” Then came in, one after another, a dozen boys and girls, to recite the greeting of the several months. It was a temperance exhibit, and so each one had a testimony for that cause. January, bearing a New Year’s card in hand, declared: “I’ve promised that not a drop of wine shall touch these temperance lips of mine.” February bore a fancy valentine, with an appropriate motto. March lifted aloft a new kite, with “Kites may sail far up in the sky, but on strong drink I’ll never get high.” July, bearing a flag and a bunch of fire-crackers, declares: “I tell you I mean to celebrate, with something that won’t intoxicate:” while December resolves: “No brandy fumes in my Christmas pie; no wine-sauce in my pudding, say I.”
Then comes in a beautiful maiden, clad in white and crowned with flowers, to be greeted by a chorus of voices: “The king is dead; long live the queen!” and then to recite the “Message of the New Year.”
Then comes another song in English, and then the second unloading of the Christmas tree, which has kept its place in the chapel since its proper day of Christmas cheer. Then the whole occasion is honored by an address from the Governor, in simple words, with smiling face and transparent good feeling. It is not every children’s holiday that has a Governor at hand to grace the occasion. As the President of the Board of Trustees which, under the A.M.A. fosters the Ramona, and as Governor of a territory which has nineteen Pueblo villages and the reservations of the Navajoes and the Mescalero and Jicarilla Apaches, he is a faithful friend of the Indians. This is apparent from his first report just made to the Secretary of the Interior. The 21,000 of the Navajoes he reports as possessing 250,000 horses, 500 mules, 1,000 burros, 5,000 cattle, 700,000 sheep and 200,000 goats. Their wool-clip the last year reached 2,100,000 pounds. Here is a grand field for a mission.
The time has come for new vigor in the Indian service. Gen. Morgan has been confirmed as Indian Commissioner, and his broad and well-matured plans are ready to be put into operation. We hope that Congress will make the necessary appropriations, and that nothing will hinder the multiplication of Indian schools and the ingathering of pupils. With the Sioux Indians, a great crisis has come. Their reservation is severed, and a broad belt is opened in it for the incoming of the white man. There will, of course, be the rush and confusion of new settlers, with the almost inevitable demoralization of the Indians. But a still more serious and protracted evil will grow out of the conflict of the two races and the temptations to the Indians. If ever the friends of the Sioux Indians needed to bestir themselves, it is just now. The helping hand, the open school and the sanctifying Gospel, must forestall all bad influences. So far as the work of the American Missionary Association is concerned, the opening of this reservation to white settlement will necessitate the removal of five or six of its out-stations, occasioning spiritual loss and additional money appropriations.
While we hail with satisfaction the inauguration of Gen. Morgan’s broad plans, we feel that there should not be the least relaxation on the part of the churches, in the “contract schools” and in the preaching of the gospel. From John Eliot down, the gospel has been the great civilizing power among the Indians, and it will be a fatal mistake to withhold it. If the new Government policy is successful, the gospel is its essential adjunct, and if there should be hindrances in carrying out that policy, the steady stream of gospel influences will be all the more necessary.
Rev. C.L. Hall, Fort Berthold, North Dakota.
A girl about seventeen years of age writes the following to her teacher while she is away from school for a short vacation among her people:
“DEAR FRIEND:I will now try to write a few lines to-night to tell you all about what we are doing now; first I tell you when first we came home we told the girls to come to our house that we would have prayer meeting the first thing; I tell you they are real good girls, L, M, A and M; we did not expect them to come; it is far away and they were so tired yet they did not mind, they come right away before we saw them. We went upon the hills, Mary and I, we prayed, and when we came back we was surprise to see the girls coming. So we had prayer meeting; that was the first time that L ever prayed; we thought we would have prayer meeting to-day, but we are sorry the girls did not come, they did not know; we expect to go to Minot Monday if nothing should happen.”
Another says:”I don’t want to see the Indian dance. I like to stay in the house and I like to read the Bible every morning, and in the afternoon I ask God to bless the boys and girls and keep you always, and I know he will help all if we ask him.”
N and G, two little sisters away on a vacation where no Sabbath is observed, go away on the prairie alone and have prayers together. After evening service those who wished to follow Christ were asked to remain to an inquiry meeting, and eight remained, and in their own language some expressed very clearly a desire to follow Christ and a consciousness of their own sin and weakness.
Mrs. B’s husband died very earnestly endeavoring to teach her the faith he had come to have, and asking her again and again to have no idols, but to worship and believe in God alone. She is now an earnest seeker after light, is visited on Sunday by a leading man who lives near her, and who is asked to tell them on the Sabbath of the religion and the God of whom her husband had told her.
A father, a hearer, but yet a heathen, says: “I want to put the boy in a school where he will learn God’s ways. I do not want him in a school where religion is not taught.”
Many of our readers will remember being interested at our meeting in Chicago by the appearance and speech of an Indian woman from our Oahe Station, Elizabeth Winyan. We have now to communicate the sad tidings of her death, after a brief, but severe illness. Her life was an eventful and a useful one. Elizabeth was the name given her by the missionaries. Winyan was her Indian name. She was born near Mankato, Minnesota, in 1831. At the age of twenty-five she became one of the early converts under Drs. Williamson and Riggs. She came to live at the mission, and learned to sew and do all household work. Dr. Williamson set her to teaching some women, and so began her missionary labor. She was a woman of great physical strength. When she was living at the Sisseton Agency, she cut with her own hands and hauled to the Agency, driving the ox-team herself, wood enough to pay for putting her little house in good repair and to buy some farming implements. She was a faithful friend. This fidelity she proved during the Indian uprising in 1862. When the mission families were fleeing from their burning houses at midnight, they forgot to take any food along. While they were hiding on an island in the Minnesota River, she, at the risk of her own life, carried to them bread and meat. In 1875, she and Miss Collins went to assist Rev. T.L. Riggs in starting the Oahe Mission, near Fort Sully, on the Missouri. At the time of her death she was in charge of an out-station on the Cheyenne River, forty miles from the central mission. Her duties were to hold meetings on the Sabbath, one general prayer meeting on Thursday night, and a women’s meeting on Friday night, to teach every day, visit the sick, attend funerals, and teach the women to sew, cook, wash and iron.
Miss Collins says of her: “There is no one to fill her place. She was one of the grandest women I ever knew. May God help our poor bereaved Dakotas.”
The recent death of Elizabeth Winyan calls to mind a little story connected with the training of her son, which may not be without point even now.
Elizabeth Winyan taught Edwin, her son, to believe in God and in prayer. She tells a story of how Edwin, as a child, wanted to wear “civilized clothes.” She made him a shirt and trousers, and then he needed a hat and shoes. She said, “I told him to pray for them; in the meantime I worked as well as prayed, and on Saturday, when my work was done, the missionary’s wife gave me a hat and a pair of shoes for Edwin. He was delighted and so was I. Since that time he has never doubted that God would answer prayer.” She said: “I taught Edwin to give to the Lord from a baby. When he was not old enough to know his duty, I put the penny in his hand and held his hand over the basket, and dropped in the penny. Sometimes I would only be able to get one penny, and that I would give to Edwin to put in the collection, for I wanted him to form a habit of giving; I knew I ought to give, and God knows I would when I had a penny, but my son must be taught.” This son has grown up a good Christian, speaks English, is a teacher, and is now a missionary at Standing Rock. He owes much to his faithful Christian mother.
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