The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children's Literature, 1880-1939


Another Indian Invasion

Apaches, stealthy and cunning; strong and cruel Arapahoes; fierce Cheyennes, with long reeded arrows tipped with deadly poison; little, revengeful Comanches; Pueblos, with something of the Mexican in their bold, black eyes and coarse hair bound with a bright handkerchief; Sioux, straight and taciturn, with high cheek-bones and aquiline noses that sniff the battle afar off; Navajoes, the gypsies of the Indians, in gayly striped and checkered blankets; degraded Diggers; bloodthirsty Pawnees; implacable Kiowas, with murderous, long-bladed knives thrust in their belts; gross-featured, thick-set Shoshones; Nez Perces, glancing sidewise from their slits of eyelids; Modocs and Poncas, Creeks and Crows, and a score of other tribes besides, tattooed, painted, half-clothed, squalid, and repulsive, or terrible with scalp-lock ornament and savage bravery of quill-work, beads, and feathers,— all of these in undisputed possession of a government fort in Pennsylvania, and unnumbered crowds of savages rallying with wonderful unanimity and determination toward the same point!

What a sensational announcement that would be if displayed in the daily newspapers and judicious use of capitals, exclamation points, and startling adjectives! And yet, the statement— without the adjectives— is strictly true. There has been no outbreak, no massacre, nor flying rumor of "Indians on the war-path!" but three hundred and sixty Indian boys and girls from all parts of the West and from thirty-six different tribes have quietly started in little bands toward the same point,— the old barracks at Carlisle.

Do you wonder what the attraction is? Well, it is a school which our Government has wisely established for them; a school where they can learn to read and write and cipher, and study many of the trades and handicrafts of civilized life. They are learning here, under the wise superintendence of Captain Pratt and the training of such talented and devoted women as Miss Temple, Miss Hyde, and their assistants, the moral and intellectual benefit of civilization; while, under mechanical instructors, Indian boys are becoming blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters, harness-makers, printers, shoemakers, tailors, painters, bakers, farmers, besides learning
to drill as soldiers, and Indian girls are taught to be laundresses, dress-makers, cooks, schoolteachers, nurses, and to fill many useful callings.

You should see the enthusiasm with which they enter upon these new occupations; how eager they are to learn and to follow "the white man's road!"

Our Government has not treated the Indians justly in time past. It has taken away their lands again and again, as they have become desirable, driving the Indians further West, and causing many to die. Certain good people have insisted that the treaties made with the Indians should be kept, and that settlers should be forbidden from encroaching on the Indian reservations; but some of those who live in the West have replied:

"That is impossible. Why should vast tracts of land be kept untilled, unmined, simply for savages and bison to range over? There is no room now for the savage in our country. He is ignorant, useless, cruel. Let the Government annihilate him."

This does not seem kind, but the Westerner is right; the Indian ought not to claim the soil for his "hunting-grounds, while down-trodden millions starve in the garrets of Europe, and cry from its caverns that they, too, have been created heirs of the earth and claim its division."

There is no longer any room for the savage, but there is plenty of space for industrious, capable American citizens; and Eastern people have discovered a way to satisfy the demands of the West,— to annihilate the savage and leave the man. The machine is a simple one, a school at Carlisle Barracks, into which wild Indians are being turned and from which come self-supporting men and women, skilled and useful members of civilized society. When this plan was explained to the old chiefs, they approved of it gratefully. They said, through their interpreters, to the messengers sent to confer with them:

"We are too old to learn. We will hunt our bison, and move our wigwams further away from the white men. But the young men must learn. The white men are crowding in upon them on every side, and our young men must learn to mine, and farm, and live in towns by the side of white men, or they can not live at all."

The number for whom the Government had provided the means of education was quickly gathered into the school. But the news spread far and near, and other tribes brought their sons and their daughters,
beseeching that they, too, might be taken. It was hard to refuse them,— to tell them that they must be patient and wait their turn,— and some could not be persuaded to wait. They sent on their children to the school without permission, saying: "We will pay their expenses ourselves, if the great father at Washington can not afford to take more. Somehow we will raise the money, but the children must learn now."

I heard of one Pottawattomie boy of eighteen, who started from the Kaw Agency, Indian Territory, with two dollars and seventy-five cents, to come to Carlisle. His money brought him only across the Missouri, but by walking for days, and begging rides on the freight-trains, he reached his destination. He sold his Indian ornaments for two dollars and a quarter, and this was all he had by which to live, though charitable people occasionally gave him a meal. His moccasins wore out as he tramped through the snow, and he had to trade his blanket for a pair of shoes. When he arrived at the school, Captain Pratt, the officer in charge, could only tell him that the school was [illustration - Carlisle Barracks] filled and that no provision had been made for uninvited guests. But the boy did not have to go back, for a Sunday-school in Philadelphia volunteered to defray his school expenses, and he is now studying with the others.

Three hundred and sixty-seven Indians— two hundred and forty boys and one hundred and twenty-seven girls— are now gathered at the school. The boys wear a neat uniform and go through the military drill with great spirit and exactness. They have a brass band, the instruments for which were given them by a kind Boston lady; and it is doubtful whether the same amount of money ever gave more enjoyment. The leader of this band was at first a Mrs. Curtin, herself a skillful cornet player and daughter of the leader of a military band. She trained the boys with untiring patience and thoroughness, [illustration - Chapel] but finally resigned her position, which is now filled by a professional musician.

[illustration - hospital]

Let me introduce to you the members of the band as they are grouped on the pretty octagonal band-stand in the center of the well-clipped lawn. None of these young men expect to make music their profession, and though they are enthusiastic in its study, they regard what some of our white boys would consider very serious work as only play. Amos Cloudshield, a Sioux, is a wagon-maker. Conrad Killsalive is also a Sioux, and in spite of his murderous name, when not at school
or puffing his favorite horn, takes his place on the tailor's bench. Silas Childers, a Creek, is a shoe-maker. Little Joe Harris, the drummer, a Gros-Ventre, has no trade as yet other than peg-top and marbles. Solomon Chandler, one of the supposed untamable Comanches, is a carpenter. Joshua Gibbons, a Kiowa, is the school janitor. Luther Standing-Bear, the first cornet player, is a tinner. Lewis Brown, a Sioux, is a shoe-maker; as is also Luke Philips, a young Nez Percé. Elwood Dorian, an Iowa, and Edward McClosky, a Peoria Indian, are both carpenters. They play thirty-six different pieces,— martial marches, gay waltzes, sweetly solemn sacred music, and patriotic airs. "America" is a prime favorite. They inflate their lungs and cheeks to bursting, and pound the floor with unusual spirit while the grand paean rings out its praise of the

"Land where our fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride."

"Do they think of the words?" you ask. Perhaps not; certainly, from their own experiences, some of them would never imagine our country a

"Sweet land of liberty,"
But they are not sad nor morose. After the evening parade, the band plays merrily and the children frolic on the lawn until sunset, and they often show a spirit of mirthfulness and mischief quite foreign to our idea of the Indian character. They are taught, indeed, from early childhood, to conceal all emotion, whether of pleasure or pain, and it takes some time for them to unlearn these lessons, and to give free expression to their feelings.

As an example of their stoicism, it is said that during a fight with our troops, in the West, an Indian woman concealed her little girl in a barrel, telling her to remain perfectly quiet, whatever happened. After the battle, the child was found with her arm shattered by a minie-ball,— but she had uttered no sound. Their distrust of the whites is as characteristic as their self-control. One of the little girls at the school, who retains her Indian name, Keseeta, bears frightful scars from wounds inflicted by her mother with a sharp stone. Their village had been taken by United States soldiers, and rather than have her child fall into the hands of the white men, the poor mother tried to kill her. Coming from such influences, it is surprising to note how quickly the young Indians show appreciation of what is done for them, and the intelligence and affection which light their great black eyes as they return the greetings of the noble women who teach them.

Many of the names of these children, especially of the girls, sound oddly, for it is common for them to choose Christian names of their own, while retaining their fathers' names for the sake of family distinction. This gives rise to such queer combinations as Isabella Two-Dogs, Katy White-Bird, Maud Chief-Killer, Gertrude White-Cloud, Maggie American-Horse, Anna Laura Shooting-Cat, Alice Lone-Bear, Hattie Lone-Wolf, Stella Chasing-Hawk, and Ruth Big-Head. These girls are neat in their habits, bright, and imitative. Some of them have very pretty faces and could readily be mistaken for white children; the faces of others, newer arrivals, have a sadness and vacancy of expression due to privation and suffering. Yet these faces, we are told, are not so sad as were some others which now quiver with intelligence and feeling.

They are industrious and persevering. Nellie Cook, a Sioux, made thirty-six sheets in one day. Nellie Cary, an Apache, the tribe that the Western settlers described in the same terms which St. Paul ascribes to the tongue— ("For every kind of beasts hath been tamed of mankind, but the Apache can no man tame")— hemmed thirty-two sheets, and Ella Moore, a Creek, thirty.

They are observant, and quick to notice peculiarities and differences. We read in the School News, a paper edited by one of the Indian boys, a letter from a little Pueblo girl who attended Episcopal service for the first time, and was particularly struck by the choristers,—

"Six little singing boys, dear little souls,
In nice clean faces, and nice white stoles"

Her great eyes followed them intently, and the kind lady who took her noticed how eagerly she listened to the young voices as they thrilled through the arches. "Mattie is profoundly impressed," she thought; "she will never forget this day." Mattie was indeed impressed, but it was by the externals only, and this is what she wrote to the School News, that evening: "This morning we went to church. It's other way they sing here. They lady are not sing, the boy he sing, and those boys are not wears coat, they wears white apron!"

One of the teachers has fitted up a pretty play-room for the girls, with a toy cooking-stove not too small to be really used, with a full set of tiny kitchen and laundry furniture, and a wee dining-table with bright turkey-red table-cloth and pretty tea-set, and other cunning baby-house things dear to the heart of every little girl. They meet here to make real biscuit, tea, and omelet, and in triumphal procession they carry lunches to their teachers.

A doll was once donated to this play-room, and there was much discussion as to the name to be given it. Some one finally read a list of names, with their significations, from the appendix to the
dictionary; and the girls decided upon Hephzibah, because it meant "My delight is in her."

Some of the girls during the vacations have worked in families and learned to be quite expert as cooks; to churn, to make bread and cake and jellies, and [illustration - Captain Pratt,— The officer in charge of the Carlisle School.] to preserve fruit. The bread for the entire school is baked by two boys, who rise every morning at two o'clock, without being called, to "mold it down," and not once have they failed nor has the bread been sour.

Their friends in the West are interested in their progress, and sometimes come to see them. Brave Big Horse writes his son: "I am working on farm, and when you come back I hope you will find a different Indian from the one you left. I am doing this all for you. I was plowing yesterday afternoon till I gave out and stood in the field and thought of you— how, when you come back, you will be able to run the farm yourself and know more about it than I do."

Red Cloud, the well-known Sioux chief, visited the school and addressed them in his own language. A prize of three dollars was offered for the best translation of this speech. We give a portion of the successful report, made by Luther Standing-Bear:

"You seem like my grandchildren; and now I went pass through the shops and saw what you can be done. I saw the shoe-maker, harness maker, tailor, carpenter, tinner, blacksmiths, and they all doing well. Here you see I wear a boots which is you make it. I was surprise that the blacksmith doing very good. Also the girls can washing clothes and sewing. Also I went pass through the school-rooms and I saw some of you can write very fast, and read, and I was glad. Now, this is the thing what we send you here for, to learn white men's way. There is two roads, one is good and one is what we call a devil road. Another thing is, you know, if who do nothing, just put his hand on his back and lie down, so any dime not come to in his pocket itself, so you must do something with your hands. Now you must not home-sick any; but you must try to be good and happier."

The school has other visitors, too. The Society of Friends, true to the traditions of William Penn, have been the faithful helpers of the red man. There are two representative Quaker women, the
Misses Longstreth, who have quietly and unostentatiously contributed to the Carlisle School and have induced others to aid it; nearly all the little comforts and many of the necessary supplies of the hospital have come through them. They inquire kindly, "Tell us what thee needs, and we will know where to ask for it. If dolls, we will get them ourselves; if wash-tubs, we know people who do not approve of dolls, but who will give wash-tubs."

It is very interesting to "went pass through the shops," as Red Cloud did.

There is the tailor's shop with boys working at the sewing-machines, ironing, making button-holes, and cutting out work. On the wall are tacked a number of fashion plates; and the boys study these different phases of civilized dress as they stitch away upon their uniforms, and it is evidently borne in upon them that the tailor has a great deal to do with making the man; that, somehow, clean white collars and cuffs, neatly fitting gloves, shining boots, and a scrupulous toilet generally are marks of a gentleman. The value of the lesson at this stage of their development can hardly be exaggerated. It is well, too, to make the garb of civilization as attractive as possible, for some among us have our doubts whether it is greatly in advance of their native costume in point of picturesque effect. The boys take kindly to the change, however,— fourteen apprentices are stitching merrily away, putting frogs of scarlet braid on their uniforms and tracing curves in colored stitching on the linings of their jackets. One of the boys has fitted himself to a jacket, and, as it is not his time to be served, he wishes it reserved for him, and sews a label on the coveted garment with these words on it: "Mr. C., please do not give to another boy this coat. I made it to myself."

Another apprentice writes home: "I am happy. I try to build coats and pants."

That they succeed in this style of architecture is demonstrated by the fact that Clarence Three-Stars made a pair of uniform trousers, with sergeants' stripes down [illustration - Indian girls and boys learning the "white people's ways."] the legs, between eight and half-past eleven o'clock in the forenoon of a single day.


In the harness-shop we find sixteen boys cutting strips of leather, sewing, and polishing. "They have not wasted a dollar's worth of material in three years," is the testimony of the superintendent.

In the next room the shoe-makers are cobbling. There are twenty boys here, and some can make entire a very neat pair of shoes. Two hundred and fifty pairs are sent in per month from the school to be mended. We hear a great deal of the silent, moccasined foot-fall of the Indian; but, shod in durable, thick, solid calf-skin, and in time to the "step, step" of the corporal, the boys bring down their heels with audible emphasis. Their new shoes are highly admired. One scholar wrote to his father: "Yesterday eve I was very glad, he give me, Mr. C., one pair of boots and I am very warm inside my foot." Joseph Wisacoby, a Menomonee, writes home: "I like the shoe-maker trade as ever so much, and I will try the best I can to learn so I can go home and make shoes of myself, without anybody's help how to do it."

[illustration - Cobblers and harness-makers.]

In the tin-shop Henry C. Roman-Nose is perhaps the most expert. He is perfecting himself in his trade, and will soon take charge of a shop at the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency, Indian Territory. Frank Twist, a Sioux, says:"Sometimes I make some pint tin cups very well, and I make some of quart, and little pans I fix very nice together." Duke Windy made thirty tin cups in two days; another Cheyenne boy made forty-six. White Buffalo, another tinman, although scarcely out of his teens, has gray hair. It was turned so, he relates, when a small boy by the enchantment of his father, a powerful medicine man, or magician. The stories which the children tell of these medicine men are, by the way, very interesting. The Indians believe that they can change themselves to bears and transport themselves thousands of miles in an instant. They are believed to understand the language of birds

White Buffalo is an earnest student and carries a little note-book, in which he writes each new word he hears, looking it out in the dictionary afterward, and being always sure to bring it into use sooner or later. Sometimes a word which has several significations puzzles him, and is misused, as when he said to Captain Pratt, "I similar to depart from tin-shop and work on a farm." He is not the only boy who has been discontented with the occupation assigned him. Red Hat, who had charge of the piggery on the school farm, complained that he was "tired of the pig trade."

The carpenters have done some especially good work. The neat hospital was built by them,—Arapahoes, Sioux, and Poncas sawing out the window and door frames; a Cheyenne and an Apache carving the balcony; and others shingling, nailing, and planing.

Among the painters, Robert American-Horse has decorated some wagons made at the school shop, and sent to Oregon and Washington Territory. He is a blacksmith also, and, with James Porter and Edgar Fire-Thunder, has made and put up two strong double-acting swings, which the girls enjoy greatly.

Ellis Childers and Charles Kihiga are printers; another is dealing out quinine under the physician, as hospital steward, and has aspirations
toward being a " white medicine man" one of these days. So the boys work, and we might lengthen the account with reports from the School News until it would be far too long for insertion in ST. NICHOLAS.

During the summer vacation the boys and girls find employment on farms and in families, many of them working so well that their employers dislike to give them up when school re-opens. They are very proud of being self-supporting and of costing the Government nothing during this season. It frequently happens, however, when the course of instruction is over, that they manifest great reluctance to return to the Indian reservations in the West; and whenever situations have opened for them in the East, and there has been no special family reason for their return, they have been allowed to remain. They have argued, with reason, that they have learned how to live and support themselves in a civilized community, but if they return to the Indian camps the conditions of life will be altered, and it will be almost impossible for them not to fall back into the old ways of savagery. It is an easy task to reclaim the individual and to have him continually improve under the stimulus of civilized surroundings, but it is rather unreasonable to send one or two to convert a tribe. If they have been educated to become useful members of society, they should be allowed to go and come and settle where they choose. If we can bear the negro, the ignorant immigrant, and the Chinese amongst us, there is no reason why the self-supporting Indians should be herded apart and maintained in pauperism at the public expense. The scholars who have gone back to the reservations have many of them done nobly, struggling against an almost overwhelming tide of opposition. Encouraging reports concerning them come in daily from the different Indian agents. "Chester A. Arthur" and Alfred Brown carry on the tailor's trade at the Cheyenne Agency; Thomas Bear-robe is making brick at Caldwell; Etahdleuh Doamoe is carpentering at the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita Agency; and many others are farming on their own lands, or working under Government employ at frontier posts. Etahdleuh's history is interesting. He was a prisoner in Florida, studied at Hampton, and was selected bu Captain Pratt to visit with him the Indian tribes, and collect pupils for the Carlisle School. He was intelligent, sober, and industrious, deeply impressed with the grave problem before his people, and earnest in his endeavor to make the best of his own opportunities. After his return he assisted in drilling the boys, and continued improving himself in his trade and studies. One day he came to Captain Pratt, his serious face even graver than usual. "What is is Etahdleuh?" asked the Captain.

"Captain Pratt," Etahdleuh replied, twirling his cap, "when I was in Florida, and the good ladies teach me, I think about what they say about trying to be good boy. I no think about girls. When I went to Hampton, I think about getting the good education. I no think about girls. When I go West with you, I think about getting scholars and persuading the Indians to follow the white man's [illustration - The Misses Longstreth, the Indian Chief, "Spotted Tail," and Captain Pratt. (From a photograph.)] road. I get my sister, and Laura, and all my friends I can. I no think about girls. When I come back, I think about learning to be a carpenter so I can support myself and be good citizen. I no think about girls.— But Laura, she think. And now Laura's father is dead, and Laura say, 'Who take care of Laura?' And I think I take care of Laura."

Etahdleuh was so honest in the matter, and his
answer to the question, Who is to take care of Laura? was so to the purpose that the wedding took place with the approval of the authorities, and to the great delight of the pupils, who were allowed to make a gala day of the occasion. Etahdleuh has earned two hundred and fifty dollars, and he took his bride back to the reservation, [illustration - Copy in black and white of a color-drawing by an Indian boy.] building a little house upon some land which had been assigned him by the Government.

The Secretary of the Interior, in his last report on Indian Education, says: "It is useless to attempt the civilization of the Indian through the agency of schools, unless a large number of children, certainly not less that one-half the total number, can have the benefit of such schools."

[illustration - Copy in black and white of a color-drawing by an Indian boy.

But General Sheridan gives a list of forts which are no longer of any practical use, and which he recommends should be turned into Indian schools. The Secretary of the Interior assures us that, "with twenty thousand or more Indian children properly selected in our schools, there will be no danger of Indian wars." The cost of achieving this would be very trifling compared to the twenty-two millions of dollars which we have paid annually for the past ten years for military operations against the Indians! And as a result of these schools, the small remnant of the Indians will be gradually scattered among our millions of mixed population, their wild customs will be lost, and in a short time the wish of the Western settler will be gratified, the savage will be annihilated and a useful and educated class added to our American citizens. The process is being hastened by private donations. But, while all praise and thanks are due to such philanthropists, the chief need is for the Government to establish more Indian schools.

Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts
Given to redeem the human mind from error
There were no need of arsenals or forts."