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By Edwin L. Chalcraft

Assimilation’s Agent finds the lifestyles and critiques of Edwin L. Chalcraft (1855–1943), a superintendent within the federal Indian boarding colleges through the severe period of compelled assimilation within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. Chalcraft used to be employed by way of the workplace of Indian Affairs (now referred to as the Bureau of Indian Affairs) in 1883. in the course of his approximately 4 a long time of provider, he labored at a few Indian boarding colleges and organisations, together with the Chehalis Indian institution in Oakville, Washington; Puyallup Indian college in Tacoma, Washington; Chemawa Indian university in Salem, Oregon; Wind River Indian tuition in Wind River, Wyoming; Jones Male Academy in Hartshorne, Oklahoma; and Siletz Indian company in Oregon.

In this memoir Chalcraft discusses the furnish peace coverage, the inspection approach, allotment, the remedy of tuberculosis, corporal punishment, alcoholism, and patronage. huge insurance is usually given to the Indian Shaker Church and the government’s reaction to this perceived hazard to assimilation. Assimilation’s Agent illuminates the occasionally treacherous political maneuverings and hard judgements confronted via govt officers at Indian boarding colleges. It deals a hardly ever heard and this day arguable "top-down" view of presidency regulations to coach and assimilate Indians.

Drawing on a wide number of unpublished letters and records, Cary C. Collins’s creation and notes provide vital historic heritage and context. Assimilation’s Agent illustrates the government's long term application for facing local peoples and the shortcomings of its method in the course of some of the most consequential eras within the lengthy and sometimes bothered historical past of yank Indian and white relations.

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Extra resources for Assimilation's Agent: My Life as a Superintendent in the Indian Boarding School System

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His response to the Shaker issue demonstrated his ability to deal with difficult situations in the field, and left no doubt that he possessed a promising future in the Indian Service. 40 Another obstacle at Chehalis was one faced by all superintendents administering assimilationist policies on reservations and in Indian schools: enforcing rules requiring the mastery of English. Language, more than any other manifestation of assimilation, offered a telling gauge of acculturation. For federal officials, a discernable correlation existed between levels of fluency and levels of assimilation.

Chalcraft therefore adopted a policy discouraging adult conversions and prohibiting children’s participation in the religion. His rich memoir recounting of his extensive experience with the Shakers, particularly in the formative years following John Slocum’s initial revelations, constitutes the fullest documentation of this Native revitalization movement by a contemporary federal official. So intimate was Chalcraft’s involvement that he (with Edwin Eells) coined the term “Shakers” in describing the adherents of the religion.

His rich memoir recounting of his extensive experience with the Shakers, particularly in the formative years following John Slocum’s initial revelations, constitutes the fullest documentation of this Native revitalization movement by a contemporary federal official. So intimate was Chalcraft’s involvement that he (with Edwin Eells) coined the term “Shakers” in describing the adherents of the religion. His response to the Shaker issue demonstrated his ability to deal with difficult situations in the field, and left no doubt that he possessed a promising future in the Indian Service.

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