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

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

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

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

Synopsis

Assimilation's Agent reveals the life and opinions of Edwin L. Chalcraft (1855-1943), a superintendent in the federal Indian boarding schools during the critical period of forced assimilation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Chalcraft was hired by the Office of Indian Affairs (now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs) in 1883. During his nearly four decades of service, he worked at a number of Indian boarding schools and agencies, including the Chehalis Indian School in Oakville, Washington; Puyallup Indian School in Tacoma, Washington; Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon; Wind River Indian School in Wind River, Wyoming; Jones Male Academy in Hartshorne, Oklahoma; and Siletz Indian Agency in Oregon. In this memoir Chalcraft discusses the Grant peace policy, the inspection system, allotment, the treatment of tuberculosis, corporal punishment, alcoholism, and patronage. Extensive coverage is also given to the Indian Shaker Church and the government's response to this perceived threat to assimilation. Assimilation's Agent illuminates the sometimes treacherous political maneuverings and difficult decisions faced by

Excerpt

In writing the following, there is no thought in mind that it is to be a formal biography, but rather a simple and brief statement of some of the experiences of two young people whose acquaintance and association covered many years prior to the time they were united for life, which proved to be a life of activity and contentment, with a full measure of love and happiness for both, until a ripe old age, when the time came for the beloved wife to pass away and leave the husband, a son with his wife and three children, and a daughter to revere her sacred memory.

The husband, Edwin L. Chalcraft, oldest son of Richard and Lucy Chalcraft, was born November 13, 1855, on his father's farm near Albion, Edwards County, Illinois, where he lived to the time of his marriage. His father was born at Abbot's Pond, near Tilford, in Surrey, England, and came to America with his parents in 1838. His mother was born at Wanborough, near Albion, of English parents who came in 1818. The two families were known as Episcopalians and their children were baptized by Reverend Benjamin Hutchins, Pastor of the Episcopal Church in Albion. On August 19, 1877, Edwin L. Chalcraft, under the preaching of Rev. George E. Flower, united with the Christian Church in Albion, and has since been connected with that Church.

The wife, Alice Fawcett Pickering, oldest daughter of Richard and Emily Elizabeth Pickering, was born at Albion, June 16, 1858, in the dwelling later known as the "Emmerson" house, where her parents were then living. The greater part of her life was spent on her father's . . .

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