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Donna Flood
An Indian Boy of Spirit

This story was taken from the weekly newsletter of 

Some times when a young man leaves Carlisle school and goes to his 
home on the reservation he thinks on the way there "I am not going to do
as the old Indians. I shall find work and I intend to faithfully perform
what I find to do."
  I suppose every boy has such thoughts as these whenever he thinks
about going home.
  Such boys nearly always ask tha Agent for work.
  Well! The agent can't give work to every boy who comes back from
school, and he often has to say, "No, sir! I have no work for you."
  Then the boy is discouraged and wants to give up trying to be decent,
and some actually fall back to the dirt and low Indian life.
  Now here is a story of an Indian boy who had some spirit.
  This fellow's name was James.  When he first got home he asked the
Agent of his tribe in the Indian Territory to let him work in the
harness shop.
  The agent could not employ him for the shop was full.
  "Let me try the blacksmith shop, I have worked at that trade, too,
sir, and will do my best for you," said James.
  "I can't do that, either," answered the agent.  "Can't I help on the
farm?" James asked again.
  "No sir! No chance there.  I am sorry for you, my boy, but you have
come to a very poor place to find work.  Why, there are forty Indians
after me every day, asking for work, and the Government gives me very
little money to pay out in that way."
  James now began to feel somewhat discouraged, but he was not going to
lie around the agency doing nothing, so he left his home, and went up
into Kansas to try to find something to do among the farmers.
  His mother, aunts, uncles, and all his friends begged of him to stay at home.
  His mother cried, "Stay with me, my son! Don't go and leave us again.
You will die.  The white people will starve you to death.  Here you can
get meat and flour, and you will not have to work.  I will give you a
pony to ride; and I will cook your food for you.  Oh! stay here, my son!
If you go I shall kill myself."
  His father commanded him to remain at home.  James loved his father
and mother, and he did not like to go different from the way they wanted
him to.  The temptation to stay was great, but his MANLINESS WAS
  "No," said he to his parents, after thinking awhile, "I would be
ashamed to stay here and let the Government feed me.  I am a young man,
and strong.  I can work and I MUST work to earn some money.  The Agent
gave me nothing to do.  I must try to find work some place else.
Good-bye, mother; Good-bye, father.
 Some day I may come to see you, and if I am successful in finding
something to do I will save the money I earn, and will help you up out
of this dirt.  You shall have something besides the ground to sit on,
and I hope a better house than this poor old tent.  Good-bye, again,"
and off he started.
  The journey was a long one, but on the evening of the second day he
began to come to settlements of white people.  He went to several farm
houses, and asked for work. "No! We don't like Indians" was the answer
  "We do not trust the red skins," was the reply one place.
  "I am not a wild Indian," said James, "I have been in the east going
to school, and I promise to do my best if you take me."
  The man slammed the door in the boy's face and told him if he did not
leave he'd set his cross dog on him.  He said "Indians half educated are
the worst kind.  Leave my house."
  James with hurt feelings was glad to leave that farm.  He was hungry
and tired.  He walked on a little farther and sat down under a tree to
rest.  The words of his mother then came to him: "Stay home, you can get
meat and flour and sugar and coffee without work," and he jumped up and
said "I'll go home.  There is no use trying to find work.  These people
don't like Indians." So he walked on towards his home thinking how glad
his mother would be to see him, but he had not gone far when his  MANLY
thoughts came again and made him feel ashamed of going home to his
mother as a great baby would do.
  He stopped still for five minutes or more and had a hard fight in his
own mind.  His better thoughts conquered again.
  "I WILL NOT GO BACK," he said.
  Just then he saw two men coming in a carriage.  He stopped them, and
asked the gentleman nearest him: "Do you want a boy to work for you,
  "No," was the gruff reply, and he gave his horses a touch of the whip
to make them go on, but the other gentleman cried out. "Hold on! I want
to speak to that chap."
  This was a kind-hearted gentleman and he noticed how disappointed
James looked, and asked: "Can't you get a place?"
  "I've asked a great many people but no one will have me, and I am
about tired out." replied James.
  "Don't be discouraged," the man said in a friendly tone.
  'Oh, no sir," said James, "I hope on, because this is a very big
world, and I feel certain God has something for me to do in it.  I am
only trying to find it."
  "Just so, just so!" said the gentleman, "Come with me, my boy.  I want
somebody like you."
  James went with the strange man, who lived on a large farm.
  He worked hard and did everything as his employer directed, and when
he had a chance of using his own judgment about things he did it in a thoughtful
  The man liked him much and James staid there with him for five years.
At first he received very small pay but as he improved in his work his
pay improved and the last three years he received two hundred dollars a
year.  He spent very little for clothing.  His mind was not on yellow
watch-chains, high-heeled boots, gay neckties, fine silk handkerchiefs.
"All these things are very nice," he thought, "but if I spend my money
for such things when I am young when I get older I can't help my mother
and father out of the dirt as I promised.  No, indeed, I shall save
every penny I can," and he did save the pennies.  He always had a good,
clean Sunday suit, but he never wore his good clothes at work.  When
Sunday evening came he always brushed them and put them away nicely.  So
he made one good suit last him a long time.  He had some sense, for he
did not give his things away just for fun, and he saved every penny he
  He was doing well in every way, and the neighboring farmers began to
think that perhaps Indians were just like other people, and could stick
to one place, when one day he was tempted again.  A young white fellow
came along and said to James as he was working in the corn, "My, friend,
you work very hard.  Don't you get tired?"
  "Yes!" said James, "I get tired all over sometimes but I get rested
again when I stop work in the evenings."
  "How much pay do you get?" was the next question.
  "$200 a year and board and washing," was James prompt reply.
  "Ha! Ha! Two hundred dollars! Why, you foolish boy! You work too hard,
for that little pay. I get $40 a month.  I don't work half as hard as
you do.  Come on! Leave this man.  He is a mean old thing to give you
only $200 a year," said the stranger.
  James opened wide his eyes, and mouth.  Forty dollars a month was big
pay he thought, but before answering he turned the matter over and over
in his mind then asked, 'You say you get $40 a month?"
  "Yes, sir."
  "How much do you pay for your washing?"
  "Fifty cents a week."
  "How many suits of clothes do you buy every year?"
  "Three, because my business calls me out among people, and if I don't
keep well dressed my employer will not keep me."
  "Have you a pencil?"
  "Yes, sir! Here is one."
  James sat down on the cultivator while his horse rested and figured up
that young man's expenses, and he counted up his own, and found that at
the end of a year he would have more money in his pocket than the
stranger, because the stranger smoked and James spent no money for
tobacco.  After he was done counting, he looked up and said, "Well, sir,
I am better off than you.  You can't make me leave a good home and
follow your advice, No, sir.  Good-bye, sir, I must go to work."
  He went to work and at the end of five years he had saved $600.  He
used the hard earned money wisely, and today he is not one of those lazy
Indians on the plains at whom everybody looks with disgust, and says in
his breast, "Keep out of my way, you filthy thing.  Stay on your own
ground and I will stay on mine. You are lazy and ignorant."
  Nobody says that about James.  When he was twenty-five years old he
had enough money to support a wife, so he married a school girl who had
learned how to keep house nicely, and he and his family are respected by
all who know them, and they live happily and comfortably on a farm of
their own.
  Courage, trust in God, and confidence in himself, boys, is what found
this boy a place.  Imitate his example when you go away from this
institution and shun idleness as you would a murderer, for it is the
worst of all evils.
  IDLENESS is the foundation of nearly all crimes that are committed.
  Industry will never get you into trouble.

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