Flandreau Indian High School
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
N 44° 03.851 W 096° 35.249
14T E 693214 N 4881831
Quick Description: Flandreau Indian Vocational High School had its origin in a mission school established, by P. A. Van Nice in 1872 to provide for the education of Dakota Indians.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 4/9/2007 12:28:36 PM
Waymark Code: WM1D4C
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
Views: 36

Long Description:
The school was first called Riggs school in honor of Stephen R. Riggs, a pioneer missionary among the Dakota Indians. A church was organized on October 5, 1869, and a church building was finished in the fall of 1871. It was in this building, the frame structure in what is now Moody County, that the first school was organized. One year later a new church was built north of the river and the church building in Flandreau was turned into a government school. Later the framework of this building was remodeled into a cottage for the present Indian School and the bell used at the first school is now located south of the girls' dormitory and is still in use. John Eastman, Hosea Locke, Mr. Van Nice, and Mr. Mallory were among the first teachers. There were no grades; all teaching was done by charts and pictures, and any method was used to get students interested in their work.

The location of the Flandreau Indian Vocational High School was secured mainly through the efforts of Senator R. F. Pettigrew and John Eastman, who finally got a bill through Congress in August, 1890, authorizing the building of a boarding school on the present site. The first superintendent was William V. Duggan who took up his duties on July 1, 1892, and one year later there were 98 students enrolled. The first class to graduate was a class of 12 from the ninth grade in 1898. The first school is what is now the old home economics building, the present school building not being completed until September, 1899. The name Riggs Institute was given to the new boarding school and it continued to bear that unofficial title until very recently. The official name for the school now is Flandreau Indian Vocational High School. In 1897 the dining hall and large boys' dormitory were built and 320 acres were added to the original 160 acre farm. During 1903 a new barn, industrial building and dairy were built, and the next year the office, warehouse and laundry were constructed. In 1913 a new electrical plant and annex to the girls' building were erected.

At first, an industrial teacher was provided for the school but this was changed later to teacher of agriculture. In 1908, a domestic science teacher was sent to the school, and in 1912 a manual training teacher. Although intended originally for the industrial training of Indians, not much was done in that line until after 1924 when a manual arts department was organized and vocational work among both boys and girls was given a much more prominent place. Since that time there has been a constant enlargement of the curriculum and a steady improvement in the course of study. Gradually, vocational departments were set up offering such courses as sheet metal, welding, millwork, cabinet making, engineering, auto mechanics, carpentry, general industries, painting, drafting, electrical work, masonry, commercial cookery, commercial sewing, laundering, native arts, library work, book binding, nursing and commercial work.

Leslie D. Davis became Superintendent of the school in 1894 an during his administration a number of buildings were erected on the campus. In 1899, Charles D. Rakestraw took charge until Charles F. Pierce became superintendent in 1900. During Mr. Pierce's administration many important improvements were made, including a water system, a heating system and an electrical plant. From 1909 to 1924, the school had a printing press and published a paper called the Weekly Review every Saturday. From 1910 to 1913, Lawrence F. Michael was superintendent, but Mr. Pierce returned in the latter year and remained as superintendent until 1924 when Jesse F. House took charge. Mr. House died two years later while in office and was succeeded by Special Agent Courtwright who had control for a short time until Oscar C. Upchurch became superintendent in the same year. James R. McGregor followed him in 1927 and was superintendent until 1929 when George E. Peters took charge. During the latter's administration, the new hospital, the new home economics cottage and an addition to the girls' building were completed.

Since Mr. Byron J. Brophy came to the school in 1931 as superintendent, many notable improvements have been made. Many more courses are offered in strictly vocational lines and academic work have been provided in the dormitories and the library has been greatly improved and enlarged. New machinery has been installed in the shops, power house and home economics buildings, and a new cafeteria provided for the dining hall. A new shop building has been constructed, a modern up-to-date creamery has been built, and a new water tower has been erected. Beside these, two employees' cottages have been built, the interior of the gymnasium has been remodeled and several buildings have been repaired. The water system has been improved, the campus roads have been hard-surfaced, and a clothing factory has been installed in the old home economics building. A nursery school has been installed and located in the new home economics building. An alternating system of academic and vocational work in three-week periods has been established, the students have been given a measure of self-government, and the atmosphere of the school appears to be most wholesome and progressive.

At present there are 453 students enrolled and 57 employees on the payroll. The graduating class last year numbered 88, and this year 120 students are expected to complete their work at the institution. Students are enrolled only in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades besides a few special and post-graduates. Special work is offered to students who show special talent in vocational lines and who desire to specialize in certain fields. A number of students, both Indian and white, have taken advantage of these special courses. Likewise, post-graduate courses are offered to students who have completed their regular high school work and who desire to pursue further their work in the vocational departments. The Flandreau Indian Vocational High School is now fully accredited in the state of South Dakota and is recognized as one of the understanding industrial schools in the Indian Service.

Marker Name: Flandreau Indian High School

Marker Type: Roadside

Marker Text: Not listed

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