The industrial-schools are paid for at various rates and according to the locality in which each is situated, as is shown by the return herewith.
The department has fully recognized its inability to conduct such institutions as economically as can be done by denominations, and consequently it has endeavoured to have their management placed in the hands of the respective churches interested in them. That dreadful disease, scrofula, so prevalent in the Indian, makes him greatly predisposed to pulmonary attacks, and finally carries him to an early grave. Upon this account the department has found that it must be guarded in its selection of children for the schools, and is enforcing a rule requiring new pupils to pass an examination as to health before enrolment.
Reports received show that the general health of the children has been good, and the department, recognizing its importance, has endeavoured to secure proper ventilation in the various buildings; this was sadly deficient in those first occupied, some, having originally been used for other than school purposes.
As the future of the Indian youth must necessarily, in the main, be dependent on farming and stock-raising, the attention of the schools is now being more particularly turned in that direction: all boys must do a certain amount of this work, whether they are learning trades or not. Ever precaution is taken to guard against fire, by providing buildings with fire-buckets, babcocks, grenades, & c. All new buildings are provided with large fire-tanks, placed in the upper part of them, with pipes running throughout, to which hose can be attached.
At Qu'Appelle, where the largest of the Indian institutions is in operation, besides the above, a hand-engine has been furnished.
But, despite these measures, the department regrets to be compelled to report the loss during the year, at Elkhorn, of the main or centre building, and the girls building, along with much property. This serious loss has consequently entailed greatly increased expenditure at a time when it had been confidently expected that the institution would have been conducted at a minimum of cost.
The policy of the department, as to the retention of pupils, has been that boys should remain at the industrial-schools until they attain an age at which, in addition to their having obtained a rudimentary education and some trade or calling, or at least some knowledge of carpentry, their characters shall have been sufficiently formed as to ensure as much as possible against their returning to the uncivilized mode of life. In the event of a boy returning to his reserve - and for the majority, for the present at least, there appears to be no alternative - leave of absence is granted; a suitable location of land is selected, if proper provision is not otherwise made, a house is built by the boy himself, and some simple furniture, made while he is still a member of the institution, is given him. In addition to this, if these are not had through the parents, cattle and implements are provided to enable the young fellow to continue in the course followed at the institution from which he comes. It is considered advisable, where pupils are advanced in years and considered capable of providing for themselves, to bring about a matrimonial alliance, either at the time of being discharged from the school or as soon after as possible; this course commends itself for various reasons.