The order and discipline of pupils depend altogether upon the controlling influence of the teachers in charge. It is easy to govern children if an interest in their studies is awakened within them, but this cannot be accomplished without making their lessons attractive and intelligible to them by practical illustrations, and wherever the teachers adopt this method of imparting instruction their schools are orderly and progressive, and the parents are usually interested in the education of their children, and knowledge is disseminated among them; whereas, on the contrary, when their understanding is not enlightened by copious illustrations, corporal punishment is resorted to invariably to enforce obedience, and the children and their parents are neither edified nor interested in school matters.
The boarding-school at Portage la Prairie, under the auspices of the Presbyterian mission, is a model one, and is deserving of every encouragement from the department. Miss Fraser, the principal, and Miss Laidlaw, the teacher, are eminently qualified by natural and acquired ability for the positions they occupy. Those at Pine Creek and Water Hen River are admirably conducted by the teachers in charge. The industrial-school at St. Paul's under the management of Mr. Principal Fairlie, recently appointed, and of Instructor McDougall, promises to be a wonderful success; and that at St. Boniface is second to none in Canada in artistical accomplishment, musical attainments, literary acquirements, industrial achievements and agricultural performance.
Vital Statistics. - This superintendency embraces eight agencies and sixty-seven bands of Swampy-Cree and Ojibbewa Indians, and has a population of nine thousand five hundred and six, namely: two thousand and ninety men, two thousand four hundred and twelve women and five thousand and four children, an increase of one hundred and twenty-five over that of the preceding year. The number of births during the year was four hundred and six and of deaths three hundred and forty, an increase of sixty-six, besides fifty-nine absentees who have returned to their reserves.
Religion. - There are twenty chapels erected by the different denominations for missionary purposes, namely, nine by the Episcopalians, six by the Roman Catholics, four by the Methodists and one by the Baptists. Two-thirds of the Indians are nominal Christians, and the remainder are pagans.
Characteristics and Progress. - Indians are generally improvident and lack application, self-reliance and perseverance, so indispensable in acquiring a competence, or in accumulating the necessaries of life beyond their immediate requirements, but some individuals are most industrious and progressive in cultivating their lands and in improving their dwelling-houses.
Temperance and Morality. - They are remarkably law-abiding, excepting when under the influence of intoxicating liquor, which occasionally is supplied those frequenting towns or cities by vile and disreputable characters, for immoral purposes, but on account of the vigilance of officials and of policemen this demoralizing traffic is diminishing.