MISSIONS OF THE AMERICAN BOARD AMONG THE INDIANS.
Abstracted from the Missionary Herald for the New York Observer.
CHEROKEES.- Among the Cherokees there are seven churches, embracing 159 members,- and 174 children in the schools. More than 100 of the scholars reside in the mission families, perform various kinds of labor, and are trained up like the children of Christian parents. About 150 have left the school at Brainerd alone, most of them having made considerable advance in knowledge.
The Cherokee Phoenix, a weekly paper, was commenced in February last. Many portions of Scripture, in the alphabet of Guess, have appeared in it. Mr. Worcester is now prosecuting the study of the language for the purpose of preparing school books, portions of Scripture, and other religious Tracts for the people.
The following general remark, taken from the nineteenth Report, in worthy of notice:
It is an unexampled fact, that in some places, nearly all the adult population, and in the tribe at large, more than one-half, are actually capable of reading their own language, in their own peculiar character, having learned from small manuscripts, and without ever having become acquainted with any other alphabet, or possessed a single page of a printed book in any language.
CHICKASAWS.- (Three words are indistinguishable) there is a church of 65 members. The people in the vicinity of whom there are 800 within ten miles have been greatly reformed. There are several instances of remarkable piety, and many are exceedingly anxious to hear the Gospel. Much seriousness prevails still. At Martyn there has been of late much serious attention to preaching, and four or five have been hopefully converted. There are five schools at different stations, three of which comprise an aggregate of 64 scholars.
CHOCTAWS.- Four Choctaws are now members of the church at Mayhew, and 18 other persons residing in the nation, or in the neighboring white settlements, who have been hopefully converted through the influence of the mission. Thirteen have joined the church while employed as laborers at the station. It is hoped that a few Choctaws who have not joined the church are pious. Many of the people manifest anxiety to hear the Gospel. The prospects of the mission, especially in the North-East part of the nation, are thought to be more favorable now, than at any former period.
There are eight schools taught at the mission stations. The whole number of pupils which have attended them during the past year is more than 170. The average number 149. Of these, 120 read the Bible, about 90 write, and 40 are attending to each of the studies, English, composition, geography and arithmetic.
The first year after the station at Mayhew was formed, there were about 20 murders committed within a few miles of it, in consequence of intoxication, and 10 lives were lost from the same cause in 1825. Within the last two years only one death has occurred, in consequence of intoxication, and that a case of accidental drowning. Severe laws have been made against the introduction of whiskey, and in some parts of the nation are vigorously enforced. Several Chiefs and Captains have been put out of office for misconduct on this subject.
CHEROKEES OF THE ARKANSAS.- The church at Dwight now contains 14 native members in good standing. The whole number received is 101 of whom three have died in the faith. The congregation there generally exceeds 100. At Mulberry from 50 to 100. There is stated preaching once in three or four weeks, at seven other villages; and the congregations vary from 20 to 120. At one of these villages the people have erected a meeting house, and there is not a family in which there is not someone who is hopefully pious. All these preaching places have been established at the solicitation of the Cherokees; and more requests of this kind are made than can be complied with.
The boarding school at Dwight contains 60 scholars, and many applications for admission to it are declined. Many of the scholars have made uncommon proficiency. At Mulberry more than 30 scholars attend daily, all boarded by their friends. The latter station was formed at the repeated solicitations of the Cherokees, who erected the school-house and the teacher's house themselves, and furnished the provisions for his family.
OSAGES.- No Osages have been received into the churches, nor have any given satisfactory evidence of piety. The wandering habits of the people, their utter ignorance of all the arts of life, their poverty and moral debasement, and the want of competent interpreters, have hitherto rendered the communication of divine truth to them intelligibly very difficult. There are two boarding schools, to which 161 children have been admitted. The one at Union now contains 35 scholars, and that at Harmony 39. Most who have left the schools were compelled to do so by their friends. Many of them had learned to read the Testament, and perform various kinds of useful labor. The children while in school make good progress.
MAUMEE INDIANS IN OHIO.- More than 40 scholars have enjoyed the advantages of this school, of whom seven have become hopefully pious; and several of them sustain a character for industry and enterprise. Hiram Thurbault and a brother have worked the last year, faithfully and without compensation, on the mission services to the family. The school now contains 22 scholars, with the prospect of enlargement.
Mackinaw.- The number of scholars in the schools, including those who live in the village of Mackinaw, is 157, of the boarding scholars, 125. The scholars have been collected from a great variety of places about Lake Huron, Michigan and Superior, and some of them from near Hudson's Bay ' the Rocky Mountains. They are bound by legal indentures to the mission with the sanction of the civil authorities of the place, to be at the direction of the mission family, to continue in the school, and to learn agriculture and the mechanic arts, for a specified number of years. Their progress is very encouraging. Eight or then of them have become hopefully pious.
TUSCARORAS AND SENECAS.- The church at Tuscarora consists of 14 native members; at Seneca, of 49; at Cattaraugus 23, in all 86. There has been a great increase of attention to religion within the last two years; within which time the church at Cattaraugus has been formed and that at Seneca much enlarged. The congregation at the latter place is about 200; at the former about 100. A meeting house has been built, or is building, at the expense of the Indians, at each of the three stations.
The school at Tuscarora contains about 25 scholars; the Sabbath School, 30; many of whom can read in the Testament. At Seneca, 184 scholars have been in the school, whose average attendance has been two years. The present number 70, most of whom are boarded in the mission family. There is also a flourishing Sabbath School for the children and one for the adults, who are taught to read their own language in translations prepared by the missionaries. The school at Cattaraugus contains about 30 scholars, who board at the station, at the expense of their parents. The Indians have erected a building for a school-house and boarding-house for the children. Contributions to a considerable amount are made among the Senecas to aid the mission.
Mr Kingsbury, who has been personally and practically acquainted with the missions of the Board among the Indians from their commencement says: From all my observations of late, among Indians of different tribes, I am impressed with the idea that there never has been a time since missions were established among them, when the Indians were so generally disposed to receive the instructions and assistance of missionaries as of present, and when there was so fair a prospect that missionary labors among them would be blessed, as the means of permanent good. I would add, however, that if the Christian public are resolved, by the blessing of God, to extend the influence of the Gospel, and civilization over the heathen tribes of our land, they must calculate that it will cost a great deal of money, and they must be willing to wait long for the result.