Media Contact: Tozier - Int. 4306 | Information Service
For Immediate Release: January 20, 1959

Both educational and economic opportunities for Indian people were significantly increased by Federal Government action in fiscal year 1958, Secretary of the Interior Fred A. Seaton said in the Department's annual report released today.

One of the most important developments, the Bureau of Indian Affairs section 'f the annual report points out, was the launching of a new vocational training program designed to improve the job skills and earning capacity of adult Indians. During the year the Bureau reviewed and approved for purposes of the program 165 occupational courses in 65 trade or vocational schools throughout the country and 376 adult Indians were enrolled in these courses. An additional 325 applications from potential Indian trainees were on file and awaiting action at the end of the fiscal year.

Shorter-term training for specific jobs was also provided during the year for 168 Indians in industrial plants near the reservations under contracts between the Bureau and the employing companies.

Another major development was the further expansion of the adult education program which the Bureau initiated on five reservations in 1956 for the benefit of Indians who missed the advantages of schooling in their youth. By the end of the fiscal year 1958 courses of this kind were being regularly given at 72 locations on Indian reservations in the United States and among the native villages of Alaska.

Enrollment of Indian children of regular school age increased by over three recent as compared to the preceding year and reached a record high of 130,000. the total, 61 percent were enrolled in public schools, 30 percent in Federal schools operated by the Bureau, and 9 percent in mission or private schools. During the year the Bureau operated 80 boarding schools and 214 day schools including 23 trailer schools on the Navajo Reservation and 10 instructional aid school’s conducted without professional teachers in the remoter localities of Alaska. Classes were conducted for student patients in three Public Health Service Indian hospitals. Dormitory facilities were furnished by the Bureau for 2,900 Indian students who attended public schools in communities bordering the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

For the benefit of Indians seeking jobs away from the reservations, the Bureau continued providing financial help and guidance in community adjustment. Offices for this purpose were maintained in Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Joliet and Waukegan, Illinois; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, California; Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; and Dallas, Texas. At the end of the year the Joliet and Waukegan offices were closed and merged with the office in Chicago. Help in moving was provided during the year to 5,728 Indians. This included 4,331 individuals in 976 family units, 1,023 unmarried men, and 374 single women.

Income to Indian tribal groups and individual Indians from the leasing of their lands for oil and gas development dropped considerably from the record-breaking figure of more than $72,000,000 for 1957 but still reached the second- highest level in history at $55,210,467. Of this amount, more than $28,000,000 represented bonuses in a single lease sale involving lands in the Four Corner portion of the Navajo Reservation.

On the Klamath Reservation in Oregon several important steps were taken leading toward the eventual termination of Federal trust supervision in accordance with a 1954 congressional enactment. An appraisal of the tribal property was completed. Slightly over three-fourths of the tribal members elected to withdraw and receive cash payments for their individual shares of the assets. A management plan for the residual tribal estate was drawn up. At the very end of the fiscal year a division of the property between the remaining and withdrawing members was completed.