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RG2497.AM:  Santee Normal Training School (Santee, Nebraska)

Records and printed matter:  1888-1933

Santee, Knox County, Nebraska:  

Size:  0.75 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


The Reverend Alfred L. Riggs, a Congregational missionary, founded the Santee Normal Training School in 1870. The primary purpose of the school was to provide training and education to members of the Santee Sioux Tribe who had been exiled from their ancestral home in Minnesota following the Sioux uprising of 1862. The Tribe was first placed on a reservation at Crow Creek, Dakota Territory. When this location proved poor for farming purposes, with little available timber, it was determined to relocate the Santee on the Niobrara River in northern Knox County, Nebraska. In the summer of 1866, the Santee were moved to Nebraska, accompanied by the missions of the Episcopal Church, and the American Board of Foreign Missions.

Under the direction of the Reverend Riggs, the Santee Normal Training School became a leader in educational work among the Indians. Its graduates included ministers, missionaries, teachers, nurses, and engineers, as well as farmers and blacksmiths. Many students came to Santee from other reservations throughout the Great Plains area. At one time the institution boasted 18 buildings, and 480 acres of land, and enrollment exceeded 200. Courses offered included history, literature, physics, chemistry, mineralogy, zoology, botany, mathematics, music, and art. Instruction was also offered in vocational fields such as agriculture, carpentry and home economics.

Upon the death of Alfred Riggs in 1916, his son, Fredrick, became Principal of the Santee Normal Training School, a position he held until his retirement in 1933. In 1936 financial difficulties and loss of government subsidies forced the closing of the institution.


This collection consists of manuscript materials relating to the Santee Normal Training School and is arranged in three series: 1) Correspondence, 1914-c.1929; 2) Printed Matter; 3) Miscellany.

The bulk of the collection contains tracts and pamphlets relating to the history and activities of the school, 1888-1933. Much of the material is printed in the Dakota language and was published by the Santee Normal Training School. The pamphlets are mostly of an instructional nature, probably intended for the use by the students at the school. The smaller tracts relate to the general activities of the institution and were apparently intended for general public distribution.

Additional materials in the collection include biographical sketches of the Reverend Alfred Riggs, and attendance records of the Santee Normal Training School. Note: Copies of the “Word Carrier,” (“Iapi Oaye”) the school paper, are in the NSHS Library collections on microfilm.


Series 1 – Correspondence

Box 1


  1. Correspondence, 1914-c.1929

Series 2 – Printed matter

Box 1


  1. Student directories, 1881-1933 [incomplete]

  2. Dakota Alphabet, “ABC Wowapi” [in the Dakota language]

    “Waonspekiye Kin De Tawa” (see oversize)

  3. Congregational Church pamphlets [in the Dakota language]:

    Dakota Catechism, “Dakota Wiwicawangapi Kin”

    “Wowapi Waken Kin Token Eya he” [2 copies]

    Congregational Way, “Congregational Woope Wowapi”

  4. Weekly Bible Lesson, “Anpetu Wakan Tawoonspe”

    Hymn book, lacks cover and title [in the Dakota language]

  5. Life of Paul, “Yewicasipi Taanpetupi En” (1895) [in the Dakota language, 1 copy]

    Life of Paul, “Yewicasipi Taanpeta” (1925) [in the Dakota language, 5 copies]

  6. Life of Paul, “Yewicasipi Taanpeta” (1925) [in the Dakota language; 3 copies]

    Life of Christ, “Jesus Taanpetu” [in the Dakota language; 2 copies]

  7. Life of Abraham Lincoln and Aesop’s Fables, “Abraham Lincoln Toni kin qa Aesop Towoyake Kin” (1893) [in the Dakota language; 5 copies]

  8. “Sunkawakan Wicayuhapi” [8 copies]

  9. Constitution and Bylaws of the following [in the Dakota language]:

    Conference of Dakota Congregational Women, “Woiciconze qa Woope”; (“Congregational Winyan Ptaya Omniciye”)

    Society of Christian Endeavor, “Htakiniwarinskanpi Okodakiciye Woope Kin” [2 copies]

    Dakota YMCA, “Wocekiye Owicohan Woicicage Woope” (“Dakota Kristian Koska Okodakiciye”)

  10. Miscellaneous Dakota language pamphlets:

    “United States en Woicicage Woope Kin,” Constitution of the United States

    “Candi Token Wayusica”

    “Wheeler-Howard Woope Kin” [2 copies]


    “Lakota on Wiwicayungapi Kte Cin”

    “Ikceoyate Owotanna Wicakuwapi Kta e Omniciye Kin”

    “Taku Wicayazan Kage Cin”

  11. “Lessons in the Path of Life, Wiconi Tawoonspe,” by A.L. Riggs [1 copy in English, 1 copy in the Dakota language]

  12. Pamphlets relating to education, Indians, the Santee School and missions [in English]

  13. Pamphlets relating to education, Indians, the Santee School and missions [in English]

  14. Miscellaneous printed items in English

  15. Programs, 1931-1932

Series 3 – Miscellany

Box 2


  1. Misc. Dakota language mimeographs/lessons

  2. Photocopies of attendance and scholarship records, 1929

  3. Clippings, etc.

  4. Information about the school

  5. “Study of Dakota Students at the Santee Normal Training School,” by Elizabeth R. Gutch

    Alphabetical list of Santee Students

    Santee student list – alphabetical by post office


Subject headings:

Dakota language

Education — Nebraska — Knox County

Great Plains — Languages

Indians of North America — Cultural assimilation

Indians of North America — Education

Indians of North America — Languages — Imprints

Indians of North America — Languages — Texts

Indians of North America — Missions

Indians of North America — Nebraska

Indians of North America — Newspapers

Missions — Nebraska — Knox County

Missionaries — Nebraska — Knox County

Riggs, Alfred Longley, 1837-1916

Santee Sioux Indians — Education

Siouan Indians — Education


04-06-2007   TMM/tmm