Limited English Proficiency Not So New

On June 12, 1865 Kirby Benedict, Chief Justice of New Mexico, wrote to W. P. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C. He reported the installation of Lorenzo Labadi and others as Indian Agents. They had posted bonds and taken the oath of office before the judge.
          Benedict noted, “I will state that neither the lately appointed superintendent, nor either of the four agents recently commissioned, can keep their accounts or report to you in the English language. Labadi can nearly keep his accounts in English, and in Spanish can keep them in good form and style. He understands much of the English when he hears it spoken. [Labadi was being reappointed.] Salazar speaks a very little English. The superintendent and agents will necessarily have to depend upon clerks or friends to make out their accounts and reports for them. Much, therefore, will rest upon the integrity and good faith of the clerks or friends who may be trusted in a confidential relation with the officers in this portion of the Indian affairs.”

Quoted text from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1865

Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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