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Executive Order—Civil Service: Indian Rules

October 01, 1891

The classified Indian service shall include all the physicians, school superintendents, assistant superintendents, school-teachers, and matrons in that service, classified under the provisions of section 6 of the act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States, approved January 16, 1883.


I. To test fitness for admission to the classified Indian service examinations of a practical character shall be provided on such subjects as the Commission may direct for physician, superintendent, assistant superintendent, teachers, and matrons.

2. The following age limitations shall apply to applicants for examination for the classified Indian service: For physician, not under 25 years of age nor over 45; for superintendent, not under 25 nor over 50; for assistant superintendent and for teacher, not under 20 nor over 50; for matron, not under 25 nor over 55: Provided, That these limitations shall not apply to the wives of superintendents of Indian schools who apply for the position of matron, nor shall the maximum limitations apply to persons allowed preference under section 1754, Revised Statutes, by the Commission.

3. Blank forms of application shall be furnished by the Commission, and the date of reception and also of approval by the Commission of each application shall be noted on the application paper.


I. The papers of every examination shall be marked under regulations made by the Commission. Each competitor shall be graded on a scale of 100, according to the general average determined by the markings.

2. Immediately after the general average shall have been ascertained each competitor shall be notified that he has passed or has failed to pass.

3. A competitor who has failed to pass an examination may, with file consent of the Commission, be allowed reexamination at any time within six months from the date of failure without filing a new application; but if he be not allowed reexamination within six months he shall be required to file a new application before again examined.

4. No eligible shall be allowed reexamination during the period of his eligibility unless he shall furnish satisfactory evidence to the Commission that at the time of his examination, because of illness or other good cause, he was incapable of doing himself justice; and his rating on such reexamination shall cancel and be a substitute for his rating on his former examination.

5. All competitors whose claim to preference under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes have been allowed by the Commission who attain a general average of 65 per cent or over, and all other competitors who attain a general average of 70 per cent or over, shall be eligible for appointment to the place for which they were examined. The names of all the competitors thus rendered eligible shall be entered in the order of grade on the proper register of eligibles.

6. When two or more eligibles are of the same grade, preference in certification shall be determined by the order in which the application papers are filed.

7. For the Indian service there shall be four districts and a separate register of eligibles for each grade of examination for each district, the names of males and females being listed separately on each register. The districts shall be comprised as follows: No. 1, of the States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming; No. 2, of the States of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and that part of California lying north of the thirty-seventh parallel of latitude, and the Territory of Utah; No. 3, of that part of California lying south of the thirty-seventh parallel of latitude, the Territories of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, the Indian Territory, and the States of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas; No. 4, of all the States of the United States not embraced in any of the foregoing districts, together with the District of Columbia. Upon the written request of any eligible his name shall be entered upon the register of any one or more of the districts other than that in which he resides: Provided , That he shall state in writing his willingness to accept service wherever assigned in any such district.

8. The period of eligibility to appointment shall be one year from the date on which the name of the eligible is entered on the register unless otherwise determined by regulation of the Commission.


I. All vacancies, unless filled by promotion, transfer, or reappointment, shall be filled in the following manner:

(a) The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, through the Secretary of the Interior, shall, in form and manner to be prescribed by the Commission, request the certification to him of male or female eligibles from the district in which the vacancy exists.

(b) If fitness for the vacant place is tested by competitive examination, the Commission shall certify from the proper register of the district in which the vacancy exists the names of the three eligibles thereon of the sex called for having the highest averages: Provided , That the eligibles upon any register who have been allowed preference under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes shall be certified according to their grade before all other eligibles thereon: And provided further , That if the vacancy is in the grade of matron or teacher, and the wife of the superintendent of the school in which the vacancy exists is an eligible, she may be given preference in certification if the appointing officer so requests.

2. Of the three names certified to him the appointing officer shall select one, and if at the time of making this selection there are more vacancies than one he may select more than one: Provided , That if the appointing officer to whom certification has been made shall object in writing to any eligible named in the certificate, stating that because of physical incapacity or for other good cause particularly specified such eligible is not capable of properly performing the duties of the vacant place, the Commission may, upon investigation and ascertainment of the fact that the objection made is good and well rounded, direct the certification of another eligible in place of the one objected to.

3. Each person thus designated for appointment shall be notified, and upon indicating acceptance shall be appointed for a probationary period--if a physician, for six months, and if a school employee, to expire at the end of the then current school year--at the end of which period, if his conduct and capacity be satisfactory to the appointing officer, he shall receive absolute appointment; but if his conduct and capacity be not satisfactory to said officer he shall be so notified, and this notification shall be his discharge from the service: Provided , That any probationer may be discharged during probation for misconduct or evident unfitness or incapacity.

4. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall require the officer under whom a probationer may he serving to carefully observe and report in writing upon the services rendered by and the character and qualifications of such probationer as to punctuality, industry, habits, ability, and adaptability. These reports shall be preserved on the, and the Commission may prescribe the form and manner in which they shall be made.

5. In case of the sudden occurrence of a vacancy in any school during a school term which the public interest requires to be immediately filled, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs is authorized, in his discretion, to provide for the temporary filling of the same until a regular appointment can be made under the provisions of sections 1, 2, and 3 of this rule, and when such regular appointment is made the temporary appointment shall terminate. All temporary appointments made under this authority and their termination shall at once be reported to the Commission.


Until promotion regulations shall have been applied to the classified Indian service promotions therein may be made upon any test of fitness determined upon by the promoting officer if not disapproved by the Commission: Provided , That preference in promotion in any school shall be given to those longest in the service unless there are good reasons to the contrary; and when such reasons prevail they shall, through the proper channels, be reported to the Commission: And provided further , That no one shall be promoted to any grade he could not enter by original appointment under the minimum age limitation applied thereto by Indian Rule II, section 2, and that no one shall be promoted to the grade of physician from any other grade.


Subject to the conditions stated in Rule IV, transfers may be made after absolute appointment from one school to another and from one district to another under such regulations as the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, may prescribe.


Upon the requisition of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, through the Secretary of the Interior, the Commission shall certify for reinstatement in a grade or class no higher than that in which he was formerly employed any person who within one year next preceding the date of the requisition has through no delinquency or misconduct been separated from the classified Indian service: Provided, That certification may be made, subject to the other conditions of this rule, for the reinstatement of any person who served in the military or naval service of the United States in the late War of the Rebellion and was honorably discharged therefrom, without regard to the length of time he has been separated from the service.


The Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall report to the Commission--

(a) Every probational and every absolute appointment in the classified Indian service.

(b) Every refusal to make an absolute appointment and the reason therefor, and every refusal to accept an appointment.

(c) Every separation from the classified Indian service and the cause of such separation, whether death, resignation, or dismissal.

(d) Every restoration to the classified Indian service.

These rules shall take effect October 1, 1891.


Benjamin Harrison, Executive Order—Civil Service: Indian Rules Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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