Fort Totten Indian School (North Dakota)

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United States Gotoarrow.png American Indians Gotoarrow.png North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Indians of North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Fort Totten Indian School (North Dakota)


The initial efforts to provide education for the Indians in the vicinity of Fort Totten, North Dakota were provided by the Catholic Mission in the area. A mission school was established in 1874, which burned to the ground in 1883. It was rebuilt in 1885 and it continued to be used until 1926, when it, too, burned.

Meanwhile, the United States Army, which had a post at Fort Totten, decommissioned that post in 1890. The building were turned over to the Department of the Interior and an Indian Boarding School was established at the old fort in 1891. When the Catholic school burned in 1926, their students were joined with the Fort Totten Indian Boarding School. The school continued to operate at this site until 1959, at which time Fort Totten became a North Dakota Historical Site.


The records of the Fort Totten School are part of the Fort Totten Agency records, most of which are in the Central Plains Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration in Kansas City.

The 1900 federal census included population schedules for the Fort Tatten (as misspelled in the census records) Indian Industrial School. The census includes the non-Indian employees of the Fort Totten School, as well as many pages of Indian Population Schedules for the native population of the Reservation. They are recorded as District 264, Fort Totten Indian School, in Benson County, North Dakota.

Microfilm copies of ...Narrative and Statistical Reports... for the Fort Totten School, 1910-1938, are included in National Archives Microcopy M1011, Rolls 54-55, available in the National Archives system and in the collections of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (their microfilm numbers 1724272-1724273).


  • American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.
  • Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981.
  • Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Services. Available online
  • "Accompanying Pamphlet for Microcopy 1011", National Archives Microfilm Publications, Appendix.