As the mid 1930s Work Progress Administration programs swept the nation,
the growing economic importance of craft production by Southwestern Native
Americans was recognized. Government officials began to encourage self-help
developments in other Native Americans communities. Ceramic projects were
introduced in the schools so that children on the reservations could make
pottery for use in their homes.
In November 1936 Bruce Doyle an instructor at the U.S. Indian School in
Bismarck was transferred to the school at the U.S. Indian Reservation at
Fort Yates as ceramics director. In June & September 1937 he was in contact
with Freida Hammers, an instructor in ceramics at UND who was giving him
information on clay and glazes because he prepared his own glazes.
This shows that Doyle was working with pottery at Fort Yates in 1937 and
possibly before. Doyle was a self taught chemist who took ceramic classes at
the University of Washington, University of California at Los Angeles,
University of Oregon, and University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After WPA
Ceramics moved to Mandan, ND. in November 1936 Fort Yates did the firing of
their green ware as at this time WPA did not have a kiln at Mandan.
Margaret Cable, director of the University of North Dakota ceramics
department, served as Traveling Educational Expert in Ceramics, Indian
Service at Large for the United State Field Services went to Pine Ridge
Reservation in SD. in 1937 for six months. Doyle was in Cable’s class and
soon thereafter transferred to Pine Ridge as director of the school pottery