During the American Colonial period, the primary focus of colonists was to establish their own settlements in order to survive in the new continent. However, many of them believed that it was their responsibility to Christianize and civilize Native Americans. The educational institutions they established became the forerunners of the boarding schools which arose later in the 19th century both in the United States and in Canada (Stout 1). The aim of these schools was to resolve the so called “Indian-Problem” and to assimilate American Indians by separating Native children from their families and teaching them the American or the Canadian way of life (Trafzer, Keller and Sisquoc 14). Children in boarding schools were taught to be ashamed of and to reject their cultural heritage, ancestors and spiritual traditions (Chansonneuve 43). Moreover, boarding schools were usually underfunded, which had a negative impact on numerous aspects of school life and on the health of children (Daniels, 151). Therefore, with their harsh discipline and poor living conditions, boarding schools had damaging effects on Native people’s lives, and they contributed to many of the problems Native Americans have to face the present-day both in the U.S. and in Canada.
Throughout assimilation, there was a cultural barrier between the Indians and the teachers. At the core of this barrier was the idea that one culture was more civilized than the other. This idea can be seen in both Native American boarding schools and at St. Lucy’s. As stated in Sarah E. Stone’s dissertation, the teachers at Native American boarding schools were not “culturally familiar” (57) with the students and, as a result, treated them differently. Similarly, at St. Lucy’s the nuns saw the wolf girls as barbaric people and treated them accordingly. The teachers and nuns believed that since they were the civilized culture, they must assimilate the more savage people into their way of life and help them become as stated in Karen Russell’s
Americanization and Indian Boarding School The history of Native Americans was full of violent, cheats and sadness. From Spanish conquerors, English settlers to U. S Government, Native Americans lost their battles against these parties with greater power. As a result, their home lands, people and culture were consistently threatened by different societies.
As the wild west opened, so did new opportunities for American to strike it rich. But with the wild west opening up for the Americans, Indian lands were being encroached for railroads and homesteads. Indians were being pushed into reservations, their children sent to assimilation schools such a the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. In the horrors of American assimilation targeted at young Native American children, many children would face the struggle of losing their identity or face punishment of resisting assimilation. In the assimilation stories of Zitkala Sa’s Impressions of an Indian Childhood and Sherman Alexie’s Indian Education, tells the tale of their childhood experience being integrated into “American culture”.
Over the past few decades, there has been many distinct perspectives and conflicts surrounding the historical context between the Indigenous peoples in Canada and the Canadian Government. In source one, the author P.J Anderson is trying to convey that the absolute goal of the Indian Residential School system in Canada has been to assimilate the Indian nation and provide them with guidance to “ forget their Indian habits”, and become educated of the “ arts of civilized life”, in order to help them integrate into society and “become one” with their “White brethren”. It is clearly evident throughout the source that the author is supportive of the Indian residential school system and strongly believes that the Indian residential School System
Indian Boarding schools were created in the 1800s to “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” They achieved this by transforming the natives looks, culture, language, and teaching them a certain way so they would be able to function in a “european society”. Indian boarding schools taught students both academic and “real world” skills, but they did so while ripping the indians from their culture. Most indian boarding schools were the same with their tactics in transforming the native man into a white one.
“....I believe in immersing the Indian in our civilization and when we get them under, holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked.”, said Richard Henry Pratt. Richard Pratt founded the United States’ first indian boarding school. Carlisle Indian Industrial School was established in the year of 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Indian Boarding Schools were created to decimate traditional indian culture, and replace it with white, american culture. There were a plethora of indian boarding schools established in the United States. For instance, Concho Indian Boarding School in Concho,Oklahoma , Sante Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or or Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nevada. These schools spanned all over the United States. In these schools, Native American children, taken from their homes and families, were taught mathematics and english, as well as trivial subjects such as farming and sewing. These schools served as a way to eliminate the culture of Native Americans.
During the boarding schools, the children were stripped of their indigenous culture. Their hair was cut short, and they were forced to dress “proper.” The students were forbidden to speak their native tongue (Carlisle Indian School). Students could only speak English. It did not matter if the children were from the same tribe or opposing tribe.
The nature of these boarding schools was to assimilate young Native Americans into American culture, doing away with any “savageness” that they’re supposedly predisposed to have. As Bonnin remembers the first night of her stay at the school, she says “I was tucked into bed with one of the tall girls, because she talked to me in my mother tongue and seemed to soothe me” (Bonnin 325). Even at the beginning of such a traumatic journey, the author is signaling to the audience the conditioning that she was already under. Bonnin instinctively sought out something familiar, a girl who merely spoke in the same “tongue” as her. There are already so few things that she has in her immediate surroundings that help her identify who and what she is, that she must cling to the simple familiarities to bring any semblance of comfort.
At her deathbed I stood weeping, as a paleface woman sat near her moistening the dry lips (Calloway, 430).” Zitkala-Sa describes the death of one her classmates at the Carlisle boarding school in 1921 while still very young (Calloway, 428). The boarding schools started a chain reaction of the Native children not learning their own language or traditions, cutting hair, and the gender roles reflecting the Anglo-Americans. These
These schools have been described as an instrument to wage intellectual, psychological, and cultural warfare to turn Native Americans into “Americans”. There are many reports of young Native Americans losing all cultural belonging. According to an interview with NPR, Bill Wright was sent to one of these schools. He lost his hair, his language, and then his Navajo name. When he was able to return home, he was unable to understand or speak to his grandmother.
These were schools that Native American children were sent to by Americans. The reason for doing this was that they thought that if the Native American students where sent to these schools they could essentially “fix” them. When I say fix I mean what the American people thought as turning them against their own beliefs and ways of life. Stripping these children of their culture and true self-beings.
In the speech “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”, Captain Richard Pratt claims that the savagery of the Indians poses a problem to the advancement of the American society. He argues that their surroundings including language, superstition, and lifestyle cause this problem. TO support his claim, he provides the example of an Indian and White infant. He states that raising them in opposite environments will result in the acquisition of their respective qualities. Pratt proposes the solution of sending Indians to boarding schools, so they can gradually become civilized.
Did you know that an estimated 4000 to 12,000 died on the Trail of Tears while trying to relocate for assimilation? The Trail of Tears was one of the biggest relocations in history. This was only one step in the many that it took for the American Indian to become fully assimilated into the American culture. The forced assimilation of American Indians was to be regarded with as a huge event which could be paired with the events of assimilation of the girls in “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.” In the story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by wolves you can see the visible evidence that the girls are becoming more and more assimilated into human culture.
Residential Schools was an enormous lengthening event in our history. Residential schools were to assimilate and integrate white people’s viewpoints and values to First Nations children. The schools were ran by white nuns and white priests to get rid of the “inner Indian” in the children. In residential schools, the children suffered immensely from physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse. Although the many tragedies, language was a huge loss by the First Nations children.