Who is the single greatest writer of American literature? Furthermore, what text upholds said writer as the greatest? Most people would argue that perhaps Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or even William Faulkner are top candidates for the title of the greatest writer in American literature. However, how many people would nominate a woman? How many people would nominate an indigenous woman? Not many people would argue that Zikala-Sa’s “The Soft-Hearted Sioux” qualifies her as the single greatest writer of American literature. Yes, Ralph Waldo Emerson laid the foundation for American literature with his “The American Scholar.” During which, Emerson gives a speech to the Phi Beta Kappa society at Harvard on August 31st, 1837. Oliver Wendell Homes coined the phrase “America’s intellectual declaration of independence” to describe Emerson’s speech (Scholar). Why? Simple, during his speech Emerson …show more content…
The goal of the United States was to use educations to erase Native American culture and assimilate indigenous students into European-American society (Boarding School). “Kill the Indian, save the man” stated Richard Henry Pratt—key figure in developing the Native American Boarding schools (Carlisle Indian School). The white folk saw the indigenous people as a problem. Therefore, they attempted to solve the problem through assimilation. Many indigenous people were forced to—at times—to attend the boarding schools (Boarding School). 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. All students were expected to follow the strict military style disciplinary
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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.
In “The Soft-hearted Sioux”, a Native American boy goes back home to his tribe after living at a mission school. The Sioux boy no longer connects with the people of the tribe or their culture because of his newfound belief in Christianity. As soon as he arrives, the Sioux boy finds that his father is ill. Because of his conversion to Christianity, the Sioux boy does not believe that the medicine man is healing his father and tries to guide the tribespeople away from their cultural beliefs. When the Sioux boy attempts to speak to his people about Christianity, the medicine man states, “What loyal son is he who, returning to his father’s people, wears a foreigner’s dress” (649)?
By doing this, colonial Canadians assumed that aboriginal cultural and spiritual beliefs were invalid in relation to European beliefs (244). The problem with ridding the First Nations Peoples of their languages, as Williston points out is to “deprive them of the sense of place that has defined them for thousands of years” (245). The private schooling system was an attack on First Nations identities, and their identity is rooted in “a respect for nature and its processes” (245).
As time moved forward, the relationship between Europeans and Natives started to change, and with this change came forced assimilation. For the Natives, the Europeans saw the forced assimilation as there way of civilizing them (Lahlum, 22 Feb 2017). One of the main features of forced assimilation was Indian Boarding schools. In these schools, they teach the Native children English and Christianity (Laliberte, Natives, Neighbors, and the National Game, 2010). On the other hand, the immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia willingly adapted there culture to include aspects of Minnesota/ American Culture.
Through this expansion they perpetrated the physical and cultural genocide of Native Americans, consequently, leading to the deaths of millions (Burton, January 17th, 2023). Lewis Morgan defined three stages of culture: savagery, barbarism, and civilization (Burton, January 17th, 2023). Furthermore, this was the execution plan Pratt intended to oversee as he founded Carlisle and influenced schools nationwide. He is quoted in his speech stating, “We make our greatest mistake in feeding our civilization to the Indians instead of feeding the Indians to our civilization” (Pratt, 1892). This quotation encapsulates the violent extent assimilationists such as himself were willing to go to eradicate the ‘Indian’ in the man.
It is important to ensure that all students feel comfortable among each other and understand each other so they can learn from each other. Therefore, if there are any stigmas associated with American Indians and their education that can be projected by their peers, it is due to the negative images and thoughts provoked by the inaccurate history taught in the classrooms. It is important that students are getting a precise and truthful education so that the lack of understanding towards and about Native Americans can be avoided and how that can be reflected in the education
Imagine being ripped apart from family members, culture, tradition, and labelled a savage that needs to be educated. Imagine constantly facing punishment at school for being one’s self. Unfortunately, these events were faced head on for many First Nations people living in Canada in the late 20th century. These First Nations people were the victims of an extensive school system set up by the government to eradicate Aboriginal culture across Canada and to assimilate them into what was considered a mainstream society.
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.
During the 1900s, there were many famous authors who wrote about African Americans and Civil Rights. This was what was going on during this time period. Segregation and discrimination towards blacks was increasing. Two famous authors were Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. Langston Hughes wrote the poem “I, Too, Sing America.”
1. Pratt opposed reservations because Jefferson’s treaty agreement meant the Great River would be the border between them and the whites. Indians would be isolated and not a part of the American life. 2. Schools would “kill the Indian and save the man” by introducing them to the life of an American.
When thinking of a historical figure, many imagine a president, king, or general that lead a country to greatness, but never realized some could be the ones who influence the minds of society. Although not thought of as anything, writers and poets hold the key to shaping the society’s mindset without even knowing it. Being a civil rights activist, social activist, and role model for women makes Maya Angelou a historical figure who has made a huge impact in American society and in American history. Born poor and black, she was a childhood victim of rape, shamed into silence. She was a young single mother who had to work at strip clubs for a living.
The native children that were sent to residential schools misbehaved to to the strict procedures they were forced to accept. They were punished through a variety of means. One punishment Saul experienced was the mouths of every child were washed out with Lye soap. “There was no tolerance for Indian talk. On the second day I was there, a boy named Curtis White Fox had his mouth washed out with Lye soap for speaking Ojibway.”
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”.
The government believed that if the children remained with their parents the problems would only increase, with the boarding schools it would make it easier to cut off their culture and religions. They decided it was best to christianize the children making almost every boarding schools either christian or catholic. The Native American kids were forced into going to church two to three times a day. It was against the
In the story “Bleeding the Children to Feed the Mother-House’, a history of Native residential schools is talked about and reflected upon. J. R. Miller, the author of the story recounts numerous descriptions from the viewpoints of the children and real life testimonies of those who were affected by the residential schools and how it impacted their lives as children. Food, clothing, and health conditions were all factors that played major parts in the lives of the students of residential schools and how they were treated during their time at these facilities. Treatment of the children was poor and the living conditions they survived in were anything less than acceptable in terms of being treated as dignified human beings. Within this essay