Mark Maxey // As Indigenous people have long known, child separation is an American tradition – People’s World

As Indigenous people have long known, child separation is an American tradition – People’s World: For Indian children, the boarding school experience began in 1860, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs established the first such institution on the Yakima Reservation in Washington state. The idea for such schools was devised by well-meaning middle class ‘reformers’ in the east like Herbert Welsh and Henry Pancoast, who had founded the Indian Rights Association to advocate for treaty rights after visiting Sioux agencies in Dakota.

“The goal of these reformers,” according to Northern Plains Reservation Aid, “was to use education as a tool to ‘assimilate’ Indian tribes into the mainstream of the ‘American way of life’.” The thought was that Indian children, by being placed into boarding schools, would absorb an appreciation for private property, material wealth, the Protestant work ethic, and monogamous nuclear families.

White men’s beliefs and social principles were thus equated with progress, and the task of ‘civilizing’ Indians required surrounding them with these value systems.

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    Echoes of ‘white man’s burden’ per imperialist Kipling.

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