Education Assault on Indian Children - Essay Example

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In the essay “Education Assault on Indian Children,” the author described how colonial Americans assimilated the Indians through killing the Indian in them. Education was critical to the “process of detribalization” that sought to destroy Indian social, political, and economic structures, and practices…
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Education Assault on Indian Children
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The educational assault on Indian children came in the form of off-reservation boarding schools, which aimed to totally cut off the Indian youth from what colonials thought as the “contaminating” influences of their Indian culture (Calloway, 2012, p.426). To ensure the success of these boarding schools, attendance was “mandatory,” and parents who did not send their children to these schools were punished by not receiving their rations and annuities (Calloway, 2012, p.426). The policies in these schools advocated military-style discipline and teaching. Standing Bear, a Lakota, remembered the discomfort of wearing Western clothing and enduring monotonous routines that taught habits and values that fit the American ideas of social norms (Calloway, 2012, p.428). Loneliness and sicknesses prevailed in these schools, where some Indian youths committed suicide, while the youngest ones succumbed to illnesses (Calloway, 2012, pp.429-430). Furthermore, Indian boys and girls were prepared for their future low-skilled jobs, where boys learned vocational skills and girls learned domestic duties (Calloway, 2012, p.426). Moreover, the teachers taught the Indian youth about American patriotism, racial inferiority of the Indians, and history where Indians had little to no role in its making (Calloway, 2012, p.426).
“Sioux School Experiences” talked about the resistance of the Indians against assimilation (Calloway, 2012, p.457). Plenty of Horses killed a white man and justified it because of his loneliness and his Indian identity (Calloway, 2012, p.457). He showed his rage against unjust Indian policies through his murder, which was a single incident compared to the repeated murders of Indians across centuries. Standing Bear and Red Bird adopted American language and ways but remained Indian. They fought for Indian rights and equality throughout their lives through writing and public speaking about their experiences (Calloway, 2012, p.457).
“Sioux School Experiences” talked about the tensions between being an American and being an Indian. When being an American threatened to kill the Indian, many Indians resisted assimilation through using the education system to their own benefit. They learned the language and laws of the Americans to promote social justice and human rights for their fellow Indians.
Calloway, C.G. (2012). First peoples: A documentary survey of American Indian history (4th ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. Read More
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