Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences - Essay Example

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Trafzer, Jean A. Keller, and Lorene Sisquoc (2006) was a collection of specific insights into the experiences of Indian students in boarding schools through the late nineteenth and early twentieth…
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Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences
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Teacher The book “Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences” by Clifford E. Trafzer, Jean A. Keller, and Lorene Sisquoc (2006) was a collection of specific insights into the experiences of Indian students in boarding schools through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book focused on schools like Sherman Institute, St. Boniface, Rainy Mountain, and the Rapid City Indian School, among others— and demonstrated the oppressiveness of the school regimens but also the resistance it inspired in many students durng the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the U.S. government and Christian missionary societies cooperated to "civilize," Christianize, and assimilate Indians.
The books showed that despite the school’s attempt to “civilize” its students, it still failed to destroy the native children’s tribal identities. Yet it also managed to win many pupils to appreciate the English language and other academic skills. It was a “successful failure” as Traftzer et al put it because the children managed to keep their identities as native Indians despite the school’s oppressive policy to assimilate them yet they also learned the academics taught without “losing themselves (29).
The book illustrated how culturally destructive boarding schools are to the natives and how it fosters elitism among them but it also highlighted the effort of the student’s to retain their sense of Indian identity that includes their native language that often necessitate resisting the discipline of which boarding schools impose. It showed the resolve of the students at boarding school to retain an identity that was purposely eroded through a policy of assimilation.
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Clifford E. Trafzer, Jean A. Keller, and Lorene Sisquoc Boarding School Blues: Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006 Read More
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