Indian Assimilation from early 1800 - late 1900

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Marcus Garvey once said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” (Bro). Here, he proclaims the idea that in order to live a culture must be passed down from generation to generation, growing its roots. When two cultures were fighting for dominance in the U.S., the American government developed a plan to eradicate the First Nations’ roots, buying into the philosophy of Captain Richard H. Pratt when he stated that instead of killing all the Natives it would be of more use to “kill the Indian, and save the man” (“Kill”). Between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the United States government used boarding schools to try to assimilate Native Americans into modern American culture; however, these plans only alienated these individuals, uprooting and stripping them of their cultural identity and individuality and forcing them into a dependency upon the U.S. The original purpose of Native American boarding schools was to assimilate the members of the First Nations towards a better life, based on the Social Darwinistic belief that Indians were a lesser race than the white man. Through these boarding schools and the “altruistic missionary spirit of one of the foremost Christian races of the world” it was the hope that the process of civilizing and uplifting the Indians out of their savagery to be accelerated (“Government” 56). They believed that the schools were put in place for the children of Native American descent to be educated in the practice of personal hygiene, social cleanliness, and industrial work so that as a race they might rise to the higher level of the purity of the immigrated Americans (“Government” 57). This justification implies that the purpose of the boar... ... middle of paper ... ... Americans." History Matters. American Social Historical Productions, 7 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2014. Levchuk, Berenice. “Leaving Home for Carlisle Indian School.” Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writings of North America. Eds. Joy Harjo et al. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1997. 175-186. Print. “Rules for Indian Schools, 1890.” From U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Reprinted in The Way We Lived. 5th ed. Vol. 2. Eds. David M. Reimers, Fredrick M. Binder. Boston, NY. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 53-56. Print. Standing Bear, Luther. “First Days at Carlisle.” Native American Literature: An Anthology. Ed. Lawana Trout. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Publishing Group, 1999. 598-609. Print. Stone, Sarah E., "American Indian Education: How Assimilation Decreases Retention" (2011). Commonwealth Honors College Theses and Projects. Paper 7.

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