The Indian Boarding School Essay

The Indian Boarding School Essay

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Our spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding school is an 80 minute documentary that details the mental and physical abuse that the Native Americans endured during the Indian Boarding school experience from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century. In the beginning going to school for Indian children meant listening to stories told by tribal elders, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and storytellers. These tales past down from generation to generation were metaphors for the life experience and their relationships to plants and animals. Native children from birth were also taught that their appearance is a representation of pure thoughts and spiritual status of an individual.
The Indian Boarding School Experience sanctioned by the U.S government decultralized Native Americans through Anglo Conformity which has led to a cultural smudging of the Native American mores generations later, disrupting centuries of cultural constructions and the norms and values of the Native American people.
The Natives were viewed as an impediment to Expansion in the eyes of the European Americans and a problem that needed to be overcome. Manifest Destiny, this idea that god created this city upon the hill to establish a “perfect nation” to be just and right fueled this anti- relativistic agenda that the Natives needed to be fixed. Between 1800 and 1870 two types of Indian Education existed. There were tribal schools and there were federally supported schools. In the south during that time period The Cherokee’s and the Choctaw had established schools with a focus on Bilingualism, the focus of Indian based education in those communities was to raise awareness and to avoid the pitfalls that may endanger tribal sovereignty and autonomy. The European Amer...


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...stand the European Americans mindset in committing such heinous and deplorable acts against the Native Americans but I couldn’t. You simply cannot justify ripping a child from a loving home and stripping them of their culture and placing them in prison like dormitories where you attempt to “civilize” them. Deculturaliztion will never be a right or just act. Decades later the Native Americans are still picking up the pieces from the wrecking ball that was the Indian Boarding School experience.
I have taken away from this project the importance of tolerance and understanding in all aspects of life. Instead of our differences separating us it should in fact unite us. Differences make our world a better place because it helps us define who we are as people. In my daily life I will focus on being more open minded and less judgmental of different cultures and traditions.

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