Boarding School System

Indian Country Diaries . History . Indian Boarding Schools

A Navajo boy named Tom Torlino as he entered the
Carlisle Indian School and a short time after the
"reforming" process had begun.

(Courtesy Smithsonian Institution, National
Anthropological Archives [#53, 599 and #53, 599-A].
Images from the National Anthropological Archives
may not be reproduced without permission.)

Native Americans were still called savages living in the midst of civilized farmers. By the 1870s, Indian reform groups were becoming more powerful. The Indian Rights Association conducted their own investigations of conditions on the reservations and was one of the first organizations to hire a full time lobbyist in Washington. Like the slavery abolitionists before them, the Indian reform movement pointed out the flawed morality of taking the land of indigenous people simply because the Europeans "discovered" the land and wanted it.

The choices seemed simple and stark to the reformer movement — either kill all the Indians or assimilate them into white civilization through education. Popular press reports about events like Ponca Chief Standing Bear's desperate attempt to return from Oklahoma to his ancestral homelands in Nebraska to bury his dead son captured the sympathies of the nation.

Boarding schools were set up to “kill the Indian and save the man.” Tribal languages and cultures were discouraged. Sherman High School in Riverside California is one of the last.

So, even before the Civil War, reformers had pushed the federal government to begin an assimilation policy of educating Indians. By the 1860s, the federal government set up 48 "day schools" near some of the reservations. Indian students would travel off the reservations, attend school and return home. The reformers hoped that this system would allow the students to civilize their parents, as well, by sharing what they were learning.

Just the opposite happened — parents were perfectly capable of teaching their children tribal languages, cultures and belief systems, despite the efforts of the schools. The lessons of the day were obliterated at night by the realities of communal tribal living.

In the late 1870s, the reformers tried a new experiment — reservation boarding schools. The idea was that students would live all week in the boarding schools that were built a little farther away from the reservations. But as time went by, the families simply moved their tee pees closer to the schools.

By 1875, Army Lt. Richard Henry Pratt was ready for a bold new experiment. He was in charge of 72 Indian prisoners who had been fighting the Army in the southern plains. Pratt transported these Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo prisoners halfway across the continent to St. Augustine, Florida. (Ironically, St. Augustine had been the first Spanish settlement in North America.) It was a terrifying experience for the transplanted Indians.

Interesting facts:

Stonewall Jackson High School is a public secondary school in unincorporated Prince William County, Virginia, United States, near the city of Manassas. In May 2007, Newsweek Magazine ranked Stonewall Jackson 530th in the nation on its annual list of "Best High...

You might also like:

How to set up Locations within REACH Boarding School System
How to set up Locations within REACH Boarding School System
REACH Boarding School System - Kiosk View Intro
REACH Boarding School System - Kiosk View Intro
Minute Mondays - Fun System 2 Riding at The Boarding School
Minute Mondays - Fun System 2 Riding at The Boarding School
REACH Boarding School System - Guildford Grammar Director
REACH Boarding School System - Guildford Grammar Director ...
BV USA Enterprises Ibera PakRak Bicycle Quick-Release Commuter Trunk Bag
Sports (BV USA Enterprises)
  • For weekend outings and commuting to work or school
  • Quick-release bag mouting system, install and release bag within 3 seconds
  • Multi-compartments
  • Reinforced & padded to protect fragile items
  • Padded shoulder strap
Redmon RedmonUSA Redmon for Kids Chelsea Wicker Nursery Hamper and Matching Wastebasket, Black
Baby Product (Redmon)
  • Two piece set includes a nursery hamper and matching wastebasket
  • Superior quality
  • Includes a removable inside vinyl bag for the nursery hamper
  • Double hinged lid
  • High gloss enamel paint for long lasting shine
Related Posts