Education has been a topic of controversy for many years now, and will continue to be for years to come. The modern American society is best defined by its education. A good part of the average person’s life is spent at school, going to school, and paying for school. However, even though education is so obviously very important, there are many groups in America that are getting shorted. The Native Americans are a key group that has struggled the most. The largest obstacle they face is lack of proper education. The standard educational practices being used for the instruction of Native American peoples are not effective. There are many pieces to this road-block, and many solutions. This can be rectified by having more culturally
“There’s a distinction between an education and school. Education is what Native people have been doing for their children since the beginning of time. School has been what has been imposed on people from outside” (Garland). This thought from Garland’s article “In remote Alaskan villages, teachers struggle to make school meaningful,” eloquently lays out how many Alaska natives regard the operation of collecting knowledge. Remarkably, Garland’s notion also offers great insight as to why the U.S. education system seems to fail Alaska natives altogether. It is this “distinction” (Garland), between education and school that seems to actively disconnect the ancestral cultural values of Alaska natives from the mainstream education system in this country. An impression of this broken connection appears in Kleinfeld’s The Teacher who Came to Rivertown. Here, Bob Perthall and his family move to Rivertown, Alaska, a remote village of 75 people. Accepting the position of teacher/principal, Perthall’s good intentions collide with subsistence, alcoholism, hardship, long-held customs and personal crisis. At schools end, the people of Rivertown finds no surprise in Perthall’s ending defeat. However, what really concerns us about the “teaching case,” is Perthall’s lack of preparedness for the students and culture of Rivertown, ultimately continuing the cycle of an ineffective school.
Native Americans have been neglected, abused, and tormented since the 1700’s when their land was abruptly invaded by Europeans. Europeans declared this “unknown” territory to be their property from then forward and did anything and everything to make sure this would happen. This included forced assimilation, where Natives were stripped of their cultural traditions and forced to assimilate to an english speaking, westernized culture (McLeigh, 2010). This included taking children from their families and sending them to boarding school to learn a new language, new cultural traditions, and new religious practices. Starting in 1860 and lasting until 1970, children were taken from their families at a young age and often lost touch with their family
In addition to this, is necessary to understand that white supremacy is deeply connected to the process of colonization, and these two concepts configured a unique social context in which the identities of the indigenous and Afro-descendant populations were diminished, and their humanity were denied as a part of this process.
With waves of the American population moving westward, government attempted to assimilate, or integrate, Native Americans into American society. Their goal was for Native Americans to live and behave like white Americans, and for them “to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community” (Doc 9). Children were sent to boarding schools where they were given new clothes and haircuts, and taught English, Christianity, and American ways of life (Doc 13). While many Americans believed this would be good for the Native Americans, it effectively destroyed their culture and identity. By forcing them to learn English, they were unable to communicate the concepts, beliefs, and ideas their languages were based on. Americans did not consider the fact that English could not substitute for Native languages, because they are based on different realities, histories, and cultures (Doc 3). Assimilation turned the lives of Native Americans upside-down, forcing them to give up ideas and beliefs they had been practicing their whole lives, without any say. Slowly, Native American culture and lifestyle faded until it was nearly
Education is an essential aspect in our ever-changing societies. It is used as a means of transmitting concepts, knowledge, and values, often to younger generations (Ravelli & Webber, 2010). Education and schooling differ in all societies, varying based on the methods of teaching of different cultural groups. For instance, Canadian Aboriginal people were taught based on the needs of their individual families and class. This greatly differed from the European system of education, which stressed adequate involvement with all of society. Though the Aboriginal manner of education was efficient and effective, the Europeans wanted to bring a change to their previous practices. As seen in the film, Education As We See It, European missionaries
Education looked remarkably different than the Education that takes place today in Canada’s schools. Before European contact, “Indigenous peoples in North America had a highly developed education system” (Neegan, 2005, p. 4). Their education was based on experiential and immersion learning in the community and in nature. The whole community was responsible for teaching the younger people through the sharing of knowledge and resources (Neegan, 2004). Respect for the environment and the land was intricately woven into all forms of learning, as the land is the center of their livelihood
Taking away Native American children’s language caused many challenges at home. Many children were confused, homesick, as well as resentful. Many of the children attending these boarding schools did not understand why their parents sent them to boarding school. For many it was because family members were, “sick then. He don’t want to take care of a little one so he pushed me to school” (Burich 5). Many children would not understand why they were being sent to these schools, especially since the schools were changing their worlds
Knockwood explains the enforcement of residential ideologies as a “combination of physical intimidation and psychological manipulation which produced terror and confusion” (12). The premise of residential schools was to strip Indigenous children from their culture and Indigenous identity, forcing them to only speak English, or face severe consequences. Despite the government and churches best efforts, many Indigenous children still maintained their cultural roots and kept their language while at home. This governmental need for assimilation has had lasting impacts far beyond the scope of active residential schools. Neeganagwedgin notes, “while the schools may be physically closed, the legacy lingers” (34). Beyond this, she urges, present-day institutions still function in a way that continues to undermine and systematically deny, “Indigenous peoples their inherent rights as First Peoples” (Neeganagwedgin 34); such as the justice system, child welfare and the education systems.
Although to most, Residential schools are considered a time of the past, the final residential school did not actually close until 1986, which means that many of our older generation of today’s Aboriginal communities are residential school survivors. The traumatizing effects of the schools had not only had a significant effect on the families directly involved, but also for generations to follow. According to the Manitoba Justice Institute, residential schools laid the foundation for the epidemic we see today of domestic abuse and violence against Aboriginal women and children.17 The high rates of domestic violence among Aboriginal families results in a vicious cycle of abuse and dysfunction over generations. The families directly affected were raised with no love, from there, the pain was carried down in many other forms and so forth. This brings me to the topic of my first notion, that education is the root of decolonization. I am certain of this because, from what I understand nothing is so persistent and forced into society more than education is. I am not concentrated strictly on schools, but the idea that we are constantly surrounded by many possible sources of knowledge. A young child first and foremost learns from its surroundings (its parents, siblings, media, etc...) and then usually put into a school for further education. How a child is developed mentally plays such a huge role in his or her life choices, and later on
Before the nineteenth century, the Aboriginal people had their own way of teaching the children in their community, through organic education. In addition to providing knowledge and skills, organic education kept their culture alive (Ravelli & Webber, 2013: pg. 237). This is because the Aboriginal children would also be taught about their culture and its customs. But the Europeans thought, “Canada’s First Nation peoples were in the way of the relentless onrush of capitalist and industrial expansion (Ravelli & Webber, 2013: pg. 238).” This is when the residential education system was established. Since the organic education was what made the Aboriginal culture
In the first source, the narrator is sharing a message to the reader, of how he doesn't know what group he belongs to, because he is “hanging in the middle of two cultures”, as mentioned in the source. This supports marginalization, which is when you are pushed to the outskirts of society and you feel like an outsider. “Being put between two walls in a room and left hanging in the middle”. In this excerpt from the text, the narrator means the purpose of residential schools were to take First Nation children from their families and use drastic methods to remove the First Nation’s culture and the ways they were taught. Children physically died from beatings, but also died on the inside as a result of torture, because of how they were brought up and because they were not white.
Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian tells the story of Indigenous people in Canada and the United States, it challenges the narrative on how Indigenous history is taught and explains why Indigenous people continue to feel frustrated. King’s seeks to educate the reader as he provides a detailed accounts of the horrific massacres Indigenous people endured, yet he simultaneously inserts humorous moments which balances out the depressing content and enhances his story. The books highlights the neglect and assimilation that Indigenous were subjected to and how their survival was seen as an inconvenience to western culture. King directs his message at a Euro-centric audience to offer an accurate explanation of Indigenous culture and
In the article “Taking the Indian out of the Indian: U.S. Policies of Ethnocide through Education”, Donald Grinde informs us about how white European settlers and early Americans discriminated against Native Americans through the education system. I learned that the U.S built boarding schools specifically for Native Americans, tried to erase Native American history and traditions, and how they later on tried to “civilize” them by having them conform to their Eurocentric standards. A while back I had read on the internet that the U.S. had built many boarding schools specifically for Native American children. The things that I read seemed terrible and kind of surreal. Now that I have read Grinde’s article I can now confirm to myself that it was accurate.
In this thesis, I investigate the silenced histories of Indigenous peoples who have been written out of collective memory, official documents and, in some cases, their own family histories. I show how the actions of colonists can be explained through a colonial-Marxist lens of historical materialism and how this methodologically creates space for colonialism which, in turn, strategically silences and erases Indigenous lives. I focus my research on a family who has searched for answers for over sixty years, the Beier family, to aid them in the search for the life story of George Ralph McKenzie, an Indigenous man who served in the Canadian military and who was erased from his family’s history. I gathered data including, but not limited to, birth