Native American Children And The Educational Assault On Indian Children

1571 Words Dec 19th, 2014 7 Pages
Any people fighting for rights encounter similar threats, but indigenous peoples face many threats that are unique to them. Struggling with governments is, of course, common across many forms of protest, but indigenous populations have sui generis interactions with governments, ones that are often more complicated by differences of culture. Many threats that indigenous people in particular encounter fall under the header of ethnocidal interactions with foreign parties in which missionaries, governments, and corporations come into indigenous-held areas and destroy their cultures, often deliberately. These "outsiders" will often believe that they are helping "savage" indigenous people by "civilizing them." Common ethnocidal practices include education, land taking, and religious control.
Colin G. Calloway called the enforced European-style education of Native American children “the educational assault on Indian children” (383). Native American children were taken from their homes to be raised and educated in boarding schools in an effort to make them better members of European-American society. In 1880, the Board of Indian Commissioners wrote that “as a savage we cannot tolerate him [Native Americans] any more than as a half-civilized parasite, wanderer, or vagabond. The only alternative is to fit him by education for civilized life” (as cited in Calloway 383). The board did not hide their use of education as a way of destroying Native American culture and/or making it into…

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