The “rightness” of Native American boarding school Essay

1200 Words 5 Pages
In the 1870s, the U.S. government enacted a policy of assimilation of Native Americans, to Americanize them. Their goal was to turn them into white men. Schools were an important part of facilitating their goal. In 1879, Richard Henry Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian School. It was the first school in which Native American children were culturally exposed to American ideology. The idea for the boarding school first came through treatment of Cheyenne warriors. In the 1860s, Americans were in the midst of a major western migration. Settlers were moving into the western region, pushing natives off lands, and in some cases, killing livestock. Warriors then took revenge on settlers and soldiers. General Sherman called for “the …show more content…
Pratt then turned his attention to native children. He saw the example of the Hampton Institute for Negroes, which taught children industrial skills. He concluded that to transform natives, one had to start with the children. In 1879, the government consented to Pratt’s request. He went to Dakota Territory to find students for his new Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. Pratt determined the only way to change them was "assimilation through total immersion." The school was established in an abandoned army post. The children wore military uniforms and cut their hair. In the first few years, the children suffered epidemics of cholera, influenza, and tuberculosis. As a result, they made a cemetery on the school.
Lack of cultural diversity
Ethnocentrism
Social workers strive to keep the uniqueness of individuals and communities. The preservation of diversity honors the distinctiveness of individuals and communities. Boarding schools were genocidal to the cultural structure of Native Americans. They were forced to assimilate to the image of the white man: It disjointed family structure, dishonored their cultural differences and language. Children placed in these schools were deprived of learning their heritage. Pratt’s goal of humanizing Native Americans is the basis of ethnocentrism. Pratt like many Americans during this time believed American culture was the only and right way of life. Although most cultures have, tendencies of…

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