Indian Boarding Schools: Cultural Assimilation

2953 Words12 Pages
Indian boarding schools: forced cultural assimilation through ethnocentric colonialism According to Feagin and Feagin a racial frame is an organized set of racial ideas, values, beliefs, stereotypes, and preferences used for the purpose of discrimination (2008). This is frame is a commonality through the many periods of colonization that has occurred worldwide. There are many examples of this ethnocentric view of ‘development’ throughout United States history. However, the implementation of Indian Boarding Schools is one such example that is often over looked by the public education system of America. The first non-reservation Native American boarding school was opened on November 1, 1878 by Richard Pratt in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (Fuchs & Havighurst, 1972). Pratt retired from the United States Army in 1903 as a colonel, having participated in many of the conflicts compromising the American Indian Wars. Prior to opening the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pratt experimented with Native American prisoners from the Red River War (Pratt, 2001). His belief that Native Americans needed to be taught to reject their cultural values and way of life to adapt to a ‘white American’ or western lifestyle is best outlined by his statement, “A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man,” (Pratt, 2004). This statement outlines what would become the intent of Native American boarding schools across the country, leading to massive cultural genocide. It was this institution that served as the model for boarding schools founded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as the hundreds of schools run by Catholic and Protestant missionaries. This idea of “kill the Indian, save the man” was forced upon

More about Indian Boarding Schools: Cultural Assimilation

Open Document