Essay Sample on Indian Boarding Schools

Published: 2021-06-23
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Harvey Mudd College
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Boarding schools are referred to as schools where students are living in school which means that they sleep, eat and study in this institutions during the school year. Boarding schools can be traced 1000 years back. This also developed because boys back then sent to clergymen to be taught. Boarding schools were purposefully introduced to ensure that students have a routine that is difficult for students in days schools. Boarding schools also provide school culture is upheld by students which mean that this culture increases anticipations of school activities mostly because it helps in building strong work ethics. The inception of boarding schools was not however received warmly by all people but was rather criticized by the following individuals Henry Ward Beecher, and Sitting Bull are the critics of boarding schools.

Boarding schools were introduced in India in 1860 through its establishment on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington. This is because Herbert Welsh and Henry Pan coast believed that boarding schools would encourage the assimilation of the Indian tribes into the adoption of the American way of life.

These schools were established in order for them to be used as a front for these reformers to provide proper education to the Indians with the hope that they would create Indians to be like other American citizens who happen to be dedicated and productive members of the society. This schools would also facilitate the teaching of the Indians the importance of the following things material wealth, nuclear families. This meant that they encourage the absorption of the ideologies of the western culture. Pratt quoted Kill the Indian Save man which said that through this boarding schools the Indians would assimilate the American culture.

Henry Ward Beecher early life saw him as a preacher and civil leader who did not tolerate slavery. His actions were related to Sitting Bull views toward the assimilation of American culture among the Indians. This is mainly because his quote was similar to that of Sitting Bull primarily through his hate of slavery. Henry Ward Beecher cited The common schools are the stomachs of the country in which all people that come to us are assimilated within a generation. When a lion eats an ox, the lion does not become an ox, but the ox becomes the lion (Bosworth). Henry Ward Bleacher was against sending children to boarding schools away from their families.

Henry was a Native American Leader which means that his views were influential, mainly because he was a clergyman, a speaker, and a social reformer. His quotes were related to the inception of boarding schools in India which meant that he opposed the whole idea of boarding schools and thus believed that it did not matter which type of classes one went to especially since boarding schools that were started were used to civilize the Indians and thus assimilate the America way of life. His quotes help understand that no matter what you teach to a student he will learn but will not in any way change who he or she is.

Sitting Bull quoted If the Great spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plan; in my heart, he put other and different desires. Each man is good in the sight of the great spirit (Bosworth). This meant that Sitting Bull was against boarding schools among the Native American s just like Henry. His quote implies that He did not agree with the fact that boarding schools were started for Indians to assimilate the Western culture, mostly because he believed that The Great Spirit had a reason for making someone as he is. He goes on to state that if that Great Spirit wanted him to be Western, it would have done so. Sitting Bull is also known for his courage in the resistance against white domination that was mostly perpetrated through the introduction of this boarding schools.

Sitting Bull was the chief of Sioux tribes who fought against the Americans who were trying to get rid of everything they believed in. He also did not advocate for the sending of children away from their families for the American society to get rid of their cultures as Indian and thereby adopt and assimilate the American way of life. Sitting Bull believed that an Indian could not in any way become an American because an Indian cannot start desiring American wishes but would still want the Indian way of life.

Henry Ward Beecher and Sitting Bull quotes were highly reflected in the boarding schools through these children or rather students. Kill the Indian Save the man was the motto that was then introduced, Henry Pratt and His colleague felt that these boarding schools that were mainly used as reservation schools were not adequate in removing the influences that Indian tribal life in these children. This is where Henry Ward quotes come in especially this particular part of the quote When a lion eats an ox, the lion does not become an ox but the ox becomes a lion (Bosworth). The ox refers the teachings of the American way of life; lion refers to the Indian tribal life, which means that despite these lessons an Indian cannot become an American.

These Indian children were also immersed into living with white families mostly during the summers. This was purposefully done to eradicate the Indian way of life and help these kids become part of the white community. This boarding also facilitated hauling assault at the native cultural identity of the Indian way of life. This is whereby Sitting Bull quotes come in if the Great spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place (Bosworth ). This meant that although assaults hauled toward the Indian tribal life, there is no way these children would have been part of the American community mostly because an Indian heart will always have individual desires. This also meant that despite these teachings an Indian is still within these children.

These boarding schools also facilitated getting rid of all the outward signs the children brought with them that provided a glimpse of the Indian tribal life, which mainly included. Cutting off of the long braids the Indian boys wore and thus the children were provided with uniforms they were required to wear. The children were also made to get rid of their names and were then given white names both the first names and the surnames, as the Henry Pratt and His colleague felt that this would help in erasing the Indian tribal life. They also got rid of the traditional foods that were affiliated with the Indian tribal life; this meant that getting rid of these foods would mean that the children will resort to eating the American foods which involved using cutlery, napkins and table cloths. These kids were told to desist from speaking the Indian language and were thus motivated to refrain through punishments. These are also where Henry Ward Beecher quote applies, in particular, this particular part When a lion eats an ox, the lion does not become an ox but the ox becomes a lion (Bosworth). This, therefore, means despite the ways this means that despite ways that these boarding schools tried to get rid of the Indian tribal life through getting rid that associated these children with the Indian life, there is always a native Indian that is built within.

These boarding schools as also raised a lot of questions regarding how these school tried to get rid of anything that associated these children to the Indian way of life especially the parents and the society as a whole. This, therefore, led to the resistance of the boarding schools by the Indian folks. This also resulted in the several Indian villages desist from enrolling their children in the schools. The resistance towards these schools also led to the parents seeking police help in seizing the children from these schools. The parents of these children also resorted to forming groups that enabled them to withdraw their children in large numbers. This group also ensured that they would undermine the boarding schools influence during the summer. In the year 1978, an Indian Child welfare act was enacted which was solely responsible for providing society with the right to deny childrens placement in these boarding institutions.

These groups facilitated the opening of the parents eyes that made them see the reason behind the introduction of the boarding schools among the Indians. Which was the destruction of the Indian tribal life? Some parents, however, were objective in that they looked at the benefits of these schools which included discipline and other aspects of the education system (Bosworth). The parents of these children also opposed these boarding schools, mainly because they believed that these schools facilitated the weakening of the parent-child bond through cutting off all human ties between the parent and child.

In closing the Indian boarding schools were not successful in getting rid of the Indian way of life through the assimilation of the American way of life. These means that despite their efforts to get rid of the Indian tribal life through providing of uniforms, providing the American food just to mention a few, the parents managed to see through the purpose of these schools. This means that the most parents withdrew their children from these boarding schools. I also believe that Henry Pratt was wrong when he quoted Kill the Indian and save the man, (Bosworth) was not successful in his reforms of assimilating the Indian tribal life into the American way of life, which they were not able to civilize the Indians. This also means that the critics that are Henry Ward Beecher and Sitting Bull were correct as they stated through their quotes that it was impossible to get rid of who one is even through getting rid of everything that makes who they are in this case getting rid of their Indian tribal life.

Works Cited

Bosworth, Dee Ann. "American Indian Boarding Schools: An Exploration of Global Ethnic &Cultural Cleansing." The Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways. 7 February 2015.

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