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This book focuses on the recurring struggle over the meaning of the Anglican Church's role in the Indian residential schools--a long-running school system designed to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture, in which sexual, psychological, and physical abuse were common. From the end of the nineteenth century until the outset of twenty-first century, the meaning of the Indian residential schools underwent a protracted transformation. Once a symbol of the Church's sacred mission to Christianize and civilize Indigenous children, they are now associated with colonialism and suffering. In bringing this transformation to light, the book addresses why the Church was so quick to become involved in the Indian residential schools and why acknowledgment of their deleterious impact was so protracted. In doing so, the book adds to our understanding of the sociological process by which perpetrators come to recognize themselves as such.
For five consecutive generations, from roughly 1880 to 1980, Native American children in the United States and Canada were forcibly taken from their families and relocated to residential schools. The stated goal of this government program was to "kill the Indian to save the man." Half of the children did not survive the experience, and those who did were left permanently scarred. The resulting alcoholism, suicide and the transmission of trauma to their own children has led to a social disintegration with results that can only be described as genocidal. "The Indian residential schools in both the US and Canada . . . include[d] the forced exile of children and the prohibition of the use of a national language or religion . . . Churchill presents a bleak yet utterly necessary history of a brutal system that was in effect until 1990."--Booklist "Painful and powerful, Kill the Indian, Save the Man provides the first comprehensive study of the effects of the residential schools into which American Indian children were forced by the U.S. and Canadian governments. With his usual painstaking accuracy and moving prose, Churchill exposes the genocidal nature of this important dimension of the assimilationist policies that continue to decimate Native North American communities. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with the ravages of settler state colonialism or the effects of transgenerational trauma."--Natsu Taylor Saito, Professor of Law, Georgia State University, and author of We Have Met the Enemy, American Exceptionalism and Subversion of the Rule of Law "The analysis and evidence deployed herein are both compelling and altogether consistent with what I've discovered in my own research and experience as a judge on a special tribunal assessing the effects of residential schooling on the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. I urge all people who oppose genocide--from whatever source, against whatever victims--to read this book."--Jim Craven (Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi), citizen of the Blackfoot Nation and Professor of Economics, Clark College Ward Churchill is the author of A Little Matter of Genocide, among other books. He is currently a Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
A renowned activist recalls his childhood years in an Indian boarding school Best known as a leader of the Indian takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969, Adam Fortunate Eagle now offers an unforgettable memoir of his years as a young student at Pipestone Indian Boarding School in Minnesota. In this rare firsthand account, Fortunate Eagle lives up to his reputation as a "contrary warrior" by disproving the popular view of Indian boarding schools as bleak and prisonlike. Fortunate Eagle attended Pipestone between 1935 and 1945, just as Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier's pluralist vision was reshaping the federal boarding school system to promote greater respect for Native cultures and traditions. But this book is hardly a dry history of the late boarding school era. Telling this story in the voice of his younger self, the author takes us on a delightful journey into his childhood and the inner world of the boarding school. Along the way, he shares anecdotes of dormitory culture, student pranks, and warrior games. Although Fortunate Eagle recognizes Pipestone's shortcomings, he describes his time there as nothing less than "a little bit of heaven." Were all Indian boarding schools the dispiriting places that history has suggested? This book allows readers to decide for themselves.
Boarding School Seasons offers a revealing look at the strong emotional history of Indian boarding school experiences in the first half of the twentieth century. At the heart of this book are the hundreds of letters written by parents, children, and school officials at Haskell Institute in Kansas and the Flandreau School in South Dakota. These revealing letters show how profoundly entire families were affected by their experiences. Children, who often attended schools at great distances from their communities, suffered from homesickness, and their parents from loneliness. Parents worried continually about the emotional and physical health and the academic progress of their children. Families clashed repeatedly with school officials over rampant illnesses and deplorable living conditions and devised strategies to circumvent severely limiting visitation rules. Family intimacy was threatened by the school's suppression of traditional languages and Native cultural practices. Although boarding schools were a threat to family life, profound changes occurred in the boarding school experiences as families turned to these institutions for relief during the Depression, when poverty and the loss of traditional seasonal economics proved a greater threat. Boarding School Seasons provides a multifaceted look at the aspirations and struggles of real people.
The last "Indian War" was fought against Native American children in the dormitories and classrooms of government boarding schools. Only by removing Indian children from their homes for extended periods of time, policymakers reasoned, could white "civilization" take root while childhood memories of "savagism" gradually faded to the point of extinction. In the words of one official: "Kill the Indian and save the man." Education for Extinction offers the first comprehensive account of this dispiriting effort. Much more than a study of federal Indian policy, this book vividly details the day-to-day experiences of Indian youth living in a "total institution" designed to reconstruct them both psychologically and culturally. The assault on identity came in many forms: the shearing off of braids, the assignment of new names, uniformed drill routines, humiliating punishments, relentless attacks on native religious beliefs, patriotic indoctrinations, suppression of tribal languages, Victorian gender rituals, football contests, and industrial training. Especially poignant is Adams's description of the ways in which students resisted or accommodated themselves to forced assimilation. Many converted to varying degrees, but others plotted escapes, committed arson, and devised ingenious strategies of passive resistance. Adams also argues that many of those who seemingly cooperated with the system were more than passive players in this drama, that the response of accommodation was not synonymous with cultural surrender. This is especially apparent in his analysis of students who returned to the reservation. He reveals the various ways in which graduates struggled to make sense of their lives and selectively drew upon their school experience in negotiating personal and tribal survival in a world increasingly dominated by white men. The discussion comes full circle when Adams reviews the government's gradual retreat from the assimilationist vision. Partly because of persistent student resistance, but also partly because of a complex and sometimes contradictory set of progressive, humanitarian, and racist motivations, policymakers did eventually come to view boarding schools less enthusiastically Based upon extensive use of government archives, Indian and teacher autobiographies, and school newspapers, Adams's moving account is essential reading for scholars and general readers alike interested in Western history, Native American studies, American race relations, education history, and multiculturalism.
This book is the humorous, bitter-sweet autobiography of a Canadian Ojibwa who was taken from his family at age ten and placed in Jesuit boarding school in northern Ontario. It was 1939 when the feared Indian agent visited Basil Johnston's family and removed him and his four-year-old sister to St. Peter Claver's school, run by the priests in a community known as Spanish, 75 miles from Sudbury. "Spanish! It was a word synonymous with residential school, penitentiary, reformatory, exile, dungeon, whippings, kicks, slaps, all rolled into one," Johnston recalls. But despite the aching loneliness, the deprivation, the culture shock and the numbing routine, his story is engaging and compassionate. Johnston creates marvelous portraits of the young Indian boys who struggled to adapt to strange ways and unthinking, unfeeling discipline. Even the Jesuit teachers, whose flashes of humor occasionally broke through their stern demeanor, are portrayed with an understanding born of hindsight.