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Education for Extinction
Transcript of Education for Extinction
Suffered from extreme
Nursed for 14 hours a day in a pneumonia epidemic, saved flour from a flash flood, cut and sewed school uniforms
David Wallace Adams
Education for Extinction:
Chapter 1 - Reform
Chapter 2 - Models
Chapter 3 - System
With a few successful models, philanthropists look to establish a system.
American Indians and the Boarding School Experience
1875 - 1928
National Indian policies begin to focus on schools
Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J Morgan envisions an escalator system closely aligned with white schools
Day School / Primary School / Grammar School / High School spread across three types of Indian Schools
Standardized curriculum with 16 years of schooling:
6 years Primary (later expanded to 8)
5 years Grammar
5 years High
Emphasis on language, academic subjects, moral and industrial training.
"Course of study" begins to be implemented around 1890, the first of many
Even the best off-reservation schools offer an 8th to 9th grade education
Not until 1920s are they equivalent to high schools
Exceptions: commercial courses at Santa Fe, Haskell, and Carlisle
Extremely low graduation rates: 200 of the first 3800 Carlisle students
This would improve in the 20th century, but many of Carlisle's attendees only got a primary education
Issue of compulsory education explored through the end of the 19th century:
1891 - Congress authorizes Indian Office to withhold supplies from Indian families resisting education
Problems recruiting students which led to a complicated system. Direct recruiting was difficult, full parental consent was needed, loopholes were saught and exploited
Partisan Politics and bureaucratic struggles
Largely female/mid 20s
Vast majority from Midwest, Plains, and Far West
"Indians possessed the land and the whites wanted the land"
According to the Lockean theory of the day, it was imperative for the Republic to have a large quantity of land for private property. Private property would insure “public morality, political independence, and social stability”. The only issue to getting this land was the Indian population.
The government was faced with the difficult decision of what to do with their Indian problem. Indian cultural patterns were deemed inferior compared to the ways of whites"Since their society was different they must be inferior. They lacked civilization. It was the “duty” of the white man to bring it to the Indians.
After the first failed attempt to assimilate the Indians, Herbert Welsh and Henry Pancoast had resulted in two conclusions:
Possible to assimilate Indians into American culture
The only obstacle to this goal was the lack of government control
Concepts of Civilization:
Nuclear family unit
Eventually it became clear that the Indians would have to civilize or die.
The solution to the Indian problem would be found in in one of these three spheres:
Biggest obstacle to Indian assimilation was the reservation:
The system was extremely corrupt:
Rationing system which instilled a sense of dependency on the government
Perpetuated the tribal way of life
Dawes Act of 1887
Reformers wanted to extend the rule and the protection on the law to the Indians. Laws and courts would provide civilizing forces over Indian populations.
Creation of the Indian Police force was the first step (1878)
Creation of Indian courts (1883)
Important to be under the white man's law
“Indian children must be taught the knowledge, values, mores, and habits of Christian civilization."
School prepares students to be financially self-sufficient
Give students the knowledge and skill to be able to survive in the civilized world
Learn a firm foundation of Christian morality
Main ends of education: to eradicate the old ways of Indian culture
Teacher from the age of 16
$24 a month, 4-5 months a year
Indian school in South Dakota offered $600/yr salary
Initially ignorant of Indian culture
Offers a unique autobiographical perspective of the challenges faced by the teachers:
Sexual harassment and male-dominant administration
Poor living conditions
"Everybody in my schoolroom owned a jack knife and possessed the urge to relieve the building's barren surfaces with his own conception of phallic symbols."
"I early came to resent the (...) smug assumptions that women were not really members of the human race but merely appendages to it, to be wagged by men... I wanted to do my own wagging...I wanted a purse of my own."
"If a girl failed to get a husband, she could teach at a rural school–if she could spell. She could be a county dressmaker–if she could sew. Failing these, she could be a burden, for which no qualifications were necessary. But she could not be employed in the office of a businessman or a professional man. The façade of a bank would have lifted up its pillars in horror at the idea of a woman passing through it for the purpose of making a living. For a girl, life in the hamlet was a dreary business that made even the threat of Indian atrocities seem preferable."
"Inspector X began at once to tell me in great detail of his current love affair with a friend of his wife, an affair he had reluctantly interrupted to accept this appointment. He said he was reconciled to accepting it only because it gave him opportunity to learn at first hand the sexual attractions of Indian girls. He hoped to find some girls at our schools who had "learned to do something besides knit." He commented truthfully and disparagingly on the large number of widows and old maids at Phoenix...and doubtless he believed he was paying me the highest possible compliment when he found me worthy of his attentions and his roving hands began exploring the situation. I drove for one block with my left hand, using the other to fend him off. Any woman who has found herself in this situation knows that one defensive feminine hand is inadequate against two offensive male paws."
Little recourse for problems:
Most complaints about conditions or administration went unheard. Direct communication to the Indian Affairs Office, the only possible source of mediation, was forbidden, but still occurred. Without the time or will to process all of the employee's complaints, the Office relied on shuffling teachers and administrators around constantly.
Chapter 4 - Institution
“The boarding school, whether on or off the reservation, was the institutional manifestation of the government's determination to completely restructure the Indians' minds and personalities.”
How off-reservation schools could best serve "savages" and what reformers wanted for them:
Assimilate "savage" children to save their race
Republicanism, Protestantism, Capitalism
Eliminate tribal rituals and upbringing- "Assault on cultural identity”
Renaming children and chopping off their hair
Emotional and mental turmoil for the children
Losing cultural identifiers
Loss of loved ones due to the spread of disease within the school system.
The savagery that was exerted to eliminate the uncivilized ways of the “red man” is the ironic point made by the author when describing the drastic measures taken in order to control and seize the children of their tribal ways.
Chapter 5 - Classroom
The classroom curriculum goals were to separate students from native community, and in doing so to strip away their tribal identity. Only in doing this could “civilization” and “routinization” be achieved.
Curriculum consists first of teaching the English language. Teaching English to students also taught the students both uniformity and culture.
Students were taught the "curriculum of civilization." This consisted of arithmetic, geography, nature study, physiology and US History.
Students had to learn to look at nature in a new light. Traditionally, they were taught to look at nature in spiritual terms, whereas whites objectified nature.
"Nature exists for the good of man"
Students were given citizenship training. Although the definition of citizenship for Native Americans was ever changing, students were taught to be useful aspects of society.
Students were taught to be economically self-reliant. This taught them two things: work skills and possessive individualism. Students were introduced to the market and given the skills to be successful. Some were taught farm skills, others were taught industrialized labor.
Students went through an “outing” program. This was like an apprenticeship in learning civilization. Students were sent to work for and stay with a white family, usually Quaker, for an extended period of time. This gave the children real world experience they couldn’t receive inside the fences of the school.
Chapter 6 - Rituals
Gender Roles :
"What school officials wanted to do, of course, was to transform Indian girls into bronze embodiments of Victorian Womanhood." (p. 175)
Women benefiting or suffering from "the white man's definition of women's rights." (p. 174)
Boys respecting and acknowledging the role of women
Learning American value system (precision, teamwork, order, discipline, obedience, efficiency, hard work, etc.)
"It would win them white friends, and once more, it would show them they could only "win" by becoming white men." (p. 185)
Columbus Day: Indigenous discovery
Thanksgiving: celebrating "good, noble Indians"
New Year's Day: instituting importance of time
Indian Citizenship Day: Dawes Act allowing for citizenship, private property, and "trying to do what the white people do." (p.201)
Chapter 7 - Resistance
Resistance efforts of parents and children:
Chapter 8 - Accommodation
Over time, many indigenous people became more welcoming of the prospect of education for their youth
Parents began to encourage their children to embrace their education
The world around the indigenous people had been altered so much that the indigenous people felt that they needed to adapt to white society in order to survive on their own land
After some years of education, some indigenous students came to believe and accept the white man's paradigms of civilization and savagism
schools told fictional accounts of old time indigenous people having "educational conversion experiences
Chapter 9 - Home
After graduating from off-reservation schools, most indigenous people returned home to their people
Surrounded by people strong in indigenous culture, many tried to re-assimilate
Some attempted to spread white culture to varying degrees of success
Many of these students endured public ostracism
Much of the students' industrial training proved useless
Chapter 10 - Policy
Case Against Off-Reservation Schools
Carlisle and Hampton
“Why not make him a good Indian rather then a cheap imitation of the white man?” – G. Stanley Hall
On the issue of Indian Education:
“Pivot[s] on the question whether we are to carry civilization to the Indian or carry the Indian to civilization” -Leupp
Development of the Concept of Off-Reservation Boarding Schools:
1875: Lt. Richard Henry Pratt brought 72 Indian prisoners to the jail of Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida.
Experiment: Turning prison into a school for teaching civilization to Indians.
Fort Marion took on attributes of a military camp.
Key to success: Indians had to understand the white men's way of living.
Embracing the white man`s civilization = Surviving!
Pratt changed their look, introduced the white men's work ethic to them and awakened the spirit of economic individualism.
Sarah Mather: Teacher for language skills and Christian beliefs.
November 1, 1879: Pratt opened his own Indian School Carlisle in Pennsylvania - the first Off-Reservation Boarding School.