Marc Simmons: Assimilation at Indian schools
"In the early 1880s, the federal government vigorously moved into the creating of off-reservation industrial boarding schools for Indian students around the country.

With the Indian wars over, forced assimilation of the tribes into American society became the official national policy. Its implement came to be centered upon education. Carlisle Indian School, established 1874 in Pennsylvania, served as the model for "civilizing" the First Americans. Its program called for removal of students from their families and cultures and indoctrinating them over a period of years.

Originally, formal Indian education had been the province of missionary groups who used private funding to support both on- and off-reservation schools. So when the government got in the act, it tended at the start to hire churchmen as administrators of its schools.

That did not mean that the missionary crowd was any less dedicated to attacking basic Indian values. A Protestant minister from New England, for example, was heard to say loudly that: "Education should seek the disintegration of the tribes. They should be educated not as Indians, but as Americans. That is, assimilate them.""

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons Trail Dust: Indian schools' history militaristic, checkered (The Santa Fe New Mexican 8/22)

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