Education | National

School apologizes for teaching song about brutal Indian mission

The Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in Soledad, California. Photo by Franz Liszt / Wikipedia

A public school district in California has apologized to an Indian family and to the Wukchumni Tribe for a song about the brutal Indian mission system.

Alex Fierro, 10, was taught the song at the Shannon Ranch Elementary School. He refused to sing the words to “Twenty-One Missions” out loud because they were offensive.

The title of the song refers to the 21 Indian missions that were established around the state. Tribal members were removed from their homelands and placed in religious communities where they were forced to work and were forbidden from speaking their languages.

Part of the song reads: "Men of faith, the good news preaching / praying, teaching, searching, reaching / out to the red man’s soul / Oh, what a noble goal."

Alex's family and his tribe immediately reached out to the school and to the Visalia Unified Schools District. The song has been removed from the curriculum.

"The incident has already generated change,” superintendent Doug Bartsch told Raw Story. “This process has stretched my own perspective. I like to think of myself as culturally sensitive, but we all miss stuff. "

The Wukchumni Tribe are part of the historic Yokuts Tribe. Their ancestors were taken to the Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in the 1800s, according to Wikipedia.

Get the Story:
School apologizes after making Native American child sing about Christians soothing the savage ‘red man’ (Raw Story 5/21)

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