Friday, June 20, 2008

The Legacy of Native American Boarding Schools

Written from a Canadian perspective, this article by Philip P. Arnold of Chicago University Divinity School's Marty Center explores the tragic legacy of church sponsored boarding schools for Native Americans. Thanks to Pastor Bob Cornwall for bringing this to my attention.
The history of Native American boarding schools clearly illustrates how the US and Canadian Governments and various Christian denominations have actively collaborated to "convert" and "civilize" Native people. Under the mantle of "Kill the Indian, save the Man," Colonel Richard Henry Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania in 1879. Several hundred other schools opened in the following decades that were run by a variety of Christian denominations (Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, and Quakers, among others) but they were all financed through the US and Canadian governments.

For nearly seventy years, sexual abuse, torture, and murder occurred in these boarding schools. These Christian-run and government-funded boarding schools dedicated to 'civilizing' Native Americans were the means by which private interests acquired vast tracts of valuable land.
Click here to read the rest of the article.

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