“American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many”

American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many

This is a series from NPR that highlights the racist underpinnings of the forcible placement of the First Nations people into boarding school.

One of the things I take very seriously is the underlying philosophy of the boarding school idea. It is not that far a stretch from some of the things I hear said to justify international and transracial adoption – perhaps not as openly racist as saying, "that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man" (Colonel Richard Pratt, the founder of the first boarding school, in justifying the reason for forced assimilation of the Native children in Christian boarding schools).

(this photo is of one student before and during his time at the Carlisle boarding school)

I think we must look carefully at history and not blindly follow what seems to be the next idea of what is in the "best interest of the child." History often tells us that what we once believed so strongly and fervently as "best practice" is, in hindsight, potentially destructive to the very people we had hoped to protect.

We must all continue to constantly check for our own biases and prejudices.

Listen to the report at NPR here and part 2 here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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