Native American Boarding Schools Analysis

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THE CULTURAL SHOCK OF NATIVE AMERICAN BOARDING SCHOOLS Native American Boarding Schools in the United States were an American effort to assimilate the Indian children, ages three through the teen years, into becoming Americans. In these schools, they would strip the children of their Native culture and introduce American culture. The American government would take the children from their parents to schools that were not located on reservation property, but rather on United States property. The goal was to transform the children into the American way of thinking, looking, and acting. They hoped, by getting the children before they were too saturated in their native culture; they would have greater success in accomplishing their agenda. Many…show more content…
They wanted to change tactics with the Native Americans from war and fighting to the Americanization of the Native children. It all began as a sincere concern for the Natives. Those who envisioned these schools, and those who would teach there believed they were going to help the children, and the Native people as a whole. They had hopes of stripping them of their “savage” ways and making them productive citizens of the United States. It began with Helen Hunt Jackson. After she had visited the Sioux reservation, she wanted to help them in their desperate condition. The “Friends of the Indians” would gather and discuss the Natives. They agreed there had to be changes in the way the United States treated the Natives and suggested a radical new stance of Americanization. Boarding schools for rigorous education and a stripping of their culture and immerse them into Christianity was one of their ideas to “help” the Natives. (Nicholas) Their attempt may have been a noble one, but it was a poorly thought out plan with a high degree of probability of a disaster. Sitting Bull was no stranger to the unfair and often cruel ways of the United States. The United States had made promises and treaties with the Natives before all of which were lies and broken. He understood the white man’s agenda and feared for this people’s way of life. I am sure he also knew that with the Americans now going after the children, they were in danger of losing…show more content…
However, they failed to take into consideration that such a quick change in children might throw them into cultural shock and never fit into either culture. Natives like Sitting Bull, and Americans like Henry Ward Beecher tried to intervene and stop these schools to no avail. Children were stripped of their identity, and some were unable to handle this and died. Others who did survive were left in turmoil not fitting into either society. These boarding schools were a miserable failure. Again, the Europeans left the Natives stunned and grasping to hang on to their cultures. Once the failure was apparent, there was no help for these children; there were left to tolerate this failure on their own, the damage had been done. Sitting Bull and Henry Ward Beecher were correct in their arguments against these kinds of schools. They had the insight to understand that it is impossible to change what God had created. It is a shame that not more in the government realized this was a bad idea before it ever got

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