White Mans Image

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This program is part of the PBS series American Experience. In this episode, a critical eye is cast on the early efforts by Congress to "civilize" Native Americans. This homogenization process required the removal of Native American children from their homes and placing them in special Indian schools. Forced to stay for years at a time without returning home, children were required to eschew their own language and culture and learn instead the ways of the white man. Archival photographs and clips, newspaper accounts, journals, personal recollections, and commentary by historians relate the particulars of this era in American History and its ultimate demise. ~ Rose of Sharon Winter, All Movie Guide

In 1875, Captain Richard Pratt began an ambitious experiment that involved teaching Indians in Florida to read and write English, putting them in uniforms and drilling them like soldiers. "Kill the Indian and save the man," was Pratt's motto. With the blessing of Congress, Pratt expanded his program by establishing the Carlisle School for Indian Students. Native Americans who attended these schools help tell the story of an experiment gone bad and its consequences for a generation of Indians. In 1875, Captain Richard Pratt escorted 72 Indian warriors suspected of murdering white settlers to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. Once there, Pratt began an ambitious experiment which involved teaching the Indians to read and wri te English, putting them in uniforms and drilling them like soldiers. "Kill the Indian and save the man," was Pratt's motto. News of Pratt's experiment spread. With the blessing of Congress, Pratt expanded his program by establishing the Carlisle School for Indian Students to continue his "civilizing" mission. Although liberal policy for the times, Pratt's school was a form of cultural genocide. The schools continued into the '30s until administrators saw that the promised opportunities for Indian students would not materialize, threat they...
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