Native American Boarding Schools

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Education Pages: 2 (568 words) Published: May 15, 2011
Native American boarding schools
An Indian boarding school refers to one of many schools that were established in the United States during the late 19th century to educate Native American youths according to Euro-American standards. These schools were primarily run by missionaries. These often proved traumatic to Native American children, who were forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity and denied the right to practice their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Native American identities and adopt European-American culture and the English language. There were many documented cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse occurring at these schools. In the late eighteenth century, reformers starting with Washington and Knox, in efforts to "civilize" or otherwise assimilate Native Americans (as opposed to relegating them to reservations), adopted the practice of educating native children in modern American culture. The Civilization Fund Act of 1819 promoted this civilization policy by providing funding to societies (mostly religious) who worked on Native American improvement. Attendance in Indian boarding schools generally grew throughout the first half of the 20th century and doubled in the 1960s. Enrollment reached its highest point in the 1970s. In 1973, 60,000 American Indian children are estimated to have been enrolled in an Indian boarding school. Several events in the late 1960s and mid-1970s (Kennedy Report, National Study of American Indian Education, Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975) led to more emphasis on community schools. Many large Indian boarding schools closed in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2007, 9,500 American Indian children lived in an Indian boarding school dormitory. This includes 45 on-reservation boarding schools, 7 off-reservation boarding schools and 14 peripheral dormitories. From 1879 to the present day, hundreds of thousands of American Indians are...
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