The Legacy of Government Boarding School Policy on Native American Identity and Culture

The Legacy of Government Boarding School Policy on Native American Identity and Culture


In the Native American societies, the American Indian boarding schools of the late 1800s and early 1900s left a crater. The boarding schools established set-ups of assimilations under the pretense of assisting ruined Indian Nations, which forced the children to attend and at times opting to what would now be known as kidnapping. Most of these kids perished from ill-planned escape attempts, uncontrolled diseases, working accidents, and homesickness. In the 1940s, the boarding was abolished, but the destructions and damages had already been done. Among the absent when children returned home were religion, language, and cultures. Over the years, the parenting skills which were sharpened by the Native American elders were one of the most important of the missing. However, this left these children lost since they were brought up by total foreigners in traditional boarding schools. The impact was first immediate and direct, as in the case of Zitkala-Sa when she is separated from family and community. This essay intends to examine the immediate and long-term consequences of American Indian Boarding schools on the well-being of Native American students, families, and culture. Also, the article inspects the constant interruptions or harm that school arrangements and practices have caused Native American Identity and culture.



In 1860, the encounters of live-in schools for American Indian kids began when the Indian Affairs Bureau made the primary Indian Boarding school in the Washington State on the Yakima Indian Reservation. These learning foundations were a piece of good and conceived an arrangement to assist Native American in accessing training. Henry Pan coast and Herbert Welsh, eastern reformers who helped make foundations like the National Indian Association of Women, Indian Commissioners Board, and the Boston Indian Citizenship Association. The targets of these reformers were to use training as a technique of “absorbing” Indian country into the “American lifestyle” standard (Center, 5). This was mid-nineteenth C Protestant philosophy. Indian clans would be prepared the noteworthy of monogamous family units, private property, and material riches. The reformers assumed that it was basic to influence Indian individuals to acknowledge the esteem frameworks and convictions of the white men and “edify” them. The all-inclusive schools were the ideal instrument for retaining the Indians and their theories which remained in the arrangement of show fate. The schools would respond quickly in a situation to join the Native American young people.

The essential all inclusive schools’ need was to offer the academic training basics: talking, perusing, and composing of the English language. Human expressions, history, science, and number juggling would be incorporated into the potential open outcomes of finding “self-coordinating idea control.” Indian young people would be customized. Religious Christianity preparing would be instructed in the life experience school. The standards of the political structures, establishments, and majority rule society would offer the students with citizenship preparing (Center, 11). An ultimate target was to get rid of all Indian culture remnants. Patience, request, and order were altogether prized white society esteems. By ingraining convictions and qualities and showing work aptitudes of possessive independence, inferring you care about what you as an individual. The all-inclusive schools expected to produce students who were monetarily independent. This was in opposition to the main public proprietorship Indian conviction that trusted that the land was for all individuals.

By getting rid of all outward innate life signs which the children carried with them, off-reservation life experience schools, for example, Carlisle organized their ambushes on Native human characters. There were cut off of the large meshes worn by the Indian kid as the youngsters were compelled to put on same and standard regalia. The understudies were given new “white” names that included surnames. Giving them new “white” names was accepted would help when they would acquire properties (Center, 15). Standard indigenous nourishments were dumped, that constrained youngsters to get white society sustenance rituals that incorporated the utilization of tablecloths, napkins, spoons, forks, and blades. Besides, kids were denied from talking in their local dialects. The life experience schools compensated the understudies who halted from imparting in their tongues. Other live-in schools relied upon the discipline to prevent youngsters from talking their local dialects.

With a distinct white predisposition, the American Indian live-in schools instructed history. Columbus Day was marked as a history standard day, and improvement of the kind in their fortune of race, as soon after acknowledgment did the Native Americans entered the history stream. The life experience schools set up “setting out frameworks,” putting Indian students in the standard of the network where they could learn specialized aptitudes, for example, cultivating (Center, 17). The life experience school programs were frequently exploitive. Young men were placed in regular harvests or different employments not needed by settler or white workers. Young ladies turned into the essential local work hotspot for white families. The learning was practically nothing, and the kids were not directed. Most guardians of the Native American youngsters saw life experience school instruction as the annihilation of Indian culture.


The American Indian studies program was created at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in 1999 following the request of some indigenous individuals, and since then, the subject has been conducted by a collaborative mandate. In June the same year, the Monacan Indian Nation, which is a tribal council located in Amherst County sent a letter to Paul Torgersen, the then Virginia Tech president proposing that the organization consider instituting an American Indian studies program. The message provided the blueprint for the proposed plan which was meant to educate the citizens concerning the American Indian cultures, history, and other issues, as well as being of service to the indigenous individuals. One of the significant strengths Cook’s work is that from his article, he shows how the Monacans envisioned a program which would treat the American Indians as colleagues and partners and not subjects, engage the country’s indigenous groups in ventures which would promote their political, economic, and cultural autonomy. The program was also meant to encourage a broader space and awareness in the academic standard or canon for the value and legitimacy of the indigenous knowledge. For a long time, the term interdisciplinary has been a familiar phrase in the debates of pedagogy and education.

Nevertheless, of late the word interdisciplinary has acquired a new urgency and force. This partially because as an agenda, inter-disciplinarily appears to flow logically from the left culturalist theory imperatives, that is, from the new historicism, the original neopragmatism version, feminism, Marxism, and deconstruction. Of course, each of the movements needs to be differentiated from others in many aspects. In any case, it is to take note of that they are similar all hostiles to exhibit game plans of articles as related to by the structures of the organization. The strategies for which the diverse scholarly teaches make and grow their cases of an area just as the social structures by methods for which the political expert lines are supported.

Work Cited

Center, Ziibiwing. “American Indian boarding schools: An exploration of global ethnic & cultural cleansing.” Retrieved June 13 (2011): 2014.

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