Education and Native Americans

TW: Racism against Native Americans


In my education about Native Americans, I knew that, a long time ago, children were taken from their families into “schools” that would force them to assimilate. To “kill the Indian; Save the man.”

Well, yesterday, in a story on NPR, I heard again about the schools and that the last one was closed in 1996. 1996! That’s when I graduated! That’s not “a long time ago,” that’s in my fucking lifetime! People my age!

In my search about these schools, I didn’t find one open until ’96, (though that doesn’t mean it’s not out there!) but I did see a number of Indian schools that didn’t close until the ’80s. Some are even still open, though in an extended capacity and under tribal control. I don’t know when that transition occurred.

This NPR story reports that teachers at schools in the ’60s still saw their role as “civilizing” American Indian children.

I also learned “It was not until 1978 with the passing of the Indian Child Welfare Act that Native American parents gained the legal right to deny their children’s placement in off-reservation schools.”

That’s the year I was born! Less than 40 years Native American parents have had the legal right to control their child’s school placement!

This is not ancient history, friends. This is for real and right now.



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