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The Effects Of The Boarding Schools Of Native American Children

805 words - 4 pages

Communication is crucial in any relationship, whether it is a personal or impersonal exchange. Since the founding of North America, the Euro-American people have constantly clashed with the First Americans, never attempting to functionally coexist together. After years of no understanding between the two civilizations and in a state of haste to resolve the Indian problem in the west plains, the United States felt action must be in order. While a portion of the public felt complete physical extermination was the solution to follow, Captain Richard H. Pratt pioneered the idea that it would be wiser to “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man.” Although seen as a convenient solution during the late nineteenth century, boarding schools became a tool for cultural genocide targeting Native American children, exposing them to forced assimilation, grueling labor and abuse.
In 1824, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, created within the War Department the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Calhoun’s intentions for the bureau were to oversee treaty negotiations, manage Indian schools, and administer Indian trade, as well as handle all correspondence concerning the native people. Once established, the B.I.A. created a strong bond and a sense of hope for peace between the two communities in the beginning of their years, but it wasn’t until the mid-1930s when their relationship began to crumble. President Andrew Jackson viewed the tribes solely as obstacles in the way of the newly found American dream, which was to expand into the West, the direction for this movement was led by Manifest Destiny. The Indian Removal Act and other federal legislative initiatives sought to separate Indians from the path of settlement, and by 1840, the bureau and the American military had relocated more than 30 tribes

to the west of the Mississippi. A historical example of this grueling forced migration includes the Trail of Tears, which was estimated to cease around 4,000 lives of the Cherokees just during the period of 1836-1839.
Then just ten years later in 1849, Congress shifted the Indian Office from the Department of War to the newly created Department of the Interior. This structural change symbolized a new federal objective in Indian relations. The shift indicated to the American public that Indians were not to be feared or categorized as an enemy but a sub-group in the nation. This move is also parallel to a form of natural slavery in which the First Americans have been placed by the American government, creating dependency...

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