Genocide Of The Native American Peoples- Post Civil War Years America. "kill the Indian and save the man"
The Indian boarding school movement began in the post Civil War era when idealistic reformers turned their attention to the plight of Indian people. Whereas before many Americans regarded the native people with either fear or loathing, the reformers believed that with the proper education and treatment Indians could become just like other citizens. ie “Assimilation” = (Genocide)
One of the first efforts to accomplish this goal was the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, founded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt in 1879. Pratt was a leading proponent of the assimilation through education policy. Believing that Indian ways were inferior to those of whites, he subscribed to the principle, “kill the Indian and save the man.”
Children were usually immersed in European-American culture through appearance changes with haircuts, were forbidden to speak their native languages, and traditional names were replaced by new European-American names. The experience of the schools was often harsh, especially for the younger children who were separated from their families. In numerous ways, they were encouraged or forced to abandon their Native American identities and cultures. The number of Native American children in the boarding schools reached a peak in the 1970s, with an estimated enrollment of 60,000 in 1973. Investigations of the later twentieth century have revealed many documented cases of sexual, manual, physical and mental abuse occurring at such schools.
Arriving at the boarding schools, their lives usually altered dramatically. They were given short haircuts (a source of shame for boys of many tribes), uniforms, and English names. They were not allowed to speak their own languages, even between each other, and they were expected to attend church services and encouraged to convert to Christianity. Discipline was stiff in many schools (as it was in families and other areas of society), and it often included chores and punishments.
The following is a quote from Anna Moore regarding the Phoenix Indian School:
"If we were not finished [scrubbing the dining room floors] when the 8 a.m. whistle sounded, the dining room matron would go around strapping us while we were still on our hands and knees."