During the constant Westward migration in America, the opportunity to "add souls to the rolls" of Christian religions was not to be lost at any cost – even death.  Of the more than 400 Indian Boarding schools, most were run by the government but at least 150 were run by Catholic or Protestant churches.  This was not Johnny Appleseed extolling the Native Tribes to accept Christianity and lay down their arms to live in a peaceful coexistence with their white saviors.  The Indian Schools all over North America. where young Native boys and girls were sent and forced to learn to be “whites,” were about the same as prisons with psychological and physical abuse resulting in trauma, pain, and sometimes, horrible death.  Such disclosures have been news for years, but are mostly ignored as quaint and superfluous data.

         All Indian schools were operated in a similar despotic way in the act of cultural cleansing to remove the vestiges of “Indian-ness" from the child.  For Native children and their families, it was a living Hell.  White authorities felt that such treatment would assist the assimilation of Native People into White society.  Instead, it attempted to force them to go where they did not want to go and were not welcome.  The outcome of the experiment with Forced Indian Education was a colossal failure.  Some children got educated in white thinking but at what cost to their culture and human rights?  Forced education was a monument to white cultural ignorance. 

            The operators of the Indian Schools were guided by the an erroneous premise that debasement, disorientation, regimentation, and denial of their heritage would transform Native children into “White-thinking,” cooperative, but invisible, minions.  They thought the "What to do with the Indians" problem would go away.  It was only a problem because we made it a problem. and it did not go away.  Our problem was that we wanted the land and the resources for us and us alone.  We felt that if the land was not being used the way we thought it should, it must be ours by divine right or the right of conquest.   Whatever the reasoning, we took advantage of people we should have protected equally.

              The wording of Treaties said in general that the conditions and agreements in a Treaty would be perpetual and remain effective "as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow."  The words were clever, flowery, and persuasive but turned out to be outright lies at the expense of people who were unfamiliar with Euro-American ethics and greed.  At first opportunity, we took the land, dammed the rivers, and plowed up the grass.  That was then; this is now.  Today, Federal and State governments are dealing with an educated people who see through the promises that have been broken for hundreds of years.  So even today, official new and old agreements with the various tribal governments come into question if oil, minerals, uranium, or water rights are found within the borders of the reservations and coveted by those who live elsewhere, outside the tribal lands.  It is a situation that has been going on for 400 years.  I don't expect the problem to resolve itself or disappear soon.  Cultural change moves at an incredibly slow pace, one generation at a time. 


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