American Indian Boarding Schools


American Indian Boarding Schools
American Indian Boarding Schools– Late 19th- Early 20th Century
Devin Guinnip, John Giordano, Sylvia Choi, Zachary Brandstadt
Fall 2014, St. John Fisher College
What were American Indian Boarding Schools?
“Reforming” Process
American Indian boarding schools existed in the late 19th century to early 20th century.
By the start of the 1900s, there were over 460 boarding and day schools built near the
reservations. More than 100,000 American Indians attended. While many young children
were pulled forcefully from their homes, others attended simply because there existed
to be too much segregation in public schools. These schools served as a way to “civilize”
American Indians to the European-American culture. These boarding schools were
created in locations all throughout the United States. This “civilization” consisted of
everything, “language, religion, family structure, economics, the way you make a living,
the way you express emotions, everything,” says Lomawaima. Along with that, the
students were thrown into a military style regimentation of classes and activities.
Home’s the place we head for in our sleep.
Boxcars stumbling north in dreams
don’t wait for us. We catch them on the run.
The rails, old lacerations that we love,
shoot parallel across the face and break
just under Turtle Mountains. Riding scars
you can’t get lost. Home is the place they cross.
Daily Schedule
This image is of Tom Torlino, a member of the Navajo Nation, who entered the
Carlisle Indian School on October 21, 1882 and departed on August 28, 1886.
The 3-year “before” and “after” difference shows how white society believed they
could “civilize” their students. What made white society’s idea of “civilization”
better than Native American culture?
Cushman Indian School, Tacoma,
Washington February 1, 1912 Monday
5:45AM Reveille
5:55AM to 6:10AM Setting Up Exercise & Drill
6:12AM Air Beds
6:12AM to 6:45AM Recreation
6:45AM First Call for Breakfast
6:55AM Assembly. Roll Call
7:00AM Breakfast
7:30AM to 7:35AM Care of teeth
7:35AM to 7:40AM Make beds
7:40AM to 7:55AM Police Quarters
7:55AM Industrial Call
8:00AM Industrial work begins.
8:50AM First School Call. Roll Call and Inspection.
9:00AM School.
11:30AM Recall. Pupils at liberty.
11:55AM Assembly and Roll Call.
12:00PM Dinner.
12:30PM Recreation.
12:50PM School and Industrial Call. Inspection.
1:00PM Industrial Work and School.
3:30PM School Dismissed. School Detail at liberty.
4:30PM Industrial Recall. Drill and Gymnasium
5:15PM First Call.
5:25PM Assembly. Roll Call.
5:30PM Supper
6:00PM Care of teeth.
6:10PM Recreation.
7:15PM First Call.
7:25PM Roll Call. Inspection.
7:30 Lecture..
8:15PM Call to Quarters.
8:45PM Tattoo. Pupils retire.
8:55PM Check
9:00AM Taps.
The schedule above shows a typical daily routine in
Native American boarding schools, in their attempt to
assimilate Native American children. Students were
under a military regimen, and discipline was stiff in
many schools and it often included chores and
punishment. Their daily schedule included the
“civilizing process” in which Indians were forced to
uncomfortably conform to the Western Style.
This picture shows Native
Americans that have received
military training and army
equipment. This is just
another example showing how
boarding schools changed
Native culture to modern U.S
Devin Guinnip, John Giordano, Sylvia Choi, Zachary Brandstadt
AMST 210
Fall 2014
St. John Fisher College
Indian Boarding School: The Runaways
This picture shows one of
Carlisle’s harshest cridicts named
Gertude Bonnin(Zitkala-Sa). She
was a famous Indian auothor who
once taught at the school, she
believed Indian students were
capable of and should be
exposed to higher learning,and
opposed the military style.
According to Zitkala-Sa, the
boarding school system was a
"miserable state of cultural
dislocation," that created
problems long after the children
returned home.
The lame guard strikes a match and makes the dark
less tolerant. We watch through cracks in boards
as the land starts rolling, rolling till it hurts
to be here, cold in regulation clothes.
We know the sheriff’s waiting at midrun
to take us back. His car is dumb and warm.
The highway doesn’t rock, it only hums
like a wing of long insults. The worn-down welts
of ancient punishments lead back and forth.
All runaways wear dresses, long green ones,
the color you would think shame was. We scrub
the sidewalks down because it's shameful work.
Our brushes cut the stone in watered arcs
and in the soak frail outlines shiver clear
a moment, things us kids pressed on the dark
face before it hardened, pale, remembering
delicate old injuries, the spines of names and
picture is taken of students
from Carlisle Indian School in
Carlisle, Pennsylvania in March
1892. You can see just how
many Native American children
were attending some of these
schools. Indian boarding schools
usually imitated military life.
Children were forced to cut their
hair, wear uniforms, and march
This picture shows young
in formations. Rules were very
American Indian children
strict and discipline was often
practicing a western finger
harsh when rules were broken.
song. This image is
The students learned math,
important because it shows
the influence that Americans science, and other academic
are having and somewhat
subjects. They also learned
forcing the American Indian trades and practical skills, such
children to adopt so they
as agriculture, carpentry,
“become better citizens”
printing, and cooking. Athletics
while at these Indian
were encouraged and children
boarding schools.
also took arts classes, such as
music and drawing.

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