Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Separating Children From Their Parents

The US has a long history of separating children from their parents. One of the most egregious examples of this practice was the Carlisle Indian Industrial School:

The United States Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, generally known as Carlisle Indian Industrial School, was the flagship Indian boarding school in the United States from 1879 through 1918. All the school's property, known as the Carlisle Barracks, is now part of the U.S. Army War College.

Founded in 1879 under U. S. governmental authority by General Richard Henry Pratt (then a Captain), Carlisle was the first federally-funded off-reservation Indian boarding school. Consistent with Pratt's belief that Native Americans were 'equal' to European-Americans, the School strove to immerse its students into mainstream Euro-American culture, believing they might thus become able to advance themselves and thrive in the dominant society.

In this period, many people believed that the only hope for Amerindians, their population declining in number, was rapid assimilation into American culture.

After witnessing the initial success of the Indian students at Hampton Normal and Agricultural School, General Richard Henry Pratt decided to establish the first all-Indian school, Carlisle, in 1879, in a renovated military barracks.

As at Hampton, arriving students were shorn of their long hair, and even their names were changed. However, "[u]nlike Hampton, whose purpose was to return assimilated educated Indians to their people, Carlisle meant to turn the school into the ultimate Americanizer". At Carlisle, Pratt attempted to "Kill the Indian: Save the Man" through any means necessary. Beyond a typical military regimen, Pratt was known to use corporal punishment on students who exhibited Native behaviors to help students become dependent only on themselves.

Source -

I visited the school grounds about 20 years ago and took a few pictures. One of the most striking features is the CIIS cemetery:

Most of the graves contain the remains of "students" who died at the school from disease, maltreatment, and/or perhaps from having their spirits destroyed. Their tombstones are all engraved with their names, tribes, dates of death, and a Christian cross. Here is one of them:

I doubt Jesus would approve of what was done to these children.

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