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Readings, 1-31-11--The West

Readings, 1-31-11--The West - , pp.25 ,,Better ,...

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Readings for January 31, 2011—Western Expansion pp. 2‐5 Selection from Nat Love, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in Cattle Country as “Deadwood Dick ,” edited and reprinted in Robert D. Marcus and David Burner, eds., America Firsthand: Volume II, From Reconstruction to the Present (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989). pp. 6‐11 Selection from O.E. R.lvaag, Giants in the Earth , edited and reprinted in Robert D. Marcus and David Burner, eds., America Firsthand: Volume II, From Reconstruction to the Present (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989). pp. 12‐16 Capt. Richard H. Pratt, “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man” pp. 17‐21 Ah‐nen‐la‐de‐ni recalls his experiences in a government school for Indians
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“Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans Beginning in 1887, the federal government attempted to “Americanize” Native Americans, largely through the education of Native youth. By 1900 thousands of Native Americans were studying at almost 150 boarding schools around the United States. The U.S. Training and Industrial School founded in 1879 at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, was the model for most of these schools. Boarding schools like Carlisle provided vocational and manual training and sought to systematically strip away tribal culture. They insisted that students drop their Indian names, forbade the speaking of native languages, and cut off their long hair. Not surprisingly, such schools often met fierce resistance from Native American parents and youth. But some Indian young people responded positively, or at least ambivalently, to the boarding schools, and the schools also fostered a sense of shared Indian identity that transcended tribal boundaries. The following excerpt (from a paper read by Carlisle founder Capt. Richard H. Pratt at an 1892 convention) spotlights Pratt’s pragmatic and frequently brutal methods for “civilizing” the “savages,” including his analogies to the education and “civilizing” of African Americans. A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man. We are just now making a great pretence of anxiety to civilize the Indians. I use the word “pretence” purposely, and mean it to have all the significance it can possibly carry. Washington believed that commerce freely entered into between us and the Indians would bring about their civilization, and Washington was right. He was followed by Jefferson, who inaugurated the reservation plan. Jefferson’s reservation was to be the country west of the Mississippi; and he issued instructions to those controlling Indian matters to get the Indians there, and let the Great River be the line between them and the whites. Any method of securing removal ‐ persuasion, purchase, or force ‐ was authorized.
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