The First Years Of Genoa Indian Industrial School – Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska 2022-05-19 05:00:00 –

During the Indian reform movement that began in the 1860s, reformers opened boarding schools to assimilate indigenous youth into white English-speaking culture. The US government has come to believe that encouraging formal school education and “civilization” will help solve the “Indian problem.”

Proponents of assimilation regarded themselves as humanitarian and Native American advocates. Opponents sometimes ridiculed the reformers as “Indian lovers.”

“But today, assimilation is considered a cultural genocide,” CP Weaver wrote in the Spring 2022 issue of Nebraska History.

“Indian lover” and humanitarian Samuel F. Tappan defended India’s rights and worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Due to his reform efforts and political ties, in 1883 he was appointed to oversee the new Genoa Indian Industrial School, the first Indian boarding school in Nebraska. (History Nebraska has other resources on school history and troubled heritage: )

Despite his work as an advocate, Tappan had no experience in managing the school. As a training, he spent two days at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. [himself] Learn more about management and how to govern and guide your students. “

Tappan arrived in Genoa in November 1883, and the first year began to be dire.

The school opened in February 1884. The financial budget was extended until summer, but by winter the funds were tight. There were not enough workers, supplies, or finances to support the needs of the school. The building needed repairs, cattle outside the state had a hard time adapting, and Tappan couldn’t afford to surround the pasture. There were also shortages of food supply and problems with fuel, medical care, cleaning and delivery of school supplies. Financial support from the government fluctuated during most of Tappan’s oversight.

Meanwhile, there was a conflict with my parents.

After rumors about running the school spread, some parents began to get their children back. This is the situation where Tappan likened to kidnapping. “According to one report, there are 15 Indians with several wagons lurking in the hills and canyons north of the school.”

Tappan hired two additional guards, but as a long-term solution, he suggested the idea of ​​allowing students to visit their homes. This led to concerns about runaway.

In July 1885, Tappan wrote to his boss about another alarming problem, and if he didn’t deal with it immediately, “The school is [would] suffer. “According to Tappan, when a group of train workers stopped to curse them, some schoolgirls were bathing in a stream near the railroad bridge. They were” terribly insulting. “[ed]They “try to commit rape.” The man was arrested in August but released when the court found it wrong to prosecute “a white man based on Indian evidence.”

Tappan’s work as a politically appointed person ended with a change of presidential administration. He was released from his position in 1885.

In his final report, Tappan complained about India’s camps and poor bookings, warning that native girls could be kidnapped from bookings and forced into prostitution. “He felt that” the only security for the new generation “was in the removed industrial boarding school” in our own people “. “

Weaver writes: Laws and their strict enforcement over India as a whole … ”

The entire article, “Samuel F. Tappan: The First Director of the Genoa Indian Institute of Technology,” appears in the Spring 2022 issue of the Nebraska History Magazine. Members are published four times a year.Visit to become a member or more from history Nebraska

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