“We are still here”: Past and present clash at Native American boarding school | Native American

WThe other students’ eyes were on her and the heart of Wikapi medicine was beating, but when she began to dance she was proud to embody the Lakota heritage. As she swiftly and lightly moved in the moccasins, the beads in her jingle dress shook and the long braid bounced off.

“People think we’re extinct. They think we don’t really exist anymore,” said a 17-year-old student by your side. She danced at Sherman Indian High School Culture Week and she said, “We’re still here.”

Medicine is one of more than 200 students from 76 Native American tribes from all over the country to attend an All Native American boarding school that opened in Riverside, California over a century ago. A number nationwide aimed at assimilating American children into a white society by taking Native American children out of their families, chopping hair into short pieces, speaking languages, and brutally punishing them for practicing culture. It was one of the hundred federal boarding schools. In 1901, parliamentarian James Sherman, an institution of the same name, declared that the school represents a “redemption of race.”

Wicahpi’Kimmi’ Medicine:’We practice our way of life as our ancestors did. Photo: Wicahpi Medical Courtesy

Most schools are closed, but the government continues to run a small number of schools, including Sherman. The United States says it changed the rest of the school, but students like medicine feel the echo of the old system.

Today, signposts on the lawn grounds show the booking name and distance from the school, reminiscent of how far medicine is from home. Standing Rock, North Dakota, 1,453.9 miles. “I once wanted to go home this year, but I couldn’t,” she said.

A medical family member of the Cheyenne Sioux in Fort Yates, North Dakota, was dirty, praying, sweating, and spoke Lakota.

“We practice our way of life as our ancestors did,” she said.

Medicine lived in a town of less than 200 people, along with her aunt teacher, Collet Medicine. She said the use of alcohol and drugs is common and that medicine and her aunt see it as a direct result of trauma between generations in boarding schools. Medicine attended a reservation-based public school, and she felt “indignated by being a native”, and the reservation-based high school gave little hope. “I probably dropped out,” she said.

A friend told her about shamans – students go on excursions to the beaches and Universal Studios in Los Angeles, her friend said. The school also provided a clearer path to the university. Medicine saw it as an opportunity to explore the world. She filled out her application and she called every day until she was accepted.

Before attending, she had a conversation with her aunt and grandmother about what it meant to go to a boarding school.a bit Native American The dark heritage of assimilation policy was not touched upon, and her grandmother was no exception. Born in 1946, Medicine remembered that she attended a boarding school in California, where her hair was shortened and given a white name.

“She never really talked about it. Whenever I asked, I knew it would bring her harsh emotions,” the medicine said. Her aunt said her medical grandmother shared nostalgic memories of her school friends, sang in the choir, and was a cheerleader.

Her grandmother was a person who conveyed language and culture. She named her granddaughter Wikapiwin, which means “star woman.” This refers to the belief that the Lakota people come from the Milky Way.

“We talked about positive and good things for you,” said Collet Medicine. “She thought she had more opportunities.”

History and change

The United States and Canada are facing consideration of using boarding schools to assimilate indigenous children.

U.S. government Report Released last week, it found at least 53 burial grounds in boarding schools, including hundreds of tombs, and authorities expect to find thousands more.

Sherman Indian High School Cemetery. Last year, I saw a man surrounding each grave with sage smoke. Photo: MediaNews Group / The Riverside Press-Enterprise / Getty Images
Sign says shaman Indian school graveyard
Last week’s US government report found at least 53 burial sites in boarding schools. Photo: MediaNews Group / The Riverside Press-Enterprise / Getty Images

According to the report, from 1819 to 1969, 408 boarding schools were operated all over the country.The federal government continues to operate four booking-based boarding schools for Native American children. Through the Indian Education Agency (BIE), but in 2019, Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Cruz of the BIE said that schools are “no longer a business of assimilation” and “their purpose is to support and respect tribal self-determination and sovereignty. Was changed to. ” “.

The shaman school included in the report has a graveyard with more than 60 tombs, most of which contain the remains of students who died of illness, historian Jankeler explained. Wrote a book About the Sherman Institute, as the school was previously known. Several children died in an accident. “One child was killed because he was in the stadium, throwing a hammer, and the hammer hit his head. Another child was in the bakery and the oven exploded,” she said. Said.

The United States has separated Native Americans from its territory and culture using two policies: land disposal and boarding schools. The report found that it was the cheapest and safest way to acquire land for whites. Parliament has passed a law requiring parents to send their children to school, allowing the Secretary of the Interior to refrain from rations from those who refuse. The community hid the children, but authorities sent police to track them down and catch them.

Sherman was a “place of imprisonment,” said Clifford Troughzer, a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. Co-authored a book About the laboratory. Children were taught trade and sent to work on the ranch as a way to integrate them into society. Today, shamans look very different. In the Red Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Native Americans promoted education, including their culture, and sent students to college.

Howard Dallas, one of the 16 siblings, was sent to Sherman with his three sisters in the 1960s because his mother couldn’t care about everything. He said the school was “institutionalized” and taught them vocational training. “You could be a welder, painter, sheet metal worker, or carpenter,” he said.

Matthew Levias Sr, another graduate who attended the 1960s and became a star on the shaman football team, said the school taught him leadership. Dallas and Libias have joined the Student Organization to promote better education and write suggestions for accrediting schools. “It started with students. All the ideas came from students,” says Levias.

The school was accredited in 1971, renamed Sherman Indian High School, and the law was applied. The 1975 Indian Self-Decision and Education Support Act abolished assimilation policy, and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act guaranteed the rights to the ceremony.

Today, the school hosts Pow Wow every year, and students take Native American fashion, basket weaving, traditional botanical use, and Navajo lessons. Most of the teachers and staff are Native American. Students learn a standard high school curriculum, and native study classes teach them American history. Doctrine of discovery, International law used by European settlers to justify the acquisition of indigenous land – and boarding schools. During Cultural Week in April, students wore orange shirts to honor their deceased children.

Sherman is funded by the federal government through BIE and responds to the federal government.Schools are suffering from poor grades so far Endemic of BIE system For nearly a century, according to the 2018 BIE report. Children leave home for months at a time, and staff are considered “loco parents,” meaning “on behalf of parents.” And with over 70 tribes in attendance, most students still don’t learn their language, as only Navajo classes are offered.

Man takes a picture outside the school building
Sherman is funded by the federal government and responds to the federal government. Photo: MediaNews Group / The Riverside Press-Enterprise / Getty Images

Masha Small, a Northern Cheyenne researcher focusing on another reserved boarding school in Chemawa, Oregon, said many graduates are not fluent in their own language. “The language connects them to the land. Their land is their identity,” she said. “My question to these boarding schools is teaching the students their language? If not, they are committing the same type of genocide caused by the colonial system. “

“You must live in both worlds”

The medicine felt homesick, but unlike in the past, she snapchats and calls her aunt.

She enjoys native study classes and recently visited Sea World and Universal Studios. But she noticed that other students didn’t know their culture and language, and they suffer from anxiety, depression and intergenerational trauma. “We are in a native school for native children, and you see more and more students being whitewashed in the sense that you don’t know their cultural and spiritual ways. “She said.

She explained that many students want to blend in with the non-indigenous world rather than expressing their culture. “You need to live in both worlds,” she said, but she stepped too far into the “white world” and how much harm it would do to them mentally. I don’t understand. “It’s sad that many people are afraid to accept who they are. I’m proud to be a native. I’m proud to be a Lakota.”

Current and former shaman teachers said they rarely find students who speak their language. Medicine speaks Lakota, a critically endangered language. Endangered Languages ​​Project.. If Sherman offered a Lakota class, she enjoyed taking a Lakota class.

The Cheyenne Sioux Sherry Means taught Lakota as a shaman, but left and did not replace him. She had a positive experience with shamans before her family problems pulled her into her home. “Today, these boarding schools are actually saving many Indian children from living in poverty,” she said. But she doesn’t think they have completely reformed. She believes that continued federal control leads to a less creative curriculum that does not allow students to immerse themselves in their language. “Top-down management is always there and really needs to change,” she said.

I’m planning to apply for medicine at the university, but I’m considering her options. She wants to continue exploring the world.

She sees how much the boarding school has changed, but she doesn’t believe they are really reformed because of the continued government control. “The only difference now is that you can wear whatever you like and talk to your family at any time. But after all, it’s still institutionalized.”

Talking on the phone, Medicine delves into her lunch: sub, french fries, gatorade, macaroni salad. “Sometimes they give us Indian tacos, but I could make it better,” she jokes. “Whenever they try, it’s a hit and a mistake. It’s never better than going home.”

“We are still here”: Past and present clash at Native American boarding school | Native American

Source link “We are still here”: Past and present clash at Native American boarding school | Native American

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