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Introduction The goal of Indian education from the s through the s was to assimilate Indian people into the melting pot of America by placing them in institutions where traditional ways could be replaced by those sanctioned by the government.
Federal Indian policy called for the removal of children from their families and in many cases enrollment in a government run boarding school. In this way, the policy makers believed, young people would be immersed in the values and practical knowledge of the dominant American society while also being kept away from any influences imparted by their traditionally-minded relatives.
Indian Boarding School Movement The Indian boarding school movement began in the post Civil War era when idealistic reformers turned their attention to the plight of Indian people.
Whereas before many Americans regarded the native people with either fear or loathing, the reformers believed that with the proper education and treatment Indians could become just like other citizens.
They convinced the leaders of Congress that education could change at least some of the Indian population into patriotic and productive members of society.
Pratt was a leading proponent of the assimilation through education policy. Believing that Indian ways were inferior to those of whites, he subscribed to the principle, "kill the Indian and save the man.
Photographs taken at the school illustrate how they looked "before" and "after". The dramatic contrast between traditional clothing and hairstyles and Victorian styles of dress helped convince the public that through boarding school education Indians could become completely "civilized".
Following the model of Carlisle, additional off reservation boarding schools were established in other parts of the country, including Forest Grove, Oregon later known as Chemawa.
Reservation boarding schools had the advantage of being closer to Indian communities and as a result had lower transportation costs. Contact between students and their families was somewhat restricted as students remained at the school for eight to nine months of the year. Relatives could visit briefly at prescribed times.
School administrators worked constantly to keep the students at school and eradicate all vestiges of their tribal cultures. Day schools, which were the most economical, usually provided only a minimal education. They worked with the boarding schools by transferring students for more advanced studies.
In the Pacific Northwest, treaties negotiated with the Indians during the s included promises of educational support for the tribes. For example, Article 10 of the Medicine Creek Treaty signed by members of the Nisqually, Squaxin, Puyallup and Steilacoom Tribes on December 26, called for the establishment of an agricultural and industrial school "to be free to the children of said tribes for a period of 20 years.
A similar clause appears in the Treaty of Point Elliott, signed by representatives of tribes living in the central and northern Puget Sound region.
The promised schools did not come into existence for several years. In the s and s a few small reservation boarding schools were established on the Chehalis, Skokomish and Makah Reservations. These institutions, which had fewer than 50 students, were all closed by and replaced by day schools.
In Tacoma, a one-room shack served as a day school for young Puyallup Indians beginning in By students had begun boarding at the school and during the s enrollment increased to pupils. At the turn of the century, Cushman Indian School had become a large industrial boarding school, drawing over students from around the Northwest and Alaska.Each topic question is followed by the type of claim statement it makes which can help you find a topic if your assignment is to write a particular kind of essay.
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The boarding schools had what came to be called the "half and half" system where students spent half of the day in the classroom and half at a work assignment or "detail" on the school grounds.