Bring back some good or bad memories


July 27, 2015

Pupils at Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, c.1900

Beginning in 1869 and for the century that followed, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were placed in boarding schools. Removed from their homes and families, these children were forced to assimilate to American culture, with severe punishment for speaking their native languages or engaging in any activity or behavior reflective of their native culture.

Indian boarding schools were a tactic of colonization. Their effects can still be felt today. Their purpose was to strip children of their native culture by prohibiting native language, clothing and spiritual beliefs.

Currently, Native Americans make up a little more than 1% in Minnesota’s population but represent almost 10% of the prison population in the state of Minnesota. A long history of colonization, such as the establishment of boarding schools and racist policies, were intentionally created to assimilate and displace Native Americans. Mass incarceration and the criminal justice system are the continuation of colonial powers meant to control and remove the original people of this land.

Today in public schools, Native students do not receive the support that they need in light of this violent history and because of it are at a higher risk of being fed into the criminal justice system.


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