Thursday, February 11, 2010

Indian Boarding School

Boarding Schools and the Potawatomi
Gary Mitchell
Prairie Band of Potawatomi

One common thing that most Potawatomi still live with, is the pain of what is known as "Indian boarding school" a horrible event that many have forgotten and as time moves so does the healing, it still remains a part of so many Potawatomi, a sort of excess baggage, it shows it's ugly face in the form of poverty and substance abusePotawatomi is the late 1930's and up, had to attend Indian boarding schools for many reasons, none of them good.

Indian Boarding Schools came to be from Mr. Pratt who believed that society could take "the Indian out of the child" by removing them from his or her home.  And teaching Potawatomi children what was seen as the right way to act and behave, one could not speak the only language that was known.

The Potawatomi, were taken far away from home, and sometimes they were used to do manual labor,   Many times parents and children were separated from each other for what seemed like a lifetime, for the victims of these schools, it would leave a deep scar, one that would affect generations later.

Boys were introduced to the schools by being forced to get hair cuts, the hair was part of a deep sense of culture.  Then the boys were forced to have their tonsils removed.  No one ever knew why?

Children were forced to conform to the religion of the school that held them captive.  Punishment was severe and many times cruel,  resulting in many children trying to run away back home to the love of the only family that they knew.

Tensions grew at these schools and resulted in fighting, many times over nothing other than pure misery, this pain and violence would follow many Potawatomi generations later.


Potawatomi learned how to survive and thrive, and today many accomplishing great things, we have so many Professors, lawyers, actors, actresses, professional athletes, musicians and one of the most important Potawatomi's, the one that is alive today. 

The change in the government and America's views of the Native American although FAR from perfect, it is certainly better than what it once was, it is VERY important to remember the past, it is also important to look to the future.

Gary E. Mitchell Link

Let Your Story Live 4 Ever Link 

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