Monday, February 15, 2010

Indian Boarding School

I recently came across a site that tells the story of Indian Boarding School,  it only has 514 members, and one day will become a really good book, for something that happened and brought such pain and sorrows to the Native American community, something that the wounds still have not healed.

I remember sitting on my grandmas lap, Lydia Quigno and hearing the story of Indian Boarding School. i was very little at the time and could not comprehend the significance of such a story but i believe her story should be told.  she has since passed, taking with her the gifts of a nearly lost cultureshe came from a time when all Potawatomi spoke and wrote Potawatomi.  We Potawatomi understand this story all to well, it still surprises me as to how many others have never even heard of Indian Boarding School.

On January 3, 1893, the United States opened the Mt. Pleasant Indian Boarding School,  and closed it's doors in 1933 in an agreement that the government would allow Native American children to attend public schools,

My family was much like yours, broken and separated, family members were adopted out, relationships lost, i still have never met my mothers living sister, can you imagine?  I have always accounted this to Indian Boarding School.  You probably can relate if you are Native American.  I am drawn to my culture like a bee to honey, my thirst for knowledge always drives me to search for more information, i see so many Potawatomi from Indian country on this site and realize that they have this same thirst.

My grandma told me that she was lucky to have been at a good Indian Boarding School in Mount Pleasant, but then proceeded to tell me how she was taken and disciplined, how her family was separated, how she was raised in foster care.  She would eventually stop speaking and writing Potawatomi.  She told me along with my living elderly mother, about growing up in a time when Native American's would be treated in such harsh ways.  Not getting waited on in restaurants or being called ugly names.

Justin Neely, the Potawatomi language instructor at the Citizen Band of Potawatomi believes only 10 Potawatomi can speak and write the potawatomi language, a language i have promised myself to learn in honor of my grandma. 

We are drawn together and have a sense of kinship because of our past, we pass this on to our children.

Indian boarding School haunts those who have passed and still live, as i cover the news i am so saddened by reading how about half of the Potawatomi come from families that have been separated and adopted outIt is so common that i do not mention it.

My cousin Levi Rickert recently marched in Mount Pleasant and wanted an apology for Indian Boarding School, i get 3 emails a day from people who say, stop talking about something that happened 200 years ago and get over it.   I always respond, "I am sorry if i offended you in any way and apologize."  I guess i find it more rewarding to apologize to them for offending them, than to ask for an apology from them.

I am so glad that we now live in a time that the common man feels different now towards us Native Americans, most of the enormous following that has taken place with this site happens out of a sign of respect for a culture, and what it has gone through.  I have been on this site for only two months and have 500 followers from five different blog sites, most not Native Americans and i really believe when they follow, that it is not me they are following, it is you, the common regular Native American.

Indian Boarding School Facebook Link
Student Roster For Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School Link
The Story of Indian Boarding School Link 


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