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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

What goes around, comes around.

I've heard this for most of my life, usually in reference to a friend who's been unkind or said something hurtful. It was always soothing to know Karma would avenge my sadness without any effort on my part.

I can't help but compare the modern fight over school curriculum and policy to a touch of Karma for the people who tried to obliterate an entire civilization by "educating" indigenous youth away from their own cultures.

As early as 1776, Congress encouraged church pastors to teach the Indians the white man's ways.

By the mid-1800's, Congress was spending massive amounts of money on Indian education. Politicians thought it would be cheaper to educate them than to fight them.

The Indians of North America had fought bitterly for their land and way of life. By requiring attendance of all Indian children from the ages of 6 to 14 and eventually to 18 and above, the government essentially removed all opportunities for children to learn their culture and language from their elders. By threatening their parents with the loss of much needed rations and supplies, the government held the students as a captive audience in the schools. Native language was forbidden, the children's hair was cut and styled in the white man's way, their names were changed to words the teachers could pronounce. Although some learned job skills and moved away from their native homes, many children suffered terrible abuse or died of disease and heartbreak.

The Indian Industrial Schools, as many of them were called, made it their business to "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." What goes around, comes around.

To learn more about life in the Indian Education Program, check out "My Place Among Them", my latest book. (Publication date 08/23)

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