9/30/2014 08:44:40 am
In reading “My People the Sioux” by Luther Standing Bear I realized how the Native American children were forced from their homes, to be transformed in white people. I knew this all along, but hearing it from one of the Native Americans made it sound worse. How he explained that for the older boys it was harder, and he didn’t understand why the girls would cry every night. It is heart breaking to know that is because they were torn away from their family and home, forced to live in worse condition just because they were different.
10/1/2014 10:02:33 am
10/1/2014 10:14:34 am
The first story by the Standing Bear was heart wrenching, but very interesting. I have never heard about this school in Pennsylvania. It was really sad to hear about the way the Native American boys and girls were treated. I cannot imagine going into a new school and state and expecting to be fed well and good sleeping condition and then getting the complete opposite. Captain Phillips wanted to start a new school to make kids brave and ready for war, but mistreating them was definitely a flaw in this plan.
10/1/2014 10:17:22 am
Luther Standing Bear and Zitkala-Sa are both American Indian authors from Dakota who documented their time spent at boarding schools established in the United States in the early twentieth century for the purpose of assimilating indigenous peoples of America. In excerpts from My People the Sioux by Luther Standing Bear and The School Days of an Indian Girl by Zitkala-Sa, readers are able to learn of the tremendous abuses and offenses committed against American Indian students in boarding schools. It was devastating to read about the murder of individuality, culture, and tradition that was common in assimilation schools, but it was not something that I was expecting to read about. I did find it to be shocking, however, to read about what Standing Bear and Zitkala-Sa had in common. Both authors, for example, were expecting to have a fun, enriching experiences in the boarding schools, and were excited to head east and receive an education. Standing Bear and Zitkala-Sa also both wrote in their works about the extreme sense of isolation and homelessness they felt while attending boarding school.
10/1/2014 10:30:42 am
For this week’s reading assignments, we were asked to read excerpts from My People the Sioux by Luther Standing Bear and The School Days of an Indian Girl by Ziktala Sa. Both readings pertain to the schooling of young Indian children under white superiors in order to assimilate them into white culture. What’s vastly different about both readings, however, appears to be the spirit of the school children.
10/1/2014 11:59:08 am
After reading Luther Standing Bear's story about the Carlisle School, I felt uneasy. To think that after a long journey, Native American children had to sleep on a cold floor, and use their pants as a pillow is sad. They are already feeling down and scared with their present situation, that they should not have to deal with anything else, especially where they are going to put their heads down to sleep. The next thing that made me uneasy, was that they were forced to participate in a school setting with a new language that they have never been associated with before. English was completely new to them, and they just realized that writing with ink and that words were actually written down to form a language. It was then described that they had to sit down at their seats and look up at the chalk board. There were English names on the board and they were supposed to strip themselves of their identity, and take an American name as their own. That was insulting to me. After having to be removed out of their former homes, to come to an abandoned building with nothing for them to lay their head on, and to then be someone that they are not. Later on throughout the story, it talks about how they were one by one taken to have their hair cut because that is what they wanted them to look like. They wanted to strip their identities even more so that they fit the "ideal image" of everyone else. Native Americans tended to have longer hair, and they knew that if they were to cut their hair, they would no longer be associated with the characteristics of a Native American. The reaction that I had to these stories was mostly a sad one because I could picture how scared these kids were. They knew nothing and were just doing what they were told to "fit in." They should not have had to live in that time of situation.
10/1/2014 01:09:05 pm
The story The School Days of an Indian Girl by Zitkala-Sa was very interesting and while I was reading I noticed a theme of how no matter how hard Zitkala tried to do what she thought was right and make her mom proud she always let her emotions get the best of her. In the beginning of the story, on the journey to the Red Apple Country she let the pale-faced people’s judgment of her get under her skin and cried, showing they won and we able to break her. The white people want her to feel embaressed and unwanted so that she would realize that they were better than her. Another example is when she found out they were going to cut her hair she hid from them under a bed and wouldn’t come out without putting up a fight by kicking and screaming. By showing them that she was scared and a coward would only make them want to cut her hair even more. Zitkala undergoes a lot of hardships and unfair punishments but as the story moves on it seems like Zitkala changes her ways and learns to slowly control her emotions. Even though when her brother tells her she cannot go out to the party she is so upset she doesn’t show him her emotions and how she really feels, although she still cries it’s to her mother’s expense. Finally we are shown a total change of Zitkala at the end of the story when she is about to hear the final winner of the contest and the pale-faced people throw a flag they made that belittled Indian people and instead of flipping out, crying, or showing them that they had defeated her she holds it in and finds out after she won one of the two prizes at the contest. It seems like every time she shows her emotions the consequences she has to face are pretty tough but the more she is able to stand her ground and not allow people to get the best of her she not only wins the contest but she wins the internal fight within herself and the person trying to tear her down.
10/1/2014 08:22:52 pm
In “My People, the Sioux”, the author displays a general mistreatment of the Indian children. I thought that it was flabbergasting that the white people running the school thought that displacing several Native American children from their homes only for them to lodge in an uncomfortable setting was anything but detrimental . I feel like the approach of the Euro-Americans to implement schools for the Indigenous is often painted in a skewed light by the history curriculum in modern schools. While the United States considers these actions as aiding the Native Americans, it really seems like another way to assimilate Euro-American standards into the native culture. What especially disturbed me was when the teacher had the boys “pick” their names. This action indicates a desire to replace sacred values and identity. This concerns me because the subject of identity, especially in children, is a sensitive one. At this sensitive period of a child's life, they are developing their worldview and self-image. Therefore, by stripping them of their names and removing them from their homes, the settlers were attempting to weaken their cultural ties. There are two kinds of warfare: the loud, disastrous kind with guns and bombs, and the subtle attacks on a culture. This piece reveals the latter. I feel as though bringing children into “white” run schools was a means of training the native youth to think differently than their forefathers. Most of our readings indicate that the European settlers often acted in fear that the Native Americans would overcome them. Therefore, afraid of the power of unity amongst Native groups, the implementation served as a way to prevent backlash from future generations of the Native American.
10/1/2014 09:19:33 pm
10/1/2014 11:07:33 pm
Today’s readings “My People the Sioux” by Luther Standing Bear and “The School Days of an Indian Girl” by Ziktala Sa were both very eye opening. I have previously heard about what school was like for young Indians, but had never read of anybody’s experiences. To hear first hand what it was like for the young Indians was really difficult. After being separated formt heir homes, families, and everything they have eevr known the Indians are greated with basically nothing. The school buildings were there, but nothing else. There were no beds for them to sleep in, which put them on the cold hard floors night after night. They were given very little food to survive off of, as opposed to the meals they had become accustomed with at home. But most surprisingly is there was no real ‘school’ in place when they got there. For many days they roamed freely and did as they pleased, while they were being treated like exhibits at the zoo with locals coming to watch them. When they did finally have some form of schooling, it was hardly educational, but more of a way to destroy their identity. Sure, making someone change their appearance- cutting their hair, changing the way they dress- is offensive, but can be dealt with. What irritated me the most was the changing of their names. As soon as you are born you are identified by YOUR name, and as you grow it becomes your identity. To have something that is that much of a part of you, just changed in a matter of seconds to a name you can’t even understand on a blackboard is more than offensive- it’s cruel. If someone were to tell me that I could no longer be identified by my name and that I had ten second to pick a new one that I did not even understand I would be devastated. So to know that when the Indians came to these schools, looking for an education and a way to better themselves, and were greeted with unprepared schools, poor living conditions, and identity loss, it is truly heartbreaking.
10/1/2014 11:44:09 pm
10/2/2014 12:28:29 am
Caitlin Rose Bradley
10/2/2014 01:01:52 am
I was horrified while reading Zitkala Sa's story. It is very hard to believe that "Indian" children were expected to understand English without being taught to speak it. The injustices imposed upon them were terrible. The extremity of the conformity expected of them is incredible. It really bothers me that these "missionaries" didn't care at all about the children's cultures, didn't attempt to understand them or accept that there are cultural differences which dictate that cut hair symbolizes a lot more than what it did to the adults in the school. It isn't fair to treat anyone in the manner in which they were treated, but especially with children, adults should be more sensitive to their needs.
10/2/2014 01:17:43 am
I have actually read Standing Bear’s story before, I studied the mistreatment between the two cultures and races present within the writing. My reaction to the story was not any different from the first time I read it. As the first time I had read it, I was very disgusted with the entire thing.
10/2/2014 02:14:29 am
When reading Zitkala Sa’s The School Days of an Indian Girl, I was immediately captivated by her plotline and her style of writing. I was eager to read this piece of literature when I recognized that it was a short fiction story – something a bit different than everything we have read thus far in the class. Although all of the other non-fiction, informational readings were tremendously educational and eye opening, it was enthralling to read a piece of literature that was going to put these newly learned concepts and cultures to life. Although the piece is categorized as fiction, I presume that many Native American children endured these same hardships as the narrator of the story. It was quite heartbreaking to read this story written in the perspective of a young child – a young child sent away from their parents, to a different part of the country, with new “paleface” people who treated the students with an inadequate amount of respect and care.
10/3/2014 03:55:34 pm
First I read “The School Days of an Indian Girl” by Zitkala-Sa had an intriguing perspective compared to what I would have expected from a young girl going to school for the first time. She described certain things differently such as referring to the transport as an “iron horse” and taking notice of race. Much of how she described other people in her story had to do with the color of their skin such as “paleface” which was something I wasn’t used to. She goes on to talk about the cutting of her hair and made me think of feudal Japan and how samurais were dishonored when they were forced to cut their long hair which was a symbol of good standing within the samurai community. Like most children this girl’s imagination was a powerful force for her like when she dreamt of an evil deity. She also used a Native American flare for describing her surroundings. “My People The Sioux” tells a similar tale but with a much more grim perspective. It felt much more real to me seeing pictures of the Natives posing for class pictures. It’s a shame they weren’t simply just given the information to better their lives instead of being forcibly ‘civilized’. If teachers then had the educational philosophy that is taught today, like here at Bridgewater State University, perhaps things would have turned out better. Which makes me wonder how much of these stories exaggerated or have a biased opinion. I remember as a child seeing some mean-spirited adults as evil people or scared simply by appearances which I believe children are prone to do. That isn’t to say that Natives weren’t mistreated or were schooled in poor conditions but it is important to take into account what point of view is being told in these stories.
10/6/2014 06:37:58 am
Zitkala–Sa offers an intriguing account of degradation. Sa covers a wide range of emotions in her piece School Days of an Indian Girl, and as the piece develops, we can see a gradual development of her identity. Again, the theme of identity is a central concept in the text, and it is interesting to see how Sa’s identity is partly formed as an individual who has had their identity stolen from them. There is a sudden shift to a darker space of self-reflection about halfway through the text, where Sa considers the turmoil she feels. She notes “The melancholy of those black days has left so long a shadow that it darkens the path of years that have since gone by” (Sa190). She continues to write “During this time, I seemed to hang in the heart of chaos, beyond the touch or voice of human aid” (Sa 191). Her comments are filled with despair, and it demonstrates the sheer suffering that an individual endures as their identity is stripped away. I think her testimony significantly recounts the systematic and unforgiving control that many Natives felt in these reform type schools.
1/22/2023 11:20:52 pm
Very nice blog, great insights for parents searching schools and boarding schools for their children.
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