INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND BOARDING SCHOOLS

Linked with Andrea Smith – USA, with American Indian Boarding School Experiences: Recent Studies from Native Perspectives, and with the Boarding School Healing Project.

Published on Boardingschool Healing Project.org, not dated, 40 pdf. pages.

I Introduction: This report provides a partial analysis of boarding school policies directed at Indigenous peoples globally. Because of the diversity of indigenous peoples and the nation-states in which they are situated, it is impossible to address all the myriad boarding school policies both historically and today. Boarding schools have had varying impacts for indigenous peoples. Consequently, the demands made by indigenous peoples around boarding school education also differ widely. At the same time, however, there are some common themes that emerge among diverse boarding school practices.

II. Historical Overview of Boarding Schools:

A. What was their purpose?

Indigenous peoples generally argue that the historic purpose of boarding schools was to assimilate indigenous peoples into the dominant society of which they lived. These schools were frequently run in cooperation with Christian missions with the expressed purpose of Christianizing indigenous peoples, particularly in Latin America, North America, the Arctic, and the Pacific. However, there are also variations on assimilation policies. In the U.S. and Canada, Native children en masse were forcibly removed from their homes as a way to address the “Indian” problem. The policy was “save the man; kill the Indian.” In New  Zealand and Australia, some schools often targeted those of mixed ancestry as a way to develop an elite class within Indigenous communities that could manage their own communities. In Russia and China, the assimilationist policies became stronger during a later period as a means to address national stability and anxieties. In Africa, boarding schools, generally patterned on colonial model of education, are often extremely under-resourced and under-utilized by indigenous peoples. In the Middle East, boarding schools were actually targeted to the elites of indigenous communities in order to give them the skills to negotiate with colonial powers.

Often a stated rationale for boarding schools was that they provided a means for indigenous peoples to achieve status in the dominant society. As will be discussed in the next section, for this reason, many indigenous peoples support boarding schools. At the same time, however, the focus on industrial boarding schools in many areas meant that indigenous children were not necessarily given the educational skills necessary to assimilate into the higher eschelons of the larger society. Rather, they were trained to do either domestic work or manual labor.

B. In what countries were they located?

Below are some country and regional profiles of Indigenous boarding school policies: … (full long 40 pages pdf-text).

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