Boarding School Healing Project in US |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-08-31 11:46.
On Oct. 6, 1879, Captain Richard H. Pratt, a veteran of the Indian wars, opened the first federal Indian boarding school in Carlisle, Pa. His motto at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was to “kill the Indian, and save the man.” The philosophy of forced acculturation that stripped Indians of their culture, language and religion was quickly embraced by the United States government, which appropriated funds to support more than 400 such church-run schools and several Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. Students were trained to become contributing members of American society by receiving training for low-skilled jobs.
After generations of being criminalized for being American Indian, there is tremendous shame attached to these abuses and a reluctance to address them, according to project members. The project’s goals are four-fold: healing, education, documentation and accountability. According to their mission statement, “the project is a starting point to address child sexual abuse. By framing abuse as the continuing effects of human rights abuses perpetrated by government policy, we hope to take the shame away from talking about these issues and provide space for communities to address the problems and heal.”
Toledo explains that the Boarding School Healing Project is seen as a restorative project based on healing.
“Healing requires us to restore ourselves, emotionally and spiritually, and work towards justice,” she says.
The project also seeks restorative justice through working with human rights advocates and tribal judicial systems.
She points out that one of the forms of genocide, as explained in the international human rights arena, is “forcibly removing groups of people away from their families and homes.”
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