It’s a chapter of U.S. and Canadian history that many prefer to forget–and that many of us never even learned.
Either absent from many textbooks or to have a mere nod in a sentence or two, the forcible, systematic removal of Native children from their families is one of the most shameful episodes in our history. Starting in the 19 th century and continuing through the majority of the 20 th, both the U.S . and Canadian governments created boarding schools, or residential schools, in which Native children were forcing them to “assimilate.”
What “assimilate” entailed could be summed up in the words of U.S. cavalry captain Richard Henry Pratt, who opened the first Indian boarding school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania: “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”
Children were taken from their families to live at these schools, forced to speak English and practise Christianity, and penalise for speaking their languages or practicing their own traditions. For decades, tens of thousands of Native children suffered the culture genocide the schools were designed to to be implemented by, in addition to the emotional, physical, and sexual abuses that turned out to be all too common in such schools.
Some may think this is ancient history. But it wasn’t until the Indian Child Welfare Act passed in 1978 that Native parents in the U.S. gained the legal right to keep their own children from these schools. That’s right. 1978.
A Christmas letter to Indian mothers from a Canadian residential school highlightings the arrogant racism inherent in information systems.
Lance Albert of Saskatchewan, Canada shared a photo of a letter on Facebook from Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, dated November 18, 1948.
Imagine someone stealing your children so that they are able to indoctrinate and abuse them until everything you and their own families has taught them is destroyed. Then see getting the present letter from them in the mail 😛 TAGEND
Can you suppose? Some of our Parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters went through this…
It will be your privilege this year to have your children expend Christmas at home with you. The holidays will widen from DECEMBER 18 th to JANUARY 3rd. This is a privilege which is being granted if you find the following regulations of the Indian Department.
THE TRANSPORTATION TO THE HOME AND BACK TO THE SCHOOL MUST BE PAID BY THE PARENTS. The mothers must come themselves to get their own children. If they are unable to come they must sent a letter to the Principal of the school stating that the parent education other children from the same Reserve may bring them home. The children will not be allowed to go home alone on the develop or bus. THE PARENTS MUST BRING THE CHILDREN BACK TO THE SCHOOL STRICTLY ON TIME. If the children are not returned to School on time they will not be allowed to go home for Christmas next year.