Guest Column: Boarding Schools Left Lifelong Mark on Native Americans

35 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this, Cory.

  2. I will second Sam's motion!!

  3. Thank you for posting Kent's oped. How come the RCJ thinks its fine and germane to publish reminders of the little corporal and the war it took to rid of the world of his legacy - but the bigotry, racism, and intolerance in our county and state and better left swept under the rug?!

    The idea that we, after a century of willful blindness, are finally changing geographic racist names is undone by the fact that South Dakota and the Black Hills have a state park, a county, and a town named for a serial rapist who also condoned the practice by the men under his command. Perhaps we should learn to expect this amoral behavior from corporations who are only in the business of increasing shareholder value - but the fact the regions' clergy are complicitly silent tells us more about their true god and absence of practicing what they preach.

  4. Thank you Cory. Just because it happen long ago does not mean it does not matter

  5. Author

    Boy, John, I don't know if I should publish that comment. It sounds awfully divisive. ;-)

  6. What's divisive is ignoring the reality of the market you publish in. The RCJ should be at the front of the line in exposing the dark underbelly of racism and bigotry in our city and state. Instead, it chooses to model the neurotic, passive agressive "if you ignore it, it's not there" attitude in our communities that perpetuates it.

  7. I too think the RC Journal made an error in not allowing that column to be published. But, I also think their criticism of the column is also legitimate.

    Reopening old sores is not going to change history. How far back should we go? Should we go back to the Sioux slaughtering other native tribes? Should we go back to the Inquistition? Should we go back to Spanish and Portuguese explorers bring Syphilis back to Europe from the natives of the new world?

    Native Americans are not helped by providing excuses, justified or not, for failure. Many of them understand this even if they share sorrow over the past. Many of them understand that working to live in their own homes and provide for their family is a better life than living in a Tepee and dying young.

    Reality bites.

  8. So why are kids still going to the Flandreau Indian School? Their mission statement or web site doesn't really explain their continuing purpose. It must serve more than the local kids because they have dorms. Mission Statement: Flandreau Indian School provides opportunities for quality education experiences for Native American youth within the context of their cultural heritage.

  9. Doug, you never cease to trouble me.

    Read Randy Rasmussen's rants to get a sense of which side of the white bread Lee chooses to butter: it's a litany of appeasement to the Ed Randazzos and the Art Oakeses of West River.

    Don't kid yourselves, South Dakota: the State colludes with the Church's lobbyists who own the legislature and the press in the chemical toilet.

  10. Just posted by Mark Trahant: the invisible Indian voter.

    "There could be much more polling in states like South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Alaska and Oklahoma. But the pool would still have to be large enough to be valid – and more important, the questions that impact Indian country would have to be asked." ICTM.

  11. The majority of these types of "hate crimes" are pathetic efforts by the supposed "victim" for attention.

    What's even more pathetic are the "activitists" who use these faux incidents to rally the gullible troops yearning desperately to be a part of something.

    Example: Lincoln, NE lesbian "attacked" a few months ago;big rally in Lincoln; later charged with false reporting; the duped sycopants go on waiting to be duped again

  12. Bob J. Wrong. The majority of hate crimes committed are never reported.

  13. Native Americans are not helped by providing excuses, justified or not, for failure

    I saw the "documentary". There was little historical about it. I came away wondering why a documentary filmmaker would exploit such a vulnerable adult who has decided to blame all (I mean all) his problems on someone else. Maybe he had reasons to hate decades ago, but it's time to move on.

    And the "abuse" was not unique to natives--most formal education back then has its share of regimentation. Many states banned German,or banned German instruction, under physical punishment.

    That's not a documentary. It's glamorizing a sad life for the gain of the filmmaker.

  14. Nonsense, Bob. Are you also a Holocaust denier?

  15. Mr. H, I salute you for recognizing a topic that will rile the masses. You are less bland than the Rapid City newspaper.

    Whatever happened to that fine free newspaper in Rapid you could pick up in little bins outside the Colonial House or that Asian grill on the north side of town where you fill your bowl as full as you can and they cook it? Now THAT was a good newspaper and I bet they would print Mr. Kent's article and get it to the masses.

  16. Bob, if you want to talk about phony victims, how about our Governor starting a statewide manhunt when he got a crank call from a crack head?

    I didn't see Obama sending the Marines after Ted Nugent.

  17. A link to a study on historical trauma and the long term generational effects it has had on the native communities in North America.

    http://www.ahf.ca/downloads/historic-trauma.pdf
    Excerpt from Summary -

    "[...]a new model is being introduced for trauma transmission and healing,
    citing the presence of complex or endemic post-traumatic stress disorder in Aboriginal culture, which originated as a direct result of historic trauma transmission (HTT). A variety of disciplines, including history, anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, sociology and political science, are called upon to illuminate the model of historic trauma transmission and provide different perspectives and information on how historic trauma can be understood as a valid source of continuing dis-ease and reactivity to historical and social forces in Aboriginal communities.

    Purposeful universalization of the Indigenous people’s historic experience is proposed as a means to explain the basis for the creation of a nucleus of unresolved grief that has continued to affect successive generations of Indigenous people. The process of the universalization of trauma is purposefully placed in direct opposition to the particularization of Aboriginal cultural and social suffering."

  18. How many of us know enough about the Native American experience to put ourselves in their shoes?

  19. How many of us have done a darn thing besides act like we care.

    There is HTT in most genealogies Randy though it could be a matter of a few hundred years to a few hours compared to a hundred years or so to a few hours in the natives lives as well.

    Talk is cheap and trauma is everywhere.

  20. Nice post, Les.

    I don't think I've done anything to help. I can say I'm not a bigot, but that doesn't mean I've made a positive impact.

  21. Author

    Les, we've all got sad stories, but I can confidently say I and most of my comfy white neighbors here in Spearfish do not suffer from any Historical Trauma Transmission. We'll find varying degrees of HTT in all cultures, but generally speaking, HTT is going to be much more significant in aboriginal cultures than in conquistador cultures... unless we white folks are suffering from some lingering guilt and trauma over the crimes we committed... but I doubt that's as acute as what Randy's talking about.

  22. Les,
    I don't know if you really have to do anything to help other than be aware of the fact that boarding schools were not consitent with the ideals which this country were founded on. By not being allowed to speak their own language, practice their own religion and pursue their own sense of happiness they being denied their rights as human beings.

  23. Then boarding schools were bad. Bad. I saw them up close.

    Now boarding schools are necessary. Necessary. I have seen what they protect the children from up close.

  24. What have we wrought and how shall we fix it? Can we? Should we?

    If not us then who? There is no god, and I do not trust the Howites to do any better.

  25. You do not know Speartown very well yet Cory. It is not the Rez for sure but a lost culture most definately exists there as well as Lead and Sturgis, a few areas I can speak to.
    Though these communities don't compare to McGlaughlin, the numbers of American Indians do not compare to the greater numbers in tribes of all colors, lost in the current culture of the US.
    That being said, I will never disagree with the hard facts on our American Indian's lot in life, it has been a dispicable hand dealt.

    Awareness is a first step, but the revving of the engines in these posts, is no better than what I find in DC. Every year I go back to see no solutions for last years problems. Those problems have just been replaced by other issues to create a semblance of accomplishment. That is what I find disturbing and why I vented in my initial comment.

  26. Author

    Les, I appreciate your venting and acknowledge that I have no solutions. Education? Economic development? Reparations? Permit Republic of Lakotah to secede? Go back to Europe? Tear up all the treaties, dissolve tribal governments and reservations?

    But whatever solution might exist will not be found in Bob's denialist likening of our discrimination against our own German-blooded neighbors during wartime with the full-scale culture crushing that we branded "Manifest Destiny."

  27. Cultures come and go. Some work, some don't.

    Multi-culture is a rotten idea. We can tolerate multiple races and mixtures so long as a common culture is shared.

    How much multi-culturalism must be supported by the general culture? How many languages should be supported in courts and schools?

    The idea that every language and culture is special and warrants special consideration is a route to a destructive economic and social tower of babel.

  28. Doug,
    The common culture are the ideas of the Declaration of Independence. All people should be entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." People should be able speak their own language, practice their own religion and be who they want to be. Nothing is more American than that.

    Your vision of America is synonomous with McDonaldization.

  29. Spend an afternoon in Eagle Butte or McGlaughlin and it all seems very hopeless in short order Cory. It doesn't need to be that way if our state elected were not so willing to hand it off under the excuse of it's a federal problem. That is the only local level with enough clout for a start.

    Something about the melting pot doesn't quite fit with your analysis K. Common culture is the melting of all who come to America to define a new life in my opinion.

    So now it appears we come to America to make America fit? The American Indian is the only person in our country with any rights to that degree, again my opinion.

    There is no doubt we could use some change, but a hundred new languages doesn't sound to me like the catalyst needed.

  30. The one common symbol in every South Dakota community is the American Flag but never have i seen a state flag flying on any reservation.

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