The history of Native American higher education over the last 300 years was one of compulsory Western methods of learning, recurring attempts to eradicate tribal cultures, and high dropout rates by Native Americans at mainstream institutions (Boyer, 1997).  This was certainly true of higher education in the colonial era and it was also true at the time of this study.
Varied experiments in Indian education were widespread throughout colonial America.  The diversity of the individual colonies, as well as the different settlement patterns and governments of colonial regions, mirrored efforts to educate non-Indian children in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Thus, in New England where a strong tradition of formal education developed, the greatest number of Indian schools operated; conversely, in the deep south where the fewest number of schools operated and illiteracy rates were highest, there were few attempts to organize Indian schools.  (Indian Boarding Schools, n.d., para. 4)
 
In his doctoral thesis, Piety, Politics, and Profit: American Indian Missions in the Colonial Colleges, Wright (1985) reveals the little known fact that early colonial colleges were founded with the express purpose of the propagation of Christianity among the American Indians.  Wright goes on to say that throughout the colonial period, the English viewed "education as a primary means" (p. 7) to accomplish this pious mission.  The purpose of his study was to "investigate, detail, and interpret the higher education of American Indians during the colonial period" (p. 11).  Wright critically examined the educational Indian mission in four colonial colleges.  He examined institutional experiments at Henrico College, Harvard College, the College of William and Mary, and Dartmouth College.
Wright (1985) found that while the colonial educators professed their own piety as if this were their singular motivation, they capitalized on the charitable impulses of the pious English and on the opportunities the charity presented in furthering other political and economic interests.
Wright (1985) revealed how funds that had been collected for conducting early experiments in educating Native Americans were diverted from the intended purpose to fund other projects.  This was a primary cause for the ultimate failure of these early experiments in Indian education.  
The colonists' plans for formal Indian schooling centered around two beliefs: (a) Any schooling endeavor must Christianize and civilize Native peoples - thus, the primary teachers and promoters of Indian education were to be missionaries and pious laypersons; and (b) Indians must be persuaded to send their children to school (Szasz, 1988).

These two beliefs formed the foundations for many Indian education experiments.  Some of the best known include Harvard College, opened in 1636 partly for the "education of the English and Indian Youth . . . in knowledge: and Godliness" (Wright, 1988, p. 6); William and Mary College, founded in 1693 in part so that "the Christian faith may be propagated amongst the Western Indians" (p. 8); and Dartmouth, opened in 1769, to offer "all parts of Learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and christianizing Children of Pagans" (p. 11).  Clearly, the colonists sought to use education to destroy the "Indianness" of the Native peoples.  The reasons they failed become evident upon examining the colonial enrollment records at all three institutions.  Indeed, few Indians attended and even fewer graduated; only one Indian received a degree from Harvard, while an average of 8-10 Indian students were enrolled at William and Mary each year (Szasz, 1988).

Most Native Americans resisted sending their children to school; however, missionaries did manage to persuade a few families into believing the key to Indian survival in an increasingly hostile colonial environment was attending a white man's school.  These Indians reluctantly surrendered their children in the hopes that a Euro‑American education would help them survive in a world becoming increasingly hostile to Native Americans (Szasz, 1988).
Early colonial attempts to educate Native Americans failed for the same reasons educational attempts failed throughout the history of Indian education, up until the present.  Missionaries had no comprehension of the complexity and sophistication of traditional Native educational, social, and cultural systems, and they harbored deep prejudices against the Indians (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969).  This deep prejudice was the result of their religious zeal, and it prevented them from understanding why the Indians held onto their cultural values and spirituality with such tenacity (Wright, 1985).  Rather than live with such scorn, early Native American students often returned to their own people without completing their education (Szasz, 1988).  Although early colonial schools educated a very small percentage of Native American children, their supporters had successfully created the foundation upon which the future of Indian education would rest.  Thereafter, the majority of Native Americans would view education as an effort to stamp out their religion and culture by Christianizing and civilizing their children (Szasz, 1988).
Henrico College
The first proposal for organized education of any kind in the American colonies was Henrico College.  The history of attempting to impose European English style education on American Indians goes back to the establishment of the Henrico Proposal in 1618 (Stein, 1988).
In keeping with the prevailing ideology of colonial conquest that suggested a European obligation to "pacify" and "civilize" indigenous people, British Virginians petitioned the crown for funding to develop an Indian college within a decade of the first permanent settlement at Jamestown.  (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 1)
 
"The Henrico settlement was the third attempt by the English, under the auspices of the Virginia Company of London, to establish a permanent settlement in close proximity to the mouth of the James River in Virginia" (Vacik & Miller, 1995, p. 6).  In 1610, the Virginia Company of London went on record stating the mission of the company was to educate and evangelize the Native Americans, "to preach and 
baptize . . . and by propogation of the gospell, to recover out of the arms of the divell, a number of poore and miserable soules, wrapt up unto death, in almost invincible ignorance" (Wertenbaker, 1914, p. 31).
As the settlement in Virginia grew, and as more contact with the Natives occurred, the education of the Native American became a company goal.  Edwin Sandy's ultimate plan was to institute a systematic scheme of education for Virginia, leading up from free school to college and, in further time, a university (McCabe, 1922).  In the early days of the settlement, an Englishman, Reverend Alexander Whitaker, succeeded in converting a number of Natives to the Christian faith.  Buoyed by his success, he urged the entire English nation to come to the salvation of the "naked slaves of the devill" (as cited in Vacik & Miller, 1995, p. 8).  In addition to saving their souls, Whitaker also envisioned cultural salvation for the Natives as well.  An excerpt from a company tract written in 1613 demonstrates the intent of the Virginia settlement to develop a university and make a place for educating Indian children.
We do therefore according to a former grant and order hereby ratifie [sic] confirm and ordain that a convinient [sic] place be chosen and set out for the planting of a university at the said Henrico in time to come and that in the mean time preparation be there made for the building of the said College for the Children of the Infidels according to such Instructions as we shall deliver And we will and ordain that ten thousand acres partly of the Lands they impaled and partly of other Land within the territory of the said Henrico be allotted and set for the endowing of the said Henrico University and College with convenient possessions.  (Kingsbury, 1933, p. 102)
 
However, the impetus for building a college at Henrico really emerged when Rebecca Rolfe, better known as Pocahontas, married a 29-year-old widower named John Rolfe and converted to Christianity (Burton, 1904; Hawke, 1966).  Rebecca carried herself with such poise and dignity that her untimely death in 1617 set into motion a national project, to establish a college at Henrico for the conversion and education of Virginia's Native Americans (Hawke, 1966).  Therefore, the mission of the college at Henrico was primarily to educate and evangelize the Native Americans (McCabe, 1922).  In turn, these educated Native Americans would return home and convert their fellow tribesmen to Christianity (Chitwood, 1948).  Henrico College may have been the first example of vocational education that "was to have been somewhat like an industrial school with the purpose of making Indians useful members of society" (Land, 1938, p. 487).

Though the plans for the proposed college in Henrico were officially endorsed both by the Virginia Company in 1618 and King James, the goal of establishing an institution to educate the "Children of the Infidels" . . . was to be ultimately frustrated by fraudulent money management.  (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 1) 

 

Sir Edwin Sandy, the venerable treasurer of the Virginia Company, collected a net £2,043 for the express purpose of an Indian college at Henrico, but used the funds to ship indentured tenants to the colonies (Native American Colonial, n.d.).

With the establishment of a college for Native Americans at Henrico, a pattern emerged: fraudulent use of funds earmarked for Native American education.  This pattern was to persist throughout the colonial era.  "Dartmouth, like Harvard and the College of William and Mary, survived its first years by fraudulent use of moneys earmarked for Indian education" (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 12).  Administrators at those first colonial colleges opportunistically capitalized on English fears of Native American uprisings to "appeal to charitable Britons' sense of pious duty to socialize the 'heathen' races of North America, and generally met with success irrespective of sectarian identity" (para. 12).

Harvard College
Shortly after its founding, Harvard's president, Henry Dunster, professed an interest in converting Indians into Christians in order to gain access to the free-flowing charitable funds that were available for that purpose.  Dunster's requests for funding coincided with the uneasy end of Connecticut's Pequot War.  Dunster's efforts were successful and, by 1653, an Indian college was built on Harvard's premises.  Dunster deceptively reported on the progress of his Indian students to benefactors in England; however, no Indian students entered Harvard until 1660, seven years after the college was founded (Native American Colonial, n.d.).
In the four decades of the Indian college's existence, it housed only four known Indian students out of its total capacity of forty.  Instead, administrators used the Indian school building to accommodate twenty English students capable of providing Harvard with sorely needed revenue.  (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 4)
 

William and Mary

Just prior to the movement to found the Anglican school of William and Mary, Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy frontier planter and relative of the governor, organized a group of exploited laborers (indentured servants under contract to work for wealthy planters) and they attacked some peaceful Indians.  Bacon and his followers felt the Indians were being coddled by the government.  The colonists were angry about poor working conditions in the colonies and lack of farmland.  Some of them started farming on Indian land, ignoring treaties between the government and local Indians (Stuckey & Salvucci, 2003).

When the governor of Virginia tried to stop Bacon from attacking the Indians, Bacon and his followers attacked and burned Jamestown, a colony in Virginia.  After Bacon's rebellion, the colonists had an understandably difficult time making peace with the Indians (Stuckey & Salvucci, 2003).  The government recognized that there was a serious need to create a mechanism for socialization of the Native Americans in order to co-opt the constant threat they posed on the frontier.

In a direct reference to the troubles on the frontier, the Commissary of Virginia, James Blair, solicited funds from England [for a college] arguing that the purpose of the college was so that "the Christian faith may be propagated amongst the Western Indians" (Wright, 1988, p. 8).  In 1693, Blair obtained a royal charter for the establishment of the College of William and Mary.  (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 6)

 

However, for the funds he procured in England for the Indian college, Blair contrived other more expedient outlets: there was no known Native American enrollment in William and Mary prior to 1705 or after 1720.  J. E. Morpurgo, William and Mary's historian criticized Blair's enterprise as "an entry in the ledgers through which charitable funds could be funneled to extraneous activities" (Wright, 1988, p. 9).  Partly due to the reluctance of Native American students to abandon their own social matrix and partly because most of William and Mary's funding was diverted into reviving the financially strapped college, the scheme to create through education a class of Europeanized Native Americans to act as diplomats between Europeans and their tribes failed.  (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 7)

 

Dartmouth College

The case of Dartmouth represents yet another appeal to pious English benefactors for Indian educational funds, rendered all the more powerful this time by British insecurities concerning Native Americans in the aftermath of the French and Indian War (1754-63).  The French and Indian War was fought between the French and the British over the right to settle North America.  Britain won the right to settle North America, then took over French forts in North America when the French withdrew.  British settlers refused to give supplies to Native Americans as the French had.  British colonists also moved across the Appalachian Mountains onto Native American land.  Native Americans retaliated by attacking settlers and destroying almost every British fort west of the Appalachians.  The British reacted with equal violence killing even Indians who had not attacked them (Garcia, Ogle, Risinger, Stevos, & Jordan, 2002).

The founder of Dartmouth College, Congregationalist Eleazar Wheelock, capitalized on this tension between the British and Native Americans by requesting funds to educate the Indians.  By educating Native Americans, Eleazar Wheelock hoped to keep them from starting wars with the colonists (Native American Colonial, n.d.). 

In 1763 Eleazar Wheelock advanced a proposal for establishing a college in New Hampshire for the purpose of "introducing religion, learning, agriculture, and manufacture among the Pagans in America" (Wright, 1988, p. 10). . . . Wheelock sent a former Indian student to England to solicit funds for his project.  The student, Samson Occum, raised £12,000 "in the mistaken belief that the funds were to be employed 'towards building and endowing an Indian academy'" (Wright, 1988, p. 10).  Yet, following a then familiar pattern, Wheelock had no intention of using the funds to build the said Indian academy.  Instead he exhausted all of Occum's collections in 15 years educating 160 students, a mere 40 of whom were Native American.  (Native American Colonial, n.d., para. 11)
There is a concern on the amount of stealing, theft, drug and alcohol on the reservation and communities. Rightfully so...many have ideas on those committing thievery and or drug and alcohol pushers and abusers should be handled. Mind you it isn't just a problem here but a problem all over. That said, here is my thoughts on these matters. Law enforcement needs help, when seeing suspicious activity report it to the local authorities, somebody steals something tell them you are going to report it if they do not do the right thing and return the stolen property. People who are selling and pushing drugs need to be brought to the light and go before a designate council and address their selling. Laws need to be enforced as they read for the law not followed. Policy and procedures apply to everyone and just not to a certain few. Our reservation and community need to apply the same policies and rules for everyone including their family and friends. We have different cultural and religious beliefs on or near the reservation. All deserve the same respect. We are the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and first and far most our way of life should not be put on the way side. Our ancestors did not put their Anishinaabe way of life aside even if they did follow a religion. Most still talked the Ojibwa language or other American Indian languages, practiced child birthing at home, made gardens, picked and dried berries, made the natural medicines. Attended the bush dance and then went to the powwow at the round halls or someone's home. Most today even if they do not acknowledge their heritage still follow the footsteps of the ancestors. That is a whole topic itself. We as Anishinaabe have been lied to, cheated out of land, cultural, and language that contains our vital heritage. Now mind you we have to use our heritage to combat the problems we have on the reservation and communities. Back in the ancestor's time their was no room for idleness, everyone worked for a living, their was a belief in Kitchimanitou=Great Spirit (God) and a following in the Seven Sacred laws and the Clan totem that governed the village. The children played but were expected to help with chores and care for the elders and younger children in the village. In fact, they went to the elders, and master artist in the village and learned from them everything they needed on being an adult. They offered the asema=tobacco, and a gift for the wisdom shared to the elder or master artist. Land was not over worked and sharing was a big part of daily life. Elders and children were highly cared for and respected as well as cherished. When an individual or individuals misbehaved they were scolded by aunts and or uncles, teased in fact. If it was a more serious law broken a council of individuals talked to the individual or individuals. The individual or individuals were given an opportunity to make amends and or restitution If they violated again the council could choose banishment and tattoo the individual(s). It was up to another village if they wanted to take the banished individual(s) in. There is hopelessness and helplessness on our reservation with all the stealing, theft, broken relationships, alcohol and drug sellers, and abuse. Not only alcohol and drugs but prescription medicine. Our Anishinaabe way of life should be sought out in all matters to make the village whole again. We may not be able to save everyone but this is our community and we can choose to make a difference for the future of the children. Miigwech

The "Discovery" of America

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When Europeans first sailed to America, Indian tribes (tribal nations) were sovereign by nature.  They conducted their own affairs and depended upon no other source of power to uphold their acts of government (Canby, 1988).  "Indigenous American nations were not conquered by the U.S. armed forces, as many believe" (Treaty Rights, n.d., Historical Context section, para. 2).  Rather, indigenous lands were obtained through negotiation and contractual consent.  The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 declared, "The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards Indians; their land and property shall never be taken from them without their consent" (Pevar, 2002, p. 6).  Due to the ability of the tribal nations to wage war and the seemingly endless availability of land, both the colonial governments and the young United States realized it was in their best interest to allow tribal nations to regulate their own affairs.  Thus began the era of treaty signing between tribal nations and the federal government.  The first treaty between the American Indians and the United States was with the Delaware in 1778 (Utter, 1993).

Treaties are defined as legally binding contracts between parties that cannot be changed or cancelled without agreement by all parties.  Indigenous nations were recognized as separate, sovereign entities and treaties established distinct boundaries between Indian and non-Indian territories.  Within their territories, Indigenous Americans governed their own internal matters.  (Treaty Rights, n.d., Historical Context section, para. 2)

 

The definition of treaties is reflective of a general rule of international law that states that the internal laws of acquired territories continue in force.  A tribe, as defined by the United States Supreme Court, is as follows: "By a 'tribe' we understand a body of Indians of the same or similar race, united in community under one leadership or government, and inhabiting a particular though sometimes ill-defined territory" (Utter, 1993, p. 29).  Eventually, the United States made treaties with hundreds of indigenous tribal nations, exchanging payments for land and access rights (Canby, 1988).

From the first moment of contact with Europeans, the indigenous people of North America were at an extreme disadvantage.  Not only were they at a disadvantage from a technological standpoint, but they were also at a disadvantage from a cultural standpoint.  This contrast in culture was evident in the relationship between the two groups.

Indian culture was based on an oral tradition, as they placed a high value on the spoken word.  Their verbal words were binding.  European culture was based on the written word; their written word was binding, but words spoken were often forgotten.  Therefore, Indians were at a distinct disadvantage whenever negotiations took place.  Whenever a European spoke, the Indians viewed the words as binding; Europeans did not.  Whenever Europeans tried to write things down, Indians did not understand the necessity of writing things down.  Were not the words enough?  The difference in methods of communications between immigrants and Native Americans often led to misunderstandings and broken treaties.

When Native Americans heard promises like "as long as the grass shall grow and the river flows," they took them literally.  Even today, many Native Americans do not believe that the terms education, health, and welfare, promised to them in the treaties, have all been honored by the United States.  They are still waiting for the federal government to fulfill promises outlined in the treaties.  Another cultural difference is evident in the way Indians and Europeans approached negotiations.  Whenever Indians and Europeans came together, the Indians often viewed their relationship as an alliance; the European immigrants, as a business proposition, a means to acquire more land.

An inherent weakness Native American tribes had when interacting with the "white man" was that the Indians did not view themselves as one group of people.  Prior to European contact, American Indians were not "Indians," but were members of many independent and diverse socio-political and cultural groups (Utter, 1993).  Tribes were well aware of the diversity and unique culture between each group of people.  Each tribe had its own beliefs, customs, and cultures.  Because each tribe was a unique entity and group, immigrants encroaching further and further into Indian territory often divided Indians.  The tremendous numbers of European immigrants eventually conquered the small independent bands of Native Americans, not necessarily through warfare, but through sheer numbers of persons.  A surrender speech made by Cochise, an Apache leader and warrior, demonstrates his frustration at the numbers of immigrants.

Many people came to our country.  First the Spanish, with their horses and their iron shirts, their long knives and guns, great wonders to my simple people.  We fought some, but they never tried to drive us from our homes in these mountains.  After many years the Spanish soldiers were driven away and the Mexican ruled the land.  With these, little wars came, but we were now a strong people, and we did not fear them.  At last in my youth came the white man, under your
people. . . . I have fought long and as best I could against you.  I have destroyed many of your people, but where I have destroyed one white man many have come in his place; where an Indian has been killed, there has been none to come in his place, so that the great people that welcomed you with acts of kindness to this land are now but a feeble band that fly before your soldiers as the deer before the hunter, and must all perish if this war continues.  I have come to you, not from any love for you or for your great father in Washington, or from any regard for his or your wishes, but as a conquered chief, to try to save alive the few people that still remain to me.  I am the last of my family, a family that for very many years have been the leaders of this people, and on me depends their future, whether they shall utterly vanish from the land or that a small remnant remain for a few years to see the sun rise over these mountains, their home.  I here pledge my word, a word that has never been broken, that if your great father will set aside a part of my own country, where I and my little band can live, we will remain at peace with your people forever. . . . I have spoken.  (Armstrong, 1971, p. 187)

 

Native Americans were puzzled by how the colonists lived, but they did not see any reason to change them.  On the other hand, the colonists' misunderstanding of the Native American way of life, of living as one with the land, wild and free, was sometimes used as an excuse by the colonists to change, "educate," or assimilate the Indians.  Some colonists wanted to modernize and help the Indians out of their ignorant state.  Many colonists were afraid of the Indians' fierce countenance and apparently "savage" existence and wanted nothing to do with them.  Other colonists may even have felt that the Indians were lesser human beings, too ignorant and wild to change, and as subordinate beings should be exterminated (Mintz, 2003).

The French philosopher Montaigne reflected on the pervasive ignorance about Indians that existed in early colonial times when he said, "[The Indian] had no knowledge of letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politics . . . no apparel but natural" (Mintz, 2003, European Perceptions section, para. 2).  The majority of the English colonists did not want to coexist with the "savages" (Mintz, 2003).

These cultural differences between immigrants and Native Americans did not bode well for the Indians and their descendents, as Chief Tecumseh was well aware.  In 1810, he faced Governor W. H. Harrison to bitterly protest the land sales of 1805-06.  He said they were affected by the use of strong liquor, a breach of the Treaty of Greenville.  He refused to enter the Governor's mansion; instead, he said to his tribesmen,

The way, the only way to stop this evil is for the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first, and should be now - for it was never divided, but belongs to all.  No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers. . . . Sell a country!  Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth?  Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? 

            How can we have confidence in the white people?  (Armstrong, 1971, pp. 43‑44)

 

For 400 years, since the first settlers set foot on American soil to the present times, European colonists and later the U.S. government have been trying to educate and assimilate the Indian into European-American culture.  All attempts have failed miserably, because the Indians are fiercely proud of their heritage, culture, and independence.  But it is hard to be proud when you are a conquered people, often living in poverty on reservations, when your history speaks of a free, plentiful, independent existence that no longer exists.

The Indians' past depended upon vast amounts of land to sustain their people.  They needed to travel, hunt, and fish.  All that changed and was gone when the colonists came.  There were too many settlers for the land to sustain all the people on the land, as it had in the past.  This defeat of the Indians, of their culture and way of life, has caused serious debilitating conditions to arise on reservations among the Indian peoples.  But it has not totally defeated their spirit.  They have been finding ways to improve their circumstances.  One manifestation of the Indians' fight for self-preservation and better living conditions has been the establishment of tribal colleges.

 

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"We were trying to think of someone at Spirit Lake [with a disability], and after a few minutes we realized, oh yeah, Erich Longie is a vocational rehabilitation "success story". Now, maybe if you just walked by Erich in the airport when he was walking with two canes because he had a really long way to go through the terminal, you'd think, "There goes a person with a disability." However, I can guarantee you would never think of that if you knew him. Willie and I have both known Erich well over 20 years, he's one of my best friends, I was at his graduation when he was the first enrolled member to receive a doctorate, he was my boss when he was tribal college president, we founded a company together and when asked to name someone on the Spirit Lake Nation who had the education and experience to be a disability advocate - I didn't think of him.  Neither did Willie, so it's not just me.

If you know Erich, when you think of him, probably one of the first things is he's very family-oriented. He was a single father for many years, and now he's raising his grandchildren. He was a major force in the fight against the Sioux nickname. He's been quite politically involved over the years, particularly in education, as school board president, member of the tribal college board. He's been immensely involved in American Indian education - adult basic education instructor, Even Start Director, elementary school teacher, college academic vice-president, written a masters thesis and dissertation on issues in Indian education, published articles in academic journals. He's an avid pool player, drives like a stunt double for the Dukes of Hazzard (or Grand Theft Auto, if you're too young to remember that), he's survived the Marine corps, cancer, alcoholism, the death of his son and an exceptional number of ex-wives. All of this maybe explains why it took Willie and I about twenty minutes of trying to think of someone with a disability to say, "Oh, yeah, Erich was in a car accident and walks with a cane, sometimes two." - Annmaria Demars



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Many years ago, Apsáalooke collected eagle feathers in a unique way. They would dig a dugout in high location. Over the dugout they would place branches and twigs and cover it with grass and they extend a skinned rabbit from the pit. They eagle trapper would hide in the trap and wait for eagles to come inspect the rabbit. The trapper would grab the legs of the eagle and pluck the middle feather and the two on either side of the middle.

            A young warrior named Yellow Leggings was out trapping eagles in this manner. While he was in the trap a boulder above him rolled down and trapped him in. Yellow Leggings was certain that he would die in this trap when a mouse talked to him. The mouse told Yellow Leggings to follow him into a hole on the floor of the trap. Yellow Leggings followed the mouse through the tunnel till they emerged on the other side to a world he did not recognize.

Yellow Leggings walked around till he found a lodge. He walked up to the lodge and a voice inside said, "Come in. I have been expecting you." Yellow Leggings entered to find an old man and an old woman. The old man wanted Yellow Leggings to have a seat. Yellow Leggings seen a human hand in the soup and said we do not eat other humans. The old man said, "I forgot that you do not eat humans. Go outside and find something to eat. When you are finished return. I have some things I want to talk to you about." Yellow Leggings did as he was instructed. After eating and returning to the old mans lodge, Yellow Leggings was instructed to kill the elk who controlled the winds and caused havoc among the birds and animals. The old man gave him the location of where he will find the elk and that before he goes to the elk that he should find animals that will help him if were to cry.

Yellow Leggings then went on his way to the elk. He came across a certain bird and Yellow Leggings sat and started to weep. The bird asked what was wrong. Yellow leggings explained that he was tasked with killing this elk. The bird told Yellow Leggings that this truly was a hard task that is impossible. The bird advised Yellow Leggings to go to a near bush and cry near it. Yellow Leggings did as instructed. A mole came to Yellow Leggings and said why do you cry. Yellow Leggings explained to the mole with what he was tasked to do. The mole said that this was nearly an impossible task. The reason was that the elk had helpers on his antlers. The coyote sat on his right antlers and protected the elk by day and an owl on his left antlers to protect him at night. If anything came near the elk the helpers would alert the elk and he would go and kill the intruders with his antlers. The mole said he will help Yellow Leggings by digging a tunnel under the elk where the coyote and the owl will not see them. Then when they were under him Yellow Leggings was to shoot an arrow directly into the heart of the elk. The mole said they had one try because the elk will be alerted he will surely kill them both if they failed. When they finally were directly under the elk Yellow Leggings shot his arrow. They started running back through the tunnel. The elk was wounded for sure and he stuck his antler into the ground where the tunnel was and chased after the two till he fell over dead.

Yellow Leggings thanked mole for his help and asked what he can do for the mole. The mole instructed him to leave food near his mounds when he needs help in solving a situation and he will help Yellow Leggings again. He also told Yellow Leggings that if didn't want to be seen he can take dirt and rub it on himself so that he could not be found.

Yellow Leggings returned to the old man with the head of the elk. White owl thanked him for completing his task. He then said that Yellow Leggings must go after the scalp of colored Hair who lived on the other side of the river. Yellow Leggings agreed to the quest.

Yellow Leggings left on his quest. Again he came across the bird and he wept. The bird asked why he was crying and Yellow Leggings told him the new quest he was on. The bird said that this quest was indeed a tougher quest. The bird explained that people that go on this quest are eaten by Dyed Hair. Yellow Legging was instructed to seek the help of a young woman that lived beyond the ridge in front of him.

Yellow Leggings traveled beyond the ridge and found a lodge. At the lodge he met a young woman. The young woman's name was Ant Woman. She explained that Colored Hair has been pursuing her so that they may marry. Ant Woman devised a plan where Yellow Leggings will go in the form of her. Ant Woman instructed Yellow Leggings to take off his clothes and she would do the same. They will stand at opposite ends of the tipi and then meet each other in the middle where they will embrace and Yellow Leggings will say he is Ant Woman and ant Woman will say she is Yellow Leggings. When they did this they switched bodies. Ant Woman instructed Yellow Leggings not to allow Colored hair to touch him for three days and to keep him awake during the day time. After four days allow Colored Hair to have his way with you. When he is finished he will fall into a deep sleep. This will be Yellow Leggings chance to slit Dyed Hair's throat and place the louse on the pillow. 

Ant Woman then gave Yellow Leggings five corn balls. She instructed him that when he reaches the river there will be a dog. Yellow Leggings was instructed to mount the dog and slip a corn ball in his mouth and the dog will walk across the river carrying him. He did as he was instructed when he got to the river. It took two corn balls to cross the river. After he crossed the river he walked till he reached a forest. At the forest Yellow Leggings began to weep. A chipmunk came to Yellow Leggings and asked what was wrong. Yellow Leggings told him that he had to kill Colored Hair and didn't know how to complete his task. The chipmunk said that the only thing he can help with his quest was a louse. The chipmunk instructed Yellow Legging to keep the louse behind his ear till he kills Colored Hair and places the louse on his pillow and it will take care of everything from there on. The chipmunk instructed Yellow Leggings to weep when he was near magpie. When Yellow Leggings was near magpie he started to weep. Magpie asked what was wrong. Yellow Leggings explained his situation. Magpie said that there was a mound that was on Colored Hair's mother's head that she could project out and uses to fly in the air and that it will be hard to out run her. Magpie instructed Yellow Leggings that as he is running and when he is tired to throw the middle feather of the magpie in the air and magpie will carry him farther.

When Yellow Leggings arrived at Colored Hair's lodge he was not home. His mother was there and she was not happy that Ant Woman showed up. Colored Hair's Mother was very suspicious of Ant Woman coming to see her son. When Colored Hair arrived he was happy to see that Ant Woman finally came to his lodge. When they went to bed Ant Woman rejected his advances. He laid there and could not sleep all night. The next day Ant Woman kept Colored Hair busy showing her the place. Again that night she rejected his advances saying she was tire. Again Colored Hair stayed awake all night excited that Ant Woman finally came to his lodge. When Colored Hair fell asleep his mother kept calling to him because she was suspicious of Ant Woman. Colored Hair would respond but he was so tired that he fell into a deep sleep. Ant woman touch and pinched Colored Hair but he was sound asleep. She quietly slit his through and removed the louse from behind his ear and placed it on his pillow. She cut Colored Hair's head off and quietly sneaked out of the lodge. Colored Hair's mother yelled out to Colored Hair and from his bed he heard a response in the voice of Colored Hair saying "quit bothering me, we are trying to sleep." This was louse speaking. All night long Colored Hair's mother would say his name and ask a question and the louse would answer. Finally in the morning Colored Hair's mother got up to check and his head was gone. "I knew Ant Woman was up to no good. She will never get away." She raised the weapon on her head and flew after her. Yellow Leggings was running as fast as his legs will take him till he got tire. He said "magpie help me" and raised the feather and he started to fly. Yellow Leggings would fly until the magpie got tired and he would run for little bit and then raise the feather again and he would fly through the air. He made good ground but Colored Hair's mother was catching up to him. He got to the river and fed the dog with a corn ball and the dog crossed the river. He kept feeding the dog the last of the corn balls as they ran to Ant Woman's lodge. He was instructed to run around the lodge four times. Still on the dogs back they ran around the lodge four times and on the fourth time they ran in. Colored Hair's mother threw her weapon on her head to the lodge but on the fourth run around the lodge it had turned to stoned. Some of the stone fell off. Ant Woman, still in Yellow Leggings form quickly used mud from the ground and replaced the stone that had fallen off. Colored Hair's mother finally said, "You have defeated me. I just want to see his face one more time. Ant Woman instructed Yellow Leggings to open the door. He opened it a crack but Colored Hair's mother said, "Please open it little more so I can see him more clearly." Yellow Leggings opened enough for her to stick her head in. Colored Hair's mother said, "Ha I have fooled you," but Yellow Leggings quickly shut the heavy door chopping Colored Hair's mother's head off.

Ant Woman informed Yellow Leggings that those two have been tricking people and then eating them. Ant Woman instructed Yellow Leggings to take Colored Hair's head back to the old man but she will be keeping his mother's head to keep her from coming back so that she can no longer harm people. They again stood on one side of the lodge and walked to the middle where they embraced. Yellow Leggings said "I am Yellow Leggings" and Ant Woman said "I am Ant Woman." They transformed back to their own selves. The young woman turned back into an ant. Ant Woman told Yellow Leggings that the mole helped you and it goes the same with her. If you need help in a situation place some food near an ant pile and state what you need help with and I will find a solution.

When he returned to the old man he was very pleased. He told Yellow Leggings to go and come back in the morning. As he was leaving the old man's wife told Yellow Leggings outside of the lodge and instructed him to that the old man will lay out his spirit helpers tomorrow and when he asks Yellow Leggings which one he wants, to ask for the old man.

In the morning when he returned the old man laid out all his spirit helpers and said, "You have taken the elk that had a hold of the four winds and the four directions but I have that power now. I will not keep it like the elk did. Ant Woman's lodge is the form of lodge that you will use with the four base poles. These four base poles represent the four directions where the four winds blow and it also represents the four seasons. Then asked Yellow Leggings which one he wants. Yellow Leggings did as he was instructed and said, "I will take you." The old man said, "Aaahh, my wife must have told you to say that."  The old man transformed himself into a white owl. The old man instructed Yellow Leggings that they must respect the tipi. The old man's pet was a bear and the old man tied his pet to the left door of the tipi. The bear will watch the door and prevent anything bad from getting in. The old man, who is the white owl told Yellow Leggings, "When you leave here you will meet four woman. You need to avoid their advances. Use this driftwood or this quartz on them.

Yellow Leggings started on his journey home. Yellow Leggings encountered a woman like no other. She was very beautiful. She was making advances so Yellow Leggings waved the driftwood at her. Instantly she turned into an elk and ran away. Again Yellow Leggings encountered a second woman. This woman was like no other. She was more beautiful than the first one. This woman made advances so Yellow Leggings waved the driftwood at her and she instantly transformed into a white-tailed doe and ran away. Yellow Leggings continued his journey home. Again he encountered a woman like no other. She was more beautiful than the previous two with eyes like berries. When she made her advances at Yellow Leggings, he waved the driftwood at her and she instantly turned into a mink and ran away. Yellow Leggings continued his voyage home. Again he encountered a woman. He pulled out the driftwood and waved it at her but she did not mind. He took out the quartz and waved it at her and still she did not mind. So Yellow Leggings married her.

Yellow Leggings and his wife went to her camp. When they approached the camp a young boy ran to meet them. The young boy had a mountain lion as a pet. The mountain lion was about to charge but the young man said, "this is my brother-in-law." The mountain lion relaxed. The young boy was named Juniper Between The Eyes. The young boy said that his brothers were out hunting.

When Juniper Between The Eyes' brother returned from their hunt they started to tease Yellow Leggings. They were pulling of the legs and the head off a stuffed fawn that Yellow Leggings had. Yellow Leggings open the bundle that had the white owl in and the owl flew up and hooted. The fawn bleated and the legs of the brothers started to hurt. They yelled that they quit. The brothers were ashamed for teasing their brother-in-law. They said that they don't belong on earth anymore. They decided to join the seven stars. Before they left Juniper Between The Eyes said that he was taking his pet with him but the spirit will remain in the right door pole. When you look up at the seven starts at night the faint star near the last star is Juniper Between The Eyes' mountain lion.

They said that it was time to leave. They told Yellow Leggings to offer the pipe to them whenever he needed them. When he was in a tight spot, or when he was happy, or when he was alone.

That night Yellow Legging wife said go smoke with your brother-in-laws. Yellow Leggings offered the pipe to his brother-in-laws. His brother-in-laws said. "No matter what happens don't forget the old man. The lodge is a woman. The tipi is the place you come home to. It is your second mother. The earth is your first mother. It is the earth that you finally return. When you smoke offer your mother earth the pipe too. The animals that you respect, the animals that are messengers you believe in are all represented at the poles. The four wind directions and the four seasons of the year are represented by the four base poles. Group all these together in a tipi and occupy it. When you sit in the tipi, sit along the poles because that is where man lives. No man should sit in the middle of the tipi. This place is reserved for the elements.  (Old Coyote, H., 1974: 33-56)


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Mission Period

Before the treaties and Federal Indian Policy, there was a period when only missionaries were attempting to educate Native Americans. “Beginning with the Jesuit mission school for Florida Indians in 1568, formal education of Indians was dominated by the church for almost 300 years” (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969, p. 10). The goal of the missionaries was not so much to educate the Indian as to change him. Jesuits and Franciscans were the first missionaries to attempt to mold the Indian into a white man, and when Protestants gained a foothold on the northeast coast, they vigorously attempted to Christianize the Indian. Education was perceived as the best means to accomplish this goal, so in 1617, King James I requested funds to educate “children of these Barbarians in Virginia” (p. 10). King James I’s request eventually resulted in the establishment of the College of William and Mary. Other schools for Indians were started, but none were successful in civilizing the Indian. Although Indians understood the concept of Christianity and learned to read and write, they immediately relapsed into infidelity and barbarism upon returning to their tribe (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969).

Treaties

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, all Native American tribes were autonomous from each other. They conducted their own affairs and depended upon no other source of power to uphold their acts of government (Canby, 1988). The colonies and Native American tribes were often equal in military strength. Therefore, the early colonial governments viewed the tribes as sovereign nations and treated them as such. In order to gain title to Indian land, colonial governments primarily used treaties. The Supreme Court has expressly held that an Indian treaty is “not a grant of rights to the Indians, but a grant of rights from them” (Pevar, 2002, p. 48). Following the War of Independence, the young United States made treaties with hundreds of indigenous tribal nations, exchanging lands for payments and access rights (Canby, 1988). “The signing of the treaty between the United States and the Delaware Tribe in 1778 established treaties as the primary legal basis for Federal policies in regard to the American Indian” (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969, p. 11).

"Between 1778 and 1871, when the last treaty was signed, Indian tribes ceded almost a billion acres to the United States. In return, Indians generally retained inalienable and tax-exempt lands for themselves, and Government pledges to provide such public services as education, medical care, and technical and agricultural training." (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969, p. 11)

What the government pledged in the treaties is still at the heart of much controversy today. Because of an oral culture the Indians believed in, the word was to be inviolable, sacred, meant to last forever. Conversely, most Americans viewed treaties as documents only good until the next one was written.

Reservations

Reservations emerged as a result of the treaties. The first Indian reservation was created in 1651 (Borio, 1995). Once proud self-sufficient independent people, Native Americans became totally dependent on the United States federal government for their very survival. Signing treaties meant giving up huge tracts of land. During this time period, Native Americans found their land base diminished, their hereditary chiefs gone, and their lives controlled by an external governance system (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, 1977). Because signing treaties meant giving up land, most tribes did not want to sign treaties. Chief Ouray of the Ute tribe put it this way: “Agreements that Indians make with the government are like the agreement a buffalo makes with the hunter after it has been pierced by many arrows. All it can do is lie down and give in” (Hill, 1994, p. 34).

Allotments and Assimilation, 1871-1928

Once tribal nations were defeated and placed on reservations, some people would argue they developed an unhealthy dependence on the federal government for subsistence, housing, and all legal affairs. This dependence, along with the difficulty of assimilating into “the white society” by accepting the white man’s values and culture, soon led to extreme poverty and hopelessness on most Indian reservations. Faced with staggering poverty and the loss of their traditional ways to obtain subsistence, many Native Americans developed a victim mentality. This victim mentality continued with the federal government’s view that given their own piece of land, Native Americans would become farmers and therefore end their dependence on the federal Indian government. However, the government’s intentions of giving individual Indians their own land was not based solely on assisting them to assimilate into mainstream society. It was also motivated by greed for land and guided by the misconception that Native Americans would be better off if they were forced to assimilate into mainstream society.

The Dawes Act

In 1881, Senator Henry M. Teller said, “The real aim of [the Dawes Act] is to get at the Indians land and open it up for resettlement” (Ethnic Cleansing, n.d., para. 1).

The Dawes Act was another attempt to assimilate Native Americans and protect their welfare, but due to past failed relocation efforts, Native Americans were suspicious of its intent. The Act required Native Americans to “anglicize” their names. “Rolling Thunder thus became Ron Thomas and so forth” (Ethnic Cleasing, n.d., para. 4). However, some government agents administering the Act managed “to slip the names of their relatives and friends onto the Dawes Rolls and thus reap millions of acres of land for their friends and cronys [sic]” (para. 4). The Meriam Report of 1928 found in one state alone Indian-held land totaled 138 million acres in 1887, at the time the Dawes Act was signed into law. This had been reduced to 47 million acres of land by 1934 when the Act was repealed. “The abuses of the Dawes Act were revealed and set forth in the Miriam [sic] Report of 1928” (para. 5).

The Boarding School Era

A decade before the passage of the Dawes Act, the U.S. government had enacted a policy where Native American children were taken away from their parents and placed in boarding schools (Adams, 1995).

"Cultural interaction and conflict are always subtle and complex processes but they are not always as devastatingly one-sided as in the case of Indians and whites. As the Iroquois, the Shawnee, and the Arapaho would eventually all discover, the white man’s superior technology, hunger for land, and ethnocentrism seemingly knew no bounds. The white threat to Indians came in many forms: smallpox, missionaries, Conestoga wagons, barbed wire, and smoking locomotives. And in the end, it came in the form of schools." (Adams, 1995, p. 5)

There were two different models of boarding schools, on-the-reservation boarding schools and off-the-reservation boarding schools, often hundreds, even thousands, of miles away from the reservation (Adams, 1995).

In the 1880s, the government agreed that the only way to educate Indian children was to take them away from their homes, forcibly if necessary, for at least four years. Therefore, the purpose of federal government boarding schools was to remove Native Americans from their homes and cultures in order to change their identities and lifestyles, to be like the European-American or the white man (Cherokee Indian Boarding, n.d.).

"Native American children did not receive a warm welcome at boarding school. For the most part, the boarding school experience was a deeply traumatic one. Native languages were forbidden to be spoken. Native clothing was replaced with uniforms. Children's hair was cut short. Indian names were replaced with Christian ones. Harsh punishments were given to those who broke rules- but most devastating, children lost contact with their families and their traditional ways of life, and were taught that their previous lives were inferior." (Cherokee Indian Boarding, n.d., para. 4)

Day Schools

"The reservation day school was the first part of this venture into Indian education. The children lived in the village with their families and attended school nearby during the day" (Keohane, n.d., para. 16). “Attendance at these mission schools was made mandatory by regulation on many reservations for all native children aged six through sixteen” (Jaimes, 1992, p. 380). However, it did not take too long to realize that day schools could not make an Indian child white. “The children were too close to their homes, families and cultures to be fully and successfully indoctrinated with white society’s language and values” (Keohane, n.d., para. 20). Therefore, “the next step was to establish reservation boarding schools that were located near the agency headquarters” (Keohane, n.d., para. 21).

Boarding Schools on Reservations

Although these schools were located on the reservation, the children were only allowed to go home during the summer months and at Christmas. "One of the reasons was . . . that parents often came to visit their children, thus allowing the children the opportunity to speak their language and stay in contact with their tribal ways" (Keohane, n.d., para. 21). Government officials who wanted to suppress Native American culture viewed these visits as counterproductive (Meriam et al., 1928).

Boarding Schools off Reservations

The third and most destructive plan was to send Native American children to off-reservation boarding schools. This final plan did work by preventing Native American children to hold on to their language and culture. Actually, what started as an experiment with Indian prisoners became the model upon which boarding schools were patterned after. In 1875, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt arrived in St. Augustine, Florida, with Indian prisoners to whom he began to teach the white man’s beliefs. Eventually, Pratt was permitted to take his students to an unused military barrack in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Thus began the most significant residential Indian schools (Keohane, n.d.).

"Here a Lieutenant struggles to evolve order out of the chaos of fourteen different languages! Civilization out of savagery! Industry and thrift out of laziness! Education out of ignorance! Cleanliness out of filth! And is forced to educate the courage of his own instructors to the work, and see that all the interests of his Govt. and the Indian as well are properly protected and served." (Adams, 1995, p. 55)

Using Lieutenant Pratt’s experiment as a model, Indian children were sent, in many cases, hundreds of miles away from family, language, and Native American ways. Upon arriving at their school, the students were required to have their hair cut short, an act that produced much resentment among the Indian children. School uniforms replaced tribal dress, and each was given a "white man's" name. No effort was spared when it came to breaking the Native cultural ties (Adams, 1995).

"For tribal elders who had witnessed the catastrophic developments of the nineteenth century – the bloody warfare, the near-extinction of the bison, the scourge of disease and starvation, the shrinking of the tribal land base, the indignities of reservation life, the invasion of missionaries and white settlers – there seemed to be no end to the cruelties perpetrated by whites. And after all this, the schools. After all this, the white man had concluded that the only way to save Indians was to destroy them, that the last great Indian war should be waged against children. They were coming for the children." (Adams, 1995, pp. 336-337)

During the 1920s, investigations of Indian boarding schools found inhumane conditions – poor diets, hard labor for children, military conditions, high mortality rates, overcrowded conditions, and the spreading of numerous diseases. Eventually, changes in Indian education, due to this discovery, included an end to the traditional boarding schools and a reintroduction to Indian history and culture, as slight as it was. However, to this day, the boarding school era has left its scars on Native American people (Trennert, 1998).

References:

Adams, D. W. (1995). Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.

Borio, G. (1995). A brief history of Jamestown, Virginia. Retrieved October 20, 2005, from http://www.tobacco.org/History/Jamestown.html

Canby, W. C., Jr. (1988). American Indian law in a nutshell (2nd ed.). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.

Cherokee Indian boarding schools unit plan. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2005, from http://aam.wcu.edu/beck/activities.htm

Ethnic cleansing? We have it here, too! (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2005, from http://www.dickshovel.com/cleansing.html

Hill, N. W. (1994). Words of power – Voices from Indian America. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.

Jaimes, M. A. (Ed.). (1992). The state of native America – Genocide, colonization, and resistance. Boston: South End Press.

Keohane, S. (n.d.). The reservation boarding school system in the United States, 1870-1928. Retrieved November 23, 2005, from http://www.twofrog.com/rezsch.html

Meriam, L., Brown, R. A., Cloud, H. R., Dale, E. E., Duke, E., Edwards, H. R., McKenzie, F. A., Mark, M. L., Ryan, W. C., Jr., & Spillman, W. J. (1928). The problem of Indian administration. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. (1977). The history and culture of the Mni Wakan Oyate (Spirit Lake Nation). Bismarck: Author.

Pevar, S. L. (2002). The rights of Indians and tribes: The authoritative ACLU guide to Indian and tribal rights (3rd ed.). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.

Special Subcommittee on Indian Education. (1969). Indian education: A national tragedy – A national challenge (Report No. 91-501). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Trennert, R. A., Jr. (1998). The Phoenix Indian School: Forced assimilation in Arizona, 1891-1935. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.


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Mission Period

Before the treaties and Federal Indian Policy, there was a period when only missionaries were attempting to educate Native Americans. “Beginning with the Jesuit mission school for Florida Indians in 1568, formal education of Indians was dominated by the church for almost 300 years” (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969, p. 10). The goal of the missionaries was not so much to educate the Indian as to change him. Jesuits and Franciscans were the first missionaries to attempt to mold the Indian into a white man, and when Protestants gained a foothold on the northeast coast, they vigorously attempted to Christianize the Indian. Education was perceived as the best means to accomplish this goal, so in 1617, King James I requested funds to educate “children of these Barbarians in Virginia” (p. 10). King James I’s request eventually resulted in the establishment of the College of William and Mary. Other schools for Indians were started, but none were successful in civilizing the Indian. Although Indians understood the concept of Christianity and learned to read and write, they immediately relapsed into infidelity and barbarism upon returning to their tribe (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969).

Treaties

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, all Native American tribes were autonomous from each other. They conducted their own affairs and depended upon no other source of power to uphold their acts of government (Canby, 1988). The colonies and Native American tribes were often equal in military strength. Therefore, the early colonial governments viewed the tribes as sovereign nations and treated them as such. In order to gain title to Indian land, colonial governments primarily used treaties. The Supreme Court has expressly held that an Indian treaty is “not a grant of rights to the Indians, but a grant of rights from them” (Pevar, 2002, p. 48). Following the War of Independence, the young United States made treaties with hundreds of indigenous tribal nations, exchanging lands for payments and access rights (Canby, 1988). “The signing of the treaty between the United States and the Delaware Tribe in 1778 established treaties as the primary legal basis for Federal policies in regard to the American Indian” (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969, p. 11).

"Between 1778 and 1871, when the last treaty was signed, Indian tribes ceded almost a billion acres to the United States. In return, Indians generally retained inalienable and tax-exempt lands for themselves, and Government pledges to provide such public services as education, medical care, and technical and agricultural training." (Special Subcommittee on Indian Education, 1969, p. 11)

What the government pledged in the treaties is still at the heart of much controversy today. Because of an oral culture the Indians believed in, the word was to be inviolable, sacred, meant to last forever. Conversely, most Americans viewed treaties as documents only good until the next one was written.

Reservations

Reservations emerged as a result of the treaties. The first Indian reservation was created in 1651 (Borio, 1995). Once proud self-sufficient independent people, Native Americans became totally dependent on the United States federal government for their very survival. Signing treaties meant giving up huge tracts of land. During this time period, Native Americans found their land base diminished, their hereditary chiefs gone, and their lives controlled by an external governance system (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, 1977). Because signing treaties meant giving up land, most tribes did not want to sign treaties. Chief Ouray of the Ute tribe put it this way: “Agreements that Indians make with the government are like the agreement a buffalo makes with the hunter after it has been pierced by many arrows. All it can do is lie down and give in” (Hill, 1994, p. 34).

Allotments and Assimilation, 1871-1928

Once tribal nations were defeated and placed on reservations, some people would argue they developed an unhealthy dependence on the federal government for subsistence, housing, and all legal affairs. This dependence, along with the difficulty of assimilating into “the white society” by accepting the white man’s values and culture, soon led to extreme poverty and hopelessness on most Indian reservations. Faced with staggering poverty and the loss of their traditional ways to obtain subsistence, many Native Americans developed a victim mentality. This victim mentality continued with the federal government’s view that given their own piece of land, Native Americans would become farmers and therefore end their dependence on the federal Indian government. However, the government’s intentions of giving individual Indians their own land was not based solely on assisting them to assimilate into mainstream society. It was also motivated by greed for land and guided by the misconception that Native Americans would be better off if they were forced to assimilate into mainstream society.

The Dawes Act

In 1881, Senator Henry M. Teller said, “The real aim of [the Dawes Act] is to get at the Indians land and open it up for resettlement” (Ethnic Cleansing, n.d., para. 1).

The Dawes Act was another attempt to assimilate Native Americans and protect their welfare, but due to past failed relocation efforts, Native Americans were suspicious of its intent. The Act required Native Americans to “anglicize” their names. “Rolling Thunder thus became Ron Thomas and so forth” (Ethnic Cleasing, n.d., para. 4). However, some government agents administering the Act managed “to slip the names of their relatives and friends onto the Dawes Rolls and thus reap millions of acres of land for their friends and cronys [sic]” (para. 4). The Meriam Report of 1928 found in one state alone Indian-held land totaled 138 million acres in 1887, at the time the Dawes Act was signed into law. This had been reduced to 47 million acres of land by 1934 when the Act was repealed. “The abuses of the Dawes Act were revealed and set forth in the Miriam [sic] Report of 1928” (para. 5).

The Boarding School Era

A decade before the passage of the Dawes Act, the U.S. government had enacted a policy where Native American children were taken away from their parents and placed in boarding schools (Adams, 1995).

"Cultural interaction and conflict are always subtle and complex processes but they are not always as devastatingly one-sided as in the case of Indians and whites. As the Iroquois, the Shawnee, and the Arapaho would eventually all discover, the white man’s superior technology, hunger for land, and ethnocentrism seemingly knew no bounds. The white threat to Indians came in many forms: smallpox, missionaries, Conestoga wagons, barbed wire, and smoking locomotives. And in the end, it came in the form of schools." (Adams, 1995, p. 5)

There were two different models of boarding schools, on-the-reservation boarding schools and off-the-reservation boarding schools, often hundreds, even thousands, of miles away from the reservation (Adams, 1995).

In the 1880s, the government agreed that the only way to educate Indian children was to take them away from their homes, forcibly if necessary, for at least four years. Therefore, the purpose of federal government boarding schools was to remove Native Americans from their homes and cultures in order to change their identities and lifestyles, to be like the European-American or the white man (Cherokee Indian Boarding, n.d.).

"Native American children did not receive a warm welcome at boarding school. For the most part, the boarding school experience was a deeply traumatic one. Native languages were forbidden to be spoken. Native clothing was replaced with uniforms. Children's hair was cut short. Indian names were replaced with Christian ones. Harsh punishments were given to those who broke rules- but most devastating, children lost contact with their families and their traditional ways of life, and were taught that their previous lives were inferior." (Cherokee Indian Boarding, n.d., para. 4)

Day Schools

"The reservation day school was the first part of this venture into Indian education. The children lived in the village with their families and attended school nearby during the day" (Keohane, n.d., para. 16). “Attendance at these mission schools was made mandatory by regulation on many reservations for all native children aged six through sixteen” (Jaimes, 1992, p. 380). However, it did not take too long to realize that day schools could not make an Indian child white. “The children were too close to their homes, families and cultures to be fully and successfully indoctrinated with white society’s language and values” (Keohane, n.d., para. 20). Therefore, “the next step was to establish reservation boarding schools that were located near the agency headquarters” (Keohane, n.d., para. 21).

Boarding Schools on Reservations

Although these schools were located on the reservation, the children were only allowed to go home during the summer months and at Christmas. "One of the reasons was . . . that parents often came to visit their children, thus allowing the children the opportunity to speak their language and stay in contact with their tribal ways" (Keohane, n.d., para. 21). Government officials who wanted to suppress Native American culture viewed these visits as counterproductive (Meriam et al., 1928).

Boarding Schools off Reservations

The third and most destructive plan was to send Native American children to off-reservation boarding schools. This final plan did work by preventing Native American children to hold on to their language and culture. Actually, what started as an experiment with Indian prisoners became the model upon which boarding schools were patterned after. In 1875, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt arrived in St. Augustine, Florida, with Indian prisoners to whom he began to teach the white man’s beliefs. Eventually, Pratt was permitted to take his students to an unused military barrack in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Thus began the most significant residential Indian schools (Keohane, n.d.).

"Here a Lieutenant struggles to evolve order out of the chaos of fourteen different languages! Civilization out of savagery! Industry and thrift out of laziness! Education out of ignorance! Cleanliness out of filth! And is forced to educate the courage of his own instructors to the work, and see that all the interests of his Govt. and the Indian as well are properly protected and served." (Adams, 1995, p. 55)

Using Lieutenant Pratt’s experiment as a model, Indian children were sent, in many cases, hundreds of miles away from family, language, and Native American ways. Upon arriving at their school, the students were required to have their hair cut short, an act that produced much resentment among the Indian children. School uniforms replaced tribal dress, and each was given a "white man's" name. No effort was spared when it came to breaking the Native cultural ties (Adams, 1995).

"For tribal elders who had witnessed the catastrophic developments of the nineteenth century – the bloody warfare, the near-extinction of the bison, the scourge of disease and starvation, the shrinking of the tribal land base, the indignities of reservation life, the invasion of missionaries and white settlers – there seemed to be no end to the cruelties perpetrated by whites. And after all this, the schools. After all this, the white man had concluded that the only way to save Indians was to destroy them, that the last great Indian war should be waged against children. They were coming for the children." (Adams, 1995, pp. 336-337)

During the 1920s, investigations of Indian boarding schools found inhumane conditions – poor diets, hard labor for children, military conditions, high mortality rates, overcrowded conditions, and the spreading of numerous diseases. Eventually, changes in Indian education, due to this discovery, included an end to the traditional boarding schools and a reintroduction to Indian history and culture, as slight as it was. However, to this day, the boarding school era has left its scars on Native American people (Trennert, 1998).

References:

Adams, D. W. (1995). Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.

Borio, G. (1995). A brief history of Jamestown, Virginia. Retrieved October 20, 2005, from http://www.tobacco.org/History/Jamestown.html

Canby, W. C., Jr. (1988). American Indian law in a nutshell (2nd ed.). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.

Cherokee Indian boarding schools unit plan. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2005, from http://aam.wcu.edu/beck/activities.htm

Ethnic cleansing? We have it here, too! (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2005, from http://www.dickshovel.com/cleansing.html

Hill, N. W. (1994). Words of power – Voices from Indian America. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.

Jaimes, M. A. (Ed.). (1992). The state of native America – Genocide, colonization, and resistance. Boston: South End Press.

Keohane, S. (n.d.). The reservation boarding school system in the United States, 1870-1928. Retrieved November 23, 2005, from http://www.twofrog.com/rezsch.html

Meriam, L., Brown, R. A., Cloud, H. R., Dale, E. E., Duke, E., Edwards, H. R., McKenzie, F. A., Mark, M. L., Ryan, W. C., Jr., & Spillman, W. J. (1928). The problem of Indian administration. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. (1977). The history and culture of the Mni Wakan Oyate (Spirit Lake Nation). Bismarck: Author.

Pevar, S. L. (2002). The rights of Indians and tribes: The authoritative ACLU guide to Indian and tribal rights (3rd ed.). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.

Special Subcommittee on Indian Education. (1969). Indian education: A national tragedy – A national challenge (Report No. 91-501). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Trennert, R. A., Jr. (1998). The Phoenix Indian School: Forced assimilation in Arizona, 1891-1935. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.


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By Dr. Erich Longie, Spirit Lake Dakota Nation

As was stated in a previous post ... The Dakota cultivated perseverance. Traditionally, rules were rules of survival and if they weren't followed, the whole tribe was at risk.  Those who enforced the rules persevered in their chastisements until individuals conformed to the law.  Without perseverance, the Dakota would not have survived the world they lived in.  Their perseverance is one of the main reasons why their descendants are here today.

Fear is the greatest enemy of perseverance.  There is the physical fear of being killed or injured by an enemy or wild animal. Another type of fear that persists today and relates to education is fear of failure, of not being able to measure up to expectations.

We were born during what many American Indians call the greatest generation, those in the 1940s and early 50s who overcame poverty, racism, alcoholism, lack of transportation to get an education, fight for a job within the system and bring jobs and self-governance to the reservations. This generation because of their perseverance brought much of the development we see on the reservations today - housing, manufacturing, tribal colleges -that overcame many barriers that benefit the reservation today. Prior to this generation, there was nothing on the reservation - no running water, no housing. This generation, in turn, opened the opportunities available to Indians now. We overcame the prejudice of the border towns, even the bad treatment of us when we went into the stores and restaurants in towns adjacent to the reservations. Why was our generation able to do that? Maybe because we were the first generation exposed to technology. We were exposed to television, gas stoves, etc. during our adolescence. As Edmunds (2001) noted, rural reservations were "inundated by a cultural invasion" that began with radio and television and has continued through videogames, the internet and social media.

A lot of us went to non-Indian schools off the reservation. We were put in the "slow" class with the poor white students. They never expected us to join the extra-curricular activities because they didn't think we were worth it. Yet, these same people were the ones who came back and started many of those improvements on the reservation. They didn't let the racism deter them.

Today reservations are a much better place to live than they were 150 years ago, 100 years and even 50 years ago when the author was a boy on the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation. There are better schools, there are jobs, and hardly anyone suffers from malnourishment. Yet, schools have a huge drop out rate. We propose a simple answer to the problem of academic achievement- return to the traditional value of perseverance. When the job becomes difficult some workers simply quit or do not attempt to look for work. The problem has become so severe on reservations that some casinos mandate an employee orientation for tribal members who have been fired or quit jobs at the organizations three or more times.

When adults no longer practice perseverance, we do not pass this virtue down to our children. As a result, when attending school becomes difficult or uninteresting, they simply do not attend. Research on one reservation found that the average student in elementary school missed an entire month of school (Longie,1995). A return to traditional values of perseverance and fortitude was hypothesized as a solution to this problem. Spirit Lake: The Game was developed by Dakota elders and tested with Dakota children in an effort to channel the new technology to benefit the next generation by integrating their traditional values, culture and history. In this manner, we follow in the footsteps of such Native American leaders as Yellowtail (Moxie & Bernardis, 2001) and Deer (Kidwell, 2001) who applied the education they learned in the white man's schools to defend and maintain the culture and sovereignty of their tribes.

REFERENCES

Edmunds, D. (2001). Twentieth-century warriors. In D. Edmunds (ed). The new warriors: Native American leaders since 1900. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, pp 1-16.

Hoxie, F. E. & Bernardis, T. (2001). Robert Yellowtail. In D. Edmunds (ed). The new warriors: Native American leaders since 1900. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, pp 55-78.

Kidwell, C. S. (2001). Ada Deer. In D. Edmunds (ed). The new warriors: Native American leaders since 1900. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, pp 239-262.

Longie, E. S.  (1995).  A Study of Attendance and Achievement Patterns among Eighth Grade American Indian and Non-American Indian Students on the Devils Lake Sioux Reservation (Master's Thesis, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1995).

Let The People Decide

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According to a recent article in the Devils Lake Journal, "A vote to allow alcohol to be sold at Spirit Lake Casino has been postponed by the Spirit Lake Tribal Council." The article goes on to say, "The reason given for the vote's postponement was cited as needing "further review.'"  I am of the opinion that this issue does not need further review.  We should hold a vote now and settle the debate.

 

Alcoholism is a terrible affliction.  No one is more aware of this than I.  I grew up in an era when alcohol was the drug of choice on the reservation.  I had the misfortune to fall victim to its devastating effects as young man.  It was only after a dozen years and three stints in two different rehab facilities that I finally overcame my addiction. 

 

Opponents of legalizing the sale of alcohol on our reservation have good reason to fear alcohol and its damaging effects.  Everyone who lives on the reservation is directly, or indirectly, impacted by negative effects of alcoholism: Broken homes, a high rate of alcohol- related illness and deaths, alcohol-related fatal automobile accidents and high rates of fetal alcohol syndrome are among the many dysfunctional consequences of alcohol abuse.

 

My question for opponents of the sale of alcohol on our reservation is; why is our reservation suffering from the devastating effects of alcohol even though the sale of alcohol is prohibited on our reservation?  A follow up question, if the ban is not effective now and never has been, what makes you think keeping it in place will make it effective in the future?  And, how is worrying about the sale of alcohol helping our community's alcoholics?  Right now our services offer very little in alcohol prevention and treatment.  One would think our focus should be offering useful programs for those in need.  

 

In my opinion, prohibition has NEVER worked.  It may work for a few individuals for a few hours, a few days, maybe even years, but in the end if an alcoholic wants to drink nothing in the world is going to stop him or her.  I know; I grew on this reservation and for many years I was a hard-core alcoholic.  The ban never slowed me down even a little.  Not with the reservation being 60 miles long and 40 miles wide with numerous roads and trails connecting it to the outside world.  Prohibition is the least effective way to prevent, stop, or help an alcoholic recover.  Maybe, it is easier to support a ban, than it is to hold the alcoholic responsible for his or her behavior especially if that person is a relative.  And, does supporting a ban help people feel that they are actually doing something to combat alcoholism?  In actuality, it does nothing of the kind.  It's sort of like people who go to church on Sunday but behave in an unchristian like manner all week.

 

If a vote were held today I would vote YES to allow alcohol sales on the Rez.  However, my yes vote would be contingent on a tribal council resolution that 100% of the profits would go towards the building, staffing, and the operation of an addiction treatment facility here on Spirit Lake.  And, the facility would treat people with other addictions as well.  We have tribal members addicted to meth and pills who would also benefit from a treatment facility.


This issue has been debated for years and years.  It is time for all the people to decide, not just the tribal council members, whether the sale of alcohol on the reservation should be approved.

 

I am willing to accept the will of the people.  If the majority votes to continue to ban alcohol sales on our reservation so be it.  But, I do think we need to bring closure to a discussion that has been going on for as long as I can remember by letting the people decide.  Therefore, I urge our Tribal Council to let the people decide by holding a vote on the issue

 

 

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This is a story about hard core bachelor who made a vow after his divorce to never to give his heart to any woman. It was a promise he kept for close to 30 years. He was an intelligent, stubborn, shy, 63 years old ndn man who was a secret romantic at heart. He grew up in extreme poverty on a ndn reservation. Despite his Dakota upbringing by his strong Dakota, mother he fell victim to the pitfalls prevalent on his reservation and lived a drunken life of worthlessness. At the age of 31 his Dakota upbringing resurfaced and rescued him from his sordid life of chronic alcoholism. Once sober he embraced his Dakota values and rapidly made up for lost time. Eventually he obtained a doctorate degree in leadership and made valuable contributions to his community and family. His relatives loved him, his friends admired him, and even some who only heard about him respected him. 

However, even though sobriety radically changed his behavior, a dark side remained. He continued to punish his enemies severely and at times treat people with little, or no respect. These conflicting personalities caused people to either admired him, or to hate him. 

This is also a story about how a woman's nurturing  patience, unwavering love, strong faith in The Creator, and the wisdom to see what no one else could see, and how she was able to lead the stubborn, troubled ndn man from his lifelong path of self-destruction onto a road of loyalty, forgiveness, and emotional well-being. 

 At very young age the ndn man developed a couple of beliefs that would plague him throughout his entire life: 1.) he thought he was smarter than most people and 2.) he was convinced that rules did not apply to him.  As a result, he grew into a reckless and impulsive man who acted without thinking about consequences. People would often say to him, "Why did you do that?" And he would reply, "Idk. I just wanted to see what would happened, I guess?"  He carried this behavior into all aspects of his life until he had refined it into a science. 

For many years this vain, selfish and obstinate man, did not care who he hurt with his careless actions. He was not a mean person, but he didn't hesitate initiating punitive actions against people who he believed had wrong him.  As, a result he soon made many enemies both in his professional and personal lives. 

While some aspects of this behavior were instrumental to his brought gaining recognition and respect in professional, tribal, and social communities especially as he advocated for the causes both off and on the reservation, it caused great injury in with his personal relationships with women.  

He did not care. 

Shortly after his divorce, his boys came to live with him full time. They did not care for any of his girl's friends which caused problems with his relationships since he always put his sons ahead of any woman. By the time his youngest son graduated from high school he had become a full fledged, committed bachelor. He saw no reason to change as there were always plenty of women available.  

 Sure, he recognized that he probably messed up a couple of good opportunities to settle down, but he saw no advantage to pursuing a committed relationship. 

Then, seemingly our of nowhere, he met a woman unlike no other. 

From the moment he first saw her he realized here was a very special woman. Her voice was so soft and sexy, she was strong and independent, her laugh was spontaneous, and she was so beautiful he found it hard to look directly at her. Once he started dating her he effortlessly treated her with more respect than any other woman he had been with. Without realizing it, he began to change his bachelor ways; he cut back on going to lunches with other woman, he turned down requests to meet with other women, and he stopped interacting with female Friends on Facebook. He honored her this way, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.  Seeing her happy quickly became very important to him. 

 While chatting with a friend, who was a psychotherapist, she used the word "impulsivity" when diagnosing his behavior after reading his blog about driving through North Dakota blizzards: 

 http://www.spiritlakeconsulting.com/d/2017/01/surviving-not-one-but-three-no.html

When he asked her what it meant she said, "death wish, comes to mind". He took it as a joke, but he looked up the word as he does with all new words he learns. He posted its definition on his Facebook page as a joke, but at the same time he reluctantly admitted that it described him to a "T". This troubling realization foreshadowed things to come. 

"Impulsivity (or impulsiveness) is a multifactorial construct that involves a tendency to act on a whim, displaying  behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences."

Around the time psychotherapist friend made these troubling observations about him, his relationship with the woman of his dreams began to turn serious.   

Predictably, one day his impulsiveness led to him to say some very mean things to the woman he was beginning to love so deeply.  It was not the first time his impulsiveness caused him to inadvertently hurt her deeply and he asked himself a familiar question, "What the hell is wrong with me?"  It was a question he had occasionally asked himself when a relationship did not work out. 

This time, he associated his behavior with the definition of impulsiveness and a light bulb went off in his head.  He began to realize that just maybe there was something serious wrong with him that contributed to his problems in his relationships with women. 

Later, while driving to see her his thoughts kept returning to his impulsiveness.  He recognized he was in serious trouble, because he realized he could not control it. Up until then he never tried to control what he now realized what was his extreme impulsive behavior.  He also realized he was sort of arrogant of it and this worried him even more. In fact, it scared the hell out of him because he knew it could eventually destroy his relationship with the woman of his dreams, if it had not already.  The longer he thought about it, this realization began to sink in: because of his uncontrollable impulsiveness, he had not only hurt her, he had hurt his past girlfriends as well.  

He desperately wanted to change his destructive behavior so he did what he always did when faced with a difficult decision: he turned to The Creator for help.  He prayed for strength to change his destructive conduct, for he did not want to lose this woman who had captured his heart with her compassion and understanding.  She was much more special than all the others. 


There are times when a person undergoes an incredible (and sometimes frightening) spiritual experiences that move them emotionally, intellectually, and deep in their soul. Indeed, during treatment for alcoholism the ndn man had witnessed an alcoholic young man's transformation from a horrible person to a repentant, sorrowful, individual, literally right before his eyes. It was truly amazing. 

After he prayed, tears started to fall.  The tears he shed were regret for hurting her, for being such a horrible, mean, old man, who sabotaged many relationships by not caring about the women he hurt.  The torrent of tears he shed amazed him.   

After he stopped crying he felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders.  Deeply affected by his "breakdown" he started to take a close and honest look at himself and he did not like what he begin to see.  He was stunned when he finally realized just how horrible of a person he had become. 

He realized he could not undo the hurtful behaviors, phobias, and fears of 30 years overnight.  However, once, he identified his problem, he was confident he would be able to overcome his impulsiveness with The Creator's help once he put his mind to it.   He promised to start off by respecting her strengths, being sensitive to her limitations, to love her unconditionally, and to treat her better than he has treated any woman. 

He believes this miracle came about simply by being in her presence. His cowardly, lying, cheating ways withered and retreated when exposed to her honesty, generosity, compassion and love for him. Her virtuousness awoke his inherent decency that he had long suppressed and the fight for his soul begin. 

Should he be able to change for the better he will do his best to keep her happy as long as she wants to keep him around.  Whether their paths remain as one, or diverge in the future the bliss he has experienced with her will always warm his heart until the end of his days.   End of story.