SUBSCRIBE

Get new posts by email:

How to Use this Blog

Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.

PLEASE follow this website by clicking the button above or subscribe.

We want you to use BOOKSHOP! (the editor will earn a small amount of money or commission. (we thank you) (that is our disclaimer statement)

This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

Can you help us? Here is how:

WRITE AND POST A BOOK REVIEW ONLINE:
Please know that if you write an honest book review, we are very very appreciative. Kobo, Good Reads, Apple Books, etc. - every opinion counts.

DONATE COPIES:
If you can, please donate a copy of our book titles to your local library, college or school.

Blogger forced a change to our design so please SCROLL past the posts for lots more information.

Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .

Search This Blog

Monday, January 17, 2022

Renewed Debate over U.S. Indian boarding schools

 

Oney M. Roubedeaux

As tribes wait for investigation to conclude, debate over Indian schools continues

Tribes across the Southwest dread the possibility that thousands of unmarked graves might be uncovered by a federal investigation into abandoned Native American boarding schools expected to wrap up early this year.

The investigation, ordered by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, came in the wake of the discovery this year of more than 1,200 unmarked graves at two long-shuttered boarding schools in Canada’s British Columbia and Saskatchewan provinces.

The probe also has renewed debate over Indian boarding schools, which were established in the 19th and 20th centuries with the primary objective of assimilating Indigenous youth into white culture by denying the use of their languages, dress and other cultural aspects.

Most boarding schools were closed in the 1980s and early 1990s, but dozens of schools remain open, with 15 still boarding students as of 2020, according to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. Some are controlled by local tribes, while others are operated by the Bureau of Indian Education, a division of the Department of the Interior.

Boarding school alumni are widespread among Indigenous communities, and their thoughts about their experiences vary widely.

“She’s brought awareness for our Native people, for our children,” retired elementary school teacher Oney M. Roubedeaux said of Haaland. “I feel like that is opening up a box of worms. I mean, just a whole big old span of our people that nobody paid attention to.”

Roubedeaux, who is Ponca and Otoe-Missouria, was 6 in 1971, when she rode a Greyhound bus from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Concho Indian Boarding School in El Reno with her brother, who was 8. She is the youngest of 17 siblings, many of whom attended boarding schools.

After her mother’s death in 1973, Roubedeaux was separated from her brother when she transferred from Concho to the Seneca Boarding School.

She said one of her other brothers was beaten to death in his room in Chilocco Indian School, 20 miles north of Ponca City, in 1980, the year it closed down. By the time she left Concho, there had been three student deaths, one being her best friend’s brother.

After her mother’s death, Roubedeaux was placed in foster care.

She went through 10 foster homes before one foster mother realized Roubedeaux – who was 16 – could not read or write. The teachers at the public and boarding schools she attended had never taken the time to teach her, Roubedeaux said.

She caught up, she said, with help from her foster mother, and eventually obtained a degree in special education from the University of Central Oklahoma. Roubedeaux, who lives in Pawnee, concluded her 20-year teaching career in March 2020.

Although “not everything was good,” she said, boarding schools gave her self-reliance, which was her biggest reclamation of agency.

“Boarding schools were a learning experience for me as a young child … it took me through life, to be able to rely on myself,” Roubedeaux said. “To this day, at the age of 57, I can still do that.”

According to the Boarding School Healing Coalition, 367 Indian boarding schools operated in 29 states, from Alabama to Alaska. Seventy-three were operating in 2020, and 15 of them still boarded students. Oklahoma had the most, with 83 schools, some of which still are operating. Arizona was second with 51 schools, 25 of which are open and three of which board students; New Mexico was fourth with 26 boarding schools.

Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, organized in 1871, is the oldest of four federally operated boarding schools in the nation.

Today’s boarding schools are a good thing, said Constance Fox, who is Cheyenne and Arapaho and graduated high school from Riverside in 1984.

“I think they’re a good thing because of the uniqueness Native students have,” said Fox, who’s a self-determination adviser for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Oklahoma. “For many, it was all they had, good and bad. I hope they continue. I know there’s been a lot of positive strides made … I go back to Riverside and it’s a whole different place.”

Fox said Riverside has upgraded its buildings and athletics department over the years. When she attended Riverside, Fox said, no advanced courses were offered, but teachers now are recruited for such courses.

“I have friends that have kids and grandkids that go to boarding schools and it’s because they want to … because there is still discrimination in public schools,” Fox said. “Being around their Native people makes them want to do better and want to succeed. So, I think that’s a dynamic that has changed over the years.”

Fox attended Concho from grades 3 through 8 and graduated from Riverside as valedictorian. She holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism management from Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma.

Fox, who lives in Yukon, has worked for the BIA for nearly three decades, mostly in the area of self-determination.

Fox said boarding schools – specifically the adults who worked at them, who she says practically raised her – helped shape her passion for self-determination and her career working to better tribes.

“What at the time was negative to me ended up really being positive,” Fox said. “I learned so much about self-responsibility, and that came from the dorm parents, teachers, and other people who worked at both Concho and Riverside.”

Fox said she fully supports Haaland’s efforts and thinks her investigation shows goodwill to create an understanding of the traumas her ancestors suffered and the impact it has in 2022. Although closure can’t begin without acknowledging the history, she said it is hopeful to begin the healing process for the families and tribes impacted.

Hopi journalist Patty Talahongva got her start in journalism at Phoenix Indian High School in the 1978-79 school year. She is the executive producer of newscasts by Indian Country Today, a national nonprofit digital news publication focusing on Indigenous issues.

Although Talahongva, who lives in Phoenix, knows about the brutal history of her grandparents’ boarding school experiences, her year at Phoenix Indian School was different.

“People want to cling to this idea that it was always, always bad,” Talahongva said. “I would say there’s always good in whatever story, no matter how bad it got.”

By the time she was in school, Talahongva said, children were allowed to speak their languages freely, and cultural customs were celebrated, not suppressed. The overall experience, she said, made her more independent. The school, which opened in 1891, shut down in 1990.

Even the launch of Indian Country Today’s newscast in April 2020 has roots in boarding schools.

Talahongva said the newscast began a month after the pandemic was declared, so studio options were few. The solution? The former grammar building of Phoenix Indian School, built in 1935 and now used as a visitors center. Indian Country Today used it for seven months before moving into a studio at Arizona PBS.

“Those kids who went to school in that building were never encouraged to go to college, get a degree, or do whatever they wanted to do,” Talahongva said. “They were certainly never encouraged to become (television) anchors and producers. I can hear our relatives laughing. It’s like, ‘Take that, government. We’re using the building you put up to hold us down, and we’re broadcasting to the world.’”

This story was originally published by Gaylord News, a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Nancy Marie Spears, a Gaylord News reporter based in Washington, D.C., is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Cronkite News contributed to this story.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please: Share your reaction, your thoughts, and your opinions. Be passionate, be unapologetic. Offensive remarks will not be published. We are getting more and more spam. Comments will be monitored.
Use the comment form at the bottom of this website which is private and sent direct to Trace.


Canada's Residential Schools

The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.

no arrests?

Crime Scene

so far...

so far...
sign up for email to get our posts FAST

Bookshop

Most READ Posts

OBC ACCESS 2022

OBC ACCESS 2022

You are not alone

You are not alone

Happy Visitors!

Blog Archive

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Did you know?

New York’s 40-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to ALL New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12. According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.

Diane Tells His Name

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie

ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA

Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

Google Followers