As the U.S. confronts its past harm to Indigenous people, a new movement is helping Native students take back their education
, 2022-12-28 05:03:18,
When Lee was at the same school in the mid-2000s, she wasn’t able to experience this kind of camaraderie in science classes. There weren’t many fellow original students. But Native enrollment is increasing in Fort Lewis. At the same time, the country was going through a reckoning with how education could be used as a weapon against the indigenous population.
The federal government is in the middle of an investigation In more than 400 Native American boarding schools that have been operating in the United States for a century and a half. Many of the students were sent to them against the will of their families as part of the government’s policy of assimilating the indigenous population into white culture.
Unmarked graves have been found in more than 50 schools. Historians have called this “cultural genocide”.
Now, in some institutions like Fort Lewis, there is a push to confront this violent past – and to restore education for the indigenous people. Fort Lewis actually functioned as an Indian boarding school from 1891 to 1910. It was later a high school and a two-year college before becoming a four-year college in the 1960s. Since 1911, Colorado has offered Natives free lessons at Fort Lewis as part of an agreement with the federal government – which forced the Natives off these lands.
For years, this date was whitewashed on historic markers on a clock tower in the heart of campus. The signs described the boarding school as a place where the indigenous people live…
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