Monday, June 24, 2013

A Little Local History - Shawnee Mission

In the 19th century, Americans wanted more land and settlement moved west. For countless Indians, the American thrust for land meant the end of their traditional way of life. The Shawnee Mission was one of many missions established as a manual training school attended by boys and girls from Shawnee, Delaware, Kaw (Kansa), Munsee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Otoe, Osage, Cherokee, Peoria, Kickapoo, Potawatomie, Wea, Gros Ventres, Omaha and Wyandot and other Indian nations from 1839 to 1862.  Johnson proposed to the missionary society that a central school be built to serve many tribes. A site was chosen where a branch of the Santa Fe Trail passed through the Shawnee lands. Building began, and the school opened at the present Johnson County location in October 1839. Indian children of many tribes were sent to this school to learn basic academics, manual arts, and agriculture. At the height of its activity, the mission was an establishment of more than 2,000 acres with 16 buildings, including the three large brick structures, which still stand, and an enrollment of nearly 200 Indian boys and girls from the ages of five to 23.
 So, from ages 5 to 23, children were hauled off...away from their family and friends.




 Attics are nice...They provide a warm and comfy and loving environment.
Let's see...
Take these children away from their homes, their families and all they know.
Scrub them down, cut their hair, change their clothing, make them wear hardened shoes.
Change their names.
They are not allowed to speak  their native language.
Take away their religion...they now have a new god.
Let's add in beatings for infractions of new rules...ooh and other abuses including physical, mental and sexual.
So when I hear comments about alcohol abuse or why do these people choose to stay on reservations, I'm ready to reply...
The movie, LAST OF THE DOG SOLDIERS, put it, "what happened was inevitable, but the way it happened was unconscionable."
I personally know of two people that have lived this...and have suffered.
Knowledge of what really happened is important...and our history books tend to fail...
ommmm

16 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Here in Canada, residential schools were run for the government by churches and their brutal legacy has devastated many First Nations. Within the past few years, the Canadian government has paid gazillions in reparations and set up a Truth and Reconciliation Committee for survivors. Just like they did in South Africa after apartheid. (Apartheid, incidentally, was based on the North American reserve model).

That's a great quotation about inevitability and unconscionability. Sums it up perfectly.

turquoisemoon said...

Debra...I love that quote! I live in "Johnson" county, named after the Johnson that set up this school. I also went to Shawnee Mission North, now a huge school district, with hardly any recollection of it's past. Good for the Canadians for setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Committee...I hope this would happen here.

ellen abbott said...

christianity devastated every culture it encountered.

Arkansas Patti said...

"We send our little Indian boys and girls to school, and when they come back talking English, they come back swearing. There is no swear word in the Indian languages, and I haven't yet learned to swear." Zitkala-Sa - Yankton Sioux
Just a small example of how totally wrong that program was to make them like us, denying them their own culture.

Gypsy Boho said...

Great post.

turquoisemoon said...

Ellen, It just hurts...!!! and is embarrassing.

Patti, Amazing, isn't it?!! And, there's something wrong about our current education system that is failing to teach the truths.

Gypsy, Thank you!!! It bugs me when I hear comments about these things that show no compassion, no understanding and no knowledge of truth.

Out on the prairie said...

sad to see it all taken away

turquoisemoon said...

Steve, Sand and embarrassing.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

That quote about inevitability and unconscionability is amazing. I've never heard it before, and I love it!

Terrible things have been done to these people, and it has absolutely affected them and future generations. Humans can be such shits with people that don't fit their personal definition of 'normal' or civilized!

turquoisemoon said...

Martha, I love that quote...it sums it up. What I see as one of the problems is that history doesn't reflect the real truth about some things. At least American History doesn't...don't know about the rest

Randy said...

Interesting place.

turquoisemoon said...

Randy, It was interesting, however,I have some friends that went to Indian boarding schools...their stories were sad.

Lisa said...

It happened here in Australia. Taking indigenous children and placing them in 'white' families. Plus taking children from England and bringing them here for placement. ( whatever that meant)
Stolen and lost generations.
Abused and used children.
A stain on humanity .

turquoisemoon said...

Lisa, I don't get it...How can it be justified???? It's simply horrible.

CraveCute said...

I'm a new follower and wasn't aware of the area you lived in. I lived in both NE and KS and am well aware of the many different tribal names you have listed. I really didn't learn much about these boarding schools until moving here to MN. There was a documentary on PBS about them, MN had one at Pipestone. Great post, it sometimes hurts to hear the truth, but it is good for us!

turquoisemoon said...

CraveCute, Ooh Welcome!!! I've been to your blog too and love it. I'm always hopeful that the horrible things we humans do will stop, but when I watch the news or read a paper I get discouraged.