Download American Indian/First Nations Schooling: From the Colonial by Charles L. Glenn (auth.) PDF

By Charles L. Glenn (auth.)

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35 The 1876 Indian Act “authorized the [Canadian] federal government to direct all of the activities of Indian people. . ”37 Not all Indian peoples became wards of government in the full sense; the “Five Civilized Nations,” in particular, were able with considerable success to maintain semi-independent status with an elaborated tribal government and a range of institutions similar to those of white society. CHAPTER 5 The “Five Civilized Nations” P erhaps the earliest instance of European-style schooling controlled by an Indian people was among the Cherokee.

1 In effect, the contrast, though never perfect, was between promotion of an essentially transnational goal of religious conversion (of course, mixed in practice with conscious and unconscious assumptions about the identity of Christianity and American or Canadian values) and promotion of a national goal of creating loyal subjects and eventually citizens. There was, arguably, more consistency in the approach of the churches to the education of Indians: for some four centuries, most missionary efforts have accepted the idea that the interests of Indians would be best served by maintaining a degree of separation from the majority society, while government in both countries has wavered between promoting the most rapid possible assimilation through residential schools, in the second half of the nineteenth century, to largely abandoning that goal in the early twentieth century, to a subsequent emphasis on integration of Indian children into ordinary public schools, and then beginning in the late 1960s to various measures to promote recovery of Indian identity and languages, with a de facto acceptance of segregated Indian schools under Indian control.

It was by no means apparent that the states would allow the central government to assert its authority over Indian affairs, and in fact in the 1830s Georgia successfully repudiated treaties made by Congress with Indians who had been guaranteed rights to land within its borders. 12 Article III of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided that “the utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and 32 ● American Indian / First Nations Schooling property shall never be taken from them without their consent .

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