19th Century, education, First Nations, History, Indian, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, State Government

Indian Schools 1893

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1893

“Indian children are forced to attend government schools. Children in communities without local schools are sent away to boarding schools. White educators hope still that separating children from their families will make it easier to teach them to reject Indian ways. 

“I believe in immersing the Indians in our civilization, and when we get them under, holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked.” 

-Richard Henry Pratt, head of the Carlisle Institute 

I must read from books instead of from Nature. I must learn of the birds and the animals and the trees from books instead of from daily contact with them. This was what the white man said I should do, and I could do nothing but obey. Again I would forget the language of my people and speak in the tongue of the school.” 

-Way-quah-gishig was six years old when he was sent away to a boarding school in South Dakota and given the name John Rogers. During the next six years, he and his sisters were not able to see or write their family.” * 

Father, I don’t understand Your ways. I don’t understand why You tolerate events that pit one people versus another. I do believe that part of the answer is that You allow us to choose our actions, inactions, and how we order our lives in the context of place and time.

Help me observe this event with you Holy Spirit. I invite Your reflections, insights, and direction as I write. Will you lead me? As I wait, the question arose of requiring immersion education for Native American students. If immersion education was simply offered rather than required, wouldn’t that have been more consistent with our Constitutional principals, and with Your word? 

As Washington once said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” 

If a student is placed in a servant-master relationship, where is the room for the joy of discovery? Can curiosity be born in an atmosphere of mandatory compliance?

Lord, will You forgive the offense of required immersion to the Native people of Minnesota? Will You forgive the offense of wanting to mold others into our image? Will You forgive this zeal to change others by force, rather than persuasion, and real relationship? Will You forgive the impatience of this event? We separated children from their families instead of meeting them family to family? 

Conversely, will You free Native Minnesotans’ from the temptation to hold onto this offense? American Indians were natural “homeschoolers” or “unschoolers”** during this era, will you forgive them their judgments against the State-defined modes of education? Will You remove this curse, and bring a blessing in its place? May we unlearn force, and learn to offer freedom to each other in this state!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**Learn more about homeschooling and unschooling? http://www.homeschool.com/new/difstyles.asp#unschooling

***Peruse a brief history of U.S. government policies regarding the education of Native children? http://www.edweek.org/ew/projects/2013/native-american-education/history-of-american-indian-education.html

 

 

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19th Century, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Social Studies, State Government

School Required 1885

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1885

“The state legislature passes a mandatory school-attendance law, requiring all children between the ages of 8 and 16 to attend twelve weeks of school a year.” *

Jesus, will You observe this law with me? What is on Your mind when looking at the idea of mandatory school attendance? You don’t use the law forcibly in the New Testament, but did require certain obedience in the Old Testament. You instructed parents to teach, but also said, ‘Let the children come to me” when restrained by the disciples. You demand all from us, but want obedience from the place of lovingkindness rather than empty religious duty.

In any case, I thank You that Minnesotans’ have valued education. I thank You for the heart behind this law that children should be allowed a time and place solely for learning. I thank you that these 12 weeks were set aside to enhance the exposure of young minds’ to the enjoyable discipline of education.

As is the case whenever new laws spring up, I’m sure there was an element in the state that was resistant to comply for varying reasons. “What if my child becomes smarter than me? What if the school teaches something that I do not agree with? What is wrong with the way I am raising my child currently? Does the government of Minnesota know better than me? I need my son or daughter at home because they are essential workers on the farm!”

Lord, for these attitudes of distrust from the people to the state, have mercy on our judgements! Lord, for the attitudes of the state to the people, have mercy on our judgements! We are all people capable of misusing our authority. We are all people who capable of using some element of force when we do not get our way. We are not benevolent like You; we often do good things from impure motives. 

Christ, will You have mercy on our motive conflicts? Will You give the correct balance in this contested area of education in the life of our state? Will you give us the grace for our neighbor that is inherent in Your law, and in the laws of Minnesota? How can we expect our freedom of choice to be respected, when we will not even acknowledge our neighbor’s vantage point as one worthy of consideration?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Peruse the details of this law? https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?view=session&year=1885&type=0

 

 

 

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19th Century, Culture, education, History, Minnesota, University

University of Minnesota Founded

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1851
“Twenty students begin at the University of Minnesota. Beginning in a small building with only one teacher, the university won’t offer college-level instruction until 1869.” *

Great Teacher, thanks for the blessings we have today because of these small beginnings! What good things grow from small seeds? Will You lead my thoughts and prayer for the “U” today?
Here’s a basic summary of the founding of the school as given on it’s website:

“The University of Minnesota was founded as a preparatory school in 1851 seven years before the territory of Minnesota became a state. Financial problems forced the school to close during the Civil War, but with the help of Minneapolis entrepreneur John Sargent Pillsbury, it reopened in1867. Known as the father of the University, Pillsbury, who was a University regent, state senator, and governor, used his influence to establish the school as the official recipient of public support from the Morrill Land-Grant Act, designating it as Minnesota’s land-grant university.” **

Thank You for the opportunities this university created for students in its’ first decade! Thank You for the synergy of it’s re-opening: one part government, one part business, one part Pillsbury influence. How many students had a chance to learn because of the determination and will of J.S. Pillsbury? Today we thank You for these individuals, and the impact of the this school on their lives!

Truly, it would be difficult to summarize the impact of our University on our state, nation, and world over these past 150 years. Every discipline seems to exert a significant force and merit recognition in our nation. Students from the entire continent of North America gather here to learn. Our Mid-Western culture values and expects that most Minnesotans want a college degree.

Perhaps a limitation of education is that knowledge is not necessarily relational?
Counselor, will You have mercy on the roots of the false pride of knowledge that grew from this founding seed, both in teacher and pupil? Will You forgive us our judgments’ of our neighbor’s ignorance or our prejudices against formal education within the culture of Minnesota from this era forward? “…We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. but the man who loves G-d is known by G-d.” 1Corinthians 8:1-3

*http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** https://r.umn.edu/node/511

 

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19th Century, education, History, law, Minnesota, Native Americans, women

Saint Paul’s 1st Public School 1847

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New Englander Harriet Bishop arrives in St. Paul and opens the town’s first public school. In a log cabin that had once been a blacksmith’s shop, students sit on wooden benches while chickens wander in and out.*

Thanks for Harriet Bishop and her desire to make education ‘public’. There were few opportunities for female teachers in New England, and she relished the adventure of moving west into unfamiliar territory.  She credits Harriet Newell and Ann Bishop, missionaries to Burma, as her inspiration.

The first school house, which she opened in a former blacksmith shop on July 19, 1847, was a “mud walled log hovel… covered with bark and chinked with mud” at what is now St. Peter Street and Kellogg Boulevard in the relatively isolated fur trading post of Saint Paul. Of the seven students in her first class, only two were caucasian. She had to rely on a student who was fluent in French, Dakota, and English to translate for her classes (which she taught in English). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Bishop

It’s astounding to think that most schools in our nation were private or parochial at the time. Public schools were often for the benefit of Protestants and the poor, whose communities did not have the resources or organizational structure to support them. How far we have come from this log cabin filled with students and wandering chickens!

However, presently we fail future generations because learning is disconnected from the Omniscient One. We have generations leading lives filled with facts, technology, and the benefits of science, but detached from meaning or a reason for being. This state was made by our Loving God, but even Your presence in school is an affront to the humanistic underpinnings of our current system of education! Will you forgive us this offense? Will You forgive our education system, legal system, and hearts where we have blocked You, and therefore any real sense of Divine Purpose, from our lives!

Today I remember the risk of Harriet Bishop, and her heart to see all children learn! Perhaps her home culture did not value her, but we thank You for incredible contributions to our state! Will You bless her, and all like her, who bravely risk the frontiers of our educational system?

Will You forgive any arrogance and academic pride of our forbearers, as You forgive us those same separations in the present? Will You bless future schools of Minnesota with wonder and awe of knowledge beyond our reach? May we remember the Infinite One who perceives the oceans of information beyond our drop in the bucket! May we receive Your forbearing spirit for each other, and a willingness to honor each other in Minnesota’s classrooms regardless of our faith in God or man?

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