19th Century, education, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government

Indian Schools 1893

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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.*

Help me observe this event with you Holy Spirit. I invite Your reflections, insights, and direction as I write. Will You lead me in prayer?
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 of education to each other in this state! IHS

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**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, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

School Required

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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 12 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?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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

 

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