Native American Headress



PART III The Weapon of Education

    "Kill the Indian and save the man." Richard Henry Pratt.

    The following conversation was recorded between Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe and one of the government commissioners who was trying to convince Chief Joseph of the advantages of having a government funded school located on the agency.
    "'Why do you not want schools?' the commissioner asked.
    "'They will teach us to have churches,' Joseph answered.
    "'Do you not want churches?'
    "'No, we do not want churches.'
    "'Why do you not want churches?'
    "'They will teach us to quarrel about God [translated Great Spirit in other places],' Joseph said. 'We do not want to learn that. We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth, but we never quarrel about God. We do not want to learn about that.'" (2). What the Native Americans wanted was the ability to teach their own children their own ways without government interference. Not only was the government wanting to control their lands, their food and their belongings, but they wanted to change the lifestyles of the "savages" so they would be "civilized" like the white man. In other words, the Native American had to think like the white man.

    Chief Joseph saw the encroachment of a value system that he saw as corrupt being forced upon his people. The issue at hand here is individual conscience about right and wrong, religious beliefs and ethnic values, being replaced by an overriding dominance of another. Had the roles been reversed, would the commissioner have been as accepting of Native American schools and Nez Perce religious values taught in the white man's cities? The white man could not complacently accept the Native American's answer of no, we do not want your religion or value systems.

    One of the results behind forced education may be found in Senator John Logan's attack against Sitting Bull during the Dawes Commission meeting. This occurred at the Hunkpapa Sioux agency, Standing Rock, Aug. 22, 1883.

     Sitting Bull had in a previous meeting been ignored by the commission. When he was finally asked to talk after many others had spoken, he asked them if they knew who he was. They responded that he was no different from any other Native American there but they would be "glad to hear" him. Sitting Bull told them, "I am here by the will of the Great Spirit and by his will I am a chief." He accused them of "conducting yourselves like men who have been drinking whiskey." With that and a wave of his hand, every Native American in the room got up and left. The Dawes Commission sat in shock. Here was a powerful chief that rallied all Native Americans and other chiefs behind him. "Such a development endangered the entire Indian policy of the government, which aimed to eradicate everything Indian among the tribes." (2). The Hunkpapas came to Sitting Bull afterwards, assuring him of their loyalty to him. They told him that the Dawes Commission was there to help them keep their land and was not like the previous land thieves. Sitting Bull thought it over and decided to apologize to the commission.

    The next day he arranged a meeting and said to them, "I apologize to you for my bad conduct and to take back what I said." After repeated apologies, Sitting Bull reviewed to the commission all the government's broken promises of the past. He reminded the commission that the Great Father [the president] said that whatever was held against the Native American was forgiven and thrown aside. He again reiterated that he would travel the white man's path but, in order to do so, they needed the tools, livestock and wagons the white man had "because that is the way the white man make their living." The Native Americans were destitute of these things being barely able to subsist on what they did have. At this point,Senator John Logan launched his verbal attack against Sitting Bull with vengeance and said, "I want to say that further you are not a great chief of this country. That you have no following, no power, no control." Logan continued, "You are on an Indian reservation merely at the sufferance of the government. You are fed by the government, clothed by the government, your children are educated by the government, and all you have and are today is because of the government. If it were not for the government you would be freezing and starving today in the mountains. I merely say these things to notify you that you cannot insult the people of the United States of America or its committees . . . the government feeds and clothes and educates your children now, and desires to teach you to become farmers, and to civilize you, and make you as white men." (2). The thought here is that the red man was not free to be a red man. He had to be like his conquerors.

     It is not hard to see in these words the ominous forecast of our current welfare society. When the citizen is reduced to abject poverty because of forced government controls in business, education, agricultural, economic and land ownership policies, it is a tragedy. The outrage comes when the citizen is forced, because of these conditions, into accepting government handouts in order to survive and then insulted with the thought of needing to be grateful for to its benefactor. Individual sovereignty is annihilated by the kind weapon of handouts. But education here plays another important role.

    Why was it so important for the government to eradicate the Native American culture starting with the children? Did they want to truly give the Native Americans a better lifestyle or was there something else involved? "During the last quarter of the 19th century, thousands of young Indians were taken off their reservations and sent to federally supported boarding schools in an effort to assimilate them into white society." (22). "But of all the government policies designed to end Indian cultures the cruelest was yet to come. Indian people would be robbed of even their children. Across the country Indian children some as young as four years old were taken from their parents often by force and taken to boarding schools. At the boarding schools children were stripped of all outward appearances linking them with their past. Children were forbidden to speak their traditions and sorely punished if they used their native language. Fed distorted images of evil Indians, many came to doubt their own identity." "They took our language away from us that God gave us." Florence Arpan Hokwozhu/Two Kettle Band. (4). The true intent revealed here was eradication of all that made them Native American so they, in essence, became someone else in the mind. By destroying their knowledge of who they were and where they came from, the government did not need to deal with them as a separate nation, but as part of a great whole. The Native Americans would be absorbed into a larger mass of people, thus, they were annihilated, not in color, but in the heart. Welcome to the New World where all are forced to be one big happy family!

    In the beginning there may have been some with good intentions in regard to educating the Native Americans, but the good intentions were lost in the prejudice and bureaucracy. After forcing education on the children, the government gained control over their lives. Any handout provided after the Native Americans were forced off their lands, forced onto reservations with little or no substance, forced into accepting food when the buffalo were slaughtered, forced into accepting clothing because there were no hides for skins, forced into accepting tools when all their weapons were taken away, forced into making treaties that were repeatedly broken by the white man, was taken as a gracious gift requiring greater surrender, greater homage to the gracious giver. Logan proved this when he attempted to strip Sitting Bull of his position as chief by his remarks.

     The WMD in these instances are not bombs or anthrax; they are more subtle. The weapons are gifts given to a down-trodden race deprived of the basic necessities of life being forced to accept them in order to avoid eradication by starvation. Then, when they do accept them out of cruel need, they are degraded for doing so by stinging words of animosity designed to rip away the slightest shred of human dignity. Does this sound familiar? Can we not see in this beginning a forecast of the present movement against the Iraqis with forced starvation?

    Had Senator John Logan thought for even a moment, he might have been horrified at his own words. If the Native Americans were like the white men, the white men would all be dead. The Native Americans would have slaughtered the settlers with superior weapons and driven them back into the sea instead of welcoming them with open arms. If the Native Americans had been like the white men, they would have never made any treaty except to steal more land and ravage the white man to extinction. If the Native Americans had been like the white man, the white man would be sitting on a barren stretch of parched earth lacking any of the basic necessities of life reduced to begging for handouts.

    By 1887 more than two-hundred schools were erected under federal government supervision. The enrollment was over fourteen thousand. The stated purpose was to "civilize" and "educate" the children. (15).

    Can we see a parallel today? Public schools are state funded by land taxes, and the curriculum is picked by the state. When a student graduates, he receives a state certificate of completion. He is now state certified for work. This is all done without parental approval. In other words, the state does not write to the parent asking for permission to teach certain subjects or ask for approval for certain required reading material. But if a parent wants to control the curriculum, the manner of education, and wants to be the teacher, it is different. The state needs to issue approval.

   All fifty states have laws regulating or controlling the homeschooling of children by parents in some manner. Three states have laws stating that homeschool education must be in English. This does not allow for any diversity in language. While it may be commendable to have all speaking the same language, force is the issue in point. Parents, in order to educate their children, need a legal defense to do so in many states. Immunization is forced in some states. In some states the parents must be instructed by the state, hold state licenses or hold a bachelor's degree by the state before they are qualified to teach their own children. It appears from the evidence that the state is really the parent because the parent must ask permission (in writing) to take a child out of school or they need to file with the state in order to educate their own children. (11).

    In looking at forced compliance in the area of education with the Native Americans it was for an insidious purpose. It amounts to the same principle today as it was with the Native Americans. Forced public education is for the purpose of eradicating American values and forming new ones. It was stated that the government had greater control over the Native American's children than the parents because of the "free" education. It was used to destroy the national individuality of the Native Americans, and this very purpose is in force today against American citizens. Of course it is "free", but a terrible price tag comes with the "free" education. One must surrender the will to the will of the state in order to comply with state standards.

    Is conscience and the sovereignty of the home respected today? The citizens of today are treated with the same mockery of justice that the Native Americans were. Destruction of the moral fabric of the home is treated the same as with the Native Americans. It is all done under a pretense of "helping" parents educate the children.

    Those with eyes to see, can see that the children of past generations have truly been "educated." The past educational system has produced in today's society a non-thinking, nine-to-five, rat race, debt-laden, college-educated people prone to follow orders mindlessly. The educational weapon of mass destruction is effective in removing one's individual mind. The conscience has become the conscience of the state. The parent has become a puppet dangled by state strings, impotent to follow their own choices.

Continued:  Sand Creek Massacre, Religion Outlawed Part IV

Written 03/19/98

Pattern for the New Order Part I
Manifest Destiny Part II
Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee Part V


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