Indian boarding schools
American Indian boarding schools were boarding schools established in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s to educate Native American children and assimulate them into European-American culture.
They were first established by Christian missionaries of various denominations, who often started schools on reservations and founded boarding schools to provide opportunities for children who did not have schools nearby, especially in the lightly populated areas of the West.
The government paid religious societies to provide education to Native American children on reservations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) founded additional boarding schools based on the assimilation model of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
Children were usually immersed in European-American culture through appearance changes with haircuts and clothing.
The children were forbidden to speak their native languages, and traditional names were replaced by new European-American names (to both “civilize” and “Christianize”).
The experience of the schools was often harsh, especially for the younger children. In numerous ways, they were encouraged or forced to abandon their Native American identities and cultures.
The number of Native American children in the boarding schools reached a peak in the 1970s, with an estimated enrollment of 60,000 in 1973.
Investigations of the later twentieth century have revealed many documented cases of sexual, manual, physical and mental abuse occurring at such schools.
Graduates of these government schools often married former classmates, found employment in the Indian Service, migrated to urban areas, or returned to their reservations and entered tribal politics.
Asbury Manual Labor School, near Fort Mitchell, Alabama open 1822–30, run by the United Methodist Missions.
Mount Edgecumbe High School, Sitka, Alaska, established as a BIA school, now operated by the State of Alaska.
Chinle Boarding School, Many Farms, Arizona.
Holbrook Indian School, Holbrook, Arizona.
Many Farms High School, near Many Farms, Arizona.
Phoenix Indian School, Phoenix, Arizona.
Pinon Boarding School, Pinon, Arizona.
Theodore Roosevelt Indian Boarding School, founded in 1923 in buildings of the U.S. Army’s closed Fort Apache, Arizona. As of 2016 still in operation as a tribal school.