NPR’s Morning Edition is running a two-part piece on boarding schools.
For the government, it was a possible solution to the so-called Indian problem. For the tens of thousands of Indians who went to boarding schools, it’s largely remembered as a time of abuse and desecration of culture.
The government still operates a handful of off-reservation boarding schools, but funding is in decline. Now many Native Americans are fighting to keep the schools open.
‘Kill the Indian … Save the Man’
The late performer and Indian activist Floyd Red Crow Westerman was haunted by his memories of boarding school. As a child, he left his reservation in South Dakota for the Wahpeton Indian Boarding School in North Dakota. Sixty years later, he still remembers watching his mother through the window as he left.
At first, he thought he was on the bus because his mother didn’t want him anymore. But then he noticed she was crying.
“It was hurting her, too. It was hurting me to see that,” Westerman says. “I’ll never forget. All the mothers were crying.”
Read, or listen, to the rest here.