American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many
(NPR, May 13, 2008) Charla Bear reports on schooling and American Indians in a two part series. The first report, "American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many," looks at the history of boarding schools the US government created in the 1800s to assimilate American Indian children. The second part of the series, "American Indian School a Far Cry from the Past," explores how these boarding schools have changed; schools such as the Sherman Indian High School educate students about American Indian culture and history. Today, many in the American Indian community question the role the U.S. government should have in running these schools.
- What is assimilation? What is integration? How do the ideas overlap? What are the differences between the two?
- What were the goals of the American Indian Schools in the 1800s? What impact did they have on American Indians as individuals? What was the impact on American Indian cultures?
- What kinds of cultural practices can governments ask people to give up in the name of integration?
- What is the purpose of public education? How does schooling shape our identities?
- In a new book called Just Schools: Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference Anthropologist Rick Shweder has described an equality-difference paradox. He suggests that one way to treat people equally is to treat them differently. What do you think he means? How can educators today balance the need to treat people differently as individuals and members of groups while at the same time promote equality and a shared sense of belonging?