View photos by Rodrigo Abd depicting the aftermath of the Guatemalan Civil war.
Facing the resilience of indigenous traditional education in Canada, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, who was also Minister of Indian Affairs, commissioned Nicholas Flood Davin, a journalist, lawyer, and politician, to go to Washington, DC, in 1879 to study how the United States tackled the same issue. At the time, the US had developed a policy of aggressive civilization of Native Americans. This policy, writes anthropologist Derek G. Smith, “had been formulated in the post-Civil War period by President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration . . . and was passed into law by Congress in early 1869.”1 The key to this policy was a system of industrial schools where religious instruction and skills training would help the Native Americans catch up with the demands of Western society.