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The Awful Truth of the Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School Investigation

American Indian boarding schools were created to “kill the Indian, save the man.” American Indian boarding schools were primarily developed to assimilate Native American children into mainstream American culture. The intent was to destroy their cultural identity and force them to become “civilized.”

The first Indian Boarding School was established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1879. The school was designed to house, feed, and educate Native children who were being forced by the government to attend the school. The goal of the school was to bring these children into the white world by teaching them how to read and write English, as well as how to speak English properly. In addition, they were taught how to farm and perform household chores so that they could become productive members of society once they returned home.

Students were beaten for speaking their native language or practicing their religion. They were also forced to cut their hair and shave their beards, even though both were integral parts of many tribes’ cultures. Students were forced to wear uniforms that were often uncomfortable and humiliating. The goal was to strip away everything that made these children different from white people so that they could be assimilated into society as fully-fledged citizens of America.

Who Built and Ran the Indian Boarding Schools

Indian Boarding School

Between 1870 and 1920, over 100 of these schools were built across the country. While some of them were state-run, many more were run by religious organizations like the Catholic church or groups like the Society of Friends (Quakers).

The schools were run by missionaries who believed that Native Americans were inferior beings who needed saving from themselves. The missionaries would often beat children if they misbehaved or did not respect authority figures such as priests or nuns who ran the schools.

Most students attended these schools for only four years before returning home at the age of 16 or 17 years old because there was no room for them once white children started coming into attendance at the age of 10 years old (which happened after 1890).

Most children endured terrible conditions at these schools with little food or clothing on hand during

American Indian Boarding Schools by State

Between 1870 and 1920, over 100 of these schools were built across the country. While some of them were state-run, many more were run by religious organizations like the Catholic church or groups like the Society of Friends (Quakers).

Michigan Indian Schools

Over the four decades that the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School operated in Michigan, thousands of Native American children. Michigan’s Mount Pleasant’s Indian Boarding school is under investigation for the deaths of 227 children

Michigan’s Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School indoctrinated 300 children each year and ran until 1934. There were also schools in Baraga and Harbor Springs. For decades, the US took thousands of Native American children and enrolled them in off-reservation boarding schools. In fact, this was government policy to assimilate an entire people by forcibly removing children from their families and indoctrinating them into the Anglo language, religion, and way of life.

From its inception in 1893 through its closing in 1934, the United States reported five fatalities of Indigenous children at the school. However, when the state transferred the site where the school formerly stood to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan in 2010, the tribe’s researchers discovered a more comprehensive history of federal government violence: paperwork proving the deaths of 227 children while at Mount Pleasant. The search for their remains continues.

For further details on what happened at the Michigan Indian school see Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School Investigation

What Happened to the Native American Students After Boarding School

There was no formal curriculum at these institutions—the focus was entirely on indoctrination into white culture and Christianity. Some students attended for only a few years; others stayed for decades.

But this assimilation didn’t happen for most students—instead, they ended up living in poverty after graduation because they weren’t able to find jobs or housing in cities like Los Angeles or New York City where most Native Americans lived after leaving school. Some students even committed suicide because they felt so hopeless about their future after being taken from their homes and forced into this system of abuse and neglect by government officials who thought it would help them better themselves as people

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