The Tohono O’odham children were required to attend Indian boarding schools, designed to teach them the English language and assimilate them to the mainstream European-American ways. According to historian David Leighton, of the Arizona Daily Star newspaper, the boarding school the Tohono O’odham attended was the Tucson Indian School.
American 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.
Circle of Nations Indian School, Wahpeton, North Dakota. Fort Totten Indian Industrial School, Fort Totten, North Dakota. Boarding and Indian Industrial School in 1891–1935. Became a Community and Day School from 1940 to 1959. Now a Historic Site run by the State Historic Society of North Dakota. Wahpeton Indian School, Wahpeton, North Dakota, 1904–93. In […]
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 […]
Chamberlain Indian School, Chamberlain, South Dakota. Flandreau Indian School, South Dakota. Pierre Indian School, Pierre, South Dakota. Pine Ridge Boarding School, Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Rapid City Indian School, Rapid City, South Dakota. Springfield Indian School, Springfield, South Dakota.
Anadarko Boarding School, Anadarko, Oklahoma open 1911–33. Bacone College, Muscogee, Oklahoma, 1881–present. Bloomfield Female Academy, originally near Achille, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory. Opened in 1848 but relocated to Ardmore, Oklahoma around 1917 and in 1934 was renamed Carter Seminary. Carter Seminary, Ardmore, Oklahoma 1917-2004 when the facility moved to Kingston, Oklahoma and was renamed the […]