By Steven Newcomb
Gessner said he had seen the jails Indian children were “thrown into after being flogged for infringement of minor rules.” He detailed eye-witness accounts: Indian boys chained to beds at night; thrown in cellars under the building, which the superintendent called a jail; shoes taken away and children made to walk through the snow to help milk the cows; children whipped with a hemp rope, and a water hose; children forced to do work for employees and superintendents without compensation under the guise of industrial employment and education. The source? “Hearings Before a Subcommittee on Indian Affairs pursuant to S. Res. 341, p. 30.”
One boarding school superintendent showed an investigator “a dungeon in his basement used for girls, up to his coming [to the school] two years ago.” The dungeon “was 18’ x 8’, absolutely dark. Girls told the superintendent of two or three of them sleeping there on mattresses and rats crawling over them at night. Their food was bread and water. Brick walls showed where the girls had worked holes through and escaped.”
For more on boarding schools, see Language Whipped Out of Indians and Libraries Hide Hidden from History.