April 21, 2011

Boarding schools = torture

Indian Boarding Schools in Context

By Steven NewcombGessner learned how Indian children in those schools “were underfed to point of starvation, roughly treated, even beaten, and all the time made to work half a day at hard industrial labor in their fields, in the bakery, or in the laundry—child labor.”

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.”
Comment:  From boarding schools to Guantanamo Bay, the US seems to favor the torture of brown-skinned prisoners.

For more on boarding schools, see Language Whipped Out of Indians and Libraries Hide Hidden from History.

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