page 2 of 2
The idea of Indian boarding schools was a governmental experiment to "save the man, kill the Indian" first floated by Captain Richard Henry Pratt.
The sad reality was the Indian boarding schools were loaded the likes of Jerry Sandusky, who raped young Indian boys and girls. Many American Indians know the stories from elders and peers who endured sexual abuse committed by priests, teachers, nuns, or those who took advantage of their authoritative positions in Indian boarding schools.
Beyond sexual abuse, Indian children suffered gross physical abuse, mental abuse and even death in these Indian schools. Some of the school properties have yielded hundreds of graves of Indian boys and girls who never saw their parents again.
Within modern American Indian society, the descendants are paying the price of victimization.
Unfortunately, this tragic sordid history never made the headlines in the major newspapers, such as "The New York Times" or "Washington Post," as did the Penn State scandals. One wonders even now if the major networks, such as ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC, would carry the stories if they came to light in Indian Country. Seldom do they report on anything major in Indian Country.
One topic that keeps coming up in the Penn State case is the well-being of the victims. People ask over and over: "What will happen to the victims?" They ask: "Will they be able to live normal lives? "
Both are great questions.
Beyond this current wave of sexual abuse victims, now it is time to dig deeper to find those of one, two and three generations ago - the victims of sexual abuse - in Indian boarding schools. They have been wounded with pain for decades.
They too need to heal the deep hurts of sexual abuse. As long as there is breath in these victims, it is not too late to go back to find them so that they too can heal.
posted July 24, 2012 8:30 am edt