American Indians were killed, the government decided to establish a number of Indian boarding schools around the country to force the adoption of American culture. More importantly, the schools tried to erase the American Indians’ cultures.
“The idea is to found these Indian boarding schools where Indian children will basically not be allowed to be Indian children anymore,” says Clark.
“The boarding schools varied from community to community, but we had one here up in Harbor Springs,” says Hemenway. The school, Holy Childhood, “started out as a mission school that was in conjunction with the tribe and the local Catholic Church. But as federal policies dictated Indian education into the 1880s, the policy said that Indian language was forbidden, Indian dress was forbidden.”
At the boarding schools, Indians were generally taught to be laborers, not any higher professional aspiration like doctors or lawyers, says Hemenway. The students were taught to read and write, but the schools also aimed to “uneducate them on being Odawa.” Students were reprimanded, adds Hemenway, for practicing their culture.