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ERIC Number: ED402598
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Accommodating Difference: Native American English Education--Reexamining Past Assumptions and Recognizing Socio-Political Influences.
Oesch, Debbie
J.D.C. Atkins, Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1885-88, asserted, "No unity or community of feeling can be established among different peoples unless they are brought to speak the same language, and thus become imbued with like ideas of duty." Educators at government-operated Native American boarding schools embraced this assumption and heralded English as the key to assimilating Indian children into an Anglo society. Therefore, language became the lens used to modify the student's vision, and rhetorical theory influenced which lens was prescribed. A need for nationwide conformance to Standard American English practices was implied with the claim that this would insure access by all to the stereotypical "American Dream." Educators in the 1880s seem to have been influenced by the work of rhetoricians George Campbell and Hugh Blair. Blair emphasized memorizing and translating in the practice of speaking and writing English. The Carlisle Indian School's General Richard Henry Pratt's views of Native American education were tinted by his own limited experiences; he required students to participate in classroom regimentations where they repeated English phrases and copied English words from examples provided. Pratt attempted to force his perspectives onto a divided and oppressed people--his vision contributed to the blinding confusion inherent amidst cultural genocide and destitute poverty. Approaches to pedagogy--the way usage and style are undertaken, or not--are often determined by socio-politically or culturally charged assumptions which generally proceed unexamined. (A chronology and 7 references are appended.) (CR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A