American Indian Education: A History by Jon Reyhner, Jeanne Eder

By Jon Reyhner, Jeanne Eder

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In 1939 there were 9,027 students in seventy-nine residential schools. As in the United States, after World War II Canada worked to close Indian schools and integrate Indians into the provincial school systems. Some residential schools were closed and day schools received more government support. The Catholic Church staunchly opposed closing its residential schools. Over the course of the 1950s an effort was made to start parent committees and the Canadian Parliament dropped sanctions against some Indian traditional practices that had been banned in its 1951 Indian Act.

However, 26 AMERICAN INDIAN EDUCATION the English colonists produced fewer missionaries and spent less money on missionary work than other Europeans (Bowden 1981). Some Protestant missionaries, like some of their Catholic counterparts, found that the best way to explain Christianity was in their subjects’ own languages. With Indian help, these missionaries translated the Bible and other religious works into Indian languages, as they had been translated in the preceding centuries into the many languages of Europe.

The college’s charter established it “for the education and instruction of youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land in reading, writing, and all parts of Learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and christianizing Children of Pagans as well as in all Liberal Arts and Science; and also of English youth and any others” (quoted in Layman 1942, 87–88) Occom became upset when the college accepted more white than Indian students. However, Dartmouth has continued to educate a few Indians to this day.

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