Aside from the U.S. Government's Attempt at Genocide, what Has Caused the Most Egregious Cultural Harm to the Psyche of the American Indian People?

Sonny Skyhawk
10/29/12

Pedophilia, which was an indirect consequence of the Boarding School system.

In the late 19th century, when Indians were forced onto reservations by the U.S. government, Indian children from the ages of 5 years onward were forcibly taken from their homes and placed in boarding schools run by religious denominations of all sorts, with the approval and sanctioning of the government.

Christopher Columbus brought Europeans to the shores of what is now America; he also brought countless diseases, like smallpox and venereal diseases. But there was another disease, more sinister and invisible, called pedophilia. Pedophilia was first documented about 1500 years ago by English and French scholars. It became a subject of study as the function of the mind and human habits were being studied by the early scholars of psychology.

With the Indian Boarding Schools, religious pedophiles found a "candy store" of victims. This scourge quickly became the most defiling and long term psychological cross for our people to bear. It affected, and continues to affect, generations of our people. The toll it has taken is just now being realized, as we see that the abuse of pedophilia creates a ripple effect manifested in alcoholism, sexual abuse and the battery and abuse of our own elders, children and spouses.

There exists a dark history of pedophiles not only in America, but throughout the boarding school system that existed in Canada also. The First Nations or aboriginal peoples of that country have had to deal with the same scourge that we have in this country. They are somewhat ahead of us in that the Anglican Church and the Canadian Government have monetarily settled the issue to some extent by providing billions of dollars to those affected, forcing the Church to file for bankruptcy protections. But the issue is still pending and remains unsettled to a large degree.

In the U.S., we've only seen the tip of the iceberg regarding justice and restitution for this tragedy. There has been some litigation involving the Catholic Church, and the Diocese of Los Angeles has so far settled monetarily to the tune of $160 million, but only in local cases. The problem seems to be an endemic one and encompasses all regions, including Alaska, which has been devastated by the effects. Other Dioceses within the states have also been proven to be involved and have settled some minor amount of cases by monetary means. The Catholic Church has shamelessly depended on the passage of time, the death of victims, and what’s commonly known in legal terms as the "statute of limitations."

All of these tactics may serve to prolong the process, and in some cases make them disappear, but with so many victims or heirs remaining, there is little doubt litigation will continue. Today we have the unique distinction as a society of having to deal with pedophilia on many institutional and social fronts. Consider the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, and a recently-convicted individual named Sandusky. My question is, when will we put standards or preventative methods in place to stop the spread of this sociological cancer? When will these perpetrators, institutional or individual, be held accountable for the irreversible sociological harm they have caused to the minds and lives of our most innocent, our most precious resource, our children? Only time will determine the true measure by which we have been affected. May the Creator embrace our children, for they are the true innocents. Aho.

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talyn's picture
talyn
Submitted by talyn on
I'm not so sure the boarding schools and rampant pedophilia can be neatly seperated from the attempts at genocide. They were just another face of it. More than that, I'm not so sure that pedophilia and the assaults on native children by pedophiles can be called an indirect consequence of the Boarding School system. I think it was a VERY direct consequence, and at some level, perhaps even a deliberate action within some of the religious organizations. Sort of a 'Well, we know these people are a problem, we know they are a danger to children but we don't want to face up to it or deal with it. Lets send them off to these boarding schools, and they can abuse Indian children. As long as OUR children are safe, and our reputation is protected, we don't really care what becomes of the native children'. It seems to me that such direct hostility and indifference were not uncommon. The system was INTENDED to be destructive of native cultures and communities, after all. I really do think that some institutions regarded the boarding schools as nothing more than a convenient place to dump their 'problem' priests and nuns. How else can the prevelance of such issues be explained? This was not one or two bad apples, it was entire schools staffed with bad apples, across the whole continent, for generations at a time. Yes, there are some who attended boarding schools who do not report horrific physical or sexual abuse, but they are the exception, not the rule. While it would be nice if someone acknowledged that the trauma children in boarding schools suffered was both deliberately inflicted and wrong, while it would be healing if the governments and religious institutions involved were to offer an apology, and while it would be both helpful and just for restitution and financial compensation to be made available to the victims and their descendants, in the end recovery from the direct abuse and the resulting generational trauma depends on none of that. It depends on the communities, on the victims and their parents, siblings, children, neighbors, and friends. It depends on us. It will be hard work, especially in the absence of acknowledgement, apology, or restitution, but it is possible. We must learn to heal ourselves. To recover the stolen culture and rebuild the healthy families and communities that were ripped apart. To be strong on our own two feet. As has been said elsewhere, the best revenged is a life well lived. So live well.

nightrain's picture
nightrain
Submitted by nightrain on
Almost

nightrain's picture
nightrain
Submitted by nightrain on
Almost every state has a sex offender registry. Do a map search wherever there is high Native population, like Shannon County SD, or Shiprock NM, and you get the phone of Native names of sex offenders living there. As with most "diseases", we only have to look inwards into our own communities to see the affliction. Our energies would be better spent fixing our own problems rather than blaming history. Another note, the almost now-widely accepted theory of the origins of syphilis, called the Columbian Theory, postulates that certain strains were already in the New World, as well as the Old World (Europe) and it was Columbus and his men that brought back certain strains back to Europe. The strain was not present in Europe which led to countless Europeans to die from it because they did not have the resistances to these strain(s) from the New World.

niijii's picture
niijii
Submitted by niijii on
The pollution of our waterways, air and land. We are part of it and they knew and know it. It continues like a cancer.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
My family is predominately Catholic and they're always at odds with me for refusing to "see the light" and join the religion of our oppressors. The ruthless Spanish brought their God to the American SW and many NDNs converted uder the threat of death. Pedophilia is quite nearly sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican has gone to great lengths to pay off victims in exchange for their silence. As violent aggressors, conquerors see pedophilia, rape, robbery and enslavement as their "right" and it's only a small part of what they're capable of doing.

sweetgrass777's picture
sweetgrass777
Submitted by sweetgrass777 on
Pedoophilia has destroyed many Native men and women. It has left a lingering psychological effect on Native men and women. Yes it has! Sexual abuse of our own women and children the rise of two/spirited men in women in our society! How in the hell are Native people supposed to procreate and multiply when we act as such. I am not going to cut corners or listed to this is part of our culture BS! Because it is not! The Catholic church was and is the biggest coverup and evil that has plagued us. God does not sexually abuse or sodomize children or boys that grow up to be our future! It is these institutions that our people have been so loyal to knowing dam well what they where doing to our people! Our men where strong warriors and men of valor.....now reduced to what???? Two spirited men......lusting after other men. We are sick! Wake up so called lost Native people. Their Alcohol, Casinos has taken you down now this! They have prayed on our peoples minds and bodies and we sit by and allow it! How our ancestors would roll in their graves. No wonder so many of our people are damaged goods. The love of the European and his evil ways will continue to destroy us and wipe our people out.
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