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?
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.