In "Hearings before a Subcommittee on the Committe on Indian Affairs pursuant to S. Res. 341, p. 30," we find the testimony of Mr. H. J. Russell, construction engineer of the Indian Service at Leupp: "I have seen Indian boys chained to their beds at night for punishment. I have seen them thrown in cellars under the building, which the superintendent called a jail. I have seen their shoes taken away from them and then forced to walk through the snow to the barn to help milk. I have seen them whipped with a hemp rope, also a water hose. Forced to do servant's work for employees and superintendent without compensation under the guise of industrial employment and education." The source of this quote is the book "Massacre," published by Robert Gessner in 1931. It is an amazing work, one that might open Mr. Trimble's eyes about what other Indian children experienced. As Gessner states in his chapter "Flogging Children": "Later on the Sioux reservations, on the other reservations I visited--in numerous villages and hamlets, in the Capital of the Nation--in the thousands of miles I have traveled I have heard one great plea: 'We are starving--yes, we being robbed and oppressed--yes, but first save our children." He continues: "Hours of reading confirmed these verbal statements. I learned of children as young as six years of age being taken forcibly from their mother's arms and sent to distant boarding schools until they were eighteen years old, without seeing their parents during that period. I learned how they were underfed to the point of starvation, roughly treated, even beaten, and all the time made to work half a day at hard industrial labor in the fields, in the bakery, or in the laundry--child labor." "I have learned of those lonely children--frightened, flogged, exhausted children--ever hungry children. I have seen how they sleep in dormitories so crowded the beds touch each other and fill the ailes. They exist under so little protection from disease that epidemics sweep through entire schools as freely as winds. I have seen the stamp of overwork cruelly branded on their young but always tired faces. I have heard of children so underfed they snatched at plates like famished animals. I have seen the jails they are thrown into after being flogged for infringement of minor rules." I personally have been told by elders of being small children in boarding school and having their tongues placed on dry ice for speaking their language. Others told me personally of being made to kneel with bare knees on pieces of broken tile until their knees bled, only for speaking their own language. An Apache friend of mine was viciously beaten with a strap by a sadistic priest, who became even more enraged because my friend refused to utter a sound. You have your own reasons for your personal campaign to downplay the ugliness and viciousness of a system specifically and explicitly set up to "kill the Indian and save the man." That's your business. But it seems unconscienable that you do you have compassion for and outrage about those children who did undergo physical and psychological abuse and, yes, even torture at the hands of the United States government and the churches. Think about those who died in infirmiries without one loved one, family member to comfort them as they died of TB and other diseases. There is a reason why there was a graveyard at Carlise Indian School, which is now a U.S. Army War College. What happened to those children, and how many children died in the boarding "schools"? (By the way, there is direct correlation between the era of the boarding "schools" and the rapid demise of our languages). Sadly, you do not write one word about specifics of the psychological torture and physical abuses that became so rampant and notorious that they warranted a CONGRESSSIONAL INVESTIATION.
Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 20:16