At the end of the 19th century, the United States established Indian Residential Schools with an objective of the forced assimilation of Native American children into Anglo-American Christian culture. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School, built in 1879 in Pennsylvania, was the model for future Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. US Army Officer Richard Henry Pratt created the program based on his belief that “All the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.”
Opened in 1891, the Phoenix Indian School was the only Bureau of Indian Affairs-run school in Arizona. Students were brought from across Arizona, as well as from surrounding states, to receive an industrial or domestic education and to assimilate into mainstream culture. In other parts of Arizona, privately run religious schools were opened. The Tucson Indian Training School was a contract school run by Presbyterians. Students came primarily from Pima and Papago tribes. St. John’s Indian School in Laveen was established by Catholic priests. The schools emphasized religious education.
By the 1920s, attitudes towards American Indian education were changing. In 1926 the Meriam Report recommended that schools abandon the teaching of European-American cultural values and instead teach students skills they would need to be successful within and outside of the tribal communities. Schools started to discard the program of assimilation. In the 1930s, Phoenix Indian School discontinued the lower grades, which moved to on-reservation schools, and began to serve only students in grades 9-12. As attitudes about American Indian education changed and with the Johnson-O’Malley Act of 1934, more tribes started building schools and taking control of the educational needs of their students. This shift lead to a decline in enrollment and the Phoenix Indian School closed in 1990.
Related Search Terms:
Indians of North America -- Cultural assimilation -- Arizona.
Indians of North America -- Education -- Arizona.