Indian miseducation

Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1885, the model for Indian boarding schools. Click to enlarge.

Indian miseducation (1830s- ) began in the US with Christian missionaries in the 1830s. In the 1870s the government started opening its infamous Indian boarding schools. They have nearly all been closed, but miseducation proceeds apace.

Catchphrase: Kill the Indian and save the man.

Native Americans had no trouble educating their children. For thousands of years they had been passing down the knowledge and values needed to live in North America and keep their societies going. They had no need of White education.

Deficit theory model: But Whites discovered their need for White education: Natives were “heathens” and “savages”!

Colonizing mission: Natives had a much better claim to the land than Whites, so Whites broke them militarily, spiritually and culturally. They broke them first with the US Army and then with schools:

Indian boarding schools: To destroy their cultures, Natives were often sent to faraway schools – to make their Native education next to impossible and to put a White education in its place. Those who refused to send their children to an Indian boarding school were thrown in jail. Canada and Australia were doing much the same thing.

Sun Elk, a Taos Pueblo Indian, went to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in the 1880s:

“We all wore white man’s clothes and ate white man’s food and went to white man’s churches and spoke white man’s talk. And so after a while we also began to say Indians were bad. We laughed at our own people and their blankets and cooking pots and sacred societies and dances.”

Chiricahua Apache children in November 1886 (top), and four months later at Carlisle. Via gmu.edu.

Christianity was forced on them, even in government schools. Natives did not have religious freedom under law till 1978.

English was almost literally beaten into them: you got a beating if you were caught speaking your Native tongue. That is why Native languages are now dying out. Wichita died just last year (2016).

Intergenerational trauma: boarding schools featured not just beatings, but child abuse and sexual abuse too. The damage has been intergenerational and lasts down to this day.

Assimilation: despite all this, their forced assimilation into Anglo-Protestant culture failed: it did not end the racism against them. In fact, that racism was built right in, adding a layer of internalized racism to their souls.

The Hampton model of industrial education, which Booker T. Washington championed and W.E.B. Du Bois argued against, was applied to Indian boarding schools. It kept Natives at the low end of the labour market. Skull measurements in the 1800s and IQ tests in the 1900s proved to Whites that Blacks and Natives were not capable of much more.

In the 1970s most boarding school were closed. The few that remained opened were reformed.

In 1990 Congress passed NALA, the Native American Languages Act, but has not put much money behind it. Those taught in a Native language do better at school than those taught in English.

Today many Natives, like many Blacks, go to schools which are underfunded, underperforming, segregated, and Eurocentric. Tribes still do not control their own schools.

– Abagond, 2017.

Sources: Google Images; “For Indigenous Eyes Only” (2005) edited by Waziyatawin Angela Wilson and Michael Yellow Bird; “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” (2014) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; culturalsurvival.org (2012).

See also:


How to study the Whites

How to study the Whites (Second Nations) of North America:

Native lens – only Native American writers and scholars can be trusted to be objective, know the facts, and have a good understanding of the Whites. White universities and professors are the blind leading the blind. White film, news and television cannot be trusted either since they are sunk in self-serving stereotypes, myths and lies.

ethnocentrism – dismiss the history that Whites tell as myth, their religion as superstition, their medicine as half quackery, their lifestyle as a huge waste of resources. Opportunists, of course, will try to paint their religion as “ancient wisdom” or something “spiritual”, but they are just out to make money. They are not accredited scholars.

deficiency model – the Whites are different because something is wrong with them. For example, they take, take, take. They cannot control their children. They are disrespectful. They are cruel to Natives for no apparent reason.

ethnographic gaze – send trained anthropologists to live among the Whites and write up their findings.

documentaries – human zoos are out, but you can still film documentaries of their everyday lives so people can see how they live. A good documentary about the Whites will show things like:

  • a house, both inside and out;
  • the mother engaged in food preparation;
  • the father at work or (for more drama) confronting a neighbour;
  • smiling children;
  • the grandmother (hopefully wrinkled with missing teeth) rambling incoherently (with subtitles) about the lost past (you may need to insert a two-sentence summary of White history);
  • the photogenic teenage daughter getting ready for a dress-up event (like a dance or a religious ceremony);
  • the event itself (so we can see the White culture in action in all its glory);

race and culture – mix the two up, like this post is doing.

museums – have archaeologists and anthropologists gather artefacts made by White people and put them in museums for further study. Broken pots are the best, the older the better. Good too are traditional costumes, like those worn by brides, priests or circus clowns. So are hunting weapons, spent shell casings, lost golf balls, human remains, and stolen artwork. All shown by region, and maybe ethnic group, but without historical context.

static past – study the Pilgrim Fathers more than the present-day Whites.

nation of immigrants – the US is best understood as a nation of immigrants, of people who came to the US from all over the world to make a better life for their families. The immigrants in turn are best understood through:

  • multiculturalism – study their cultures: food, dress, customs, etc. No need to understand their boring history or politics.
  • cameos – study their men and women who are important in Native history.
  • contributions – like penicillin and pizza.

White History Month – study White history one month a year, mainly through cameos and contributions, maybe throw in a documentary or museum trip. The same goes for Black, Asian and Latino history. The other five months of the school year are needed for studying Native history.

– Abagond, 2017.

See also:


The Trumpification of the US

Climate Change

Climate change affects every corner of the American continent. It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe.

The glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park are melting so quickly, they”re expected to disappear in the next two decades. Rising seas are consuming the world’s first wildlife refuge – Florida’s Pelican Island – which President Teddy Roosevelt set aside in 1903.

At t The U.S. Department of the Interior, we manages one-fifth of the land in the country United States, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. We The Department also upholdthe federal government’s trust responsibilities to 562567 Indian tribes; conserve fish, wildlife and their habitats; manages water supplies for more than 30 million people; and protects the icons of our national heritage America’s natural treasures.

The impacts of climate change are forcing us to change how we manage these have led the Department to focus on how we manage our nation’s public lands and resources. Climate change may dramatically affect water supplies in certain watersheds, impact coastal wetlands and barrier islands, cause relocation of and stress on wildlife, increase wildland fires, further spread invasive species, and more.  The Department of the Interior contributes sound scientific research to address this and other environmental challenges. 

We at Interior are taking the lead in protecting our nation”s resources from these impacts and in managing our public lands to mitigate the effects of climate change. On Sept. 14, 2009, then-Secretary Salazar launched our first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America’s land, water, wildlife, cultural-heritage and tribal resources. Secretary Jewell has made climate change a priority.

The framework through which our bureaus coordinate climate-change science and resource-management strategies includes: 

  • A Climate Change Response Council — Under the leadership of secretary, deputy secretary and counselor, this council coordinates our response to the impacts of climate change within and among our bureaus. It also works to improve the sharing and communication of climate- change impact science, including through www.data.gov.
  • Eight DOI Regional Climate Science Centers — Serving Alaska, the Northeast, the Southeast, the Southwest, the Midwest, the West, Northwest, and Pacific regions, these centers synthesize existing climate-change-impact data and management strategies, help resource managers put them into action on the ground, and engage the public through education initiatives.CSCs are regional entities that extend from the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), located at USGS headquarters. The NCCWSC was established by Congress in 2008 to help deliver scientific and technical information to help resource managers cope with a changing climate. Working in partnership with resource managers and scientists at national, regional, and landscape levels, the NCCWSC:
    • Forecasts fish and wildlife population and habitat changes in response to climate change.
    • Assesses the vulnerability and risk of species and habitats to climate change.
    • Links models of physical climate change (such as temperature and precipitation) with models that predict ecological, habitat, and population responses.
    • Develops standardized approaches to monitoring and help link existing monitoring efforts to climate and ecological or biological response models.
  • A Network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives — These cooperatives engage Interior and other and federal agencies, local and state partners, and the public to craft practical, landscape-level strategies for managing climate-change impacts within the eight regions. They focus on impacts such as the effects of climate change on wildlife migration patterns, wildfire risk, drought, or invasive species that typically extend beyond the borders of any single National Wildlife Refuge, Bureau of Land Management unit, or national park.


Thus the changes to the US Department of Interior’s home page on climate change since a year ago, November 15th 2016. The picture and red text are new, the crossed out text is gone. 

– Abagond, 2017.

See also:

Uranium One

Uranium One (2005- ) was a South African company bought by a Canadian uranium mining company in 2007. It has holdings in South Africa, Australia, Canada, the US, and Kazakhstan. Its holdings in the US are mainly in Wyoming and Utah. In 2014 it produced 11% of the uranium in the US.

In 2009 Rosatom, the Russian government’s nuclear energy company, bought 17% of Uranium One. In 2010 it had 51%, and in 2013 it had 100%.

In 2017 it is part of the latest Hillary Clinton scandal being pushed hard by Fox News – a year after she lost the presidential election! Congress is now looking into it. And Banana Republicans want the FBI to look into it too.

Trump himself brought up the Uranium One scandal back when he was running for president. On June 22nd 2016 he said:

“[Hillary Clinton’s State Department] approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

Trump is talking about the deal in 2010 where Rosatom bought a controlling stake in Uranium One. The US government approved the deal when Clinton was Secretary of State.

The claim comes from “Clinton Cash” (2015) by Peter Schweizer of Breitbart News.

PolitiFact rates the claim as Mostly False:

“The bottom line: While the connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Russian deal may appear fishy, there’s simply no proof of any quid pro quo.”

First, the deal would not allow Russia to export uranium from the US. Thus no real “transfer”.

Second, only one of the nine investors gave money at the time of the deal: Ian Telfer. He gave between $1.3 to $5.6 million. While Clinton would presumably look more favourably on Telfer, the decision was not in her gift because:

Third, the deal required the approval of CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States). The State Department was only one of nine government agencies on that committee. There were also the departments of:

  • Treasury (chairman),
  • Defence,
  • Justice,
  • Commerce,
  • Energy,
  • Homeland Security,

and the:

  • Office of the US Trade Representative, and the
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In addition to CFIUS, the deal also had to be approved by the:

  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and
  • Utah’s nuclear regulator,

All 11 approved the deal.

Fourth, the person who approved it at State was Jose Fernandez, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. He said that Clinton “never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter.” The Secretary of State generally does not, nor in this case is there (yet) any proof to the contrary.

Far more troubling than Uranium One is Trump’s Banana Republicanism. In the past US presidents did not use the power of the state to go after their defeated opponents. Obama did not go after Romney or McCain. Bush II did not go after Kerry or Gore. Even Nixon did not go after Humphrey or McGovern. What Trump is doing is more like what they do in banana republics, where opposition leaders often find themselves in jail by election time.

– Abagond, 2017.

Source: mainly PolitiFact.

See also:


Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief (1925-2013) was not just the first Native American prima ballerina, one of the top ballet dancers in the world, she was the first prima ballerina of any race from the US. Oh, and she was the muse of George Balanchine, the father of American ballet.

She was one of five Native American ballerinas that were born in Oklahoma at about the same time. The other four were Marjorie Tallchief (her sister), Rosella Hightower, Moscelyne Larkin and Yvonne Chouteau.

Maria was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma on an Osage Indian reservation. Her father was Native (Osage), her mother was White (Scots-Irish).

The Osage are the Indians in “Little House on the Prairie” (1935). By the time Tallchief was born, they had been moved to a reservation in Oklahoma and oil had been discovered!

Her father lived off the oil money. Even though he drank away much of it, he owned the town’s cinema and a pool hall and they lived in a big brick house. Her mother wanted Maria to become a concert pianist (she had perfect pitch) and her sister Marjorie to become a ballerina (she was the better dancer). She had them start ballet lessons at age three. At rodeos they did an Indian dance that Tallchief later said “wasn’t remotely authentic”. In Osage culture it is the men who dance.

In 1933 they moved to Los Angeles where there were much better teachers and opportunities in music and dance. From age 12 she studied under Bronislava Nijinska, a top ballet teacher.

In 1942, the summer after graduating high school, she took a train across the country to New York City to become a ballerina. She joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a Russian ballet company that got stuck in the US when the Second World War broke out. With luck and hard work she rose through the ranks.

Ballet Russe wanted her to change her name to Tallchieva to make it sound Russian. She refused: she was proud to be Osage and proud to be American.

In 1944 the Ballet Russe hired a new Russian choreographer: George Balanchine. He was courtly, sophisticated – St Petersburg meets New York – and a choreographic genius. He and Lincoln Kirstein started what became the New York City Ballet, which Tallchief soon joined when her contract with Ballet Russe ran out.

Tallchief and Balanchine in 1946.

In 1946 Balanchine had fallen in love with her and they got married. The marriage ended in 1952 but they continued to work together afterwards.

Balanchine made ballets just for her, most notably “Firebird” (1949). Igor Stravinsky wrote the music, Balanchine came up with the dances and she became the star. It made the City Ballet’s name.

By 1953 she was world famous. The Osage named her Princess Wa-Xthe-Thonba, Princess of Two Worlds.

In 1965 she retired: she missed her six-year-old daughter. In 1974 she started a ballet school in Chicago and from 1981 to 1987 was artistic director of the Chicago City Ballet.

In 1999 President Clinton gave her the National Medal of Arts, the US government’s highest award for the arts.

Thanks to Mary Burrell for suggesting this post.

Abagond, 2017.

Sources: “Who is Maria Tallchief?” (2002) by Catherine Gourley; New York Times (2013);  Britannica (2017); Google Images (2017).

See also:


Kashtin: Tshinanu (Our People)


This song came out in 1989. It is sung in Innu-aimun, an Algonquian Cree language known by only about 10,000 people in Quebec and Labrador in Canada. It is a cousin of the Native languages spoken all along the Atlantic coast of North America as far south as North Carolina. Pocahontas and Squanto spoke a language like this.

Kashtin is one of the more successful First Nations bands in Canada. They have had some success even in Greenland and France. They are Innus (Montagnais) from the Maliotenam reservation near the mouth of the St Lawrence River in eastern Quebec.

See also:


In Innu-aimun:

Tshinanu ui tshissentetau
Tshinanu tshinanu
Tshinanu uauatetau
Tshinanu tshmeshkananmenu

Tshinanu u… u… u…
Tshinanu u… u… u…

Tshinanu ui tshissentetau
Tshinanu tshinanu
Tshinanu uauatetau
Tshinanu tshmeshkananmenu

Tshinanu u… u… u…
Tshinanu u… u… u…

Tshinanu ui tshissentetau
Tshinanu tshinanu
Tshinanu uauatetau
Tshinanu tshmeshkananmenu

Tshinanu u… u… u…
Tshinanu u… u… u…

Tshinanu u… u…

In English translation:

All of us
All of us
Let us look at our way of life
Our children
Our grandfathers

All of us
All of us
Let us look at our way of life
Our rivers
Our lands

This is our reason

Source; Fandom.

Roy Moore

Roy Moore (1947- ), a judge from the Deep South of the US, is running for Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat in Alabama. He is backed by Steve Bannon. The special election is on December 12th 2017.

Moore and the Ten Commandments.

In 2003 Moore refused to remove the Ten Commandments from his courthouse despite a higher court ruling. Alabama wound up removing him as a judge and then the monument of the Ten Commandments.

In 2016 he was again relieved of his duties as a judge when he blocked the US Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage.

Both times he put his religious beliefs above a higher court ruling.

A meme that appeared on Moore’s Facebook page.

Moore is against:

  • rule of law,
  • separation of church and state,
  • abortion,
  • “take a knee” protests,
  • immigration (but did not know what DACA was),
  • Muslims (should not be allowed to serve in Congress).


  • White Evangelical Protestantism,
  • Birtherism,
  • creationism,
  • Islamophobia,
  • homophobia.

Confederate sympathies: In his office is a picture of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. There are also busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Confederate generals. No Confederate flags, though.

Opposes better education, despite Alabama’s terrible schools: In 2004 he led the fight against an amendment to the state constitution to uphold the “right to education or training at public expense” and to overturn these words:

“Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.”

He won.

The Senate race: In early November 2017, Moore’s lead was only about 6 points over Doug Jones, his Democratic challenger. In 2016 Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Alabama by 28 points. Moore’s huge appeal to White Evangelical Protestants (39% of Alabama) was both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.

Then on November 9th scandal hit.

Two tales of four girls:

Doug Jones‘ claim to fame is that he locked up Thomas Blanton in 2001 and Bobby Cherry in 2002 – two of the Klansmen who blew up the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, killing four girls.

Roy Moore is now accused of sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when he was in his early 30s. A crime (though the statute of limitation has run out). During that same period he dated at least three other girls ages 16 to 18. Creepy.

Moore calls it “fake news”, but the Washington Post has the four women on record and 26 others who back up their story. Leigh Corfman, the 14-year-old now grown, is a Trump supporter. (Let that sink in.)

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler defends Moore:

“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became the parents of Jesus … There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

As Scripture says:

“The young girl, Mary, said Joseph touched her over her bra and underpants, guiding her hand to his shorts. ‘I wanted it over with — I wanted out,’ she recalled. ‘Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.'”

– Abagond, 2017.

Update (November 14th): A fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, a Trump supporter, has come forward. In tears she said that when she was 16 (and he was 30):

“I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch.”

Because he was the county prosecutor she never dreamed he would do something like that. But because he was the county prosecutor, he thought he could get away with it:

“If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.”

Not long before that he signed her yearbook – which she still has. He dated his signature: December 22nd 1977. 

More: The Daily Beast.

By 1981 he had been banned from the mall in his own hometown of Gadsden because he kept hitting on teenage girls there. That is where he met two of his known victims. 

Update (November 16th): Three more women have come forward. One was pulled out of her trigonometry class when she was in high school to answer a telephone call. She thought it was her father. It was Roy Moore asking for a date.

Even Sean Hannity of Fox News is turning against him! Geraldo Rivera had patiently explained to him several days ago that Moore is a liar, but he did not see the light till Reddi-wip and others started pulling their ads.

More: The New Yorker.

See also:


%d bloggers like this: