• Creator
  • Saint John's Abbey (SJA), Collegeville, Minnesota
  • Created Date
  • 1884 - 1886
  • Description
  • St. Benedict's Industrial School was established in 1884 when St. Benedict's Convent contracted with the U.S. government, through the Catholic Indian Bureau, for support of 30 girls from the White Earth Indian Reservation (White Earth Band of Ojibwe). Since St. Benedict's Convent had sent sisters to teach at the White Earth mission in 1878, recruitment contacts could easily be made. However, the parents were reluctant to have their daughters l... more
    St. Benedict's Industrial School was established in 1884 when St. Benedict's Convent contracted with the U.S. government, through the Catholic Indian Bureau, for support of 30 girls from the White Earth Indian Reservation (White Earth Band of Ojibwe). Since St. Benedict's Convent had sent sisters to teach at the White Earth mission in 1878, recruitment contacts could easily be made. However, the parents were reluctant to have their daughters leave home and the children did not take to the rigors and formalities of institutional life and education. As a result of the resistance of the Ojibwe, most of the students who came from the reservation were of not fully native but of mixed white and Indian blood. Thus, the sisters inadvertently became a part of the suppressive system which disregarded the spirit and culture of the American Indians. "The federal government, aided by church-sponsored missionaries, marched steadily toward its goal of assimilation for Indians. The drive was particularly strong between the 1880s and the 1930s. Their aim was detribalization, individualization and 'Americanization' of the American Indian." (Berg, p. 159) In the boarding schools, students, taken from their homes, were given a new wardrobe, new language and a whole new way of life. It is not surprising that before the turn of the century the government rescinded the contract system. But it has taken almost another century and the experience of assimilating peoples of different cultures for the American people to begin to appreciate the enrichment that multicultural living can offer. (SBMA, McDonald, pages 120-122 and Sister Carol Berg, OSB, "Agents of Cultural Change: the Benedictines in White Earth," Minnesota History, winter 1982, page 159). less
  • Format
  • Black-and-white photographs
  • Rights
  • Copyright¬© 2004 Saint Benedict's Monastery. All Rights Reserved.