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Native American Education: Topics in Chronicling America

Assimilation of Native American culture through "Indian Schools" led to controversy and backlash. This guide provides access to materials related to "Native American Education" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Uncle Sam's Indian Wards. What the Government is doing to make first-class men and women of the sons and daughters of real red men-- some excellent results." February 25, 1916. The North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune (North Platte, NE), Image 6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

In an attempt to find a solution to the so-called "Indian problem," policy-makers and missionaries in the late 1870s began to shift policy towards assimilation of Native Americans into mainstream American culture. Out of this policy came a massive growth of both on and off-reservation Indian Schools. Although praised by many Americans at the time, evidence of mismanagement and Native American protests against assimilation created a backlash that still exists today. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1879 First government-run, off-reservation boarding school, the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania, is opened.
1901 The Indian Bureau releases a book recommending a course of study that emphasizes "individualism and self-reliance."
1902 Superintendent of the Indian School at Chamberlain, South Dakota visits President Theodore Roosevelt to address Senate accusations of mismanagement and rampant disease amongst pupils.
1919 Chippewa publication condemns Indian Schools for providing a lower class education to students than public school.
1920 In New Mexico, it is reported that only 7,000 of the 25,581 Native Americans in the state are literate in English.