The Indian Removal Act was only part of the government’s interference in Native American life. As it showed signs of not having the solution they wanted, in the 1860’s the government instituted a policy of pulling children from the reservations and sending them to boarding school, against their will, and the will of their parents and tribes.
The goal of these schools was to take the Native out of the Native American and make them identical in values – family, religion, and work ethic – as European Americans. This was the time when prosecution of Native American religious practices began to be implemented. This wrong was only righted in 1978. And not fully finalized until 1994.
During this 118 year program, millions of children lost their identity in programs designed to deny them their heritage, names, culture, values, religion, connection to family, and loss of birth language. Many never returned home. Others returned home, and could not communicate with family members. Languages died. Customs were forgotten as the elders died without a successor. Blending of cultures became more common.
This is in part what has happened in the village Terra finds in Crosswinds. Children are still being sent away. Families broken. Only this time, it is a villager who wants the village broken because she doesn’t feel she has a place. She truly wants the best for her son. Only, he doesn’t want it.
History and Culture Boarding Schools. American Indian Relief Council.
http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageServer?pagename=airc_hist_boardingschools Date Accessed: September 2, 2016.
Indian Religious Freedom Act. American Indian Relief Council. http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageServer?pagename=airc_hist_indianreligiousfreedomact Date Accessed: September 2, 2016.