Multimedia Collection

In the White Man's Image
(The American Experience series)

VHS
60 minutes
E97.5 .I581 1991

In 1875, Captain Richard Pratt escorted 72 Indian warriors suspected of murdering white settlers to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. Once there, Pratt began an ambitious experiment which involved teaching the Indians to read and write English, putting them in uniforms and drilling them like soldiers. "Kill the Indian and save the man," was Pratt's motto.

News of Pratt's experiment spread. With the blessing of Congress, Pratt expanded his program by establishing the Carlisle School for Indian Students to continue his "civilizing" mission. Although liberal policy for the times, Pratt's school was a form of cultural genocide. The schools continued into the 1930's until administrators saw that the promised opportunities for Indian students would not materialize, that they would not become "imitation white men." Native Americans who attended the schools help tell the story of a humanist experiment gone bad, and its consequences for a generation of Indians.

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Native American Studies

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