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Real Injuns

Indian Schools…for ‘Negros’ (a.k.a. ‘Black Indians’)

The history of ‘Indian schools’ now dubbed ‘Historic Black Colleges’ is a peculiar one. The beginnings of these institutions was at Fort Christanna, Virginia in 1712 (1710 possibly). It did not have a formal school building. In 1718, the school was transferred to Brafferton. In 1723, the boarding school facility was finished. These students were from local tributary tribes.

Later the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded by the US Army officer Richard Henry Pratt in 1879 at a former military installation, This became the model for others established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Pratt said in a speech in 1892,

“A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.” Pratt professed “assimilation through total immersion.”


He conducted a “social experiment” on Apache prisoners of war at a fort in Florida. He cut their hair, put them in uniforms, forced them to learn English, and subjected them to strict military protocols. He had arranged for the education of some of the young Native American men at the Hampton Institute after he had supervised them as prisoners at a fort in Florida.

Hampton Institute established in the 1870’s in its original form created a formal education program for ‘Native Americans’ in 1875 at the end of the ‘American Indian’ Wars. The United States Army sent seventy-two warriors from the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo Nations, to imprisonment and exile in St. Augustine, Florida. Essentially they were considered hostages to persuade their peoples in the West to keep peace.

These institutions are now “Historic ‘Black’ Colleges” many of which carry the brand of Greek symbolism…

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