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INDIAN SCHOOL: Stories of Survival
Proposing to "kill the Indian and save the man", U.S. Army captain Richard H. Pratt envisioned an educational system that would erase Native American culture and "civilize" the continent’s indigenous people. His chosen method? Removing children from Pennsylvania’s tribal communities and confining them in barracks-style schools - initially the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which Pratt founded in 1879.
In myopic terms it was a remarkably effective strategy, and Carlisle became a cruel model for institutions all over the U.S. and Canada, including Michigan’s Mount Pleasant Indian School. Subjected to emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse, Mount Pleasant students were inevitably alienated from their families, native languages, and tribal religions.
This film combines archival materials with present-day interviews to make clear just how inhumane the system was. Survivors from Tlingit, Chippewa, Choctaw, and Lakota communities describe in raw, unflinching terms the impact on First Nations across North America. Contains occasional profanity.