Washington D.C., 1889: Erasing Dangerous Memory


Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Indian boarding school, 1893


The Commissioner of Indian Affairs issues a set of instructions to all Indian agents concerning how to train Indians as American citizens and inculcate in them a sense of patriotism.

It is in the highest degree important, therefore, that special attention should be paid, particularly in the higher grades of the school, to the instruction of Indian youth in the elements of American history, acquainting them especially with the leading facts in the lives of the most notable and worthy historical characters. While in such study the wrongs of their ancestors cannot be ignored, the injustice which their race has suffered can be contrasted with the larger future open to them, and their duties and opportunities rather than their wrongs will most profitably engage their attention…

They [teachers] should point out to their pupils the provisions which the Government has made for their education… and should endeavor to awaken reverence for the nation’s power, gratitude for its beneficence, pride in its history, and a laudable ambition to contribute to its posterity.

Francis Paul Prucha, ed., Documents of United States Indian Policy, 180-181


See additional sources at:

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the Year 1889

© 2023 Charter for Compassion. All rights reserved.