Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School (2008) Rated NR

Our Spirits don't speak englishA documentary told from the Native American side of the US policy to educate the Indian children, who were forced through the system. Starring Gayle Ross, August Schellenberg

From the mid-1800s through the 1960s, the US forced Native American children into boarding schools, where they hoped to civilize and educate them into the ways of the white man. This heartbreaking documentary recounts the intolerable cruelty inflicted upon these students, now interviewed as adults.

At times, I felt the filmmakers pushed their interviewees a little to hard to expose the brutality of the people who ran the schools.  It was painful, watching these people relive the harsh treatment they received as they were forced to abandon their native ways.

This documentary is helpful, though, in creating understanding about what  happened to these Native American children during this time.  However, I do question what percentage of the hundreds of these schools actually treated the children this way.  I have to believe that there were more compassionate educators within this system, who didn’t act with such brutal force.

With these concerns in mind, I do still say that it is worth a watch.



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