Art Education in American Indian Boarding Schools: Tool of Assimilation, Tool of Resistance

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/203447
Title:
Art Education in American Indian Boarding Schools: Tool of Assimilation, Tool of Resistance
Author:
Lentis, Marinella
Issue Date:
2011
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines the process of domestication of American Indian children in government-controlled schools through art education. At the end of the nineteenth century, Thomas J. Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs (1889-1893), and Estelle Reel, Superintendent of Indian schools (1898-1910), brought changes to the curriculum of Indian schools by introducing the teaching of elementary art and instruction in "Native industries" such as pottery, weaving, and basketry. I claim that art education was as an instrument for the `colonization of consciousness,' that is, for the redefinition of Indigenous peoples' minds through the instilment of values and ideals of mainstream society and thus for the maintenance of a political, economic, social, and racial hierarchy. Art education served the needs of the late-nineteenth century assimilationist agenda. I consider Morgan's and Reel's national mandates at the turn of the twentieth century and examine their rationales for including drawing and Native crafts in the Indian schools' curriculum. This knowledge of educational programs crafted at the bureaucratic level is applied to an analysis of art instruction in two selected institutions, the Albuquerque Indian School in New Mexico and the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, from 1889 to 1917. I examine local responses to government policies and daily practices of Indian education at the micro level in order to provide specific information as to the organization, structure, and pedagogy of art instruction within a school day in these particular localities. Finally, I discuss how students' artworks were displayed in the context of exhibitions and national conventions as exemplary evidence of the progress toward civilization, but also of the instrumentality of an Anglo education in reaching this goal. As Indian policy changed, so did the art curriculum of Indian schools; while drawing continued until the mid-1910s Native arts and crafts began to disappear and were eventually discontinued. As activities that promoted independence and individual creativity, they began to undermine the government's agenda. From the early 1890s when it was first introduced into Indian schools to the mid-1910s when it lost its significance, art education was a tool for the assertion of America's hegemonic power.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
art education; Drawing; Native arts and crafts; Sherman Institute; American Indian Studies; Albuquerque Indian School; American Indian boarding schools
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; American Indian Studies
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Parezo, Nancy J.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleArt Education in American Indian Boarding Schools: Tool of Assimilation, Tool of Resistanceen_US
dc.creatorLentis, Marinellaen_US
dc.contributor.authorLentis, Marinellaen_US
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the process of domestication of American Indian children in government-controlled schools through art education. At the end of the nineteenth century, Thomas J. Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs (1889-1893), and Estelle Reel, Superintendent of Indian schools (1898-1910), brought changes to the curriculum of Indian schools by introducing the teaching of elementary art and instruction in "Native industries" such as pottery, weaving, and basketry. I claim that art education was as an instrument for the `colonization of consciousness,' that is, for the redefinition of Indigenous peoples' minds through the instilment of values and ideals of mainstream society and thus for the maintenance of a political, economic, social, and racial hierarchy. Art education served the needs of the late-nineteenth century assimilationist agenda. I consider Morgan's and Reel's national mandates at the turn of the twentieth century and examine their rationales for including drawing and Native crafts in the Indian schools' curriculum. This knowledge of educational programs crafted at the bureaucratic level is applied to an analysis of art instruction in two selected institutions, the Albuquerque Indian School in New Mexico and the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, from 1889 to 1917. I examine local responses to government policies and daily practices of Indian education at the micro level in order to provide specific information as to the organization, structure, and pedagogy of art instruction within a school day in these particular localities. Finally, I discuss how students' artworks were displayed in the context of exhibitions and national conventions as exemplary evidence of the progress toward civilization, but also of the instrumentality of an Anglo education in reaching this goal. As Indian policy changed, so did the art curriculum of Indian schools; while drawing continued until the mid-1910s Native arts and crafts began to disappear and were eventually discontinued. As activities that promoted independence and individual creativity, they began to undermine the government's agenda. From the early 1890s when it was first introduced into Indian schools to the mid-1910s when it lost its significance, art education was a tool for the assertion of America's hegemonic power.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectart educationen_US
dc.subjectDrawingen_US
dc.subjectNative arts and craftsen_US
dc.subjectSherman Instituteen_US
dc.subjectAmerican Indian Studiesen_US
dc.subjectAlbuquerque Indian Schoolen_US
dc.subjectAmerican Indian boarding schoolsen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAmerican Indian Studiesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorParezo, Nancy J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLomawaima, K. Tsianinaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWilliams, Robert J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberParezo, Nancy J.en_US
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