"Kill the Indian, Save the Man."

From: "The Singing Feather: Tribal Rememberances of Round Valley"

 

An educational institution was established on the Round Valley Reservation in 1882.  It was a boarding school soley for Indian students from grades one through six.  To continue their education, children had to go away to Indian Schools like Sherman Institute in Riverside, California or to those in other states like Chemawa, Oregon, Haskell in Kansas, Carlisle in Pennsylvania, Stewart in Nevada, or Phoenix in Arizona.

 

School instruction lasted for four hours a day.  The rest of the time was spent in training programs: for boys, carpentry and gardening; for girls, sewing, laundry, and housekeeping.  The School was practically self-sufficient and, although the staff did their own wash, the children did all the school laundry, cooking, food production and cleaning.

 

The treatment of students at the school was brutal.  For wetting the bed, a student had to wear the wet sheet the following day.  For stealing bread, a student would have to wear a loaf of bread tied around the neck which also had to serve for food.  One former student remembered a punishment she received as an eight year old for "giggling."  The matron made her wash down the front steps with undiluted lye.  She ran away from the school that night with horribly burned hands.

 

Student reaction against the government school began the first year, when five boys burned the school to the ground. In 1911, students burned down the girls dormitory, and in 1914, the boys attempted to burn down their dormitory twice and succeeded in destroying the main school building.

 

The government boarding school was closed and children attended school in the Methodist Church.  In 1926, a day school that went from first to eighth grade was opened on the Reservation.  There was another grammar school in the town of Covelo less than two miles away but Indian children were not permitted to attend it.  The grammar school on the Reservation operated until 1959 when the town school finally admitted Indian students.

 

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