Once upon a time, non-immigrant kids were snatched from their families’ teepees and sent across country to Pennsylvania to attend the Carlisle Indian School. Now thedescendents of these nations’ exterminators are sent by their own parents at considerable expense (or in Huntsville, Alabama, by the City Schools superintendent) to live in teepees.
It’s June 22, 2012, and that means as of today Huntsville taxpayers have spent $130,500 ($750 a day) to reserve 5 teepees at the Pinnacle Schools’ Elk River Treatment Programs as part of its $778,000 contract with the private school.
Yes, it’s summer but the Pinnacle contract is for the calendar year. Somehow, under some authority I can’t begin to imagine, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Col. Casey Wardynski has the power to send problem kids selected solely by himself to this wilderness camp/mental hospital/boarding school/detention center.
I suppose the Board believes that however he is managing this must be legal, perhaps using the same reasoning that Board member Jennie Robinson applied when queried about State mandates for Special Education: HCS must be “meeting the requirements of the IEPs [individualized education plans] because the system isn’t being sued.“
A prediction: one day everyone in Huntsville, Alabama will be talking about how in the hell this happened.
And it’s not that I believe that all kids are angels. If it were legal to do so, I’d happily name one 16-year-old whose one-way airfare to Guamtanomo Bay I would gladly pay — but only after due process and a fair trial (this is a fantasy–obviously).
Now no one even seems to wonder why the Pinnacle contract began in January 2012, although its stated purpose was to replace the Seldon Center, which would close at the end of the academic year, i.e., May 2012. Duplication of services is rarely fiscally responsible, but I expect one of the administrators at Merts has figured out a new math that makes it so in this case.
Back to Wardynski’s obvious delight that the detainees at Pinnacle’s Elk River outpost live in teepees.
So easy are most Americans with the genocide of nations whose lands their ancestors wanted that they don’t even notice how nasty this choice of housing is.
Who lived in teepees? Savages. In cabins? The “civilized” people.
Consider this statement on the Elk River Treatment Programs homepage:
“Elk River programs are outdoor-based, but with indoor facilities such as a gymnasium, cafeteria with commercial kitchen, two shower houses, laundry facility, cabins for advanced students, and a large school house with a storm shelter.”
Same old thing in brand new drag.
Civilizing the savages: these behavior modification wilderness programs are like a weird inversion of the turn of the century Bureau of Indian Affairs’ boarding schools, with the most widely known troubling case being the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania (1879-1918). Through means like withholding a tribe’s rations and against their families’ wishes (in the case of Hopi, men went to Alcatraz prison rather than surrender kids), Indian children were transported thousands of miles away from home (as far as Alaska) to be “educated.” It was finally closed by an act of Congress following hearings and investigations into all manner of abusive behavior.
Here is described the mindset of its founder, Col. Richard Henry Pratt:
“In 1879, Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which he ruled with an iron hand, his stated philosophy being “Kill the Indian and save the man.” Carlisle, and the Indian boarding schools which followed, were set up to break spirits, to destroy traditional extended families and cultures, to obliterate memories and languages, and especially to make the children deny their Indianness, inside and out.”
Library of Congress Description : “Educating the Indians–a female pupil of the government school at Carlisle visits her home at Pine Ridge Agency”