Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 4

GOSPEL WITNESS - Smith resources inherently extractible. So, sexual violence becomes a key strategy of colonialism. Also during this time, we see a debate emerge in the 1800s over what to do about the “Indian problem.” Nobody was saying, maybe there’s not an Indian problem: maybe there’s a settler problem. No, that wasn’t being considered. Instead, it was definitely agreed upon by settlers involved that there was an Indian problem. The only question was what to do about it. So, you had two sides. Henry Pancoast put it this way: “We must either butcher them or civilize them.” And those are the two alternatives. And you had Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz, advocating outright massacres. He represented that train of thought. But you had another train of thought represented by Richard Pratt, who started the off-reservation boarding school system that said, we won’t kill them; instead, we will civilize them; essentially, instead of physical genocide, we will engage in cultural genocide. We will save the man by killing the Indian. This is where we see the development of the boarding school system, where Native children were taken from their homes at a very early age, were not returned until they were eighteen, and were routinely sexually, physically, and emotionally abused. And if you look at Native families and ask, where does dysfunctionality start in your family? Most will say, the first generation that went to boarding school. Children weren’t parented, and then they passed this on to their children. I’ll talk a little later about a boarding school healing project that’s documenting the abuse of Native children in schools. But, again, there was routine sexual violence against Native boys and girls equally. In Canada, there is the Truth and Race Reconciliation Commission—you might have been following this, where there’s been an outcry over what happened, and there’s been a settlement for residential school abuses. But the same thing happened here, and nobody even knows it. There’s just been no accountability, not even acknowledgment that this happened, even though the same policies were equally as destructive here in the United States. This was important because this was another way gender was used to make colonization happen, because one of the problems colonists noted in Native communities was that they were generally gender egalitarian. They weren’t just not patriarchal: they were egalitarian. And it’s very hard to dominate a group when that group is egalitarian, because domination just doesn’t make sense to you, right? You think, why would I let you boss me around? We don’t boss each other around. And this is why many Europeans would say, “We’re never going to successfully colonize Native peoples essentially until Native men start treating Native women the way European men treat European women.” So, instilling patriarchy became an important way to naturalize other forms of hierarchy. Just as men are supposed to naturally 3