Friday, September 15, 2017

the last book I ever read (Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, excerpt three)

from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann:

Each hour of the day was regimented and students were lined up and marched from point to point. They were taught piano, penmanship, geography, and arithmetic, the world distilled into strange new symbols. The instruction was intended to assimilate Mollie into white society and transform her into what the authorities conceived of as the ideal woman. So while Osage boys at other institutions learned farming and carpentry, Mollie was trained in the “domestic arts”: sewing, baking, laundering, and housekeeping. “It is impossible to overestimate the importance of careful training for Indian girls,” a U.S. government official had stated, adding, “Of what avail is it that the man be hard-working and industrious, providing by his labor food and clothing for his household, if the wife, unskilled in cookery, unused to the needle, with no habits of order or neatness, makes what might be a cheerful, happy home only a wretched abode of filth and squalor?...It is the women who cling most tenaciously to heathen rites and superstitions, and perpetuate them by their instructions to the children.”

Many Osage students at Mollie’s school tried to flee, but lawmen chased after them on horseback and bound them with ropes, hauling them back. Mollie attended class eight months each year, and when she did return to Gray Horse, she noticed that more and more girls had stopped wearing their blankets and moccasins and that the young men had exchanged their breechcloths for trousers and their scalp locks for broad-brimmed hats. Many students began to feel embarrassed by their parients, who didn’t understand English and still lived by the old ways. An Osage mother said of her son, “His ears are closed to our talk.”

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