Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
(If someone needs another reason why American Indians donot like to be stereotyped for profit-motivated exploitations — let this article be it. Ask themselves why certain "Boot Camps" use names that may be associated with American Indians: VisionQuest, Rite of Passage, American Buffalo [Soldiers]... This is a posting from an Internet List that I subscribe.)
"I urge readers interested in the boot camp rage now sweeping the nation to visit "Boot Camp for Kids: Torturing Teenagers for Fun and Profit." Especially see "Teen Busting" by Armelle Vincent Arriola and "Killer Camps" by me. Those articles, and many more, are listed on the index page at www.nospank.org/boot.htm. Be forewarned. This stuff isn't good bedtime reading. To put the matter of boot camp dangers into perspective, below is a partial list of recent fatalities. Many of these kids were accused of "faking it" right up to the time of death. Had they been in the care of ordinary adult citizens selected at random, most or maybe all would be alive today. Boot camp staff are not ordinary citizens. They're special."
Michelle Sutton, dead at age 15, Summit Quest
Kristen Chase, dead at age 16, Challenger
Paul Choy, dead at age 16, Rite of Passage
Aaron Bacon, dead at age 16, Northstar
Dawnne Takeuchi, dead at age 18, VisionQuest
Lorenzo Johnson, dead at age 17, Arizona Boys Ranch
Carlos Ruiz, dead at age 13, VisionQuest
Mario Cano, dead at age 16, VisionQuest
John Vincent Garrison, dead at age 18, VisionQuest
Bernard Reefer, dead, VisionQuest
Robert Zimmerman, dead, VisionQuest
Charles Lucas, dead, VisionQuest
James Lamb, dead, VisionQuest
Tammy Edmiston, dead, VisionQuest
Leon Anger, dead, VisionQuest
Jamie Young, dead at age 13, Ramsey Canyon
John Avila, dead, Rocky Mountain Academy
Danny Lewis, dead at age 16, VisionQuest
Nicholas Contreras, dead at age 16, Arizona Boys Ranch
Edith Campos, dead at age 15, Desert Hills
Matt Toppi, dead at age 17, Robert Land Academy
Chirs Brown, dead at age 16, Robert Land Academy
Eric David Schibley, dead at age 17, VisionQuest
Chad Andrew Frenza, dead at age 16, Polk County Boot Camp
Robert Doyle Erwin, dead at age 15, VisionQuest
Lyle Foodroy, dead, VisionQuest
Gina Score, dead at age 14, State Training School (South Dakota)
Bryan Dale Alexander, dead at age 18, Texas Correctional Services
Michael Wiltsie, dead at age 12, Eckert Youth Alternatives
Tristan Sovern, dead at age 16, Charter Behavioral Health System
Robert Rollins, dead at age 12, Devereaux School
Andrew McClain, dead at age 11, Elmcrest Psychiatric Hospital
Anthony Haynes, dead at age 14, American Buffalo Soldiers Boot Camp
(excerpted from "Killer Camps," www.nospank.org/camps.htm )
Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir., Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE), P.O. Box 1033, Alamo CA 94507-7033, Tel.: 925-831-1661; FAX: 925-838-8914. Web Site: "Project NoSpank" at www.nospank.org
The problem with naming a boot camp (or anything) "VisionQuest" is that it tends to trivialize the real idea of vision quest. A vision quest doesn't just mean going out into the wilderness and thinking hard about your life. As practiced by Native Americans, it's a four-day process with specific prayers, rituals, and other requirements. It's a lot more involved and demanding than a boot camp.
A Native person also might object to associating the vision quest, which seeks to achieve inner peace and direction, with a militaristic boot camp, which seeks to "drum" sense into delinquent kids. The traditional Native way of healing out-of-balance youths would be far different than sending them on forced marches to break their spirit. I suspect most Native people would disagree with the "tough love" approach used at many boot camps.
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