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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Secretary Norton Designates 15 Sites in
11 States as National Historic Landmarks

Alaska (Sitka) -- Sheldon Jackson School: The Sheldon Jackson School is nationally significant for its important role in the education of Native Alaskans during the first half of the twentieth century and in the transformation of Southeast Native Alaskan cultures during this period. Through education that emphasized English, students were taught to adopt elements of Euro-American culture. Changes in Native Alaskan life were also instigated by the removal of native students from their homes to the school, and by the promotion of skills other than those used in traditional Native occupations. The school also played an important although indirect role, through its students, in the development of Native Alaskan political organization and the pursuit of legal rights for Native Alaskans. The period of significance begins in 1910, when contractors and the school's Native students began construction of the campus's principal buildings. The period of significance ends in 1944 when the school, after amending its original charter, became a junior college and began admitting non-Native students for the first time.

Rob's comment
There's nothing wrong with nominating a site of shame as a national historic landmark—Andersonville prison camp, perhaps, or the polling place where George W. Bush* stole the 2000 election. But this government writeup is a whitewash of the government's shameful role. "Removal of native students" means kidnapping Native students against their will. An education that "emphasized English," "elements of Euro-American culture," and "promotional of skills other than those used in traditional Native occupations" means wiping their minds clean of Native thought and replacing it with American cultural propaganda. "Changes in Native Alaskan life" means destruction of Native Alaskan life. "An important although indirect role...in the development of Native Alaskan political organization" means the kidnapped students and their cohorts demanded the equal protection of the law and an end to the forced indoctrination.

You rarely see so many pro-American, anti-Native stereotypes in one paragraph. And the government usually knows better these days. But I forget—today's government is run by George Bush*, Gale Norton, and their ilk. For them, this may be what passes for a "sensitive" writeup.

After all, these are the same people who nominated a 60-foot heap of garbage, a toxic Superfund site, in the same group as the Sheldon Jackson School. 'Nuff said about their sensitivity.


*Not the elected president.

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