M1 discussion 2: indian assimilation | AMH2020 US History

M1 Discussion 2: Indian Assimilation


The purpose of this discussion is to help you imagine how it felt to be an Indian forced to undergo assimilation at a boarding school far from home and try to understand also the point of view of other people at the time.


For this discussion, review your readings for Unit 2.  Afterwards, you will analyze the photo of Tom Torlino embedded here. You might also look at Tom Torlino’s school record at the Carlisle Indian School site. Feel free to do research outside the course if you’d like other points of view.

What impact would the transformation of Tom Torlino and others like him who attended the Carlisle Boarding School have on the following groups?  ex: a Navajo child sent to a boarding school, white male Christian missionary and an African American. 

Be sure  address how each group might have felt and  what their ideals were during this time.

These are two photos of Tom Torlino, an Indian child from the Navajo nation.  In the first taken on his arrival to school, his hair is long but tied off his face with a kerchief around his head.  He wears an elaborate necklace with silver squash blossom beads, a dragonfly pendant and a Christian cross.  He appears to be clothed in a blanket crossed over his shoulders, and he has two large hoop earrings.  His expression is unhappy, his face is gaunt, his skin heavily tanned.  In the second photo taken upon his graduation, his face has filled out, his hair is closely cropped, and he wears a suit jacket, tie and white shirt with just the collar showing.  His skin does not appear to be tanned. His expression is solemn but not unhappy.

Tom Torlino, a member of the Navajo Nation, entered the Carlisle Indian School, a Native American boarding school founded by the United States government in 1879, on October 21, 1882 and just before he departed on August 28, 1886. Torlino’s student file contained photographs from 1882 and 1885. Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center.

Before you complete your discussion, make sure you refer to the course rubric for the expectations for this assignment.  Participating in the course discussions is an important part of your final grade. In your discussions, you cannot simply reply to someone’s posting with “ditto” or “I agree with you”.   You must answer the question(s) asked in a minimum of two paragraphs and maximum of three paragraphs. Your responses should also quote and cite the material you have read in the class so far; you may also do outside research. Use the Purdue OWL Chicago Style guide  for help with the correct citation style for your quotes.

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