Western History & Genealogy Blog

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To play a horn - or not

Is there a book about this man and his life's work?

Has there been any record of how any of the Native Americans felt about this man and his work?

Every person has an opinion about assimilating the Native Americans into white culture. Some people praise men like this man, who made it their life's work to turn the Native Americans into good white people, doing what white people do, such as playing a horn in a band.

I am a Native American, and I played a trombone in school for nine years. I had a wonderful time, and I loved every minute of it. But I've been criticized by other members of my tribe for selling out to white culture. They called me "white" and acted like they wanted to spit on me. Would I repeat my horn-playing?

Both of my parents grew up in Indian Boarding Schools. My Dad ended up earning three Masters, and my Mother earned two. They were both college professors. But many of our people treated my parents like they were traitors. Were my parents better off for having a white man's education?

My first reaction to the photograph was intense sadness.


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