Published on December 31, 2013 by Amy
Armed with Bible and primer, missionaries and teachers in colonial America sought, in their words, “to Christianize and civilize the native heathen.” Both the attempts to transform Indians via schooling and the Indians’ reaction to such efforts are closely studied for the first time in Indian Education in the American Colonies, 1607-1783. Margaret Connell Szasz’s remarkable synthesis of archival and published materials is a detailed and engaging story told from both Indian and European perspectives. Szasz argues that the most intriguing dimension of colonial Indian education came with the individuals who tried to work across cultures. We learn of the remarkable accomplishments of two Algonquian students at Harvard, of the Creek woman Mary Musgrove who enabled James Oglethorpe and the Georgians to establish peaceful relations with the Creek Nation, and of Algonquian minister Samson Occom, whose intermediary skills led to the founding of Dartmouth College. The story of these individuals and their compatriots plus the numerous experiments in Indian schooling provide a new way of looking at Indian-white relations and colonial Indian education.
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