On the White Man’s Education


On June17, 1744 Commissioners from the English colonies of Maryland and Virginia negotiated a treaty with the Indians of the Six Nations at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As part of the deal the Indians were invited to send boys to school at William and Mary College. If the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their sons to that College, the government would take care that they should be well provided for, and instructed in all the learning of the white people.

In expressing their deep sense of the kindness of the Virginia Government, in making them that offer:

. . . For we know that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those colleges, and that the maintenance of our young men, while with you, would be very expensive to you. We are convinced, therefore, that you mean to do us good by your proposal, and we thank you heartily.

But who are wise, must know that different nations have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our Ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had some experience of it:

Several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly; were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, or counselors; they were totally good for nothing

We are however not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it; and to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them.


Reference: http://www.vizicourseware.com/what-is-the-purpose-of-education-advise-from-ben-franklin-native-americans/







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