In the book The Good Path, it tells you how it was back in the Boarding Schools Era. But the movie “Where the Spirit Lives,” gives more of a picture of how it was, and it shows how bad Native American children were being treated. The Good Path tells about how much Native American people had to be courageous. Their kids were being taken from them and put into boarding schools to be made into Christians, and if they get to go back home to their families, they won’t know anything about their own culture or about being Indian. Native American people had to be very strong in those days. Being taken away from their parents makes people so mad. Then they take away the only thing you have ever known.
Like the girl in the movie, Amelia, she and her brother didn’t even know how to speak English. Being Native American was all she knew. Before, her name was Astocami and her little brother’s name was Pita. They took them and changed their names to Amelia and Abraham. White people wanted them to adapt to the ways of the white man, and become Christians. When Amelia first got there, she always kept trying to run away, and kept fighting their ways. Then the priest and Mr. Taggert [the Indian agent] made up a lie and told Kate [the teacher] to tell Amelia that her family got sick and didn’t have money to get medicine so they could get better. That is one of the reasons in The Good Path that Native American people were dying. Amelia’s father came to get them one night and they sent him away saying they weren’t there. Kate asked the priest how he can lie to her like that and he talked her into not telling Amelia.
Soon after they tell her this lie, Amelia stops fighting, and stops running away from the people in the school, then she soon gives in. She makes new friends: Rachel and Ester. Ester has never been away from the boarding school so she doesn’t even remember what it’s like to be Native. Rachel is being molested by one of the other teachers. She tells Amelia not to tell anyone. When Rachel’s mother comes to visit her she didn’t want to let her go. She runs away. Then Mr. Taggert brings her back dead. Amelia, George, Abraham, and Ester had a Native American ceremony for her. The teachers found Rachel’s body the next morning and said, “The kids who did this have to be punished.” They made Amelia ask God for forgiveness.
Then they tried to beat Abraham and George. But George would not let them and he decided to fight back, so they sent him to jail. That was the last time Amelia ever saw him. The teachers just locked Ester up in some room. Then the day Amelia was supposed to go live with that lady that was going to adopt her, she ran away. She just couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to be with her people, wanted to be happy again. Then Kate followed her. Amelia told her she wasn’t coming back and Kate said that she “just wanted to let her know the truth, and she was going to miss her.”
I learned many things about the Boarding Schools Era and about myself at the same time. Amelia and Abraham were taken from their home (just like me and my little brother). And it feels like we were taken from the only people we know. It hurts. I know how Amelia feels. But I have to push through it just like Amelia, and be strong for my little brother like Amelia did for hers.