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LAMANITE PLACEMENT PROGRAM
The Mormon Lamanite Placement Program - placing American Indians into Mormon families hoping to breed the Indian out of them. Mormon Prophet Spencer W. Kimball remarked that Indians in Mormon families were becoming "Whiter" than their reservation brothers and sisters.
| I don't know if many of you know this, but I once lived on the Navajo Reservation. My Dad works for the Indian Health Service as an environmental engineer. Of the many moves I had as a kid, one of them was to the Navajo Reservation, in a mormon founded town called Tuba City, when I was 11-almost 14.
This was quite an experience. I don't want to go into detail, but I thought I'd share what the morg was like in a ward full of "Lamanites".
For starters, I think I should explain something about the Lamanite Placement Program. This was a program which took Native American children and sent them off to live with White Mormon families to pursue a better education. I think it was mostly a conversion tactic. One of the requirements for entry was baptism. This is why it has been come to be known as the "Dip and Ship" program.
Most of those who were baptized did not remain active. My Dad was called to be Bishop there, so he told me alot about the nature of our ward. It was one of the largest in the world, over two thousand members on record. We had only about seventy in attendance at sacrament meeting.
Many of the members wanted to practice both both the traditional religion and Mormonism. The regional reps made constant mention to this, trying to persuade the members to follow Mormonism as their principle religion. Although, they alluded to saying that the native traditions should still be maintained as long as they didn't interfere.
Tuba City borders the Hopi community of Moencopi. There were many Hopis in our ward. One older man claimed to have know Spencer W. Kimball. He said that he spent many nights conversing with him the parallels between the Hopi Religion and Mormonism. Of course, I'm sure this was just speculation. I read on one website various different parallels between Hopi and Sumerian cultures, but I'm sure there is no real connection.
In the Church History Museum in SLC, there is a small exhibit on Tuba City. I saw it when I was up at the conference this past month. Tuba was founded by the Hopi Chief, Tuva, who was a Mormon convert of Jacob Hamblin. When the name became institutionalized the Federal Worker misspelled him name. Sometime in history, the land wound up belonging to the Navajo. But I'm not an expert, I might not have all my facts straight. There is a small mention in Wikipedia... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuba_Cit...
| Someone off this board, who's son is writing a paper of sorts, contacted me.
I answered, eventually, his questions posed.
And it took a couple of days.
It took so long because I had to go through so much pain before I wrote anything, and then had to remember more dormant memories before I finished the lengthy questionaire and sent it back.
But here's something I'd like to share, for those of us that have memories that drive us STILL, today, in what ever capacity.
4-What difficulties arose in this experience? What impact do you feel it made on the child placed in your home? What impact did it make on your family? Do you know what happened to the child afterwards?
the Usual bouts of homesickness was the first difficulty I know of, and saw in other placement program students right away a few hours after leaving our groups families in McLaughlin, South Dakota.
We all mostly were English speaking, Americanized, “used to White people” native students so you know that any problems that arose wouldn’t be anything that most of our lds placement program handlers couldn’t handle.
I wasn’t used to white people taking a genuine interest in my welfare at school, so personally, my reading and writing skills were lacking, but my 3rd grade teacher and another school therapist did help out.
I was shy too, but over the years in the placement program, the small tasks of speaking in church or speaking in front of classmates did help me start to over come my shyness.
Impact on the child,
I do know that my presence in my First foster family home became a problem for a couple of Older foster siblings of mine,
At the time I didn’t notice that any love and affection showed to me by my foster parents caused jealousy in my two older siblings, my older foster brother and his older sister, as I was in 3rd grade and my brother was in 4th and the sister was in 6th grade.
Sometimes these two siblings of mine would gang up on me at home when I was left alone with them.
They were vocal and loud with each other in speech a lot and that disrupted my homework tasks in my private room,
They would often go to the Panel box and shut off Power to my room, and often when I was bathing or outside (the House) they would shut power down to the bath room or be obvious about going into my room and rummaging around in my stuff,
These two siblings of mine would sometimes attack me physically, punching me in the gut and slapping my face, and they’d make disparaging remarks to me about my heritage and my culture,
It wasn’t that any of the prejudice or abuse that may have occured to me from white lds mormons at school or church in similar fashion did hurt, it did a little,
but you just don’t expect your Foster siblings to do that to you repeatedly during your 2nd and 3rd year staying with them.
I started to wet the bed during the 2nd year and my foster Mom found out about the abuse that occured to me from my siblings and for a time it did stop,
but during my 3rd year with this family it picked up again, but on a more Silent level, as my older lds foster sibling (my sister) never spoke to me any more and never treated me like a person.
this treatment was bad i suppose, but in my (LATER) time of living in Seattle and holding two professional licenses of Cosmetology and Massage therapy and of endlessly, tirelessly promoting myself and SEEKING OUT the targetMarket of my choosing,
Which at the time was WHITE women, Married, Stable minded and clean Living.
My actions were spurred by a Motivation not seen by anyone around me.
Cos a part of me is still a young child somewhere inside a large immaculate home and there are ALL my older female foster siblings being racist and vocal,
being mean and harassing in nature towards me and I’m crying.
I am in the dark of my room because they shut the power to my room,
I can’t play piano much because they laugh at me and show derision and scorn and often attack me physically.
One of my older foster sisters was learning to Jazz and Tap dance, and she’d do ballet too, and sometimes would be friendly and nice to me to get me away from doing my homework.
And she would start to be sexual in her gyrations and movement. I suppose that at that time she was starting to be hormonal and be a typical teenager.
No matter what my older sister did, no matter what my older brother did, they were never nice to me.
So it was a shock to me later on after finding out that my older sister was temple married and I even met my older foster brother at the MTC when I was doing laundry in one of the utility rooms.
Impact on your family,
I suppose that I already answered this one for you but as far as my own mother hearing about what I went through at the end of each school year.
That is the reason that I stopped going back on Placement for 4 consecutive years.
As for this Treatment that was given to me by my two older foster siblings, it reared it’s ugly head when “I” in turn got mad at my own younger sister and brother (before they got older and both went on placement)
I take comfort that I never repeatedly gut punched and kicked, or bit or otherwise hit my own birth siblings.
I take comfort that I never kicked them out of the house in winter and threw their homework out the door,
I never ever was cruel to animals by sabotaging feed and water efforts, and unlocking gates and chasing livestock, etc causing ME to stay out longer and “clean up the problem”
I never did that to my own birth siblings, thank God for that.
As for Question number 4 in regards to my 2nd foster family,
I won’t answer these things because of the Worse abuse and treatment I experienced by the foster Dad.
What happened later?
My first Foster family would often speak of a couple of female lamanite students that they had BEFORE they took me in, and they were sad that these females chose to stay at home on the reservation and get pregnant out of wedlock and otherwise stray away from church,
Even my 2nd lds placement family pined alot about prior placement students they had who chose to NOT RETURN to the placement program and continue in school and in church,
In spite of the BAD and the good that happened to me on placement program,
I consider myself a success story.
I served an lds mission, I attended one of the lds colleges for at least a year before signing up for military service,
For the most part I have kept myself clean living and I work!!
I don’t leech off the welfare system, I take care of myself and I stay out of trouble.
I know of at least a dozen other lamanite placement kids that turned out just like me.
Most are my relatives, some are still with the church.
I Am Not.
And we all are doing good in life so far.
We like to look back and think that at that time, the church did help us to become something better than what we could have been had we stayed ON the reservation. That the lds church opened up a lot of doors for us indigenous children.
I'd probably go drinking now, but I'm not that far into drinking to do so. d:oP
I can face these memories today sober minded.
And I say Never Again.
What ever drives you my exMo and Never Mo frenz, if it makes you better and keep you away from theMorg then let it be so.
But soon I hope to forget these things.
theSam!!, abel-my temple name
Samuel Lee Flyinghorse
| I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ, just minutes from the Navajo reservation and knew several people who were either placed in an LDS home or an LDS family that hosted Navajo placement children. I think the church's intents with the program were good, but in practice, it was not what the church had hoped. Many of the children place in LDS homes were from deep within the reservation and had little to no interaction with anyone not from their tribe.
The main problems were cultural difference and not knowing how to handle them. For example, there was one woman in my home ward who hosted a young girl who would not look her in the eye, even when the woman demanded it. In the Navajo culture, looking a superior directly in the eye is a huge sign of disrespect. Well, this woman thought this young girl was just be obstinate they fought over many things. It was only a year after the girl returned to the reservation that the woman realized all of this and realized that she may have undermined the young girl's relationship with her family. She drove out to her home on the reservation and apologized to her for all she had done.
Of all the people I knew who participated in the program, not one thought it was a net positive experience. Also, of all the Navajos I knew who participated in the program, only one is active. She is a lovely woman and still a friend of mine today.
One more thing I find interesting is the fact that the church takes any little cultural or religious item from Native Americans that could possibly coincide with the Book of Mormon and use it as proof of its veracity. For example, Navajo hogans (their traditional six-sided homes) all face east. They do this traditionally so that the homes greet the sunrise. LDS people claim that they do this because their tradition says a white god will appear to them in the east (which is not true) and compare it to the fact that the temples face east; thereby supporting the BoM.
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